If the showing at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2019 – the annual watch collector’s show hosted in Geneva – taught us anything this year, it’s that heritage-inspired watches are not a thing of the past. Of course, this won’t be news to many: the market for vintage timepieces has been booming recently. Besides, watchmakers have always looked to their archives for source material.
But the current trend – if you can call a fascination with mid-century design principles a “trend” – feels different. Horologists are not just interested in manufacturing imitations of models gone by; instead, they’re giving these age-old pieces a past-meets-present makeover.
Montblanc, one of the brands championing this revisionist approach, had a bumper crop at this year’s SIHH, debuting six new models from its respected (and aptly-titled) Heritage collection. But it was one reference in particular that caught our eye, both for its simplicity and sophistication: the Heritage Automatic 40mm. Based on a 1940s pocket watch from the Minerva collection but equipped with a modern Sellita movement, it’s been given a facelift with a subtle “smoked caramel” dial (note the sandblasted detailing) and found a new home in polished 18-karat rose gold.
As is often the case, it’s the little things that really make it sing: Arabic numerals interspersed with minimal dot markers; a tobacco-toned sfumato alligator strap and a charmingly-retro summit logo in place of the horologist’s usual branding. And, because good things don’t always come to those who wait, it’s available exclusively at MR PORTER throughout June. You can thank us later.