Since Montblanc released the 1858 collection, the line has become a platform for the brand’s more vintage-leaning watches. The collection is inspired by the old models from Minerva, the watch manufacture that Richmonte (Montblanc’s parent company) acquired more than a decade ago. Minerva’s old designs and records have since been put to good use by Montblanc, and considering that the manufacture has been creating watches uninterrupted for more than a century and a half, there’s plenty of inspiration and history to draw from.
Here, at the Grand Hyatt’s rooftop Garden Pavilion, we’re seeing that history in the metal. Outside, tents, lights, and camping gear are all set up on the grass, appearing somewhat dramatic against the evening’s heavyish rain. And inside, the 1858 line is on display, ready to go on the wrist of anyone who wants to try them out.
The 1858 collection encourages people to disconnect to reconnect, meaning it wants you to leave the digital world behind to explore the real one. Given the design of the watches, and considering the lengths they’ve gone to for the setup, it’s not very difficult to do right now.
The collection has an attractively priced automatic model, as well as a more complicated split-seconds chronograph, though the most noticeable piece in the line is the Geosphere, which has a very unusual dial.
The Geosphere is inspired by the Seven Summits Challenge, which dares mountaineers to reach the highest peak of each of the seven continents. It was already drawing quite a bit of attention since its launch in SIHH 2018, being one of the highlights of Montblanc’s releases. This year, though, the new version’s bronze case and green dial really drive the point home and bring the spirit of exploration to the wrist.
Bronze seems to be a popular choice of material this year and it’s not hard to figure out why. The metal acquires a patina unique to the owner as it ages, giving it a more personal touch and a true sense of ownership. Even getting it scratched and dented will probably just add to the charm. The green palette, meanwhile, will look good on khaki and navy ensembles, which are neutral enough to wear to most casual occasions.
The Geosphere is basically a world timer, but using the northern and southern hemispheres to display the time in different parts of the world. The hemispheres also move and indicate day or night. It’s an interesting variation to the usual world timers, which normally have the names of major cities along the dial to indicate the different timezones.
To cap it all off, the sub-dial at the 9-hour mark can be set with a second time zone so you can keep track of the time at home as you travel. Still, the vintage aesthetic keeps everything from being too over-the-top, and the presentation manages not to look too busy. And if you’re set on disconnecting, this is going to be a fine watch to take with you as you set out for parts unknown.
Aurelio Icasiano III has been in media for 14 years: as a television producer and writer, travel correspondent, book editor, and as editor of an internationally-awarded men’s lifestyle magazine. He runs an electrical construction company by day but spends all too much time thinking about the next story.