The creations that come out of the design department of Davide Cerrato (Managing Director of Montblanc Watches) are spread out on a very wide scale. Some are affordable and modest. Others are complicated both in terms of watchmaking. All I’m saying is, that we should not jump to a conclusion when judging Montblanc and categorize them in one way or the other. Having said that, today we will have a closer look at the simplest SIHH 2019 release, the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Limited Edition. Simple in terms of complications, nothing else.
Before we talk about the watch itself let’s first position the 1858 pieces, into the Montblanc collection. Basically, the brand has two main design focuses; contemporary and vintage. Within both categories, we find three trends; sport, classic and lady. Based on this analogy the contemporary and sporty pieces are the Timewalker models. The contemporary and classic are the Star Legacy (like the moonphase we talked about here) and the contemporary ladies are the Bohéme – and some Star Legacy – watches. Now comes the vintage part. Montblanc offers no vintage lady’s models – for now. The vintage classic timepieces are the ones from the Heritage collection. Lastly, the vintage sporty pieces are the Montblanc 1858 watches, like the topic of our article. While the contemporary models sport Montblanc’s new type of logo, the vintage pieces all have the old-style logo with the mountain peak in the middle.
I feel that the SIHH 2019 Montblanc 1858 novelties were a bit overlooked by many during the show. Not because they were not great watches, on the contrary. This has more to do with the Heritage models and especially the Monopusher and Pulsograph pieces. Though the Montblanc 1858 chronograph and automatic, not to mention the Geosphere are all fascinating watches. To start with, all 3 are limited editions – you guessed it – to 1858 pieces. They all come in khaki green, not your average watch color unless you’re aiming for military-inspired pieces. Yet, the Montblanc 1858 Automatic (just like the other 2 models) are anything but military. To finish off the comparison, all 3 new models have bronze cases. According to the brand with these timepieces, they’re aiming at the explorers, the outdoorsmen, and women. After all, nomen est omen (the name speaks for itself ), right?
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Limited Edition has a bronze case with titanium case back that has a bronze color coating. the shape is classical too, large round face and short thin and curved lugs. The overall finish is brushed with some polished bevels on the lugs and around the bezel of the watch as well as the case back. When it comes to sizes the Montblanc 1858 Automatic has a contemporary size at 40mm. The height is only 11.07mm, making it rather thin especially when on the wrist and under a jacket cuff. Large vintage style fluted crown, adding more to the heritage look. Scratch resistant, box crystal domes over the dial, something you’d seen on pieces from the ‘30s and ‘40s. as per modern standards with anti-reflective coating though. The case back is highly decorated albeit it’s somewhat “useless” thanks to the NATO strap covering most of it.
Although the khaki green dial did not make it to the selection of our Top 5 Colorful Dials from SIHH 2019 article it’s a thing of beauty for sure. Luckily brands venture out more and more regularly these days, often daring to come up with a bold case shape or dial color. As the Montblanc 1858 Automatic is supposed to be a mountain explorer’s watch this shade of green on the dial is just the perfect match. Design-wise the dial is pretty simple. Large, beige Arabic numerals all around with Superluminova coating, rhodium plated cathedral hands (remember, vintage touch) with the same luminescence material. My least favorite part is the old-style logo under the 12 in white. Nothing against the placement or the color, this logo is just not my thing. The watch is easy to read and the lume glows like crazy in the dark. Great usability.
It’s not easy to talk about the movement of a time-only watch. Mostly that’s nothing spectacular. Unless it’s a minute repeater but this time this is hardly the case. Inside the Montblanc 1858 Automatic, you find the MB 24.15 caliber. A Sellita SW200 based mechanical, self-winding movement with 38 hours of power reserve and 26 jewels. The MB 24.15 has a Vph of 28,800 (4 Hz). No date or sub-second function, it’s a simple 3-hand movement. Many times brands ruin watches with odd date aperture placements – actually more often than not having the date on the watch at all. Luckily, staying true to the heritage idea, this Montblanc 1858 Automatic (or its chronograph version) does not offer this complication. Not a loss at all these days, you find the date all over around you.
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Limited Edition comes in 1858 pieces only. There will be a steel version, regular production with a black dial as well. That one (reference 119907) has a khaki green nubuck calf leather strap. While the Montblanc 1858 Automatic has a khaki green NATO strap with steel pin buckle. The price will be $2,410 for the steel version and a little over $3,000 for the limited bronze case Montblanc 1858 Automatic. When it comes to the price, the watch really plays in the affordable segment. Whether you are a fan of bronze cases and green dials is, of course, a different question. While this combo is clearly not the most versatile look, if that does not bother you, or you are looking for a second (third, fourth etc.) watch, the 1858 Automatic might be something to consider.
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Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more