The 1858 Geosphere by Montblanc is part of the celebrations of the 160th anniversary of Minerva, the watchmaking company in Villeret purchased by Richemont Group and assigned to Montblanc in 2007. The name of the collection, 1858, is a reference to the year in which Minerva was founded. The 1858 Geosphere is an interesting watch, featuring a world time display with two rotating hemispheres. It is probably the most democratic world timer watch of all, because it includes both the hemispheres, and its price, from €5,190, is also comparatively accessible.
Montblanc chooses a theme for its watches every year, and in 2018 it’s all about Mountain Exploration. The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is dedicated to the world’s Seven Summit challenge, in which climbers have to climb the highest mountains in each continent. Apparently only 500 people have achieved it. On the watch, the challenge is celebrated with red dots on the hemispheres marking the positions of the mountains. The rotating bezel marked with the compass points provides another geographical link to the mountains. But, differently to last year’s automotive collection, in this piece the mountaineering theme is developed with a very fuzzy logic. Does a mountaineer really need a world time function? And what use could that rotating bezel with the compass point be? The watch is more about the “spirit” of mountain exploration, a feel, elements that make the watch visually distinctive.
And distinctive it is. The case is in stainless steel or titanium-bronze, very wearable at 42 mm in diameter and 12.8 mm thick. The thickness is perhaps a bit higher than you would expect, but this is due to the movement, which comprises a standard calibre for the time functions to which the world time complication has been added on top. The two hemispheres are given a touch of three-dimensionality as they are slightly domed, and they rotate once every 24 hours, the northern hemisphere at the top of tbe dial turning anticlockwise, the southern hemisphere turning clockwise. They are surrounded by a reference scale that includes day/night sectors, but as there are no indications for cities, you just get a general idea of the time in any particular location. The reference meridian is in white coated with SuperLuminova, and the continents also glow in the dark. A second time zone display is shown on a subdial at 9 o’clock, and the date, linked to the local time, is at 3 o’clock. The black-beige colour scheme is very striking and something of a new departure for Montblanc. One unusual feature of this watch is the absence of a second hand.
Detail design touches
The design details are attractive, with vintage-style fluted crown, the glossy black ceramic bezel, cathedral-style hour and minute hands edged in red gold with cloisonné-type facets for the SuperLuminova, and the strap made in leather by Montblanc’s Pelletteria in Florence. You can choose between a cognac-coloured strap with contrasting beige stitching, a Bund-type strap in the same colour, or a Nato strap. Buckles are in stainless steel or bronze-coated steel. The 100-metre water resistance is a commendable feature.
The 1858 Geosphere is powered by the self-winding calibre MB 29.25, in which the world time complication was developed by the Montblanc engineers in Villeret, applied on top of a Sellita base movement. This helps keep the price attractive. So the movement”s features are standard, balance frequency 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz), 26 rubies, 42 hours power reserve. The caseback iin bronze-coated titanium is solid, looking something like the example below but with an engraving showing the peaks of the Seven Summits challenge, and the crossed icepicks motif.
Price and reference
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere costs €5,190 in the stainless steel version (reference 119286), and €5,890 in the bronze version (reference 117840), which is a limited edition of 1,858 pieces. Further information from the Montblanc website.