On paper, this sounds like the single worst idea for a luxury replica watch that I’ve heard of in a long time. It makes absolutely no sense – silver is possibly the least suitable metal in the history of the universe for a dive watch.
There are formulations that can resist tarnishing – germanium and silver alloys, like Argentium, can take tarnish out of the equation pretty well – but it still feels optimistic at best. On top of that, there’s the display back. I’m a big fan of display backs on watches at every price point, and I got a huge kick out of seeing the rotor spinning on my first Seiko 5 (back when Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth), but I can’t help but think of both Rolex and high quality replica Tudor as solid-back companies (and yes, I know the North Flag has a clear caseback). And yet, and yet. I find this watch fascinating. It’s so consciously in opposition to the stereotyped notions of what a dive watch should be that it comes out the other side feeling fresh and original. And the fact that it looks really nice doesn’t hurt one bit either.
It’s a watch I would have dismissed out of hand if someone had pitched me the idea…but I’m glad cheap replica Tudor didn’t, and I’m dying to see it in the (silver) metal. Who’s to say it doesn’t deserve a, hahaha, sterling reputation?
With the second digital edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva on the horizon (beginning April 7, 2021), Montblanc is starting to raise the curtain, unveiling a few new timepieces this month. The black dials replica Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 watch is the first of several impressive pieces in the lineup. This particular watch recalls a 1930’s Minerva military chronograph that is now expressed in a modern take.
Montblanc, founded in 1858, has two manufactures in Switzerland. The main workshop is in Le Locle in the Swiss Jura mountains, while the other workshop is in the quaint village of Villeret. That workshop was originally the Minerva watch brand (where timepieces, especially chronographs, were hand-made and finished) and was acquired by Montblanc a couple of decades ago. Today, Montblanc copy has worked to successfully link the rich heritage and craftsmanship of the Minerva workshop with the Montblanc craftsmanship, style and standards. As such, Montblanc often calls on the Minerva archives for some of its specialized chronographs and the newest rendition is no exception.
It is based on a 46mm monopusher chronograph from the 1930’s with all the hallmarks of a Minerva with certain twists. Naturally, the new 46 mm Montblanc fake timepiece – created in a limited edition of just 100 pieces, houses a modern day movement. It is powered by the Caliber MB M16.29 manually wound movement with monopusher and column-wheel chronograph. The authentic reconstruction of the Minerva caliber from the early 20th century is exquisite and offers meticulously finished German silver mainplate and bridges. In total, the movement consists of 252 components and offers 50 hours of power reserve.
The luxury Montblanc 1858 copy watch is crafted in a special bronze alloy that is a nod back to the military style watches of yesteryear. Each watch will form its own unique patina over time – making each distinctive and unique. The watch also boasts an “officer” style case back — with a half hunter case that opens to reveal an engraving opposite the exquisite movement visible via a sapphire crystal. The inscription inside the officer caseback notes that the watch is a “Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930’s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the Swiss watchmaking tradition.” The officer back also bears a three-dimensional rendering of the Minerva Goddess logo that is created using a laser engraving. The black dial of the watch is accented with rose-gold colored cathedral hands and Arabic numerals that glow beige in the dark thanks to a Super-LumiNova coating. The watch boasts a semi-secret Minerva logo on the dial along with the clone Montblanc logo at 6:00. The bi-compax chronograph counters and railway minute track are all reproductions of the original piece. The watch is finished with a brown Sfumato alligator strap. The watch retails for $32,500.
According to Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc, the watch perfectly fits into the brand’s watchmaking vision. “Our goal is to preserve the history of Minerva in everything we do, to highlight its tradition, but to also keep true to the craftsmanship and style that is Montblanc.”
Not all icons are born as one. Some need time before their true potential is recognized and they obtain their iconic status. This is most certainly true for the fake IWC Fliegerchronograph ref.3705, which the brand launched in 1994. Already in the 1980s was IWC a pioneer in the field of ceramic, using it, for example, for their Da Vinci perpetual calendar chronograph, another one of their icons. The black dial replica IWC Pilot’s ref.3705 was the first Fliegerchronograph to be fitted with a ceramic case. It resulted in a watch that had a very clean and utilitarian look. As it was never produced in vast numbers, the watch became a rarity known mainly by die-hard IWC collectors.
As ceramic became more commonly used within the industry, this also increased the interest in its history. The Fliegerchronograph ref.3705 could not get unnoticed, in that matter. All the more so because it was the watch of choice by former IWC director Günter Blümlein, who later on would also play a vital role in the resurrection of A.Lange & Söhne. His personal watch was recently auctioned at the impressive price of $53,750-.
IWC is now launching a limited edition, the Swiss movement fake IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705,” that brings this historic watch back to life. Limited to 1,000 pieces does it closely resemble its predecessor, yet there are a few important differences. Where the original watch used zirconium oxide ceramic for its case, has its successor one made from Ceratanium. This material was developed by IWC and has a base made from a special titanium alloy, which will be put in a furnace for a firing process after being machined. There the surface of the material transforms into one with properties similar to ceramic. Also the chronograph pushers and pin buckle made from this unique material, a first for IWC.
Inside the case, there is also a difference with the original Fliegerchronograph ref.3705, as that watch was powered by the famous Valjoux caliber 7750. The Swiss luxury replica IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705″ features IWC’s in-house caliber 69380. This movement follows the brands’ distinct movement architecture and combines a bi-directional pawl winding system with a column wheel to precisely operate the chronograph. Just as the original is also this tribute 41mm in diameter and fitted with a black calf-skin strap so that the icon truly lives on through its modern predecessor.