One of the most interesting watches I’ve seen this year comes from a company more known for pens than watches: Montblanc. The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is a watch that shows good taste, has useful functions, and is not outrageously overpriced.
Davide Cerrato, formerly Head of Design at Tudor, is now the Managing Director of Montblanc’s watch division. He comes from a company whose good design choices and laser focus, mainly on one collection, the Black Bay, has been massively successful.
Since his arrival, the company has already begun delivering watches that show Cerrato’s smart design decisions. Not sure if it has paid off in increased sales, but I can honestly say I’m impressed by the 1858 collection, particularly the Geosphere. And I don’t even typically like worldtime watches – this one is just so cool, though.
Available in a 41.5 mm x 12.8 mm stainless steel case (or a limited edition bronze case), the Geosphere is a great universal size for many wrists. The steel bezel features a black ceramic insert and has a compass scale engraved on it. But I’ll get to that shortly.
The black sunbrust dial has a lot going on, but it’s still pretty legible. Large central Cathedral shaped hour and minute hands along with a mixture of printed Arabic numerals and indices mark the hours (although 12, 3, and 6 o’clock have no marker at all). The outer chapter ring has a black on white train track minute scale.
At 3 o’clock is the date, at 9 o’clock is a second-time zone hour sub-dial, and at 12 and 6 o’clock are the Northern and Southerh hemisphere “globes” which display the 24 hour time along with day/night graphics for each of the respective hemispheres. Additionally, the world’s seven summits (including Montblack) are marked with red dots on two turning globes and are also engraved on the case back.
Everything is controlled via the crown.
Driving the watch functions is caliber MB 29.25 which is not a manufacture movement (it’s based on Sellita caliber SW300-1) but does have an in-house complication added on for the worldtime functionality. The 4Hz movement is automatic, has 26 jewels, and a 42-hour power reserve.
One of the features that can be used to help you find your way, and is not just to add an adventurous look, is the bi-directional stainless steel bezel and black ceramic ring with engraved compass indication. Using the hour hand and the sun, you can determine North and South (which can be done with most watches), as explained here. However, with this watch, you can go a step further and then set the bezel according to your North/South bearing based on the sun!
Each watch comes with a light brown calfskin leather Bund and regular 22/20 mm strap and an extra black Nato-style strap. This is something Cerrato surely learned at Tudor, which includes multiple straps with their watches.
The 1858 Geosphere (Ref. 119286) watch weighs 119 grams, has a push-in crown, and is water-resistant to 100 meters. Retail is $5,600.
Learn more at Montblanc.