Milléchron unveils the latest extreme version of the acclaimed Monarque dive watch, the Monarque M, now equipped with a new top-tier micro-rotor movement from Vaucher. The updates make it the first and still only watch in the world to use this variant of the micro-rotor movement, and take the line in two very different directions. The Monarque M Saffron receives a rich yellow treatment, while the Monarque M Stealth takes the opposite approach with a fully blacked-out look, both offering a combination of color, style, and Haute Horlogerie not offered anywhere else.
Monarque M Saffron
Perfect for summer, the Monarque M Saffron takes inspiration for its name and color from what many consider the rarest and most valuable spice. It is extremely rare to find a sports or dive watch in just the perfect, rich shade of yellow with an Haute Horlogerie movement, and a micro-rotor no less. The brand describes it as the perfect watch to pair with an osso bucco saffron risotto and a vintage Franciacorta on your yacht in Portofino. Its solid yellow dial has a subtle sunburst pattern, and its unidirectional 120 click bezel has an engraved sapphire insert with the same saffron yellow color underneath. Three faceted hands, complex faceted and hand-applied hour markers, as well as the bezel, are filled with Super-LumiNova X1 lume.
Monarque M Stealth
Taking a more serious approach, the Monarque M Stealth features the same aesthetic details as the Saffron but receives an anthracite ADLC (Amorphous Diamond-like Carbon) finish. A red 12 o’clock marker and lumed small seconds hand are the only color on an otherwise monochrome watch. The effect of the matching all-black fumée dial, ADLC case, and anthracite movement create a truly stealthy watch perfect for night-time maneuvers. This is a watch that embodies the ideal of stealth wealth and exudes understated elegance and quality.
Both watches are designed for connoisseurs, those looking for a watch that is rare and exclusive. For the select few who have the opportunity to acquire a Monarque M, they will possess a watch of distinctive design and exceptional craftsmanship, and both with CLA chronometry certification.
Both models include natural rubber straps with a molded diamond pattern secured by brushed, engraved deployant clasps with internal perlage and dive extensions. Handmade water-resistant stingray straps and pure cotton or linen NATO straps, hand-embroidered for the brand in Naples, Italy, are available as options.
The Finer Details
The edges of the 42mm cases are highlighted by six painstakingly difficult to perfect hand-polished lines, extending across bombée lugs. The case and lugs are contrasted with three different sections of satin brushing alternating between the fine polished lines on the sides of the case. 904L stainless steel is used for the cases in both models. Milléchron says that this is the highest grade of stainless steel used in watchmaking, reflecting its relentless pursuit of excellence. 904L is eight times greater in material cost than the more common 316L, and production costs are also higher. It is far more laborious and requires greater skill to hand-finish than 316L, plus its use means that molds must be replaced more often. The benefit is that it is far more resistant to corrosion and polishes to a higher brightness.
In its pursuit of the best materials, Milléchron even uses 904L stainless for the signed screw-down crown and highly finished clasps. The brand says that the Stealth is also the only watch in existence with a 904L stainless steel case that is also ADLC-coated.
Despite offering 200m of water resistance, both Monarque M watches measure only 10.4mm-thick. This dimension is thin and sleek for any watch, but especially a dive watch. This is largely attributed to their ultra-thin micro-rotor movements. This will surely make it one of the most comfortable dive watches on the market.
Moving to the dial, one will notice that the lumed small seconds hand lines up perfectly with the edge of the small seconds ring. The 45-degree angle of the hour markers is carefully designed for ideal legibility and to reflect light at every angle. This attention to detail will be noticed by the wearer every time that they check their watch.
The Hearts of the Monarque M Divers
Visible through the sapphire glass on their screw-down casebacks, the updated Monarque M models are the first and only watches in the world equipped with the newest version of the Vaucher 5401 micro-rotor movement. An exclusive and hand-finished movement in its highest specification, it receives full Vaucher CLA Chronometry certification.
In the case of the Saffron, it is the 5401/32 with a signed gold tungsten rotor, and solid bridges. It features improved hand-finishing with four internally beveled angles, elegantly shaped bridges, and improved timekeeping performance.
The Stealth is powered by the 5401/33, which has similar specifications but features bridges that are skeletonized, sandblasted, and then anthracite-finished by a galvanic BlackWe treatment.
Micro-rotors allow these exclusive movements to be quite thin, at just 2.6mm. Dense tungsten rotates on ceramic ball bearings, allowing for efficient winding. Beating at 21,600 vph yields a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. Movements are comprised of 160 components, including 29 jewels and a variable inertia balance with gold inertia blocks. They feature Haute Horlogerie finishing (in classic style on the Saffron, and contemporary on the Stealth), including extensive circular graining, diamond polishing, and rhodium plating on movement components and wheels. Bridges also feature Côtes de Genève finishing on the Saffron, sunray finish, and laser-decorated sand-blasting effect on the Stealth.
All Milléchron watches are created in the atelier of Philippe Cattin, co-founder of Voutilainen & Cattin, in the town of Saignelégier in the canton of Jura, Switzerland. “Handcrafted in Switzerland” is engraved on the casebacks, reflecting the artisanal, small-batch craftsmanship of the watches. Because of the extensive hand-finishing involved, its watchmakers are only able to produce four to five Monarque M watches per month — fewer than 60 watches each year. The first 10 watches in each color will be considered “Founder’s Edition” watches and will have founder Benjamin Chee’s initials, “BCHH,” engraved on the micro-rotor in place of the Milléchron Seal. Both models feature a five-year warranty.
The combination of exclusivity, fine finishing, movement quality, and wearability offered in the Monarque M watches make them worth a closer look. These attributes are rare, especially when combined with the fact that all of this is packaged in stylish dive watches that can be worn every day in a variety of conditions. The price for both new versions of the Milléchron Monarque M Diver is approximately $11,000 USD. You can learn more at the brand’s website.
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