The pre-SIHH 2017 releases are really starting to roll in now, and Montblanc has quite a few cool new additions to its collection. Two of these are the 1858 Automatic and 1858 Automatic Dual Time, a pair of two-tone watches that combine brushed stainless steel and matte bronze for a softer look. They take inspiration from military watches found in Montblanc’s Minerva archive and are fun takes on a well-known style. Let’s take a closer look at each.
We’ll start with the more basic watch first, the 1858 Automatic. This is a 44mm watch with just two hands and a distinctly military-inspired dial. The case is made of brushed stainless steel, with a bronze bezel and a bronze crown, a more rugged take on the usual gold-and-polished-steel two-tone formula. The hands are cathedral-style, as you’d find on old pilot’s watches, the lume is a soft yellowish color like aged tritium, and even the Montblanc logo has a vintage look. I’m a big fan of the styling here, and even like the strap that comes on this watch, a brown leather number with side stitching (where have I seen that before…?).Â
Both the 1858 watches here have closed casebacks, which honestly makes sense for a watch like this. Not only does it fit with the vintage military style (as well as giving Montblanc a canvas for the Minerva manufacture engraving), but also the movement inside is not an in-house movement, and there’s no reason to show it off.Â
On the wrist, the 44mm case wears a lot better than I expected. I hear 44mm and basically assume that the watch is going to be way too big. The 1858 Automatic wears a lot more like a 42mm watch, thanks to the curved lugs and the relative slimness of the case (11.1mm). It’s still on the upper end of what I think I could stomach though, and I’d kill to see a watch like this around 39mm. At that point I might be putting my name on a pre-order list.
The 1858 Automatic will be a part of the main collection and will be priced at â¬3,490 (approximately $3,755 at time of publishing), with official U.S. pricing to come at SIHH itself.Â
1858 Automatic Dual Time
Kicking things up a notch on the complication scale is the 1858 Automatic Dual Time. It is born of the same ideas and inspiration as the 1858 Automatic and has the same two-tone steel and bronze construction along with the same black military-style dial with tritium-like lume and cathedral hands.
This watch though has a lot more going on than the basic 1858 Automatic. In addition to the hour and minute hands you’ll find a small seconds register with a nested date window, a second hour hand for tracking a second time zone, and a day/night indicator just below 12 o’clock. Everything has been thoughtfully designed to minimize clutter, with the date disc showing white print on a black disc so it doesn’t distract from the rest of the dial, and the skeletonized GMT hand hiding gracefully behind the main hour hand when you don’t need a second time displayed. You can tell immediately that Davide Cerrato (head of Montblanc’s watch department and former head of design at Tudor) is responsible for this watch, and in all the best ways.
Despite the additional complications, this watch is still 44mm across and comes in only 1.2mm thicker at 12.3mm. It wears basically the same as the 1858 Automatic, though I do think it reads larger on the wrist because of the additional info on the dial. Probably my biggest gripe wearing these two watches is that the domed sapphire crystals are dust magnets and with the black dials you see every speck it picks up. You can probably tell in the images above and I was wiping the watches down obsessively while shooting them. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, just something to be aware of.
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time is priced at â¬4,990 (approximately $5,375 at time of publishing), again with official U.S. pricing to come at SIHH.
For more on these watches and the rest of the collection, visit Montblanc online.