Inspired by classic Minerva watches from the middle part of the last century, Montblanc’s Heritage collection is a modern reflection of what many see as the golden age of watchmaking in the 1940s and 1950s. The case is elegant, the dial is well made, and many of the movements, especially the movements of the chronograph, are as good as any made in Switzerland. Of course, the fake watch here is not a timepiece, but a 40mm gold automatic with a painted British racing green dial and a high-quality crocodile leather strap.
The design incorporates a tiered dial with gold-plated numerals and markers that have been applied to a recessed track. In addition to the faceted hands and thick sapphire crystal on the dial, grooves in the dial add depth to the watch. Both the hour and minute hands have a small Super-LumiNova strap that’s discrete enough to obscure the classic replica watch design. Although the watch is powered by an automatic movement, its crown is quite large, reminiscent of a mid-century hand-wound dress watch.
While the Heritage collection introduced Minerva’s watchmaking techniques from the 1940s and 1950s, for me the combination of gold and green reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, it immediately reminded me of the Polo cologne bottle my dad kept on his dresser when I was a kid. The glossy lacquering of the green dial gives it a glassy texture, allowing it to react considerably to different lighting situations. For example, the above handwritten photo was taken in the sunny library at HODINKEE HQ, and you can see how the dial sings in a bright room. While the watch is designed to evoke a retro design, and even has a historical version of the Montblanc logo on the dial, at 40mm in diameter and 11mm in thickness, it is in keeping with modern tastes. I think this will apply to a lot of people’s wrists.