Blue Mountains: New Montblanc 1858 Split Seconds Chronograph and Geosphere Editions

Montblanc kicked off its year of new releases earlier this Spring, rolling out new models in its Heritage and Star Legacy collection. Now, as one of the 30 watch brands rolling out new timepieces as part of the Watches & Wonders online platform, Montblanc unveils new blue-dialed versions of two complicated models in its vintage-influenced 1858 collection.

The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100 features a 44-mm case made of grade 5 titanium and a graduated blue dial made of grand feu enamel. Based on a military chronograph produced by the heritage watchmaker Minerva (now part of Montblanc) in the 1930s, the dial hosts two classically designed scales: a telemeter scale, used to measure distance based on visible and audible phenomena — i.e., to calculate how far away a storm is based on the time between a flash of lightning and the first rumble of thunder, and the snail-shaped tachymeter scale in the center for measuring the speed of a moving object over a known distance. Both scales employ the watch’s built-in chronograph function, operated by a monopusher in the crown; the chronograph is also equipped with a “rattrapante,” or split seconds device, operated by an additional pusher at 2 o’clock. Orange details, such as on the central chronograph hand and the minute scale’s numerals, as well as white on the scales and subdials, and a beige-colored elapsed seconds hand, provide contrast with the blue dial.

Montblanc Caliber MB M16.31, which powers the watch behind a sapphire exhibition caseback, is a manually wound movement with two column wheels — one driving the chronograph, the other controlling the split-seconds function — along with horizontal coupling, a power reserve of 50 hours, and a large screwed balance beating at 18,000 vph. Based on the historical Minerva Caliber 17.29 of the 1930s, its host of haute horlogerie finishes include côtes de Genève, inner angling, circular graining, beveling, and the traditional Minerva arrow and V-shaped chronograph bridge. The watch, limited to 100 pieces, is mounted on a blue Sfumato leather strap from Montblanc’s Pelleteria in Florence, Italy. It is priced at $36,000.

The newest iteration of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere also has a titanium case, 42 mm in diameter, and a blue dial with “icy” blue highlights that together are meant to evoke the look of glaciers. Like its predecessor in a bronze case and military green dial, the Geosphere offers a novel twist on the traditional world-time complication, with two separate domed hemisphere subdials that each make a full rotation every 24 hours. The Northern Hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns counterclockwise, while the Southern Hemisphere turns clockwise. Both are bordered by a numbered scale representing the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colors (dark blue for nighttime and white for daylight hours). The local time is displayed on the two cathedral hands typical of the 1858 collection, which are rhodium-coated and treated with white Super-LumiNova. The ratcheting bidirectional bezel, in steel with a blue ceramic insert, is engraved with the cardinal points of a compass and can be used for navigation. The subdial at 9 o’clock can be used to track an additional time zone.

The Geosphere model takes its inspiration from the so-called Seven Summits Challenge, the “holy grail” of mountaineering, and its dial pays tribute to the rare feat by marking all seven mountains, one on each continent of the rotating hemispheres, with blue dots, plus an additional blue dot for Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Swiss Alps from which the brand takes its name — as well as the visual inspiration for this explorer-oriented timepiece. Inside the case, behind a solid caseback with a special mountaineer-motif engraving, is the automatic Caliber MB 29.25, based on a Sellita SW 300-1 and fitted with an in-house module developed in-house by Momtblanc, beating at 28,800 vph and amassing a 42-hour power reserve. The latest Geosphere model comes on a blue Sfumato strap with white contrast stitching; it is priced at $5,800.

Leave a Reply