Once you have spent a few days in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, you come to appreciate beauty in a new way. Exposure to the cold temperatures – as well as to the scenery and mountain ranges that date back thousands of years — gives one time to appreciate durability and function as well as elegance. As such, I was very happy to spend a few days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with Montblanc, wherein I (along with other select watch journalists) had the distinct pleasure of going hands on with the newest Montblanc watches being unveiled this week at SIHH 2018. The line that is – pardon the expression – kicking ass this year is the Montblanc 1858 Collection. Here we bring you a hands-on look at two exceptional pieces: the Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch LE 100, and the Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph LE100.
The Montblanc 1858 collection pays tribute to the 160th anniversary of the founding of what would become the Minerva watch brand, which Montblanc owns. For the newest watches, the brand elected to tie in to the spirit of Mountain exploration. Remember, Montblanc already ties in nicely with the spirit of racing for its TimeWalker collection, and, according to Nicolas Baretzki, head of Montblanc, the new line is sporty enough to fulfill the expectations of the professional and enthusiast hikers and climbers.
“The whole inspiration for the collection comes initially from the military watches,” said Baretzki in a private interview. “Minerva and Montblanc have long histories to pull inspiration from, and we are combining the robust vintage look with a concept of mountaineering, which is a very cool thing today.”
In fact, not only is the narrative all about the experiences of mountaineering, hiking, climbing, and getting close to nature, but also it is about durability, function and personal connection. As such, all of the design features for the Montblanc 1858 collection offer an intense nod to the sport and are designed to be objects with an outdoorsy spirit. Montblanc 1858 Collection watches are highly water resistant (100 meters at least), offer legible dials, feature anti-reflective sapphire crystals (on both sides), and more. Some offer a functioning compass, and bi-directional bezel for easy use. Additionally, most of the timepieces in this series offer a true value proposition.
According to Baretzki, it was important for Montblanc to make the collection cross all price ranges, from affordable value to the higher end complexities. As such, there are several key models in the line – each with the vintage Montblanc logo on the dial — and we love them all. Today, we explore the Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch LE 100.
Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch LE 100
Starting at the highest end of the price spectrum is the Montblanc 1858 Collection Pocket Watch LE 100. This is easily the clear winner of the line, in my eyes thanks to its looks, function and distinct tie-in with the concept of hiking and mountaineering. Built in a limited edition of 100 pieces, this beauty houses the Montblanc M16.24 mechanical caliber (inspired by the Minerva 17.29 caliber built in 1929) and offers a rich blue dial with a 24-hour display, instead of the typical 12 hours on most watches. It also offers a working compass.
The 60mm titanium watch is sold with a leather calf strap and a lanyard system that makes it convertible from pocket watch to wristwatch. A magnificent blend of sophisticated elegance, vintage appeal and pure function, this complex Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch LE 100 retails for EUR 48,000.
There is so much more to this collection, that we will be bringing a part 2 very soon. Stay tuned.