Montblanc always strikes me with their broad palette of watches, ranging from good looking and attractively priced timepieces to the high-end complications, driven by the skills and heritage of their in-house Minerva manufacture. The new 2021 lineup brings novelties in the whole range, and there is a lot to be liked. Let's focus on two highlights that caught my attention.
The 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 is the latest in the Geosphere line, Montblancs distinctive globetrotter proposition. The in-house world time complication with characteristic two-domed and turning hemisphere globes has been in the collection since 2018, and today an 1858-piece limited edition in a desert color scheme sees the light. The bronze-cased edition is inspired by one of the explorations of Reinhold Messner, the legendary mountaineer and all-round world explorer. In 2004 Messner went for a 2000 kms. trek across the Gobi Desert, completely on his own.
Inspired by this tour, the 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition 1858 combines the bronze case with a smoked-brown to beige dial color and a vintage-style brown strap. The case-back unveils an engraving that shows the Flaming Cliffs, an important reference point in mr. Messners Gobi trek. The combination gives a new, warm impulse to the 1858 Geosphere and within the price-range of EUR 6000 this is a very attractive proposition.
The second novelty in a very different price range is the 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18. When the in-house manufacture is part of the horological proposition I am always All Ears. I love the heritage and craftsmanship of this famous brand and deeply respect the fact that Montblanc has merged this into their own manufacture, while keeping the Minerva name alive on the place where it counts: the movement. The Manufacture Montblanc Calibre M16.31 also happens to be my favorite complication: a Monopusher Split Second Chronograph. With all due respect to higher complications such as a tourbillon and perpetual calendar, the combination of a monopusher and a split-second chronograph is haute horlogerie at its best, and very few manufactures are able to create something like this in-house.
That places the beautifully crafted Limited Edition 18 in the same league as brands like A. Lange und Söhne and Patek Philippe. The 44mm comes in a 18k gold case that is called Lime Gold. This is an alloy of gold, silver and iron and brings a deeply gold, almost yellow color to the case. It matches well with the gold-colored vintage-looking dial, with centralized tachymeter style.
If you are in the market for a split-second monopusher and already checked the price levels of the direct competitors, the 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18 might turn out to be a pleasant surprise and great alternative to you. And again I applaud Montblanc for keeping the fine watchmaking tradition alive, perfectly blending it with their brand values. A Montblanc is there in almost every step of your horological journey as a collector.