When it comes to dress watches, the phrase “less is more” holds great significance. Sure, there may be some disagreement as to the exact complications one would like to have in a dress watch, but I do find the addition of a seconds hand and date display to be rather helpful. The seconds hand lets you know the watch is still running (useful for mechanical watches), and the date display just makes for an overall more useful watch, taking a dress watch from one that is only worn on special occasions, to something you can wear to the office easily enough. Given that, a timepiece like the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Automatic is right up my alley.
Yes, this is the same Montblanc of pen fame (I also reviewed their Cruise pen). There is a synchronicity in the products – if you are on the hunt for a nice, high-end pen, you likely would consider a watch on the luxury end of the spectrum as well. Not that the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Automatic is prohibitively expensive, but it is something that is not an impulse purchase for most people. One of the first things that struck me about the watch was the applied indices. This is not something new, as applied indices are used on many watches, but they add some nice dimensionality to the dial.
On the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Automatic, those applied indices are taken to another level, quite literally. As you can see in the photo above, the indices and numerals are very raised. Given the amount of shadowing this causes, you go from a flat dial to something that has a second plane involved. While I certainly did not do any side-by-side comparisons, these look to be close to twice the height of any other indices that I can recall seeing on a watch that crossed my desk. Aside from being different, this also shows a level of detail you would want from a luxury watch, be it entry-level or not.
Those indices and numerals, along with the handset, are plated in red gold. This gives some of a hint of the “old world” luxury that gold seems to bring to the table, while softening that yellow tone a bit to make it more palatable to those who normally do not wear yellow gold (say, like me). This choice might be a bit surprising to some, given that the 38mm case is polished stainless steel, and it did throw me at first. As I spent time with the watch, I appreciated it more. Basically, the red gold added another color to what otherwise would have been a very monochromatic look between the white dial and the steel case. It also makes for flexible strap pairing. Our review sample came with a black alligator strap, but swapping in a warmer brown strap would work just as well given the red gold accents.