While they don’t constitute a fully-fledged category of timepieces, “doctor’s watches”—aka pulsographs and pulsometers—represent a beloved niche in the world of mechanical watchmaking.
Designed to help measure pulse rates, doctor’s watches tend to feature a prominent seconds dial, allowing physicians to determine a patient’s heart rate with a quick glance, making them, in some ways, the ultimate tool watch. A staple of midcentury production, pulsographs and pulsometers were particularly popular at Fabrique d’Horlogerie Minerva, the boutique Swiss manufacture now owned by Montblanc. In the 1940s and ’50s, the factory—based in the Swiss village of Villeret, in the heart of the Jura mountains—produced a number of such models.
In recent years, Montblanc has brought back the vintage style to great acclaim. To wit: On the heels of the December 2019 debut of its Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition with a salmon-colored dial, Montblanc has just unveiled the Heritage Manufacture Pulsograph Limited Edition. Available starting this June, the watch comes in a 40 mm case of 18-karat rose gold.
Equipped with an in-house monopusher chronograph movement, Calibre MB M13.21—which features a large balance wheel; a V-shaped, rose gold-plated chronograph bridge whose design dates to 1912; and the iconic hand-decorated Minerva arrow—the watch is distinguished by its refined tobacco-brown dial, a throwback to Montblanc’s midcentury heyday.
Domed, smoked and lacquered, the dial boasts a “grainé” hour ring and sunray finish accented with 18-karat rose gold-coated luminescent Arabic numerals and dots for indexes, 18-karat rose gold-coated luminescent dauphine hour and minute hands, 18-karat rose gold baton-shaped hands for the seconds and the chronograph indications, rack minuterie, and old-school international payphone indications of 3, 6 and 9 minutes on the chronograph’s minutes counter. A Sfumato alligator strap that matches the tobacco dial completes the picture.
Available starting in June in a limited edition of 100 pieces, the watch retails for $33,000.