The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 is a brand new model from the Le Locle- and Villeret-based horology house. Despite its Swiss heritage, the timepiece takes its inspiration from the colours of the Gobi desert. With only 1858 pieces available, the complicated watch’s functions include turning northern and southern hemisphere globes, as well as a 24-hour scale and day/night indication. Additionally, the watch carries the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 certification.
Why the desert theme?
Montblanc’s inspiration for the dusky desert colour scheme stems from its ambassador Reinhold Messner’s 2004 solo trek of 2000 km across the Gobi Desert – Asia’s largest desert. Spanning 1,600 km across China and Mongolia, it holds a reputation as one of the most famous paleontological sites in the world. In fact, the vast expanse is considered to be the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world. In 2004, Messner became the first person to trek solo 2,000 km (1,250 miles) across it. Furthermore, he was the first person (along with climbing partner Peter Habeler) to summit Everest solo and without supplemental oxygen.
This is not the first time Montblanc has introduced a watch to honour its partnership with Messner. In 2020, the brand released its first Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition, in a bronze case with a deep blue dial.
This time, however, the lacquered dial’s design code echoes the Gobi Desert, known for its combination of sand and exposed bare rock. Therefore, the dial’s colour scheme shifts from smoked brown to beige, and features rose-gold hands and applied indices – both of which are legible 24/7 thanks to the use of beige Super-LumiNova. Likewise, the two hemispheres use the same materials.
Encountering extreme temperatures, from freezing winters to boiling summers, Messner inspires many people with his spirit of adventure. This is another aspect that makes the Montblanc 1858 a fitting model of choice for a watch in his honour. The Montblanc 1858 collection of tool watches takes its inspiration from the military Minerva chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s, and aims to encapsulate the spirit of exploration.
With this in mind, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 comes in a hardy 42 mm bronze case with slim, curved horns. The bi-directional bronze bezel with shiny brown ceramic features knurled finishing around the edge, as well as engraved cardinal points coated with Super-LumiNova. As an adventurer’s watch, Montblanc also include a domed, anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Additionally, the case also helps to ensure water-resistance to 100 metres (10 bar).
By contrast, the bronze-coated titanium caseback features an engraving of the Gobi Desert’s famous “Flaming Cliffs”. These cliffs were on Messner’s route across Northern Asia. Paleontological discoveries at the location include fossilised dinosaur eggs and specimens of Velociraptors, discovered back in the 1920s. Interestingly, Montblanc recreate the Gobi Desert on the caseback in 3D using a special technique. After the titanium is structured, a laser decorates the engraving to create the drawing.
Then, the picture’s matt and shiny elements are likewise created using a laser. Montblanc colours the picture on the caseback using laser-generated oxidation, as the level of oxidation determines the metal’s final colour. Meanwhile, the lower half of the caseback also depicts a wind rose compass with a decoration representing the wind, with its patterns taking inspiration from traditional Mongolian ornaments.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 integrates an array of interesting functions, aside from hours and minutes. First and foremost, the watch displays two turning hemispheres at 6 and 12 o’clock, which indicate two different time zones. Around both hemispheres is a fixed scale with the 24 time zones, as well as a day/night indicator for the Northern and Southern hemispheres respectively. Furthermore, Montblanc highlight the longitude reference meridian on both hemispheres with a black line.
An additional time zone subdial lies at 9 o’clock, while the date is displayed at 3 o’clock. Surprisingly, the mechanism behind these functions is not difficult to set. In crown position 2, the user can adjust the hemispheres. Meanwhile, setting the hour hand in line with the local time is done in crown position 1, as is the date. Finally, the second time zone is set using the corrector at 10 o’clock.
Powering the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 is the automatic calibre MB 29.25, featuring the manufacture’s own worldtime complication. Along with a frequency of 2.5 Hz, it provides a 42-hour power reserve. Moreover, the watch and the movement within carry the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 certification. This test involves the watch undergoing a number of tests over 500 hours, including:
- Winding Performance and Assembly Control – Checking the winding performance and the timepiece’s final assembly
- Continuous accuracy control – Ongoing monitoring of precision in all positions
- Functions Control – Overall functioning of the watch
- General Performance – Testing the rate and the functions in all positions
- Water Resistance – Checking the water-resistance
The new timepiece (Ref. 128504) and two 1815 Geosphere siblings
Price and Availability
Last but not least, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 comes with a vintage-style brown Sfumato calf strap with beige stitching and a bronze-coated stainless steel triple-folding clasp. This creates a very different look to its predecessor, which came with a NATO strap. With 1,858 individually numbered pieces available, the desert-inspired, complicated timepiece costs 5,950 euros.
|MODEL||Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858
|DIMENSIONS||Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 12.8 mm
|WATER RESISTANCE||10 bar (~100 m)
|DIAL||Lacquered smoked brown to beige
|STRAP/BRACELET||Brown Sfumato calf leather strap with beige stitching
|POWER RESERVE||42 hours
|FREQUENCY||28,800 vph (4 Hz)
|FUNCTIONS||Hours, minutes, date, second time zone, turning northern and southern hemispheres with a 24-hour scale, day/night indication
|PRICE||EUR 5,950 – limited to 1,815 pieces