At SIHH 2019, Montblanc unveiled a trio of green and bronze 1858 watches, all centred around the theme of mountain exploration, nature and the great outdoors. This year the maison is expanding its adventure inspired 1858 Collection with four new timepieces, which showcase a new blue and icy white aesthetic combined with a mix of materials such as titanium and ceramic. The Inspiration – ‘Glaciers and Snowy-Mountain Environments’. INTRODUCING the 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100 (Ref 126006), 1858 Geosphere (Ref 125565 and Ref 125567), 1858 Automatic Chronograph (Ref 126912) and 1858 Automatic (Ref 126758).
Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100 (Ref 126006)
Following the success of the 1858 Split Second Chronograph, first introduced in bronze and black, then with a blue agate dial created for the Only Watch 2019 charity auction and finally the much talked about 8 piece limited edition 1858 Split Second Chronograph (bronze case and nephrite jade dial) created for SIAR Mexico, Montblanc has unveiled a new 100 piece limited edition of this highly coveted timepiece, for the very first time in a full satin-finished Grade 5 Titanium case complemented by a special dial crafted from solid gold and adorned with a gradated blue grand feu enamel.
At 44mm, the watch looks pretty substantial. It is nicely finished with polished horns and beveled edges, to give it a more defined appearance. Grade 5 Titanium is an interesting development here. It is robust, scratch-resistant and unaffected by superficial impacts as the natural oxidization of the alloy allows them to become invisible over time. The material is extremely light and thanks to its low thermal conductivity, it is unaffected by temperature changes; providing maximum comfort during mountain exploration. Just like the original, you have a single pusher embedded in the crown that starts, stops and resets the chronograph. The pusher at 2 o clock, resets the the rattrapante, splitting the two chronograph seconds hands to leave one stationary at a given moment, while the other continues timing.
Looking closely at the dial, you’ll notice how beautifully grand feu enamelling, one of the oldest and most precious crafts in watchmaking, takes centre stage; providing intense hues and a subtle, yet magical depth. It is the art of applying colourful vitreous enamel paste to the surface of metal and firing it in a kiln. Nothing else renders colour like enamel does and the colours never fade even centuries later. The artisan dusts the enamel powder onto the disc and then briefly fires it at 800 degrees Celsius before removing it and allowing it to cool, setting the enamel. The heating of the surface is done in layers with each layer heated at very high temperatures. The art of grand feu enamelling requires dexterity, skill and passion. This delicate gradation of blue is achieved by carefully playing with the height of the different layers of enamel.
Considering the kind of detailing required for a split-second chronograph, the dial isn’t too cluttered and has design elements that connect it with its origins. The blue coloured background is paired with orange and white elements that accentuate the vintage style, while also providing excellent readability of the complications both at day and night.
There is a double tachymetric scale (base 1000) at the centre in a “colimaçon” (snail shape), which allows the user to measure a length of time up to three minutes instead of one minute in a traditional chronograph scale around the dial. A telemeter scale which runs around the dial (a typical feature on the legendary Minerva chronographs), makes it possible to measure the distance of a phenomenon which is both visible and audible, like the lightning and thunder in a storm. The chronograph hand starts at the instant the phenomenon is seen (lightning) and is stopped when the sound is heard (thunder). The position on the scale shows the distance in kilometres separating the phenomenon from the observer (or the user from the storm, in this example) at a glance. Calibration is based on the speed of which sound travels through the air, which is approximately 340 meters per second or 1,115 feet per second.
The timepiece features the historical design codes taken from the original 1930s Minerva chronograph including large cathedral hands with a cloisonné design filled with white Super-LumiNova® and luminescent Arabic numerals. Other design details include the original Montblanc logo from the 1930s era with its historical font and emblem of the Mont Blanc Mountain in the centre. For utmost visibility, the chronograph indications are displayed with a beige central chronograph second hand, an orange-coloured split second hand to measure a second time interval and a chronograph minute counter at three o’clock. A “rattrapante” (split second) complication allows the owner to measure intermediate times without interrupting the ongoing measurement of a longer elapsing time. The “rattrapante” can be admired through the sapphire glass of the case back.
On the case back, the sapphire crystal reveals the beauty of the Montblanc Manufacture monopusher chronograph Calibre MB M16.31, that features two column wheels, a horizontal coupling, a power reserve of 50 hours and a large screwed balance beating at the traditional frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour. The calibre itself is recognisable thanks to its handcrafted finishings – Côtes de Genève stripes, inner angles, circular graining and bevelling – as well as its fine details such as the Minerva arrow and the chronograph bridge shaped in the form of a “V” whose design was protected in 1912.
