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Montblanc - How the New Montblanc Red Arrow takes us back to a Forgotten Era

Montblanc How the New Montblanc Red Arrow takes us back to a Forgotten Era

Ready for takeoff, this brand-new Montblanc1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow Limited Edition goes back to the roots of aviation

As I am sitting in my airplane seat, ready for takeoff to London for the weekend, I hardly give a thought to the technology that will enable this 75- tonne airplane to rise to a height of 10,000 metres. When you stop and think about it for a moment, it is truly mind-blowing. 

What is even more incredible is to imagine those first pioneers who were brave enough to take to the skies in their home-made contraptions. Without these fearless adventurers, I wouldn’t be here on the tarmac of Geneva airport waiting for takeoff! 

Aviation meet Horological History

The 1920s and 30s were the formative years for aviation, both for civilian and military pilots. As these adventurous men and women took to the skies, they needed reliable timekeeping equipment to record elapsed time in the air. It was at this time that the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret was developing professional instruments for this burgeoning new sector. 

How the New Montblanc Red Arrow takes us back to a Forgotten Era

1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88 © Montblanc

By 1927, Minerva was already a leader in the field of pilots’ watches with the introduction of a stopwatch with an internal rotating bezel for countdown timing and a fluted bezel for an easy grip with gloves. This was followed, a few years later, by a chronograph with an external rotating bezel. Today, two of these rare pieces can be found in Montblanc’s Museum treasures and provide the inspiration behind this new Montblanc 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow Limited Edition. 

The New Red Arrow

The first thing that attracts the eye to this 42mm stainless steel wristwatch is the jet-black dial with its overlapping tachymeter scale, 30-minute chronograph counter, and small seconds counter. These indications are joined by big luminescent Arabic numerals, a telemeter scale, that runs around the outside of the dial, and a red arrow that gives the timepiece its name. 

The combination of the red arrow and the white gold fluted bezel can be used in several ways. Firstly, it is possible to track elapsed time by aligning the red arrow with the seconds, minute, or hour hand. This allows the wearer to see how much time has elapsed during flight. Secondly, it is possible to set a countdown timer by rotating the bezel so that the red arrow is positioned at a specific time in the future, for example, 15 minutes after the minute hand. The time has elapsed when the minute hand reaches the red arrow marker. 

How the New Montblanc Red Arrow takes us back to a Forgotten Era

1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88 © Montblanc

The timepiece is powered by the Montblanc Manufacture Calibre MB M13.21. This manual-winding monopusher chronograph is crafted with the same attention to detail and precision as those early aviation timekeepers from the 1920s and 30s. The difference isn’t perhaps quite as stark as the contrast between the early fixed-wing planes and the airbus that I was sitting in, but this new model takes all the magic of the past and combines it with the technology of today for a truly exceptional new pilots’ watch. 

 

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