The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition watch hands-on
Montblanc presented the most exciting line up of new watches at SIHH.
I perceived a widespread feeling of disappointment, at last week's SIHH. Generally speaking (high-end timepieces excluded), the product novelties looked not as striking as in previous editions of SIHH. However, if we had to rank the brands that stood out, Montblanc is with no doubt at the top of our list. The German luxury brand is among those that released the most interesting new watches and, in particular, the timepieces that tickle the palate of watch enthusiasts, and credit goes to the full integration of Minerva within the vertical structure of the brand.
The 1858 Geosphere
No big luxury watch brand can today rely on high-end collections, and neither can Montblanc, that produces classic high-end chronographs powered by the most authentic vintage inspired calibers on the market (Minerva).
Moreover, a very few people can afford a Montblanc Heritage Pulsometer, a Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Bronze or even a Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Bronze Limited Edition given their production is also extremely limited in numbers.
Although the brand has launched a Sellita based single push-piece chronograph to broaden its offering of Heritage Chronos, priced at under 5000€, the 1858 collection has played a key role in growing Montblanc's sell out and is regarded to as a "hero collection" if we abide by the rules of modern product marketing jargon.
Green is the new black.
You will have noticed that green is this year very trendy, especially when combined with a bronze case. IWC, for instance, enlarged the Spitfire collection by launching an entire range of new bronze watches on a green dial. The truth is that Montblanc was the first ever to introduce a bronze case among all the brands belonging to the Richemont Group (along with Panerai).
The 1858 Geosphere which, at first glance, looks not in line with Montblanc's classic design trend, is instead on par with what the brand introduced years ago when it launched masterpieces like the Montblanc Tourbillon Geosphères Night Sky Limited Edition and the Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama Limited Edition.
I still believe these two timepieces are above the competition, technically and aesthetically. Like it or not, I reckon the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition, with its two hemispheres dial layout, is one of the most striking World Timer on the market.
What has changed
Montblanc already produced a Limited Edition 1858 Geosphere in bronze last year, but the brand has this year raised the bar and added a couple of new features instead that make it look more compliant and far more attractive too, from my point of view. The smoked khaki green dial works better than black when coupled to a bronze case, as does the new green NATO strap with large pin buckle and Montblanc logo when compared to the original leather strap.
Khaki green helps the ceramic inlay on the bezel stand out, and lets you fully appreciate the engraved indexes filled with vintage Super-Luminova® as are the Arabic numerals and the cathedral hands. Thumbs down go to the date window that looks intruding on the otherwise sleek dial, that perfectly conveys the message of owning a watch aimed at frequent travelers and amateur explorers, that Montblanc has further strengthened this year.
Technical specs and final thoughts
If Montblanc adopts only 100% manufactured movements on its high-end timepieces, it keeps developing modules out of outsourced calibers in the mid and low range instead to keep the price attractive. Same is for Caliber 29.25 MB, as you can easily guess by reading two data: 42 hours of power reserve and a 4Hz frequency. Montblanc then runs a severe cycle of reliability and performance tests by applying its proprietary Laboratory Test 500. The case size is reasonable: the 2019 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition is 42mm wide and 12.8mm thick.
Summarizing, the 2019 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition is more appealing than the old one, that never really impressed me, despite being the same watch. The green allows you to fully appreciate how the two hemispheres, the twenty-four-hour rings, and the day and night indications were designed and crafted. The new Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition comes with a much brighter dial, and a khaki green that perfectly combines with the bronze case, especially when a slight patina has covered the watch. The price point, that is above €5000 approximate (let's wait for the timepiece to be officially distributed globally), completes an excellent value proposition.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung, courtesy of Montblanc)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®