There is something magical about salmon-colored dials. It’s not a dial color you see very often, but the love for them amongst enthusiasts is palpable. I also love a beautiful salmon dial. So I was more than happy to see Montblanc add the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph to its collection. With its vintage aesthetic and great salmon dial, this might just be the most stylish piece in the catalog.

We have seen a stylistic growth from Montblanc over these last few years. The brand uses the vintage looks of the Minerva watches from the early 20th century to develop its own style. Minerva professional tool watches from the 1920s and 1930 inspired the 1858 collection; the Heritage collection is inspired by the Minerva watches from the 1940s and 1950s. Both collections have helped place Montblanc on a more decisive path aesthetically.

The Heritage collection

Let’s zoom in on the Heritage collection. There is a division within the collection that must be mentioned. First, there are the regular releases with modified movements from external suppliers like ETA and Sellita. Next to that, there are the Haute Horlogerie pieces with stunning modern versions of the legendary Minerva movements. It’s these watches specifically that have captured the hearts of many watch collectors.

The watches powered by Minerva movements completely overshadow the pieces in the regular collection.

This creates a massive difference in appeal and price. The watches that feature Minerva movements have been limited editions that are far more expensive than the regular models. With prices starting around 25k and moving up quite significantly, they are in a completely different segment of the market.

As a result, for me, the watches powered by Minerva movements completely overshadow the pieces in the regular collection. The new Heritage Monopusher Chronograph, however, could bridge the gap between the two.

Familiar Looks

The Montblanc Heritage Monopusher Chronograph may look familiar to those of you familiar with the brands’ recent releases. Last year at the SIHH 2019, Montblanc released the Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph that Balazs wrote about here. The watch stood out during the show because of its stunning Calibre MB M13.21 — based on the legendary Minerva Monopusher Chronograph 13.20 movement from the 1920s — and its gorgeous salmon dial.

It was one of those exclusive pieces (limited to 100 pieces) that many fell for immediately. And I did as well. My only beef with it was the light blue color Montblanc used for the pulsation scale. Sure, it did make for excellent readability, but it also took away from the chic aesthetic its possible to achieve with salmon dials when that color is left alone to breathe, or complimented by something a little more chromatically robust…

The darker shade of blue integrates nicely with the salmon dial and the dark grey leather strap.

And it’s like the people at Montblanc have listened because the new Heritage Monopusher Chronograph doesn’t use that light blue color. For the new Heritage Monopusher Chronograph, Montblanc decided to use a darker shade of blue on the dial and for the hands. I have to say I like that combination a lot better because it integrates nicely with the salmon dial and the dark grey leather strap.

A Domed Dial

Speaking of the dial, it’s the absolute focal point of the watch. The domed shape and the different textures Montblanc has used are quite extraordinary. The outer part of the dial has a smooth surface and features the seconds and minutes track in dark blue.

The red numerals at 60, 15, 30, and 45 are subtle little colorful elements that make sure the dial doesn’t become boring. The same color blue is also used for the central chronograph seconds hands, which also features a red lacquered tip.

It’s this grained finish that mixes things up on the dial.

A second grainy texture is used for the chapter ring for the hours with Arabic numerals applied at 12 and 6 o’clock. Smaller studs mark the remaining hour indices. It’s this grained finish that mixes things up on the dial.

The domed center part of the dial has a beautiful sunray finish with the two sub-dials. The sub-dials are slightly recessed in the dial. Both sub-dials also feature the same dark blue color. The left sub-dial indicates the small seconds. The right is the 30-minute counter for elapsed time with small red markings at 10, 20, and 30 minutes.

A vintage Montblanc logo completes the dial along with the small luminous dots placed on the minute track for each hour marker. They are the only luminous elements along with the thin central slithers of the dauphine-style hour and minute hands.

Modern case size

Despite its vintage looks, the case size is a very modern 42mm in diameter. The case is 14.7mm in height. That height is somewhat increased by the domed box-shaped sapphire crystal. It gives the watch a lot of wrist presence. The stainless steel case has a mixture of polished and brushed finishes. As it is a monopusher chronograph, the chronograph mechanism is operated with the big crown. It keeps the aesthetic of the case clean and stylish.

The closed case back that features a large engraving of the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret.

The Monopusher Chronograph has a closed case back that features a large engraving of the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret. It’s the same manufacture that has been part of the Montblanc brand since 2006 and develops the incredible in-house movements for the more exclusive watches in the collection like the mentioned Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph.

Montblanc Caliber MB25.12

Inside the watch, you will not find an in-house produced movement, though. The watch is powered by the automatic Montblanc Calibre MB 25.12. This movement is a modified Sellita SW510. The Sellita SW510 movement is known as a reliable movement and a Valjoux 7750 clone. It beats at 28,800vph and has a power reserve of 48 hours.

Wearing the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph

The first thing that stood out when I put the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph on my wrist was its size. It’s by no means a small vintage-looking watch. At 42mm, the watch wears like a modern watch. I had to get used to its size a bit because of its retro styling. The two didn’t immediately mesh. It’s weird how the brain works sometimes.

After I got used to it, I quickly found out that the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph wears very comfortably. Its size is perfect for my wrist, and during the time I had it, the attraction of the dial was immense. If you are into salmon dials like I am, this watch will put a smile on your face for sure.

Another thing I liked is the overall build quality. It feels like an excellently made watch that could easily be a daily beater. Using the chronograph was not only fun but it also feels very solid. Although I’m by no means a monopusher chronograph fanatic, I understand their charm. And the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph has charm by the bucketload.

Another win for me is the color combination that Montblanc chose. Instead of using a brown leather strap, Montblanc chose a “Sfumato” gradient alligator strap with a steel triple folding clasp. By stepping away from the usual brown or black, it gives the watch just a bit more modern appeal.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think the Heritage Monopusher Chronograph is a smart move by Montblanc. It bridges the gap somewhat between the models that feature Minerva movements and the regular models in the Heritage collection. The price tag is €4,800. That’s not a huge chunk of change for a monopusher chronograph inspired by Minerva’s rich history.

Sure, it doesn’t have that unique Minerva movement, but overall this is a watch that is very well made, uses a reliable movement, and looks very nice. For more information visit the official Montblanc website here.