Iconic Panda Design Plus Utmost Reliability and Performance

Vidas Rach

This year, Montblanc updated its well-known TimeWalker collection, which radiates the spirit of motoring. Two new models – the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph and the TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100 – catch your eye immediately with the original appearance of their dials. This is a fresh interpretation of the iconic panda and reverse panda dials.

Like most reputable Swiss watch manufacturers, Montblanc also frequently looks for inspiration in its own history. Founded in 1858 in Villeret in the Saint-Imier Valley, Minerva quickly became an expert in professional watches. In 1908, it was already making watches with chronograph timing – stopwatches.

Historic Minerva advertisement
Historic Minerva advertisement
©Montblanc
Historic Minerva timepiece
Historic Minerva timepiece
©Montblanc

Starting in 1911, the watches designed and produced at Manufacture Minerva could measure to a fifth of a second, with the accuracy increased to one tenth of a second five years later. This precision was the result of the frequency of the watch movement, and Minerva continued to improve its timepieces until 1936, when it was the first to produce a high-frequency movement that could measure to one hundredth of a second. Since then, Minerva has been regarded as the specialist of professional watches and stopwatches.

Minerva – official timekeeper of car race at Reims.
Minerva – official timekeeper of car race at Reims.
©Montblanc

Thus, the two new models in the TimeWalker collection which breathe of the golden age of car racing are a sign of respect for Minerva’s technical heritage and its historical watches.

Performance and Style

You can recognise the new Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph from afar. Various elements of the watch design are directly related to the golden age of car racing, and the most striking feature is the iconic tri-counter panda dial, i.e., three black counters on a white background. This easily readable design was used on the dashboards of classic racing cars, and made its way to watches in the 1960s and 1970s. It was after it appeared on watches that this design was called the “panda dial”. Another signature design element is the Minerva arrow – the chronograph’s red second hand.

The 43-mm satin-finished stainless steel case and the black, scratch-resistant ceramic bezel complete the image of a very sporty watch. The horns, with their architectural and carved flanks, have been semi-skeletonized like the air inlets of a car’s body, and the black DLC crown has been knurled like vintage car radiator caps for better gripping.

Version with a brand-new black alligator Bund strap crafted in the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence.
Version with a brand-new black alligator Bund strap crafted in the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence.
©Montblanc
The timepiece is powered by the Manufacture manually wound monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29 that features a column wheel, horizontal coupling and a power reserve of 50 hours.
The timepiece is powered by the Manufacture manually wound monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29 that features a column wheel, horizontal coupling and a power reserve of 50 hours.
©Montblanc
Engine of the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph - Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB 25.10.
Engine of the Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph - Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB 25.10.
©Montblanc

Just like with sports cars, when it comes to watches, the important thing is not only the design, but also what it has under the hood. The calibre MB 25.10 movement of the Manufacture Chronograph is clearly visible through the glass caseback. It featuring traditional finishing such as Côtes de Genève, circular graining, blue screws and a new monobloc oscillating weight made of black rhodium-plated tungsten and designed in the shape of a steering wheel. The movement is equipped with a traditional column wheel, a horizontal coupling as well as a stop-second mechanism, allowing the precise setting of the time.

The watch can be paired with one of three straps: a stainless steel bracelet equipped with a system to fine-tune the size for optimal comfort; a new vintage brown, aged calf leather strap, or a black alligator skin strap. Incidentally, both leather straps come from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence and are fitted with a reliable triple folding clasp.

The TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph is water resistant to 100 metres, and has passed the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500. This evaluation simulates real-life wear for over 500 hours and tests the finished and assembled watch, providing reliability and performance.

A new vintage brown, Sfumato, aged, calf leather strap with perforated holes coming from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence.
A new vintage brown, Sfumato, aged, calf leather strap with perforated holes coming from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence.
©Montblanc
The TimeWalker collection combines legendary timing instruments of the past with the spirit of motor racing.
The TimeWalker collection combines legendary timing instruments of the past with the spirit of motor racing.
©Montblanc

In the Spirit of Racing

Meanwhile, the forefather and inspiration for the second newcomer to the Montblanc TimeWalker collection this year – the Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100 – is the famous Minerva Rally Timer stopwatch produced by Minerva in the 1960s, making it directly rooted in the spirit of racing.

This model is two- or even three-in-one, since the universal Sfumato calf leather strap enables the wristwatch to be turned into a pocket watch. The pocket watch, in turn, can also be nicely used as a dashboard clock. The powerful 50-mm case is made from satin-finish titanium, and the middle section of the case has also been knurled and coated with black DLC.

The Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100 combines a unique aesthetic with a “reverse panda” dial and the renowned handcrafted Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29.
The Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100 combines a unique aesthetic with a “reverse panda” dial and the renowned handcrafted Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29.
©Montblanc
The racing codes carry over onto the two-counter “reverse panda” dial with highly legible hands, indexes and chronograph functions.
The racing codes carry over onto the two-counter “reverse panda” dial with highly legible hands, indexes and chronograph functions.
©Montblanc

This awesome specimen of horology is powered by a Manufacture manually wound monopusher chronograph calibre MB M16.29 with a power reserve of 50 hours. Its predecessor and inspiration is the Minerva calibre 17.29 that was developed in the 1920s and used for both pocket watches and wristwatches. Its modern-day version is easily recognizable for its hand-crafted finishes, including Côtes de Genève stripes, circular graining and bevelling, as well as for the iconic Minerva arrow, a chronograph bridge shaped in the form of a “V”, and a large screwed balance that has a traditional frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour.

Although water resistance is not essential for this type of watch, it is water-resistant to 30 metres, which in reality it means that it is not afraid of heavy rain. Like its younger brother, this model has also passed the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500, which mimics real-life wear for over 500 hours.

Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph
Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph
©Montblanc

Montblanc TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph

Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB 25.10 with automatic winding. No. of components 232, number of jewels 33, power reserve approx. 46 hours. Frequency 28.800 A/h (4 Hz). Hours and minutes from the centre, small seconds at 6 o’clock, tachymeter scale on the bezel. Chronograph’s elapsed-second hand from the dial’s centre, 30-elapsed minute and 12-elapsed hour counters at 3 and 9 o’clock.

Habillage: stainless steel satin-finished case, high-tech black fixed ceramic bezel with tachymeter scale, scratch-resistant, domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating. Diameter 43 mm, water-resistance 10 bar (100 m). “Panda” dial with white background and black counters, rhodiumplated Arabic figures and indexes coated with Super-LumiNova®. Black DLC crown. Perforated brown Sfumato aged calf leather strap coming from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy with stainless steel triple folding clasp. Also available with stainless steel bracelet or with a black alligator Bund strap.

Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100
Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100
©Montblanc

Montblanc TimeWalker Rally Timer Chronograph Limited Edition 100

Montblanc manufacture calibre MB M16.29, manually wound monopusher chronograph with tachymeter scale. Number of components 252, number of rubies 22, power reserve approx. 50 hours. Frequency 18,000 A/h (2.5 Hz). Hours and minutes from the centre, small seconds at 6 o’clock, chronograph’s elapsed second hand from the dial’s centre, 30-elapsed minute counter at 12 o’clock, tachymeter scale.

Case: titanium, satin and knurled finishing, black DLC. Scratch-resistant crystal, domed sapphire with antireflective coating. Diameter 50 mm, water-resistance 3 bar (30 m). Brown Sfumato aged calf leather coming from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy. Limited Edition - 100.