Montblanc’s 1858 timepieces, which take inspiration from early pocketwatches made by legendary Swiss chronograph maker Minerva, are conceived as luxurious tool watches for mountain exploration. (Montblanc, which absorbed Minerva back in 2009, does take its name from a famous mountain, after all.) For its latest limited edition, the company teamed with one of the world’s preeminent mountaineers, Reinhold Messner, to produce a very special version of its 1858 Geosphere world-time watch.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition features the distinctive world time display, with two turning disks representing the northern and southern hemispheres, as the original Geosphere from 2018. It also introduces some new elements that help this new model stand on its own as a tribute to Messner, the Italian explorer, climber, and author whose accomplishments include the first solo ascent of Mount Everest and the first crossing of Antarctica on foot, minus dog sleds or snowmobiles. The watch combines a polished and satin-finished 42-mm bronze alloy case with a blue dial and rose-gold-coated details. Its fluted, bi-directional turning bezel has a blue ceramic insert with engraved cardinal points for a compass motif.
On the two hemisphere disks are subtle red dots indicating the locations of the mountains that Messner has climbed as part of his “Messner’s List” — recognized as the most difficult variation on the Seven Summits Challenge, in which mountaineers attempt to scale all seven of the world’s highest peaks. Rounding out the dial are a date window at 3 o’clock, a vintage Montblanc logo, a second time zone subdial at 9 o’clock, and the cathedral-shaped hands characteristic of the 1858 collection.
The watch is notable for its judicious use of multicolored luminous treatments to ensure its legibility in darkness: The hours, minutes, second timezone hands, cardinal points on the bezel, and compass arrows are coated with green Super-LumiNova, while the continents on the globes, Arabic numerals and indexes glow with blue Super-LumiNova. The solid caseback is engraved with an image of Mont Blanc (the mountain), a compass, two crossed pick axes, and the complete “Messner List,” the latter specifically for this limited edition. Behind it ticks the automatic Caliber MB 29.25, based on a Sellita SW 300-1 and fitted with an in-house module developed in-house by Montblanc, with a 28,800 vph frequency and a 42-hour power reserve.
The blue NATO strap of the 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition is also new, hand-made in France on Jacquard looms in a complex process that makes the straps extremely light and soft but also highly durable and quick-drying. They’re also made to retain their color over time, as the individual thin yarns are colored at the beginning of the process. The watch is limited to 262 pieces — a nod to the mountains over 26,200 feet that Messner has conquered throughout his illustrious career — and retails for $6,500.
For a review of the original 1858 Geosphere, click here.