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Watches and Wonders 2022: A review on the Montblanc 1858 Minerva Mono pusher Chronograph Red Arrow..

amanico
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This year, Montblanc revisited another jewel from the Minerva Patrimony, with the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow. 

Here is the original chronograph, issued in the very late Thirties. Credit picture: Christies. 

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It was a giant chronograph for that era, with a 46 mm case, housing a not-less giant movement, the Cal 19-9  CH, 19 Lines ( 42, 15 mm diameter ) beating at 18, 000 vibrations per hour. 

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With the new " Red Arrow ", the spirit of the vintage has been faithfully respected, but in smaller dimensions. 

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Indeed, we have here a 42 mm steel case, with almost the same lugs which are now generously beveled, a white gold fluted rotating bezel with the famous red arrow which allows measuring elapsed time or which can also be used as a countdown. 

At 2 o' clock, you will find the monopusher, oval shaped, like in the vintage. 

The crown is differently shaped, though. While the vintage had an onion shaped one, the new Red Arrow is more conventional. 

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The dial of the new Red Arrow is very close to the original, too. Ok, you will immediately notice that it is not signed Minerva but Montblanc, but you have the emblem of Minerva, the circled arrow, in the small seconds subdial, and now, the dial is black opaline while it was matte in the original. But the hour markers, the snail shaped Tachymeter, the Telemeter and even the hands are very close to the ancestor. 

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As  for the movement, the Cal 13.21, it is much less gigantic than the 19.9 CH, or than the modern brother the 16.29, with a diameter of 29, 5 mm ( 6, 49 mm high ), which will be housed in smaller cases, generally 40 mm. 

When you look at the vintage Minerva movements I posted above and that you compare them to the Cal 13.21, you immediately notice the " air de famille " between them, but in much better finished, with some superb anglages, and this " Devil's Tail " which in Horology is called chronograph stop lever. 

The 13.21 beats at the pace of 18, 000 vibrations per hour, is made of 239 components, and offers a power reserve of 60 hours; 

The Cal 13.21 in all its beauty: 

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A movement which you can see through the case back here: 

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And a case back which clearly states that this Red Arrow is an homage to the vintage shown above! 

My personal thoughts on this Red Arrow: 

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I will say it straight: For me, it is one of the best 8 watches I have seen at Watches and Wonders, this year. 

In an era where nice watches are outrageously priced, for a bit more than 30, 000 euros, you have a champion, in terms of charm, beauty, soul and exquisite horology. I wish you good luck in finding a better finished movement for that level of price! 

One thing I regret, though, is the shape of the crown. I find that an onion shaped one would have been more sensuous, more in harmony with the shape of the chronograph pusher. But it is not a deal breaker. 

The fact that it is limited to 88 pieces doesn't disturb me. Most of the 1858 Tachymeter are limited to 100 pieces, so that doesn't make a big difference. 

A last detail which intrigued me is the case size. A 40 mm case would have been more consistent with the smaller Cal 13.21, rather than 42 mm... Yes, true, but... The Red Arrow was a big chronograph, so giving it 2 extra millimeters makes sense, too. 

This is a version I highly recommend and consider for myself, too, as I already own a 16.29 and would be delighted to add a 13.21. And this one is simply irresistible! 

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Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,

Best.

Nicolas


Comments:
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KCLQMULKU June 4th, 2022-09:02
A wonderful review of this MB 1858 Minerva, and fascinating insight into the movement history! 42mm 19.9 was certainly massive, and nice that they had shrunk it down, but I agree that perhaps the case on this 13.21 version could have been made at 40mm to blend better. However, one could contrast this with the 5070 which, though the case:movement ma... 
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amanico June 4th, 2022-09:27
Thanks for your very interesting thoughts, mon ami. I would have gone for the onion crown, as it is a re edition / homage to the original. But no deal breaker, here. 
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mahesh June 4th, 2022-09:14
absolutely spot on - W&W has least exciting watches below 50kCHF (if we stretch a bit - even below 100k CHF)... I'm fond of the minerva calibers & mont-blanc does great job in adding family members to the monopusher chronographs. I love the knurled bezel too...gives a different vibe. given my wrist size, I would enjoy a 40mm case but the one I miss dearly in th... 
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amanico June 4th, 2022-09:30
About the size, I tend to agree, partially at least. You are right in the principle, but given the size of the original, something in between may be a good compromise at the end. 
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Chronometer (aka yacomino) June 4th, 2022-11:28
No question this is an amazing offering from Montblanc and they really seem to up their game with those year release. Thanks for the great review Nicolas… I think I am falling harder for the unveiled secret version here for its “wow” factor, which is not something I am after normally!
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amanico June 4th, 2022-12:47
Excellent, you can't go wrong with it. Hurry up! 
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penfriend June 4th, 2022-12:00
Nice write-up as always, Nico! I am not surprised that you prefer this watch. Not being too much a fan of darker dials and with the secret unveiled my choice was apparent as well But having handled this watch for half an hour at least I can only concur that it is a very fine offering b... 
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amanico June 4th, 2022-16:21
Enjoy your choice, even if you will have to wait a bit before being able to play with it, my friend. 
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penfriend June 4th, 2022-23:15
Still have a present for you  Actually two - so when do we Hentschel? Cheers from Gran Canaria
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amanico June 5th, 2022-06:54
The watches should be ready this month. A matter of two or three weeks. So we are checking if there is a possibility to make it end June or Mid July. OR if we make it in Paris... A present for me, or two??? Wow!!! I am curious like a child in front of the Xmas tree.
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