Introducing the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition dedicated to Reinhold Messner, the legendary climber and explorer. We manage to get a hands-on session with the watch, one of only 5 in Singapore and No 1/262 (!). Here is our detailed look.
The watch is made to honour the legendary mountaineer, Reinhold Messner (born 17 September 1944). He is renowned for his pioneering ascents of the world’s highest peaks, and his variation of the Seven Summits Challenge, known as Messner’s List.
“A reliable and high performing watch is an essential companion to any adventurer setting out on a major expedition. It is exciting to be associated with a watch inspired by Minerva and its rich heritage of manufacturing companions to so many adventurers before me who relied so faithfully on these professional watches. Also, a meaningful and personal reminder of the thousands of feet climbed over the course of my career as a professional mountaineer”, says Reinhold Messner.
Retail price is SGD9,500 with GST.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition 262
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is the key model of the 1858 line with its two distinctive domed turning globes and its innovative worldtime complication. We carried the following reviews of the earlier versions:
This new timepiece harmoniously combines bronze, blue, and rose gold-coated elements, giving it a true vintage aesthetic reminiscent of the mountaineering exploration tools from the past.
The new watch is a creative and inspiring collaboration with Reinhold Messner. Limited to 262 pieces, the timepiece is a nod to all the peaks over 26,200 feet that he climbed during his career.
And let us start right off the bat by proclaiming that this is an absolutely stunningly beautiful watch. The lines are sleek and sensuous. The colours chosen complement each other magnificently, from the graduated blue on the dial to the bezel and to the bronze hue of the case.
The case, dial and hands
The watch is a variant of the earlier versions of the Geosphere, particularly close to the Khaki and Bronze model which we reviewed.
The case remains 42mm executed in a special bronze alloy with slim, curved horns. The shape is particularly lovely and the curves sensuous to elicit romanticism. The surfaces are finished in a fine polish and satin matte. the bezel is also in bronze and is bi-directional with an inset of shiny blue ceramic with the four cardinal direction points engraved and coated with SuperLumiNova.
The dial is in a beautiful gradient of deep blue in the edges to a lighter, bright hue in the center. The other dial elements are rose gold coated and beige, and provide a perfect contrasting foil for a highly legible face. The hands are the classic Montblanc cathederal style hand, and the even hour markers are in arabic numerals, while the odd are pointer shaped. The two turning domed hemisphere globes, which make a full rotation in 24 hours complete the dial layout. The northern hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns anticlockwise, while the southern hemisphere turns clockwise. They are both surrounded by a scale with the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colours. The longitude reference meridian for both hemispheres is highlighted with a white line coated with SuperLumiNova. Additionally, a second time zone display is located at nine o’clock and a date (linked to the local time) is indicated in an aperture at three o’clock.
In the dark almost all the elements of the dial and bezel are luminescent, matching with the tool watch spirit of the 1858 product line. The hours, minutes, second timezone hands, cardinal points on the bezel, as well as the arrows (that are used for the compass) are highlighted in green SuperLumiNova, while the globes with their continents, Arabic numerals, and indexes appear in blue SuperLumiNova. This is a nod to the importance of the look of a watch at night and its power to create emotion and pleasure, as well as to build an even stronger bond with our historic tool watches.
While somewhat busy, we find the dial is visually rather well balanced. And as the hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers are very large, legibility is excellent.
Completing the look is a special blue fabric strap. Montblanc describes it as a NATO strap, but it does not have the essential features of the NATO. We can only see that the bronze buckle and keepers keep in line with the NATO design aesthetic. The strap is attached by spring bars to the watch, unlike NATO’s slip on method of attaching to fixed bars.
But the strap certainly has a luxurious look and feel. It is hand made in France, using traditional methods. And it shows. It is not only light, soft and very comfortable, but also highly resistant and quick drying. The straps are produced by highly-skilled experts on old manual shuttle machines called ‘Jacquard’ looms. Designed by Montblanc, they are developed, warped, and woven in the Julien Faure workshops for the Montblanc timepieces, in particular the 858 product line. They are an authentic and powerful “Métier d’Art” preserved and championed by Montblanc.
