In 2014, Montblanc pays tribute to the great clockmaker and inspiration for the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec collection with a new and very nice looking interpretation of his chronograph from 1821. The Montblanc “Homage to Nicolas Rieussec” chronograph faithfully replicates the details and colors as they appeared on the original “time writer”, but with materials and technologies of the modern day and age. The “Homage to Nicolas Rieussec” is a monopusher chronograph (at 8 o’clock on the side of the case) which indicates the time in two different time zones (a skeletonized hour-hand indicates the time in a second time zone), date (3 o’clock aperture), and has a day/night indicator (9 o’clock aperture). The timepiece will be manufactured in limited editions of 193 pieces (the # of yrs since Rieussec’s 1821 invention) in rose gold and 565 pieces in steel.
As on the original from 1821, elapsed time is shown on two rotating discs, above each of which a motionless hand indicates the passing seconds and minutes. Interestingly, the hand is designed as a double index, with each of the two tips of an elongated horizontal blued-metal rhombus points to a calibrated scale on one of the two rotating discs. Each index is shaped exactly like the ink carriers on the original chronograph from 1821. The two white- lacquered discs – one at the left for 60 elapsed seconds and the other at the right for 30 elapsed minutes – are likewise inspired by the appearance of the original timepiece.
The main plate of the dial has a finely grained texture; it looks very elegant.
43mm x 14.8mm red gold or steel case
In day light, you can see that there are no hour numerals (only a minute-scale) on the main subsidiary dial. However — the hour-circle reveals itself in the dark. The formerly hidden hour numerals appear on the dial via SuperLumiNova that is applied to a hybrid ceramic material. The luminous display is in Arabic numerals characteristic of the Montblanc Rieussec collection. The digits are invisible in daylight because they’re precisely embedded into the hour ring, with which they share exactly the same color. A neat and novel feature yes, but of course not one of great practicality (lume intensity declines as time progresses).
The movement is visible through the caseback (not pictured here, unfortunately): the automatic mechanical Montblanc Caliber MB R200, a monopusher chronograph with fine finishing embellishment including Geneva striping, polished and beveled edges, and blued screws.
Available Fall 2014. The stainless steel model is limited to 565 pieces.
Did You Know?
Nicolas Rieussec, watchmaker to the French royal court, invented this construction to precisely measure the running times of individual horses at a horserace. When the starting gun was fired at the track, the patented “ink chronograph” was set in motion so that two white enameled discs began to turn: one disc was calibrated for 60 elapsed seconds, the other for 30 elapsed minutes. The user pressed a button each time a horse crossed the finish line: this pressure momentarily lowered an elongated rhombic carrier with two ink-filled tips onto the enamel discs, where each tip left a droplet of ink. These inky markings on the scales of the chronograph’s discs enabled the user to read the exact running time of each horse. Rieussec’s device was literally a “time writer,” so he accordingly named it a “chronograph” from the Greek words “chronos” (time) and “graphein” (to write). In 1822, the Académie des Sciences in Paris granted a patent on this device to Nicolas Rieussec, who went down in horological history as the inventor of the world’s first patented chronograph.