What began as the foremost name in writing instruments has grown into a premier luxury brand for leather goods, jewellry, pens and watches. Indeed, Montblanc is simply killing it these days. And nowhere is that more apparent than with their new TimeWalker Watch Collection. Directly inspired by both vintage racing cars and legendary Minerva stopwatches, the collection marks the debut of Montblanc as official timekeeper for the historic Goodwood Festival of Speed. Like the best cars and watches from any era, each piece in the collection brims with timeless sophistication and resilience.
Montblanc’s TimeWalker Collection is in multiple ways a living tribute to the pairing of motor racing and steadfast horology. That begins with Montblanc’s new partnership. The GoodWood Festival of Speed in England is a four day racing event that draws over one hundred thousand fans annually. The event sees vintage motor cars racing uphill among other competitions. This year’s theme was “Peaks of Performance – Motorsport’s Game-Changers”.
Accordingly, the festival was awash with sleek vintage race cars of exceptional power and speed. These vehicular babies were in fact so high performing in their time that they forced changes in the official racing rules (hence the term “game-changer”). In tandem with the festival, each car was thrown up on the Goodwood website and Instagram feed, where people voted for a favourite. The winner was a 1986 Metro 6R4 owned by Adam Keeler. Adam’s prize was a TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic with special engraving.
However, the TimeWalker Collection pays tribute to more than just vintage racing. Each watch in the range also takes design cues from classic Minerva stopwatches. Founded in 1858 and now part of the Montblanc family, Minerva remains a downright legendary name in the history of Swiss watchmaking and chronographs in particular. It could even be argued that Minerva produced a few “game-changers” themselves, such as the acclaimed “Rally Timer” stopwatch in 1960. Created exclusively to time racing with the utmost accuracy, the Rally Timer remains to this day a reference point in the history of timekeeping precision.
Montblanc’s TimeWalker Collection thereby represents the supreme meeting ground between two vintage worlds that share a tight historical bond. Consequently, each entry in the 15-piece range is an instant classic, triumphant in both design and performance. Between the use of Minerva’s precision instruments and Montblanc’s own high standards, these watches truly deliver the top shelf of form and function. After all, nothing short would suffice.
In honour of the new range, Montblanc hosted an exclusive launch party at Sydney’s Quay Restaurant. Man of Many was lucky enough to attend and scope the TimeWalker Collection firsthand. Among the favourites was the TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic. Touting a sleek design directly inspired by race cars and their instruments, and calibre MB 25.07 under the hood, the Chronograph Automatic is the epitome of precision and dynamic performance.
Another absolute standout was the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph. Limited to a mere 100 pieces, this distinguished beauty utilises Montblanc’s in-house patented one-minute ExoTourbillon with a stop-second mechanism and a monopusher chronograph with sectorial scales. Sturdy but brilliantly lightweight, the watch also features a 44 mm three-part case made of DLC-coated titanium. Ultimately, this is a resoundingly innovative and resilient sport watch that’s as aesthetically stunning as it is high performing. Made for sophisticated driving enthusiasts, the exceptional piece is rife with both materials and details that pay direct tribute to motor racing.
However, the indisputable highlight of the launch was the reimagined TimeWalker Chronograph Rally Timer Counter. Like the ExoTourbillon, this one’s limited to 100 pieces and we expect it to sell out fast. Watches don’t get more dynamic than the Rally Timer, whereas it’s a wristwatch, pocket watch and dashboard clock rolled into one. Under the skin is a calibre MB 16.29 with a monopusher chronograph inspired by a Minvera calibre 17-29 from the 1930s.
Elsewhere are scores of direct visual nods to the original Minerva Rally Timer from 1960. Just as on the original, a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock aligns perfectly with the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Just as on the original, a red chronograph seconds hand with sculpted tip runs centrally along the tachymeter scale to measure speeds over fixed distances. The large dimensions are also the exact same as the original Minerva Rally Timer. Meanwhile, modern flourishes like a satin-finish titanium case with DLC coating give the piece firm contemporary allure. If you’re a lover of premium race watches, look no further than this resurrected stunner. And move fast because it won’t last.
About the new collection, Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzk said the following, “With its first ever participation in the Festival of Speed, Montblanc ignites life and strong legitimacy to the concept of Spirit of racing introducing the new TimeWalker sport watch line. As the definitive gathering for those looking to experience the epitome of Motorsport passion, Goodwood Festival of Speed was the perfect setting to introduce TimeWalker, our own watchmaking tribute to the glory days of motor racing. Montblanc getting back on track of Minerva stop watches used to time mythical races from the 1940s reclaims its position as one of the great timekeepers in automotive history.”
Man of Many would like to personally thank Montblanc for the extraordinary preview of the TimeWalker Collection. Each piece is living proof that to make the most of the present you must commonly look to the triumphs of the past. Montblanc did that with impeccable precision, and upgraded when necessary. The result is a spectacular pairing between the best in horology and motor racing.