The movement MB 29.25
The movement within is the Caliber MB 29.25. This movement is based on the Sellita SW300, fitted with an in-house module that features a worldtime complication with two turning domed hemisphere globes, which make a full rotation in 24 hours. The northern hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns anticlockwise, while the southern hemisphere turns clockwise. They are both surrounded by a scale with the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colors. The movement is well tested, and proven in use in all the Geosphere watches.
The movement is tested for 500 hours of simulated wear, with specific testing and controls under extreme conditions. The Geosphere is also tested to a water-resistance of 100 meters to be Certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500.
Movement finishing is unknown as we were unable to open the caseback to access, but knowing Montblanc, we are comforted that the movement will be up to high engineering specifications. And as this is not a Villeret movement, the finishing will likely to be functionally driven rather than decorative. But this is of little importance, as the watch features a closed caseback.
On the back is a beautiful engraving of an image of the Mont Blanc mountain, the complete Messner list, a compass, and two crossed ice pick-axes. An engraving of Messner’s signature has also been specially added to the Limited Edition. We are not mountaineering enthusiasts, but we have it from good sources, that Messner is perhaps the most respected mountaineer, and the inscribed peaks are very meaningful. It made sense to link Messner’s achievements with the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere as a starting point the turning globes on this timepiece include red dots with the world’s Seven Summits (from a mountaineering point of view, the Messner list is the most challenging one).
The competitive landscape
The Geosphere Messner Limited Edition draws its competition from its own brethren. As we understand it the standard steel cased models (S$8,499 or S$9.000) as well as the Khaki and Bronze (limited edition 1858, S$9,500) model is still in the current catalog. We think the collection is the only watch to feature this exact set of complications – the double rotating globes showing the worldtime, as well as the graduated blue dial with rose gold elements in a bronze case with ceramic bezel. Plus the association with Reinhold Messner will seal the deal for mountaineering enthusiasts.
The asking price of S$ 9.500 is also rather reasonable, and if we compare with other worldtimers, precious pickings. Perhaps the Citizen Satellite Wave GPS Super Titanium (S$ 5, 328.60) may be an alternative, but it features a GPS/Radio controlled quartz movement, so inhabits a completely different landscape.
This is just a very very beautiful watch. The combination of the graduated blue dial goes amazingly well with the hue of the bronze case. The base movement is nothing to write home about, but the Montblanc innovation of the two spinning globes showing worldtime with excellent clarity is.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition 262 Technical Specs
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Meissner Limited Edition – 262 pieces
Movement Calibre MB 29.25 with Manufacture worldtime complication
Type of movement Mechanical movement with automatic winding, worldtime
Number of rubies 26
Power Reserve Approx. 42 hours
Balance Flat hoop
Frequency 28,800 A/h (4 Hz)
Displays Hours and minutes from the centre, date at 3 o’clock, Second time zone at 9 o’clock
Turning northern and southern hemisphere globes at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock with a 24-hour scale and day-night indication
Case Bronze with slim curved horns featuring polished and satin-finishing Bi-directional bronze bezel with blue ceramic, knurled finishing and engraved cardinal points coated with SuperLuminova
Crystal Scratch-resistant, domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating.
Back Titanium with world’s Seven Summits, the complete Messner’s list, an image of the Mont Blanc, a compass, two crossed ice pick-axes, and an engraving of Messner’s signature.
Dimensions Diameter = 42 mm; Height = 12.8 mm
Water-Resistance 10 bar (100 m)
Crown Fluted in bronze with Montblanc emblem in relief
Dial Gradient blue with beige luminescent Arabic numerals, rosegold-coated and beige luminescent cathedral-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand, rosegold-coated luminescent time zone hand, luminescent northern and southern hemispheres globes with red dots featuring the world’s Seven Summits and the Mont Blanc mountain, historical Montblanc logo at 3 o’clock
Wristband Blue luxury NATO strap with bronze-coated stainless steel pin buckle
Limited Edition 262 pieces
Certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500