I remember Minerva watches being for sale in local watch shop here in The Hague. It must have been around 1999 or so that I was looking at these Minerva Pythagore watches in that shop, brand new. They were available in 34mm and 38mm and the latter one struck me as big at the time. Something you can’t imagine nowadays looking at new watches. Available as a dress watch and a pilot looking watch if I remember correctly.
I didn’t end-up buying one but my stepbrother did eventually, like the one above (photo taken from The Purists superb write-up, here). A 34mm Pythagore with the famous caliber 48 movement. A beautiful designed case, dial, hands and movement that stood out from many other brands at that time. Especially taking the price tag into consideration. I can’t remember exactly, but these watches had a low price tag at the time. Considering the fact that they used in-house developed and manufactured movements. The Minerva company was sold at some point in those days and nothing much happened with it. There were plans to re-launch the brand but it never came that far.
Until Montblanc bought the Minerva manufacture in Villeret in the Jura region of Switzerland and made sure to safeguard its name and heritage.
Using the Villeret name in their high-end timepieces, Montblanc now introduces this beautiful Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim model to commemorate the original Minerva Pythagore watches. The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim uses a manual wound calibre MB 23.01 that ticks at 21.600vph and has a 42-hour power reserve. The design of the slim watch case has been inspired by the aforementioned Pythagore models from Minerva.The red gold version that is being featured here has an ivory dial with a beautiful fine grain. The dial has applied double facetted indexes and Arabic numerals. Beautiful gold dauphine hands matches the ivory dial and applied hour markers perfectly. The elegant case features curved horns that have nice thick facets on them.
The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim is – as the name suggests – very thin, only 5.8mm and has undergone a test lasting no less than 500 hours. During these 500 hours, Montblanc simulates actual wearing under both normal as well as extreme conditions. This way, Montblanc guarantees that the watches delivered are in perfect working order. Chronométrie does not refer to the watch being a chronometer certified watch, but stands for “measuring time” or “timekeeping”. Just to get that clear.
Montblanc’s watch strap deserves a special mention, as it has been crafted in the company’s leather manufacture in Florence (Montblanc Pelleteria) and comes on a gold Montblanc pin buckle.
Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim
Reference number 112516
Case 18 K red gold (5N); polished case
Crystal Scratch-resistant, flat and anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Back 18 K red gold with inset pane of sapphire crystal
Dimensions Diameter = 38 mm; Height = 5.8 mm
Water-resistance 3 bar
Crown 18 K red gold with Montblanc emblem in relief
Dial Ivory grainé dial, facetted hour indexes and Arabic numerals as gold-plated appliqués, red gold-plated facetted sword hour and minute hands
Strap Black alligator-skin strap crafted in the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence with 18 K red gold-plated pin buckle (5N)
Movement Calibre MB 23.01
Type of movement Mechanical movement with manual winding
Number of jewels 17
Power reserve Approx. 42 hours
Balance Flat hoop
Frequency 21,600 vib./h (3 Hz)
Displays Hours, minutes
Certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500
Price 5’890 euros for the 18 K red gold (5N) version
Also available in a stainless steel version.