Introducing The Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H Montblanc has created a watch for the true explorer by Jorg Weppelink May 22, 2020 MIN READIntroducing The Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H
For its new introductions for 2020, Montblanc puts a lot of focus on expanding the 1858 collection. The 1858 collection is inspired by the Minerva watches from the 1920s and 1930s. Tool watches that were created mostly for military use and mountain exploration. The all-new Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H fits perfectly in the 1858 collection and adds its own dose of quirkiness.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw the Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H was the thought of me flipping through the pages of the Grote Bosatlas as a young boy. It’s the Dutch equivalent of the British Oxford Atlas of the World and was first published in 1877. The Grote Bosatlas is a Dutch institution that still captures the heart of many young Dutch boys and girls. I was mesmerized by the variety of different maps and info to go with it when I was younger. It’s precisely what the design of the 1858 Automatic 24H reminded me of. It’s a pretty good memory I must add.
The Retro Design
Besides reminding me of my younger years, the design of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H also fits perfectly in the 1858 collection aesthetic. It was introduced together with the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph as the newest additions to the 1858 collection. Visually, however, the Automatic 24H finds its bigger brother in the 1858 Geosphere. The two watches are most graphic in the collection. And while the retro style hints to a certain age in time, it’s not only there for its good looks. It also serves a purpose. The 1858 Automatic 24H is Montblanc’s take on a one-handed watch that features a 24-hour dial. On top of that, it can also function as a compass. So it’s not only a remarkable watch in its appearance, it’s just as impressive in its functions.
A combination of materials
Let’s start the retro looks of the 1858 Automatic 24H. The watch features a 42mm stainless steel case with the bezel and crown made of a special bronze alloy. The watch is a little over 11mm thick and is water-resistant to 100 meters. It features a domed crystal in the front and a unique “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” engraving on the case back. The combination of materials immediately gives off a retro vibe that is further enhanced by the style of the black 24-hour dial.
On the black dial, you will find a grey depiction of the Northern Hemisphere and 24 meridians made out of luminescent material. Furthermore, the dial features creme colored SuperLuminova coated hour numerals and a beige colored compass ring on the outside of the dial. The red elements on the outside ring indicate the cardinal points and correspond with the big red central that is hand coated in SuperLuminova. The red details give the design the necessary extra zing to make it attractive.
The 24-hour dial lay-out
The most important feature of the 1858 Automatic 24H is that it shows the time on a 24-hour scale. Just like on regular watches, the 12-hour marker is on top. The only difference is that on the 1858 Automatic, it shows midnight at the bottom of the scale where you would usually find the 6-hour marker. The difference compared to 12-hour dials is that you will see a full day pass on the dial. The effect is that you will instinctively start assigning parts of the day to their place on the dial. Mornings are top left, afternoons are top right, evenings are bottom right, and the bottom left it usually the time spent in bed. As a result, you will have a pretty natural way of reading the time and finding its context.
In my opinion, it’s a different and exciting way of showing time. Recently I wrote a review on the Raketa Polar Watch that uses two hands on a 24-hour dial. One for minutes and one for hours. That watch was a lot less intuitive to read because your mind is programmed to recognize hand positions based on 12-hour dials. So I would look at the position of the hour and minute hand and immediately associate it with the indicated time on a 12-hour dial. But the hour hand does not correspond with that scale, so I would always have to look twice. By using one hand, you avoid that problem, and your focus is immediately spot-on. In between the hour numerals on the dial of the 1858 Automatic 24H, you will find a 15-minute scale to read the minutes. It’s a break from the norm without compromising its functionality.
Using it as a compass
The other functionality Montblanc has integrated into the watch is that you can use it as a compass. It’s easy, provided you have a clear view of the Sun’s position. As we know, the Sun always rises in the East and sets in the West and will indicate the South at midday.
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere and set the watch to the right time, simply hold it horizontally to the ground and rotate it until the red hand is pointing towards the sun. If you do so, you can read the compass direction markers on the outer ring of the dial. They will indicate the cardinal points as well as tell you directions based on 5° markers. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, the cardinal points are inverted. The compass function is something you will hardly use in daily life, but it does fit perfectly in the 1858 philosophy of creating watches for mountain exploration.
Price and availability
The 1858 Automatic 24h is powered by the Montblanc caliber MB 24.20 automatic movement, which has a 42-hour power reserve, features 25 jewels, and ticks at a speed of 28,800vph. The watch comes with a choice of a high-quality black NATO-strap, a brown sfumato leather strap, or a matching steel bracelet. If you are a true mountain explorer, the practicality of the NATO-strap would probably be the one to go for. The version with the black NATO strap with stainless steel pin buckle will cost $3,030.
The 1858 Automatic 24H is an explorer’s watch at heart with charming good looks. I love that the retro aesthetic takes me back to my younger years. It did spark my interest in finding an excellent vintage copy of the Grote Bosatlas. And I have to say that both the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph and this 1858 Automatic 24H have convinced me that there is room for the 1858 collection to grow based on vintage-inspired looks and technically interesting complications. Based on that, I can’t wait to see what is next. The Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H will be available starting September 2020. To learn more visit the official website here.
Brand Montblanc Model1858 Automatic 24HReferenceRef. 126007 – black NATO strap, ref. 125581 – brown sfumato leather strap, ref. 125582 – steel braceletDialBlack with beige-colored luminescent Arabic numerals, luminescent Northern Hemisphere map with the 24 meridians, luminescent red-colored hour and minute single hand, historical Montblanc logo at 3 o’clockCase MaterialStainless steel with fixed bronze bezel and crownCase DimensionsDiameter – 42 mm, height – 11.2 mmCrystalDomed box-shaped sapphire crystalCase BackStainless steel with “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” engravingMovementMontblanc Calibre MB 24.20 automatic movement, 24H display, 25 jewels, power reserve – 42 hours, Ticking Speed – 28,800vphWater Resistance100 metersStrapBlack NATO strap, brown sfumato leather strap, steel braceleB Watch of the Week
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About the author
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted… read more
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