WATCHES & WONDERS GENEVA 2020: Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph & 24H

There has been an interesting level of confidence about direction from Montblanc in recent years. It has been as though they decided on some clear collection identities and are settling in to steadily expand each of these.

The vintage-inspired 1858 collection was introduced as a modern take/ tribute to Montblanc’s own history and that of the Minerva manufacture. This has, on occasion, taken the form of the use of bronze. This has continued into 2020, with a new monopusher chronograph (chronographs are in fact a noticeable theme of the new Montblanc releases, but we shall cover others in later posts) and a completely new 24-hour complication. These two new watches share a combination of vintage look with coloured dials, bronze alloy in the case, and black or sand-coloured NATO straps made in France from what Montblanc says is a traditional weaving manufactory.

First up, the new 1858 Automatic 24H with, as the name states, a 24-hour indication via a single hand. So it’s not like the single-handed timepieces with which we are all probably more familiar and which do one rotation every twelve hours; think of it more like a GMT hand. Montblanc have also added compass points as well for additional help and accuracy if you use your watch as a compass.

The the time is indicated on a 24-hour scale using a red hand coated in Super-LumiNova. This hand does double duty for the compass. The compass scale, with cardinal points in red and markers every five degrees, is displayed in a beige-coloured ring around the outer part of the dial.

The sun indicates South at midday. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, once the watch is set to the correct time, place the watch horizontal to the ground and rotate it until the extremity of the hour hand is pointing towards the sun to align all the cardinal points – North is located at 24h and South at 12h. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the cardinal points are inverse.

Or to put it in a more long-winded way, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere – when the sun is visible, lay the watch flat facing upwards in your palm so that its face is parallel with the ground. In the Northern hemisphere the hour hand is pointed toward the sun, and South is midway between the hour hand and 1200 hours, standard time. If on daylight savings time, the north-south line is found between the hour hand and 1300 hours. Before noon, measure clockwise from your hour hand to the 12 o’clock marking. After noon, go counterclockwise from your hour hand to the 12 o’clock marking. The middle point between the two marks South, while the point directly across from it marks North.

For the Southern Hemisphere, the 1200 hour is pointed toward the sun and halfway between 1200 hours and the hour hand will be a north line. If on daylight savings time, the north line lies midway between the hour hand and 1300 hours. Obviously, daylight saving time must also be taken into account here as well.

The black dial with its map of the Northern Hemisphere and 24 meridians has Super-LumiNova-coated elements and the 24 hour numerals, indices, and single hour are lumed.

Inside is the automatic Montblanc Calibre MB 24.20 which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 42 hours.

The 42mm sized case is bi-metal, stainless steel with a fixed bezel and crown in bronze alloy, and water resistant to 100m. It has an AR-coated domed box-shaped sapphire crystal and on the steel case back, a “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” engraving. It will also be available in stainless steel.

I mentioned the French NATO strap. The 24H is also available with a cognac coloured calfskin strap with beige stitching, or on a stainless steel bracelet. It will be available from September 2020.

The second piece with the bronze touch is the new limited edition (1,858 pieces of course) 1858 Monopusher Chronograph. The 42mm case is a bronze alloy and has a domed box-shaped sapphire crystal, and is water resistant to 100m. The single chronograph pusher is integrated into the bronze crown.

Dial-wise the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph is black, with the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a small seconds at 9 o’clock. Both of these sub dials and the chronograph’s elapsed seconds utilise white hands as a point of contrast. The dial has a beige-coloured railway track, a telemetre scale, lumed rose gold-coated cathedral styled hands, and beige-coloured Super-LumiNova on the numerals.

Inside is the automatic Calibre MB. 25.12 which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of 48 hours.

On the titanium case back (with bronze coating) is the same “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” engraving as on the new 24H model.

The NATO strap that comes with this new model is beige with a bronze-coated stainless steel buckle and looks great with the bronze case and dial colour scheme.

Like the first model, this limited edition 1858 Monopusher Chronograph in a stainless steel variant. It is not limited and you have the option of either a cognac-colour calfskin strap or stainless steel bracelet that is a combination of satin-brushed rectangular and polished grains-of-rice links.

Even if we can’t (well those of us who don’t live amongst them, anyway) explore mountains or much else right now, it’s still nice to think about it, and there’s always a use for a chronograph, even if it is just for timing your coffee or eggs in isolation.


[Photo credit: Montblanc]

Categories: Limited Editions, Montblanc, SIHH/ Watches & Wonders GVA 2020, watches

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