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160 years Minerva

This year marks the 160th anniversary of Minerva with its rich heritage that lives on today through Montblanc’s fine watchmaking.

Montblanc Villeret’s watchmaking tradition began 160 years ago, when in 1858 Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in the Saint-Imier valley.

As early as the 1880s, Minerva had already gained international recognition for its precise time measuring timekeepers, such as its innovative golden pocket watches that could be wound without a key. They were among the first to be wound without a separate key and the reason why Minerva experienced global success and expansion so early on.

In 1909, Minerva started to develop chronographs and gained recognition for its precise chronometry, becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches. It produced movements equipped with chronograph functions, such as the iconic calibre 19.09 (19 lines/launched in 1909), featuring the patented V-Chrono shaped bridge.

Minerva also developed stopwatches that could measure 1/5th of a second as early as 1911, rapidly increasing to 1/10th of a second. In this innovative spirit, in 1916, Minerva was one of the first to produce a high-frequency movement that could measure 1/100th of a second, a development that was further improved in 1936, putting Minerva on the map as the specialist of professional watches and stopwatches.

In the 1920s, Minerva wrote a new chapter in its history with the first manually wound monopusher chronograph – the caliber 13.20 (13 lines/launched in 1920). Developed for wristwatches, it featured the iconic V-shaped bridge, a column wheel, a horizontal coupling and a frequency of 18,000 A/h.

These developments symbolize the level of mastery and innovation obtained by Minerva since 1858, and consolidate its reputation in the manufacture of pocket watches and chronographs.

The Montblanc timepieces of today continue the journey of 160 years of Minerva legacy, focusing on three unique fine watchmaking explorations – the Spirit of Mountain Exploration based on the saga of military watches (Montblanc 1858), the Spirit of Classical Fine Watchmaking based on classical pocket and wristwatches (Star Legacy Collection) and the Spirit of Racing based on the unique exploration of timekeepers and stopwatches (TimeWalker Collection) – that all link the past and the present through design, style and technical innovation.