Watches And Wonders 2022: Montblanc
Our favourite adventure-inspired watch novelties from Montblanc.
Are we witnessing the Benjamin Button-ing of Montblanc watches? Under the charge of Laurent Lecamp, the new managing director of Montblanc’s watch division, the multi-facetted brand that has its fingers in almost every category of luxury merchandise from leather goods to perfumes and, especially, writing instruments, gets a noticeable injection of youth and vitality in its latest timepieces.
In the first proper debut of Montblanc watches under Lecamp (he joined the company in January 2021), we see an interesting assortment of adventure-themed creations. While most of the watches do not deviate from the brand’s familiar range of collections, and highly refined complications and vintage-inspired dress watches still pepper the new offerings, the ones that turned our heads most are models that have been given a solid dose of virility and machismo.
A standout is a new range of diving watches called ‘1858 Iced Sea’. Comprising three automatic date models, the 1858 Ice Sea looks suitably robust and ready for deep sea exploration. The watches tick the boxes in the dive watch checklist with features that include sturdy 41mm steel cases with unidirectional ceramic bezels, 300m water resistance, and an industry-standard engine in the automatic Calibre MB 24.17 (based on the Sellita SW200). They have also all been performance-tested internally by Montblanc’s gruelling 500-hour test and ISO 6425-certified as legit diving instruments.
Inspired by the icy lakes of the Mont-Blanc Massif, known as the Mer de Glace (French for ‘Sea of Ice’ where the collection takes its name), the Iced Sea watches also offer something extra with captivating dials that look as if they are made of actual glaciers. These evocative dials, which come in blue, green and black to evoke the different colours of glaciers - depending on where they are found and whether the ice has air or algae trapped within – are actually created using an old decorative technique known as gratté boisé that imbue the dials with their unique textures and a sense of depth, despite measuring just 0.5mm thin.
Other adventure-inspired creations that caught our eye this year are the 1858 GMT Automatic Date (above) and the 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290. Housed in 42mm steel, the 1858 GMT Automatic Date belongs to the category of sports-style multi-time zone watches with its unmistakable heft and casually refined disposition. However, this two-time zone display comes with a neat twist – instead of a separate 24-hour hand to indicate the home time, the display is shown via a red square that circles the dial. As the red square is positioned next to a fixed 24-hour bezel, the user is also able to ascertain if it is day or night in the second-time zone.
The 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290, on the other hand, is a novel take on Montblanc’s instantly recognisable Geosphere watch. Performing exactly as advertised in its name, the 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290 is limited to 290 pieces, and houses a new automatic world-time movement with chronograph that has been encased without any oxygen in it.
Each 44mm titanium model comes with its own ‘zero oxygen’ certification and the unusual feature purportedly adds to the longevity and performance of the watch as it eliminates fogging, especially with drastic temperature changes, and helps prevent oxidation. Furthermore, Montblanc is putting money where its mouth is by equipping mountaineer Nimsdai Purja with the watch on his expedition to scale Mount Everest this year.
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