In the Charged Field between Tradition and Innovation
The Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon
January 18th, 2010 at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Geneva - Montblanc’s new TimeWalker Dual Carbon wristwatches exemplarily illustrate how refined contrasts and the skilful use of color can result in a stylistic statement that transcends mere externals. The deep black of the case, dial and wristband sets a timelessly contemporary chromatic trend that simultaneously expresses a high degree of technical sovereignty.
The warm glow of red gold highlights a precious alloy. With their large, simple, circular cases and their skeletonized horns, the watches in the Montblanc TimeWalker collection have become a cornerstone in Montblanc’s lines of wristwatches, where they beautifully embody the fruitful coexistence of traditional classicism and lastingly modern design vocabulary. Eighteen karat red gold, which had long since been integrated into this collection, here receives an appropriately high-tech contrast through its juxtaposition with black DLC (diamond-like carbon).
Deep Black with DLC
To guarantee a long lifespan for the rich and intensive black color, a DLC coating is applied to the case and to the buckle. The acronym “DLC” stands for diamond-like carbon, i.e. a synthetic amorphous carbon material with properties that range between those of graphite and diamond, depending on the material’s atomic structure. DLC can be used to produce an extremely corrosion-resistant coating with a hardness of 3,000 Vickers. (For comparison’s sake, diamond has a hardness of 10,000 Vickers and steel has a hardness of 230 Vickers.) DLC’s mechanical stability has been confirmed by many years of using DLC-coated valve tappets in high-performance gasoline-powered engines. The same material that has proven its merits under such extreme mechanical, thermal and corrosive stresses is also highly resistant on the wrist.
Even More Robust Thanks to Dual Carbon Technology
But Montblanc wasn’t satisfied with the uncommonly hard surface of a DLC coating. The stainless steel material of the case is also especially hardened to assure that the steel, which is already very strong, will be even more unyielding. A thermal treatment applied to the 0.03-mm-thick outer layer of the case’s surface fuses it with additional carbon atoms to further increase the hardness of the exterior stratum to as much as 1,000 Vickers. Only afterwards is the black DLC coating applied. This Dual Carbon process is considerably more complexe than conventional DLC coatings of the sort used on many other brands’ watches, but the outstanding results speak for themselves: the case of a Montblanc Dual Carbon TimeWalker is not only significantly more resistant than the cases of standard DLC watches, it’s also five times harder than a conventional stainless steel case. This toughness predestines it for an active life in our modern, dynamic world.
The Warm Glow of Red Gold
Chemically unadulterated gold, also known as “pure gold,” is invariably yellow and has a purity of 24 karats or 999, which means that 999 of every 1,000 parts are chemically pure gold. This type of gold is extremely resistant to corrosion, but it’s also very soft and therefore highly susceptible to scratching. Fortunately, however, it can easily be alloyed with other metals, which not only change the alloy’s color, but also alter its physical and mechanical properties. Admixture of copper, for example, produces red gold, which is distinguished by its greater hardness. Red gold is accordingly popular in the watch and jewelry industry not only because of its warm hue, but also thanks to its greater resistance to scratching.
Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon Chronograph
The chronograph function gives this watch an unmistakably technical aspect. This is a “measuring instrument” in the truest sense of the phrase, with lateral pushers as eye-catching operative elements and additional indications for tallying brief intervals, e.g. counters for the elapsed minutes and hours. This watch is all the more attractive because it’s clad in deep black DLC, which further underscores its high-tech look.
To give the desired “human touch” to this technical ensemble, carefully positioned red gold elements produce fascinatingly warm contrasts. The rosy is used for the two push-pieces at the “2” and “4” which operate the chronograph’s start, stop and return-to-zero functions, as well as for the screws which affix the wristband’s crosspieces between the case’s black horns.
Furthermore, the numerals, indices and hands are plated with red gold, which contrasts with white printing on the calibrated scales to create an outstandingly legible dial. The red tip of the chronograph’s large elapsed-seconds hand, and the red printed “60” on the chronograph’s elapsed-seconds scale, are simultaneously interesting and attractive. The readily grasped crown is made of black ceramic and adorned with a white Montblanc emblem.
Inside this two-tone exterior of black DLC and warm red gold, connoisseurs will discover the finest Swiss-made horological mechanisms. This watch is animated by an integrated, self-winding chronograph movement which beats at a pace of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 Hz) and amasses a 46-hour power reserve. The timepiece displays the ordinary time of day on large centrally axial hour- and minute-hands, plus a small continuously running seconds-hand on a subdial at the “9.” It also offers chronograph functions capable of measuring elapsed intervals up to twelve hours in duration. These stopwatch functions are performed by a large elapsed-seconds hand that can stop time to the nearest eighth of a second, a counter for thirty elapsed minutes at the “12” and another counter for twelve elapsed hours at the “6.” The date display is unobtrusive yet readily legible inside a small window at the “4.”
This Impressive timepiece from the Monblanc TimeWalker collection is affixed to a black alligator-leather strap, which is held securely closed by a black DLC-coated pin buckle.
Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon Dual Time
The second model in the Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon series is the Dual Time, which indicates both the ordinary time of day, as well as a second time zone. Its styling unmistakably shows that an emphatically technical look necessarily calls for a discriminating additional complication. The Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon Dual Time achieves this in an especially attractive manner.
Rather than indicating the hour in the second time zone merely by means of an additional centrally axial hour-hand, this watch has a full-fledged subdial on the lower half of its dial to display the hour and minute of the time in the second zone, e.g. the wearer’s home time zone. This clear differentiation between the two time zones makes it quick and easy to read the time in each zone. To give an appropriate visual counterweight to the prominent time-zone display, a readily legible date window with white numerals atop a black background occupies the upper half of the dial. The textured, readily grasped, black ceramic crown is topped by an inlaid Montblanc emblem.
Attractive “vintage” accents are assured through red gold plating on the large Arabic numerals, as well as on the doubled indices and the hands. Good nighttime legibility is guaranteed thanks to little luminous dots along the rim of the dial and noctilucent appliqués on the large hour- and minute-hands.
This time-zone watch, which will no doubt be particularly appealing to frequent flyers, is powered by a Swiss-made mechanical movement that automatically winds itself via a bidirectionally active rotor. The timepiece will continue to run for more than forty hours after having been fully wound. Like its counterpart, the Montblanc TimeWalker Dual Carbon Dual Time is affixed to a black alligator-leather wristband with a DLC-coated pin buckle. This new model will be available starting in the autumn of 2010.