The limited edition runs in celebration of explorer Vasco Da Gama added very little to Montblanc’s incredibly strong showing at SIHH 2015, with the extra flourishes often overcooking already well-balanced designs. But a VDG makeover transformed the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph from something a little staid to a horological rock star.
The first thing that hits you is the shimmering Aventurine three quarter dial reflecting the night sky, which would have been vital for Da Gama’s celestial navigation of the oceans, and the single Montblanc-cut diamond star at the 12 o’clock.
The deep midnight blue shade complements the watch’s 18ct white gold case beautifully. Also present is Montblanc’s ExoTourbillon, which, unconventionally, places the balance wheel outside of the tourbillon cage and features a complicated hand-bevelled and polished bridge.
The manufacture MB R230 movement also features a 30-minute chronograph displayed using two split-scale retrograde registers, one for minutes, the other for seconds. Just 60 examples have been produced, one representing each member of the crew of Da Gama’s Sào Gabriel, for £38,500, which actually represents outstanding value for a tourbillon at this level of watchmaking.