Over the last few years Montblanc has developed their ‘hero product’ under Davide Cerrato, a Black Bay-like model that’s instantly recognizable and serves as a talisman for the brand. That hero model is the 1858 Geosphere, a vintage-style outdoors-inspired watch with a quirky worldtime complication that was developed in-house. It’s a watch that has caught the attention of seasoned collectors as well as newbies looking for their first serious timepiece.
The Geosphere was first launched in 2018 and was available in two case materials, steel and an on-trend bronze. Last year’s introduction of a bronze case with a khaki green dial was a runaway hit at the 2019 edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). This year the Geosphere is introduced in a cool modern tool watch avatar, the watch is encased in grade 5 titanium and the gray tones of the titanium case are complemented by a deep blue gradient dial. This Geosphere Blue also marks the introduction of a new vintage-style beads-of-rice bi-metal bracelet. More on that later.
The brushed case is still 42 mm wide, has polished and beveled edges, and is 12.8 mm thick. The grade 5 titanium case is fitted with a bidirectional polished steel bezel with a blue ceramic insert. Like earlier models, the bezel is engraved with the cardinal points of the compass. The closed caseback features an engraving of the Mont Blanc peak, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes. Despite its light weight, the watch has a real sense of sturdiness to it and the bezel’s rotation has a smooth pleasing tone.
The blue gradient dial is dominated by two turning domed hemisphere globes, which make a full rotation in 24 hours. The northern hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns anti-clockwise, while the southern hemisphere turns clockwise. Both are surrounded by a scale with the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colors. The longitude reference meridian for both hemispheres is highlighted with a blue line coated with SuperLumiNova.
A railway track minutes ring sits on the periphery of the dial, rhodium-plated cathedral hands indicate time and the icy white luminescent Arabic numerals and indexes contrast well against the blue dial. The historic 1930s logo is now a standard on all of Montbanc’s vintage inspired Heritage and 1858 lines. A second time zone is indicated at 9 o’ clock and a date window is placed at 3. It is powered by the same movement that powers previous editions, Caliber MB29.25. This is a Selita SW300 movement with a worldtime module developed by the engineers at Montblanc’s Minerva workshop in Villeret. It is a 4 Hz movement and has a power reserve of 42 hours.
One of the cool things about this worldtime complication has always been the ease with which you can tell the time once you get used to information on the dial. To set the time, first adjust the turning hemispheres for worldwide time by aligning the meridian line on London time (highlighted as a light blue colour line on the domes). The two globes are then synchronised. The Northern hemisphere turns anti-clockwise and the Southern one clockwise. Turn the crown to set the hour-hand in hourly increments in line with the local time (the globes are not turning), this also adjusts the date. The home time subdial, located at 9 o’clock, is adjusted via a corrector on the case.
The bi-metal bracelet is entirely new for this watch but will be rolled out on the steel models as well. The gray brushed titanium links are in stark contrast to the polished chrome of the steel beads-of-rice links in the middle. This is a well-executed bracelet, the links are in proportion as it moves from the lugs to the titanium triple folding clasp and wraps well around the list. The watch is also available on a blue Sfumato leather strap, an alligator leather strap, or a fabric NATO version like previous editions. The 1858 Geosphere Blue is priced at €5600 (Approx. AED22,490) on the bracelet.