Watches & Wonders 2020: Montblanc

Montblanc and its blue-eyed boys.

Montblanc 1858 collection

While blue dials have never really gone out of style, this year, they are back with a vengeance and we’re seeing plenty of gorgeous ones at Montblanc, which has opted for the hue to anchor its 'capsule' collection from the 1858 range of outdoor-themed watches.

Inspired by military chronographs from the 1930s, the 1858 collection has always been inspired by mountain exploration. In its third year, the line now features arresting blue dials across its different models, from the Monopusher Chronograph to the Split Second Chronograph and Geosphere.

 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere

Endowed with forest green dials last year, the new 1858 models are inspired by icy landscapes, hence the blue and white aesthetic. For the first time, a bi-material bracelet is offered, with a mix of titanium and steel in a ‘rice beads’ bracelet. Currently only available for the Geosphere, it will later be implemented across the entire 1858 collection.

In line with this year’s update, the Geosphere gets a new gradated blue dial and comes in a grade 5 titanium case for a lighter feel and low thermal conductivity. The stainless steel bezel also comes with a glossy blue insert and lumed-up engraved cardinal points.

Montblanc Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100
Montblanc Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100

Montblanc has been very clear in the past few years that it wants to put the focus on Minerva, and it continues to do so this year. The Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 100 takes that Minerva spirit and makes it even better. Unveiled in black last year, the 2020 version has a stunning blue (of course) dial in gradated grand feu enamel, paired with orange and white accents that lend a more contemporary touch.

Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H
Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H

Away from the beautiful blue-toned capsule line, a watch that caught our attention is the 1858 Automatic 24H. Powered by the Calibre MB 24.20, the watch features a single hand display which tells time via a 24-hour scale. The single hand simultaneously points to the 24-hour indexes as well as the minute ring, allowing both hour and minute to be read at once.

The timepiece can also double up as compass - place the watch on the ground and rotate it such that the hand is pointing towards the sun. Once the position is set, the cardinal points will be aligned. North is indicated at the 24-hour marker, and south at 12-hour marker. Point to note: if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you have to take into account the inversion of the cardinal points.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph
Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph

The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph also returns this year with the Calibre MB 25.12, a reinterpretation of the original Minerva Calibre 13.20 from the 1930s. The limited-edition model (1,858 pieces, of course) comes in a 42mm bronze case with a new beige-coloured NATO strap, produced by a 150 year-old French strap manufacturer. Two unlimited models in stainless steel are also available.

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Ex Managing Editor

Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".


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