The Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum takes a shot at one of the most contemporary and useful complications- the world time complication- and has achieved remarkable results. In recent years, Montblanc has built for itself a name in the industry as incredible value proposition, given its creation of the perpetual calendar at US$13,000. Given this achievement, we were curious just how well its succeeding releases would fare.
The new Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum has the earth anchored at the core of this complication, that is named Orbis Terrarum, the Latin term for “globe”, “earth”, and “world”. This timepiece adopts a universal approach, telling the time in 24 timezones all over the world, thanks to a manufacture complication developed in-house by the Montblanc master watchmakers.
The complication of the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum is not only legible but also user friendly. The dial is constructed in multi layers. At its centre, the main sapphire crystal dial displays the continents as viewed from the North Pole which are encircled by the names of the 24 cities representing the different timezones. The continents are cut out from the rest of the disc that displays the oceans in a light blue colour. Under the main dial is a disc showing day and night as well as the 24 hours timezones, which rotates with the movement mechanism.To adjust the time, the desired local city first needs to be positioned at 6 o’clock by the aid of the pusher at 8 o’clock. Then the hours and minutes (which are always linked with the day/night and 24 hours timezones disc) can be adjusted through the crown to adjust the correct local time of the desired city.
In addition to the local time, the time of all the 24 timezones is displayed around the sapphire crystal dial. When travelling to another timezone, the new destination city should be adjusted to the 6 o’clock position. This adjustment is done through the pusher at 8 o’clock. Simultaneously, the day/night disc with the 24 hours timezones as well as the hour hand jumps 1 hour. Once this regulation is done, the local time of the new destination as well as the 24 timezones will be fully synchronized again. Due to the innovative multi-layer dial construction, the times of all 24 timezones can be indicated. A day/night disc shows at a glance where it is day or night on the planet. The rotation of this disc changes the colours of the continents as seen on the dial, alternating from light (day) to dark (night).
Inside the Spirit Orbis Terrarum beats the automatic caliber MB29.20. It is arguably an in house movement, with our reasoning being that while the base of the movement is undoubtedly a Sellita, the world-time module is completely in-house. The module is unlike other conventional base movements which fits the module on top, but rather is integrated right into the movement. That said, for a budget piece, the movement goes with little to no finishing.
The Montblanc Spirit Orbis Terrarum is priced at US$17, 500 for the 18-carat red-gold version. The price for the steel on steel version is $6,600, and for the steel on leather is $6,300. In which case, pun intended, we would recommend the steel on leather version. At the price, the watch is a great opportunity for any collector to own a world-timer complication. It is not only well crafted but is also a statement piece which marks a new era in watch making, affordable haute horology.