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Watches and Wonders 2022: A view on the Montblanc 1858 Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronographs.

amanico
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There are more and more fans of Montblanc Minerva Chronographs, with years passing, and rightly so. Basically, you have two gorgeous manual winding movements, the Cal 13.21 and the much bigger Cal 16.29 whose level of finishings is among the best, IF NOT the best. 

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If you are a fan of fine movements, you might have been tempted to wear your beloved watch upside down, I mean with the back side instead of the front side,which is not very practical nor comfortable, except if you have a skeleton watch or a watch like the Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso. 

With the 1858 Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph, you can read the time AND admire your chronograph movement. 

The knack? Take a Cal 16.29 and install it upside down, the back of the movement on the dial side. 

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The problem? The hands. Montlblanc had to adapt the movement, by adding 21 extra components, in order to install them on the backside of the movement, which is now upside down. So, from 252 parts, you now have 273 parts for this movement whose reference has changed, too, which is the Cal 16.26 instead of the Cal 16.29.

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My passionate and young interlocutor at Montblanc told me that they changed the reference of this movement because it is a new movement AND because when you turn a 9 upside down, you have a 6. Great idea, in my opinion. 

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Some other different details have to be mentioned. 

- While the 1858 housing a Cal 16.29 used a 44 mm case, here we have a 43 mm case, with some deliciously beveled lugs. Here you have two versions, one in lime gold, which has a hue between green and yellow, and the other in steel, with a white gold bezel. 

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The generous bevels on the lugs: 

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The lime gold case is not a first, as there was an exclusive 1858 Split Seconds which used this specific color, issued in 2021. 

- Both versions have a fluted bezel, which is another novelty for a 1858 " Cal 16.29 ".

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- Last but not least, this is the only 1858 housing a Minerva movement having a... Solid Case Back! This option makes sense, since the show has been replaced on the dial side. 
Moreover, the engraving is superb. And it also enhances the sculptural beauty of this movement. I am not sure it would be as beautiful if it had been a skeleton. 

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To be complete, The steel version is limited to 58 pieces, while the lime gold is only 18 pieces. 

I could see both in real life, I was allowed to take photos of the steel only, because the Secret didn't have to be unveiled on the Lime gold, yet and I found both very appealing. I am not a colored gold fan, so my preference goes for the steel, naturally, but I cannot deny a strong charm to the Lime Gold. The only thing I am not totally mad about is the fluted bezel. A smooth one would have made my day. 

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Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,

Best.

Nicolas

Comments:
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TeutonicCarFan May 10th, 2022-10:04
Was waiting for this write up! I am a big fan. I love the idea of seeing the movement in action. Actually after seeing your photos and a weh koh video I went and reserved a steel one. I was very excited to be able to see the movement in action. Very appealing. However, after reflecting... 
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amanico May 10th, 2022-10:19
Among the Montblanc novelties from this year, I would grab the Red Arrow, and I will explain why in my review to come. ;) 
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Chronometer (aka yacomino) May 10th, 2022-10:50
I am torn the same way here as I am extremely excited about this watch but fear of a faded passion for the open work design with time…it is indeed hard to assess without seeing it in the flesh and with proper wristshot… 
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amanico May 10th, 2022-15:47
Try to see it in real life, you will know. 
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Chronometer (aka yacomino) May 10th, 2022-16:25
I might be able to after all as my AD is supposed to get one in September…crossing my fingers! 
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amanico May 10th, 2022-16:41
Keep us posted! 
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Chronometer (aka yacomino) May 10th, 2022-21:56
I will 😁 
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dedestexhes May 10th, 2022-10:05
I’m with you on the bezel. And honestly, I like the classic approach more, just a plain beautiful movement at the back. 
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amanico May 10th, 2022-10:19
I understand, but I like the " prouesse ". 
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dedestexhes May 10th, 2022-10:22
Seulement en français des mots pareils existent 😀 
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Our WatchProSite Visit at the Jaeger Lecoultre Manufacture is scheduled!

amanico
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My friends, For some years now, I have wanted to organize a visit to the Jaeger Lecoultre Manufacture. It was first planned in early 2020, but you know too well why it couldn't be achieved. Since then, we have tried to find the good moment. And this moment has arrived! It will be on the 9th of June 2022, for the whole day.


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