The smallest and least known of Switzerland’s three major watchmaking centers, behind Geneva and the legendary Vallée de Joux, is the Saint-Imier Valley. But don’t let its relative obscurity disguise the fact that the valley is home to some serious watchmaking expertise.
It’s a fact well-known to people familiar with the history of a small factory known as Minerva, based in the village of Villeret. Having remained independent until 2006, when it was acquired by the luxury goods conglomerate Richemont, the Saint-Imier Valley manufacture is now affiliated with Montblanc. The brand honors its connection to the historical producer with the new 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100, an ode to the monopusher chronograph caliber 13.20, specially developed by Minerva in 1920 for use in a wristwatch.
The vintage aesthetic of the chronograph, which comes in a 40 mm stainless steel case, comes through in the smoked-green dial and matching green alligator strap with beige stitching, sourced from the Richemont Pelletteria in Florence, Italy. Its bi-compax dial with a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock and a chronograph 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, as well as a tachymeter scale on the outer part of the dial recall the glory days of Minerva’s chronograph production.
Price upon request; montblanc.com