This year at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Montblanc took a decidedly different tact. While the brand has aligned itself with auto racing with its TimeWalker collection, this year, for the new anniversary 1858 series, Montblanc takes to the mountains. Indeed, the brand uses mountain climbing, hiking and the great outdoors as inspiration for its newest pieces, and equips the watches with functions and accents that could be useful to hikers, climbers and outdoorsy people.
According to CEO of the brand, Nicolas Baretzki, the true inspiration for the new Montblanc 1858 pieces that celebrate the 160th anniversary of Minerva, which Montblanc owns, stems from military watches of yesteryear that were made by Montblanc’s Minerva workshops. “We are combining the robust vintage look with a mountaineering concept,” he says.
As such, the new Montblanc 1858 watches range from a few thousand dollars to just about $50,000 for a pocket watch with compass, and has something to offer just about everyone who loves a good walk in the woods. The watches are also equipped with features that can go the distance, including water resistance, anti-glare crystals, and added functions such as compass or chronograph.
At the high end of the collection is the Montblanc 1858 Pocket Watch LE 100, with mechanical movement and built-in working compass. The tri-fold pocket watch features a stunning blue dial, and the back is equipped with the compass as the outer portion of the hinged cover. That hinged cover also opens to reveal the Minerva movement – inspired by a caliber made by the brand in 1929. Just 100 pieces of this 60 mm timepiece will be made, each retailing for just about $50,000.
In addition to this blue beauty, there is also a bold green monopusher chronograph, the Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph LE100. This watch is also built in a limited edition of just 100 pieces, and is crafted with a green dial and green gator strap. Again, the movement is inspired by a caliber built in 1920 by Minerva. The contrasting tan numerals on the green dial and the tan hands are coated with Super LumiNova for easy reading at night or in adverse weather conditions on the mountain. It is water resistant to 100 meters and has withstood Montblanc’s s extensive 500 Hours testing. This watch will retail for somewhere around $30,000.
There are also some significantly more affordable Montblanc 1858 watches in the line up, including the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere LE 1600. This is a world time complication with both the Northern and Southern hemispheres on the dial. While you may not need to know the star pattern in another hemisphere while mountain climbing, the second time zone indication may come in handy if you want to call your loved one back home. The 42mm bronze watch with ceramic bezel houses a mechanical movement and the case back is a tribute to The 7 summits challenge. The highest peak of each continent is engraved on the outer edge of the case back. There will be 1,600 pieces made of this watch – each retailing for approximately $5,900. A non-limited edition in stainless steel will also be produced at a lower price, as will several automatic watches.
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