Montblanc’s vintage-influenced Heritage and 1858 collections have been leading the charge to bring the watch designs of Minerva, a historical manufacture that is now part of Montblanc, to a contemporary audience. This year, the brand has once again expanded its offerings in this space, expanding the 1858 collection with two new models with blue dials, the 1858 Automatic Chronograph and the 1858 Automatic.
Like previous watches in the 1858 collection, the latest models take their inspiration from 1920s and ‘30s military chronographs, and these specific blue colorways are a reference to the spirit of icy exploration and to Switzerland’s Mont Blanc — the second highest mountain in Europe, for which the brand is named.
1858 Automatic Chronograph
The 1858 Automatic Chronograph is in a 42-mm brushed and polished steel case, complete with elongated lugs, wide pump pushers, and a prominent crown — altogether providing the watch with some significant wrist presence. Surrounding the sapphire crystal is a unique bidirectional bezel resembling a compass and including the four cardinal points each, engraved and printed in luminescent paint.
Underneath the crystal, we find the vintage-inspired blue dial. Around its outer edge is the minute ring, as on the historical chronograph, punctuated at each 5-minute mark with rising Arabic numerals to up to 60 minutes. Within this border are prominent printed Arabic numerals for the hours, and two oversized subdials, for running seconds and a 30-minute counter, at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Passing over the dial are a set of vintage-look, cathedral-style hour and minute hands, with a simple pointer acting as the chronograph seconds counter.
Inside the watch is the Montblanc Caliber MB 25.13, which is basically a brand-modified Sellita SW 510 (itself derived from the Valjoux 7750). The caliber hosts a 48-hour power reserve and is protected via a solid caseback engraved with the emblematic Mont Blanc mountain, a compass, and two crossed ice pick-axes — all serving as a nod to the “Spirit of Mountain Exploration.” The solid caseback helps provide the model with an adventure-ready 100-meter water resistance.
Turning to the time-only 1858 Automatic, we find a similar overall design to the chronograph, though within an overall smaller and simpler package. The case of this model uses a 40-mm sizing — smaller in diameter but still maintaining the thick side crown, slim, curved lugs, and generally solid wrist presence. The dial of this model is again surrounded by the steel bi-directional, compass-inspired bezel, providing the steel model with extra sturdiness.
On the dial, we come to a simplified expression of the 1858 collection, with a vintage-influenced railroad track outer minute ring, punctuated at each 5-minute mark with Arabic numerals. Oversized and uninterrupted Arabic numerals lend the deep blue dial its white accents. Passing over the face are another set of cathedral-style hands, albeit minus the chronograph seconds hand of the other watch, giving this watch with an even cleaner design.
Inside the time-only 1858 beats Montblanc’s Caliber MB 24.15, a movement based upon the Sellita SW200-1. This automatic mechanism is capable of a 38-hour power reserve, and like the chronograph is protected by a similarly engraved caseback and water resistant to 100 meters.
The 1858 Automatic Chronograph and 1858 Automatic time-only model are both available now directly through Montblanc and via authorized dealers, with the chronograph retailing for $4,500 and the time-only watch going for $2,600.
To learn more, you can visit Montblanc’s website, here.