Completing the overall design is a matching blue Sfumato alligator strap that has been hand-crafted by the Pelletteria in Florence, Italy.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere in Blue Ref 125565 and Ref 125567
The 1858 Geosphere, a watch dedicated to the world’s Seven Summit mountaineering challenge (the holy grail of mountaineering adventures) and a key member of the 1858 Product Line, is now being offered in an icy blue / white colour scheme as a nod to glaciers and snowy-mountain environments. This one is a treat in the metal. From the purest of white to the deepest shades of blue the Geosphere flaunts it all. It features a 42mm grade 5 titanium case with slim curved horns featuring polished and satin-finishing. A fluted bi-directional stainless steel bezel with blue ceramic insert, knurled finishing and four engraved cardinal points coated with SuperLuminova proudly sits on top of the case. Engraved on the titanium case back is the emblematic Montblanc mountain, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes, as a nod to the spirit of mountain exploration.
The dial comes in a smoky blue colour that is combined with icy white elements for a very cold and modern tool-watch look. Other details include, the blue with white luminescent Arabic numerals, rhodium-coated and white luminescent cathedral-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand, white luminescent time zone hand, luminescent northern and southern hemispheres globes and the historical Montblanc logo at 3 o’clock. For utmost readability, the day/night indicator, the cathedral-shaped hands, the indexes, the compass indications and the hemisphere globes are all coated with white SuperLumiNova.
The exploration angle becomes even more apparent on the dial, all thanks to the unique display of the time-zones around the world. Two turning domed hemisphere globes at six and 12 o’clock are surrounded by a fixed scale with the 24 time zones and include a day/night blue indicator that has been coated in rhodium (for both the Northern and Southern hemispheres). The longitude reference meridian for both hemispheres is highlighted with a blue line coated with SuperLumiNova®. Furthermore, a second time zone is located at nine o’clock and a date aperture (linked to the local time) is located at three o’clock.
In order to set the time, the user first adjusts the turning hemispheres for worldwide time by aligning the GMT/UTC 0 line on London time (highlighted as a light blue colour line on the domes). The two globes are then synchronised. The Northern hemisphere turns anti-clockwise and the Southern one clockwise. The next step is to set the hour-hand (turning by hourly increment) in line with the local time (the globes are not turning), this also adjusts the date. Finally, the second time, located at 9 o’clock, is set via the corrector to display home time.
Powering the watch is an automatic winding MB 29.25 movement with a power reserve of approx. 42 hours. In order to guarantee the performance of the product line, all 1858 models undergo over 500 hours of simulated wear, with specific testing and controls under extreme conditions.
Apart from the case and dial, Montblanc has put a lot of effort into the choice and design of the straps. In addition to a blue Sfumato calf leather strap with white stitching, the new 1858 Geosphere is also being offered, for the very first time, on a vintage bi-material technical bracelet made of matt, satin-finished titanium and polished stainless steel. A choice of hand-crafted “NATO” straps are also available as an accessory and can be purchased in Montblanc boutiques or via the brand’s e-shop.
Recommended Retail Price – Geosphere 42mm– Blue Sfumato Calf Strap, Blue Dial, Titanium Case | $9,110 Australian Dollars
Recommended Retail Price – Geosphere 42mm – Titanium and Steel Bracelet, Blue Dial, Titanium Case | $9,600 Australian Dollars
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph in Blue Ref 126912
Montblanc’s 1858 Automatic Chronograph is another spectacular timepiece that created quite a buzz amongst the collecting community. This year’s recipe is a little different and just like the 1858 Geosphere and 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100, is inspired by glaciers, hence the blue aesthetic. New to this model is the bi-directional steel bezel enhanced with shiny blue ceramic and the four engraved luminescent cardinal points.
Set in the bold 42mm polished and satin-finished stainless steel case is a blue smoked dial, complemented by blue with white luminescent Arabic numerals coated with Super-LumiNova®, rhodium-coated and white luminescent cathedral-shaped hour and minute hands, white chronograph’s second-hand, white counter-hands, bi-compax counters at three (Counter for 30 elapsed minutes) and nine o’clock (Small seconds) and the historical Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock.
Not much has changed on the movement front. The new Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph Ref 126912 runs on an MB 24.15 mechanical movement with automatic winding, boasting a power reserve of approx. 48 hours.
Harmonising well with the different elements of the dial is the blue Sfumato calf leather strap from the Pelletteria, in Florence, Italy.
Recommended Retail Price: $7,080 Australian Dollars
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Ref 126758
The highlight of the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic Ref 126758 timepiece is the simple yet impactful use of blue and white. A great entry-level model, this watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case with slim curved horns decorated with polished and satin-finishing. The case has a new bi-directional steel bezel with a matching shiny blue ceramic and displays the four engraved luminescent cardinal points. The dial execution looks great and reflects the Minerva inspiration quite well, with cathedral-shaped hands (rhodium-coated and white luminescent) and large Arabic numerals (blue with white luminescent) coated with Super-LumiNova®. Powered by an MB 24.15 calibre, the watch delivers a power reserve of approx. 38 hours. Completing the overall look is a matching blue Sfumato calf leather strap with white stitching.
Recommended Retail Price: $4,050 Australian Dollars