90 years of Meisterstück
There is no better way to try out a new watch than to actually have it on the wrist for a period of time. Press images rarely give it the justice it deserves and, equally, a watch can look better in pictures than it does on your wrist. So I’ve been wearing this Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar in stainless steel nonstop for a week to get a proper feel for it and I can report back the following thoughts on my experience.
When we think of perpetual calendars, the first thing that comes to mind is that it will be expensive. This is normally true, however this watch is very competitive, priced at around Dhs50,000 in steel and Dhs80,000 in rose gold. Its nearest competition is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin perpetual with a price tag of around Dhs85,000. The attractiveness of this price is only good, of course, if the quality stands up.
In terms of the aesthetics, the dial doesn’t look overly cluttered, as with some perpetual calendars. It’s also easy to read the time with just a quick glance. The Montblanc logo is discrete and not overpowering, with nicely shaped and quite thin hands which prevents them from overlapping too much information. These, along with the hour markers, are gold and contrast nicely against the dial. The sub-registers hands are blue, adding a very small and welcome touch of colour. Overall, it’s all kept low key and the classic layout with a silver finish plays well with the light which adds to the richness of the watch.
The only downside of the dial is perhaps the position of the sub-registers which, to me, seem a little too close to the centre of the dial. This I think, is due to the perpetual calendar module used. There are some very similar looking watches on the market, for example the Vacheron Contemporaine Perpetual Calendar, which I would say have a better looking layout, but the Vacheron costs Dhs275,000 so it can’t even be considered comparable. Having said this, once on the wrist the layout seems to become less of what was already a minor concern.
The case size is spot on at 39mm and is not overly thick at around 10mm, while the combination of polished bezel and the brushed sides of the case works well and adds texture. It’s quite like a Jaeger-LeCoultre in that regard. It has nicely curved lugs that ensure it sits well on the wrist, and the crown has the Montblanc logo, but it’s low key and in keeping with the discrete nature of the watch.
If I was being picky, some of the case back text could have been executed a bit better without too much extra effort, but it is still decent. The movement it houses is also a solid piece of kit, offering an ample 42-hour power reserve. Montblanc’s return rate on mechanical watches is very low and I think this one will undoubtedly be no exception.
Looks wise, the movement won’t give you goose pimples and is more of a functional piece. To be honest, they could have chosen the easier option and fitted it with a solid case back. That said, there is no way for the price that we can expect the finishing of the movement to be the same as, say, a Lange perpetual calendar. But it’s certainly well-made and is very accurate.
The strap thickness is just about right and its semi-gloss finish suits the watch. It comes on a pin buckle which makes sure the watch is comfortable. The elegant look means it is best worn with smarter attire, but swap the strap to a nice medium brown and it would be suitable for a semi-casual get up.
The reason that we have a watch like this at such an accessible price is presumably down to Montblanc’s new CEO, Jerome Lambert. The former Jaeger-LeCoultre chief is one of the most talented guys in the industry and a real watch addict like us. Montblanc has produced a classic design in a size that will ensure you’ll have a watch that will stay looking good for a very long time.
So if you want to enter into the world of complicated watches, and if you’re willing to move away from the usual suspects (and do not have bottomless pocket), there is no better starting point. After living with it for a week, I would be quite happy to continue wearing this watch. Its price point is a game changer and has made a clear statement of where Mont Blanc is going with its watches.
Sam Truman is Esquire’s resident watch guru, read his column every month in the monthly issue of Esquire Middle East.
Find his blog at http://dailybeater.com/