Looking at Montblanc’s recent list of hits – from the Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar to the Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama- it’s easy to see why the brand is wearing the yellow*jersey in the race for the best ‘contender’ brand currently. But the truth is that these impressive watches haven’t emerged from a vacuum, or by some well-timed stroke of luck. Sitting at the heart of the brand is one of the oldest and most traditional names in watchmaking, being Minerva, which traces its origins back to 1858 when it was founded by the Robert brothers.The Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Annual Calendar Vasco da Gama. Image by Kristian Dowling.A visit to Montblanc’s two principal Swiss locations- Le Locle and Villeret- reveals a*combination of cutting edge and traditional watchmaking methods. High tech CAD and testing goes hand-in-hand with haute horlogerie pieces polished over the course of many days using no machinery – only the stem of the Gentiane plant.…

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