Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Watch Review

Following on from the success of their two previous The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronographs, the Swiss watchmaker returns to the design for Watches & Wonders 2023, pairing the inverted Minerva movement with a more contemporary, distressed stainless steel case.

Things changed for Montblanc in 2007 when they were acquired by the Richemont Group and became assigned the Fabrique d’Horlogerie Minerva SA. The latter is a Swiss movement manufacture renowned for creating stunning in-house calibres with a particular speciality with chronographs. Over the last sixteen years, Montblanc have been exploring their Minerva heritage in detail, reviving complications and mechanics from past Minerva movements and housing them inside their modern Montblanc designs.

Last year, Montblanc made their association with Minera clearer than ever when they launched a trio of limited editions with Minerva movements inside. The first was the Montblanc 1858 The Red Arrow Minerva Monopusher Chronograph which referenced early aviation chronographs produced by Minerva in the 1920s and ’30s. The other two were Montblanc 1858 Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronographs, one in steel and another in lime gold, which breathtakingly showcased the fascinating mechanics of an inverted Minerva calibre on the dial. For their latest launch, the brand return to this concept but swap out the polished steel or lime gold case with one of distressed stainless steel.

Creating the unique finish found on the 2023 Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch takes three steps. The first involves taking the 43mm stainless steel architecture and giving it a black coating. The case is then washed and brushed by hand using quartzite which creates a special patina, completely unique to every 88 limited edition pieces. The case is then brushed and polished. The case measures to 14.18mm tall and is topped by a white gold fluted bezel inspired by Minerva’s first fluted bezel created in 1927.

As was the case with the previous two editions, the centrepiece to the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch for 2023 is the dial. Taking up the entire display is an inverted Minerva chronograph movement. The Calibre MB16.29 derives from the historic Minerva 17.29 calibre which was developed in the early 20th century and is ultimately turned completely upside down so you can see the activation of the chronograph from the dial side. According to the Swiss watchmaker, Monblanc’s team had to install 21 additional parts to the movement to reverse the direction of the central hands.

As we’ve come to expect from the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch, the Minerva movement is a completely skeletonised so you can see unique features like the devil tail chronograph lever and V-shaped bridges.  There’s also a sanded German silver plate with circular graining and to match the case, the silver bridges with Geneva stripes are coated with anthracite ruthenium. The movement is manually wound and delivers a power reserve of 50 hours and beats at a frequency of 18,800vph.

Above the movement, the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch delivers three openworked counters so not to block any of the intricate workings on display beneath. The central ring is adorned with the Montblanc logo and lettering reading MB M16.26, a subtle but clever joke referencing the inversion of the movement since the 6 upside down becomes a 9 to note the real Calibre MB16.29. The central ring holds the small seconds counter in place at 9 o’clock and the 30 minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock. There’s also sword-shaped hour markers suspended from the flange, cathedral-style hour and minute hands and a slender chronograph seconds hand.

The Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch is completed by a black nubuck alligator leather strap with contrasting white stitching. Attention to detail is assured as the triple folding buckle for the strap is distressed just like the case. This 2023 release is limited to just 88 pieces and is available to order now.

For more information on the Montblanc 1858 The Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph watch and to secure one of the 88 limited edition pieces for yourself, head over to the Jura Watches website here. Alternatively, get in touch with the team by calling 01335 453453 or send us a message at help@jurawatches.co.uk.