Montblanc’s 1858 timepieces, which take inspiration from early pocketwatches made by legendary Swiss chronograph maker Minerva, are conceived as luxurious tool watches for mountain exploration. (Montblanc, which absorbed Minerva back in 2009, does take its name from a famous mountain, after all.) For its latest limited edition, the company teamed with one of the world’s preeminent mountaineers, Reinhold Messner, to produce a very special version of its 1858 Geosphere world-time watch.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition features the distinctive world time display, with two turning disks representing the northern and southern hemispheres, as the original Geosphere from 2018. It also introduces some new elements that help this new model stand on its own as a tribute to Messner, the Italian explorer, climber, and author whose accomplishments include the first solo ascent of Mount Everest and the first crossing of Antarctica on foot, minus dog sleds or snowmobiles. The watch combines a polished and satin-finished 42-mm bronze alloy case with a blue dial and rose-gold-coated details. Its fluted, bi-directional turning bezel has a blue ceramic insert with engraved cardinal points for a compass motif.
On the two hemisphere disks are subtle red dots indicating the locations of the mountains that Messner has climbed as part of his “Messner’s List” — recognized as the most difficult variation on the Seven Summits Challenge, in which mountaineers attempt to scale all seven of the world’s highest peaks. Rounding out the dial are a date window at 3 o’clock, a vintage Montblanc logo, a second time zone subdial at 9 o’clock, and the cathedral-shaped hands characteristic of the 1858 collection.
The watch is notable for its judicious use of multicolored luminous treatments to ensure its legibility in darkness: The hours, minutes, second timezone hands, cardinal points on the bezel, and compass arrows are coated with green Super-LumiNova, while the continents on the globes, Arabic numerals and indexes glow with blue Super-LumiNova. The solid caseback is engraved with an image of Mont Blanc (the mountain), a compass, two crossed pick axes, and the complete “Messner List,” the latter specifically for this limited edition. Behind it ticks the automatic Caliber MB 29.25, based on a Sellita SW 300-1 and fitted with an in-house module developed in-house by Montblanc, with a 28,800 vph frequency and a 42-hour power reserve.
The blue NATO strap of the 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition is also new, hand-made in France on Jacquard looms in a complex process that makes the straps extremely light and soft but also highly durable and quick-drying. They’re also made to retain their color over time, as the individual thin yarns are colored at the beginning of the process. The watch is limited to 262 pieces — a nod to the mountains over 26,200 feet that Messner has conquered throughout his illustrious career — and retails for $6,500.
For a review of the original 1858 Geosphere, click here.
When Bell & Ross launched its BR 05 collection of integrated-bracelet luxury sports watches in 2019, we knew it was only a matter of time before the new family — which kicked off with time-and-date only models and a smattering of skeletonized pieces — would add that most popular of sporty complications, a chronograph. That time, it turns out, is today, at our virtual WatchTime Live collectors’ event. Here’s a look at the new BR 05 Chrono Black Steel and Blue Steel.
Like their predecessors, which have been dubbed “urban explorers” and “masculine jewels” by CEO Carlos Rosillo, the BR 05 Chronograph sports a 42-mm case in the rounded-square style of Bell & Ross’s Instrument models, which integrates smoothly into the specially designed steel bracelet. (Also in keeping with their antecedents, both the black-dialed and blue-dialed models are also available with integrated rubber straps.) The case’s flat surfaces are satin-finished and its bevels are polished. On these chronograph models, the pushers, crown guard, and crown are designed as a single unit, fluidly incorporating into the silhouette of the case.
The dial, in navy blue or jet black, is in a classical two-register style, with soft-edged, 1970s-inspired subdials that Bell & Ross describes as “midway between round and square,” echoing the overall geometric aesthetic of the case. The 9 o’clock counter tallies the chronograph minutes at 9 o’clock, while the 3 o’clock subdial hosts the running seconds. Inside the BR 05 Chrono models is the ETA-based BR-CAL.301, an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve that Bell & Ross has installed in other chronograph models in its portfolio, most recently the motorsport-inspired R.S.20 collection. It beats inside a case whose 100-meter water-resistance is ensured by a screw-down crown, behind a clear sapphire caseback.
Both versions of the BR 05 Chrono are priced at $5,900 on a rubber strap and $6,400 on a steel bracelet.
It’s hard to say without having the watch in hand, but it seems like legibility should be fairly straightforward and clear after a period of adjustment. The largest circle, extending all the way to the outer edge of the dial, is a running seconds indicator, with the mid sized circle counting off minutes and the smallest providing the hours. I would imagine that in motion the sweep of that large circular seconds indicator holds a lot of visual interest. If you’re used to a traditional second hand (as I’m sure we all are) it’s certainly going to be a very different experience to check the time, at the very least.
The Union Collection actually consists of two smaller mini collections. The Rive Gauche line has a flat dial in blue, black, and two shades of white. The Rive Droit line has a vintage style curved dial in blue, green, or red. The watches measure 39mm in diameter and use the Miyota 9015 automatic movement. Prices range from 740 to 790 Euros.
More information at Beaubleu’s website right here.