Inspired by the vintage Minerva watches from the 1920s and 30s that were once used in the military, the 1858 collection pays tribute to the 160 years of the Minerva Manufacture and its extraordinary heritage. The new Montblanc 1858 timepieces uses design elements from historic models and redevelops them for the new ‘sports’ watch category, mountaineering.
The Worldtime Geosphere was designed for the modern-day explorer who likes to set his own challenges. It is purposed as a travel complication, but with a less commonly seen world time display.
The satin-finished case measures 42 mm in diameter and 12.8 mm in height. A set of tapered and chamfered lugs with a contrasting polished edge is used for a more nuanced look. The case also features a bi-directional ceramic bezel with fluted edges. A matching crown with distinct fluted edges is also used.
On the back of the watch, we see a caseback in bronze-coated titanium with the “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” engraving. Typical of bronze watches, the caseback is usually made with a different material, such as titanium, to prevent allergies, as the caseback comes in direct contact with the skin.
The Worldtime Geosphere is available in both stainless steel and bronze, with the latter a limited edition of 1858 pieces.
The dial design continues the theme of the vintage timepiece, with patina coloured lume and hour indices. The contrasting Arabic numerals are coated with SuperLumiNova®. Other design elements brought back from the past include the squelette hands, railway minute track and the original Montblanc logo from the 1930s.
This timepiece 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 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.
SuperLumiNova® has also been applied to the continents for increased visibility and performance at night. The black dial of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere features contrasting colours with the addition of rhodium-coated or red gold-coated elements, depending on the models.
But apart from the case and dial, significant effort is put into the choice and design of the straps. Montblanc watches benefit from the brand’s expertise in leather, in particular from the Montblanc Pelletteria, the Maison’s centre of leather excellence. This expertise allows it to develop a distinctive range of vintage straps, such as Bund strap, that gives the Geosphere an even more distinctive look. Alternatives like “NATO” straps are also handcrafted in France at a traditional weaving manufacture that has been in operation for over 150 years.
All in all, we found the watch to be quite a good reinterpretation of a worldtimer. It does well in the looks department, with attractive straps and a unique dial design. Engineering wise, the timepiece uses the brand-new manufacture worldtime complication powered by the calibre MB 29.25, developed in-house. The movement houses a 42 hours power reserve and beats at 28,800 A/h.
While some may argue that precision tests are a gimmick, the Montblanc 1858 models also undergo a Laboratory test. This consists over 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.
The Geosphere is a robust timepiece that looks good, but may not be the most instinctive tool watch. Travel timepieces may fare better with more utility in mind. That said, the watch fares well in the aesthetics department, with a cool luminous duo hemisphere dial and an attractive bronze case.
The Bronze series is limited to 1858 pieces, paying tribute to the year of foundation of the Minerva Manufacture.
The Geosphere is priced at SGD8300 for stainless steel, and SGD9400 for bronze.