It seems these days there is nothing luxury pen manufacturer cum watch-maker Montblanc can’t do. A perpetual calendar for under $13k? Done. An electronic watch strap that connects to your phone? Why not. Now it seems like this unstoppable juggernaut is on a quest to create the world’s lightest mechanical watch. If recent history is anything to go by, what Montblanc wants, Montblanc gets.
The TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch
Now, I know what you’re thinking; what the heck is a high-end brand like Montblanc, best known in the watch world for classically styled, moderately complicated pieces doing trying to create the world’s lightest mechanical watch – isn’t that Richard Mille’s job?
Personally I can’t speak to the motivations of the Montblanc R&D team although it seems that it does have something to with this man; Lin Dan a.k.a “Super Dan”, the winner of the “Super Grand Slam” (which apparently means he’s won all nine major titles in badminton – I know, I didn’t know there were that many either, right?).
He’s also Montblanc’s Ambassador in China which may have something to do with it too.
So, why does Super Dan need a super-light watch? Well, apparently for the same reason that people like Rafael Nadal and Wayde van Niekerk do; so he can wear it while performing his sport of choice at the highest level of course (and also simultaneously provide excellent exposure for Montblanc). Whether this is a valid reason or not is irrelevant, what is important is that the creation of the TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch has led to some pretty cool developments that will hopefully find their way into mainstream production.
For a start, the case is made from a new material called Innovative Technical Revolutionary Resin or ITR2® for short. This composite material is made with carbon nanotubes and is reportedly eight times lighter than stainless steel. For the TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch it is used extensively along with Kevlar®/carbon for the case middle, bezel, back and crown of the watch. The lugs meanwhile are in DLC-coated titanium, although I am not entirely clear why, presumably for added strength.
It’s not just the case though that gives the TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch its ultra-light status. Look a little closer and you’ll notice that the watch has no real dial to speak of. Instead Montblanc has simply placed the hour and minute markers directly on to the skeletonized titanium mainplate of the movement. It’s a very industrial look, a bit edgier than we’re used to seeing from the company and to be honest I can’t say I’m a fan.
In keeping with the ultra-light theme skeletonised titanium has also been used for the bridges, while hands and the small seconds indicator are made from skeletonized lightweight anodized aluminium. Taking things perhaps one step too far in their quest to shed weight Montblanc has also opted to use mineral glass for the front and back of the watch, instead of the usual sapphire. Let’s just hope Super Dan doesn’t take an errant badmintion racket to the wrist or it will be game over.
All the hard work and intense dieting seems to have paid off however as the new manually-wound Calibre MB M62.48 movement weighs in at just 4.73 grammes – not bad for still producing a 50-hour reserve plus it looks absolutely gorgeous! Overall the TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch weighs a total of just 14.88 grams without the strap. By way of comparison the Richard Mille RM 027 weighs in at about 13 grams without its strap and also features a tourbillon (just saying.)
At this stage the TimeWalker Pythagore Concept Watch remains exactly that, a concept. Only one has been produced so if you want to see it for yourself keep an eye out for it during the Rio Olympic coverage as you might just spot it on the wrist of Lin Dan.