The 158-year-old Montblanc Manufacture (that you probably recognize more easily when I call it by its former name, Minerva) in Villeret, Switzerland, is where the brand’s halo products come from, and you can always look forward to their cutting-edge work. The Montblanc TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept watch released today is all about being ultra light, as is explicit in its name. How light is it? Montblanc claims it is one of the lightest watches in the world, at just 14.88 grams. This is achieved through Montblanc’s use of materials as well as skeletonization, so let’s discover exactly how this is done and some wonderful new lightweight composites.
Before the really interesting part, though, the first thing Montblanc needed was an excuse to make a super-light watch. They found it in Chinese athlete, World Badminton Champion, and Montblanc brand for sale ambassador Lin Dan. The idea is lightness on the wrist for an activity such as professional badminton – not unlike tennis star Rafael Nadal and his Richard Mille RM027 watch, for instance. You will notice various elements of the watch that allude to Lin Dan’s career as well as his nationality (the stars represent titles he’s won and the red is used apparently in reference to the Chinese national flag).
The Montblanc TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept case and movement are both engineered for minimal weight, but let’s start with the case since it uses a delightfully named ITR² material combined with Kevlar/carbon for a brand-new composite. Why is that delightful? Because ITR² stands for “Innovative, Technical, Revolutionary Resin.” More specifically, ITR² is a composite material “charged with carbon nanotubes” that, according to Montblanc, is very difficult to manufacture and is four times lighter than titanium. This composite is used in the construction of the middle case, case back, bezel, and crown, and has a very silky matte appearance in the brand’s provided images. ITR² is even used for the red circle around the dial that is a recurring design theme on TimeWalker watches such as we have seen on the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 watch released earlier this year. Unusually for a watch of this type, the glass on both the front and back of the watch is mineral crystal – another weight-saving decision, as is the brushed and black DLC-coated titanium used for the lugs.
Titanium is then also used in the manually wound Montblanc Calibre MB M62.48 movement itself for the mainplate and the five bridges. Other lightweight materials in the movement include anodized aluminum for the hands as well as for the small-seconds subdial itself. Montblanc claims that skeletonization here is to reduce overall weight rather than just serving an aesthetic function – though, it seems like even more skeletonization might have been possible if they wanted to make it lighter still. The movement view front and back is nice, and it’s kind of cool the way the minute track and brand logo are etched directly into the mainplate.
The Calibre MB M62.48 inside the Montblanc TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept watch beats at a quiet 2.5Hz and offers about 50 hours of power reserve. You might also like to know that the movement itself accounts for 4.73 grams of the watch’s total weight. The movement architecture and finishing is very modern- and industrial-looking with a mixture of finishes, some chamfered edges, as well as some starker, sharper angles. Interestingly, this movement, though completely redesigned and very contemporary-looking, is inspired by a historical movement called the Minerva Pythagore designed in 1943. The movement was apparently designed from an aesthetic standpoint to emphasize Pythagoras’ “golden ratio,” hence the Pythagore name.
With a case measuring a reasonable 40mm wide by 9.7mm thick (30m water resistance), we can agree that just 14.88g is very light. Lin Dan will be able to focus wholly on the shuttlecock – though it’s not clear that he will actually wear it while playing. Sporty and technical with some heritage and style as well, I personally find the Montblanc TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept watch interesting and attractive, and am generally excited about the high-end TimeWalker and other watches we have seen coming from Villeret. Exactly how high-end we are talking for this piece is yet to be known, but we will update here with pricing when it becomes available.