The grail under my nose
If you have been reading my blog, you will have noticed that I have been on an endless quest to find my “grail”. In watch collecting terms, a “grail” is that one elusive watch that would spell the end of your obsessive collecting. A “grail” is the watch you prize above all others and it is usually so expensive that you can never own it, only dream about it. I have owned 3 or 4 watches that seemed like grails until I kept pushing the goalposts and aiming higher on my relentless quest. But perhaps a “grail” could simply be your ideal watch. Perhaps a “grail” could be a watch that combines everything you ever really wanted into a neat package with a respectable brand name. Perhaps MY grail has actually been sitting in my watch box for the past few months already…
I have blogged for and against date displays on watches, but I have usually been in the no-date camp. I have almost always favoured manually wound movements. As a financial professional, I wear suits and blazers, which work best with dress watches. Despite my longstanding passion for sports watches and divers, I have recently gotten into slim dressy watches — I mean REALLY gotten into slim dressy watches. I like simple dials with bold numerals. I like leather straps and tang buckles. It dawned on me that there is a watch with all of these characteristics… right in my own watch box.
I am talking about the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ultra Slim. You can read my review of this piece by clicking here. I discovered this watch last year by reading reviews on different websites and I was really influenced by the feedback. Watch guys described this watch as an essential watch for any collection — perfect for formal occasions and amazing value. The Ultra Slim is just gorgeous and it is well suited for my typical business and formal attire. The movement is a highlight for me- hours, minutes, no seconds, no date, and manual wind. This is a watch that you can grab any morning, wind, set and go. Easy. Simple. Perfect for occasional use. I wear my Montblanc only with certain colours or with my dressiest shirts, so it is terrific that it has such a “no fuss” and easy-to-use movement.
This blog post actually came to me during a recent e-mail conversation with a fellow watch fanatic. He is considering buying the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time and he asked my feedback on my Ultra Slim. I replied that, although the Ultra Slim is the watch I wear the least, it is actually the watch I like the most. That’s when it dawned on me that I might already be holding my very own grail, or at least my own ideal watch.
I have always liked Montblanc watches and used to own a Timewalker. The brand is cool. People make (ignorant) comments about Montblanc being a pen and earring company. But those people should look at the high horology movements coming out of Montblanc’s state-of-the-art watch facilities. Look at the watchmaking awards that Montblanc has won. Then go and look at the entire Heritage Chronométrie lineup. These are sensational men’s timepieces. I am totally comfortable sporting a Montblanc at galas, meetings and functions.
The Ultra Slim really represents everything I value in a men’s timepiece. It is certainly not an everyday watch, although I could wear it regularly to the office. The Ultra Slim brings everything I desire in a timepiece together into a beautiful package. And it IS beautiful. When I wear the Ultra Slim, I stare at it an awful lot. You may have seen me post photos of it on social media. The font and the minute track, along with those gorgeous hands and sunburst dial create an understated-but-beautiful look. Being ultra slim and only 38mm in diameter, the Montblanc flies under the radar and doesn’t scream for attention. It is a much more refined timepiece and I get enormous satisfaction from wearing it.
I like the fact that the Ultra Slim only gets worn occasionally. I like having it in the watch box and saving it for the right event or the right French cuff shirt. Whereas I like to wear my IWC almost every day, I like to keep the Montblanc on the sidelines until it is needed for a big play. I enjoy the Montblanc immensely and I enjoy the anticipation of wearing it on certain days. For sure, this could not be the only watch in my collection. But as part of a bigger collection, it plays a crucial role. For the first time in my collection, here is a watch that I love HAVING as much as I love WEARING. It adds to my entire collection and complements the rest of my timepiece lineup.
Ever since my infatuation with Panerai, I have loved the plain, bold, simple, no-date and manually wound theme. Then, as I got into dressier watches, I yearned for the same type of movement in a dressier package. When the Montblanc came along last year, it offered all of this with a wonderfully-dressy-yet-modern design, at a fantastic price point. Today, the Montblanc Ultra Slim allows me to throw a touch of this flavour into my regular watch rotation. As I wear automatic timepieces with date displays 3 to 4 days a week, I can slip in the Montblanc when I crave that simple elegant feeling. This occasional diversification actually enhances my enjoyment of my OTHER watches.
Has the Montblanc cured my illness? Has this ultra slim timepiece woken me up and stopped my obsessive watch hunting? Of course not. If I had any common sense, I would save the Montblanc for special occasions and rotate my other watches until I’m a very old man. But common sense has never been an attribute of TimeCaptain, has it? As always, the fun is in the search…
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