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INTRODUCING: Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration Limited Edition

Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration LE1990

Montblanc releases an ice blue homage to the South Pole, which will be worn by the son of Reinhold Messner in the Antarctic Ice Marathon.

Since the head of Montblanc’s Watch Division, Laurent Lecamp, joined, he’s given its sports watch collections a clear vision, with mountaineering and extreme adventure at the heart of this concept. The Iced Sea’s success demonstrates the opportunity this sports segment presents and aligns with the spirit of the brand. After all, Montblanc is named after the highest peak on the continent.

Laurent LeCamp, Managing Director of Montblanc's Watch Division.
Laurent Lecamp, Managing Director of Montblanc's Watch Division.

In the realm of extreme adventure, a small collection of timepieces in the 1858 series has emerged. These ‘0 Oxygen’ models feature a specially sealed case which has no oxygen or water vapour present in the gas mixture (it’s not a vacuum, or it might crack due to pressure differences, but instead filled with an inert gas combination). According to the brand, this prevents fogging at extremely cold temperatures and reduces the possibility of oxidisation. As a result, these components require less maintenance, last longer, and maintain their precision.

The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration LE1990.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration Limited Edition.

The latest addition to this extremely rugged series is the 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration Limited Edition. The watch is inspired by Montblanc’s ‘Mark-Maker’ (i.e., ambassador) and famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner. In 1990, Messner and fellow explorer Arved Fuchs were the first to cross Antarctica on foot without animal or motor assistance. They covered 2,800km and ascended to 3,000m with a sledge holding their survival equipment. Messner was also a muse for Montblanc’s 0 Oxygen collection, as he famously climbed Everest without supplemental oxygen.

The Geosphere watch is Montblanc’s world-time model, showing two counters that indicate the hour across both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the Earth, with hour rings that turn anti-clockwise as the local time changes. A second time zone is also shown on a counter at 9 o’clock. With a compass-bearing bezel, it can also be used by explorers to determine their navigation in places such as the South Pole, where magnetic compasses don’t work.

The dial of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration LE1990 features a unique gratté boisé technique requiring 30 steps to achieve.
The dial of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration Limited Edition features a unique gratté boisé technique requiring 30 steps to achieve.

The dial is made using a special technique called gratté boisé, which requires over 30 separate steps. Starting with a surface stamped with an iced pattern, several layers are applied, each printed, lacquered, polished, and dried before the next can be added. The result is a realistic, textured dial that looks like cracked glacial ice, inspired by the Mont Blanc massif, which Lecamp visited prior to joining the brand to find inspiration. The colour chosen for this limited edition’s is an icy blue that resembles the colour of glacial ice and is also a trending colour this year.

The caseback of the 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration LE1990 features a laser engraved and coloured polar landscape with the aurora australis over it.
The caseback of the 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen South Pole Exploration Limited Edition features a laser engraved and coloured polar landscape with the aurora australis over it.

The back of the watch is equally stunning in titanium with a laser-engraved 3D relief of the polar landscape of Paradise Bay. It’s coloured using laser oxidation, giving rise to the smooth finish and creating a breathtaking aurora in the sky while highlighting the icy blue glacier of the Antarctic in the foreground.   

The 42mm watch is cased in titanium and paired with an interchangeable tapered bracelet with a satin finish. It has a fine adjustment system so that it can be worn over or under a suit easily. Titanium is durable, making it highly suitable for this particular edition. There’s an additional textile strap with a rope weave that comes with the watch. Providing 42 hours of power reserve, the highly reliable MB29.25 movement is an automatic calibre with a Manufacture Worldtime complication.

Simon and Reinhold Messner. The latter is a Montblanc Mark-Maker. Image courtesy of Alpsolut.
Simon and Reinhold Messner. The latter is a Montblanc Mark-Maker. Image courtesy of Alpsolut.

The watch is limited to 1,990 pieces globally and priced at S$11,400. Available at Montblanc boutiques, it will also be worn by Reinhold Messner’s son, Simon, when he participates in the Antarctic Ice Marathon next month. Part of the marathon Grand Slam (in which participants have to complete a marathon on all seven continents and the North Pole), the race takes place at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains at sub-zero temperatures. No doubt, the South Pole Exploration Limited Edition will be a valuable tool for the extreme sportsman.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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