In a first time for the brand, bronze has been introduced to three new vintage-inspired timepieces of the 1858 collection.
The 1858 collection by Montblanc is where you’d go if you’re interested in the brand’s vintage-inspired offerings. The collection has just been updated with the introduction of bronze, making the watches look and feel even more vintage. But before we get into the new watches, a bit of history to understand how we came about with the 1858 collection.
For starters, Montblanc was only founded in 1906, making the 1858 name a bit anachronistic. All the more so when the brand tells us that its “watchmaking expertise goes back to 1858.” That’s technically true, but it’s been true only since about 2006.
About 10 years ago, Richemont purchased Minerva, the historic Swiss brand famed for its chronometric functions for precise time measuring. Minerva was then incorporated into Montblanc, and since 2007 Montblanc has been exploring Minerva’s incredible heritage, and developing the higher end of its watches.
It was Minerva that was actually founded in 1858, and because Minerva is now part of Montblanc, the latter’s history was just extended by about half of a century. Simple enough.
Now, back to the watches. For the first time in the watchmaker’s history, bronze was coupled with steel, resulting in a bi-colour, bi-material combination that brings out the best of vintage design.
Not only do the watches look great, but they will also evolve with the owner. That’s because special attention was paid to researching the perfect alloy of bronze that will grow with its owner by developing a unique patina over the years.
For watch aficionados who are after a pure, vintage look we have the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time and the Montblanc 1858 Automatic timepieces. Both feature deep dark dials offset by the nice bronze cases, as well as cathedral hands with cloisonné design.
Fans of the brand would have noticed other vintage codes, like the original brand logo from the 1930s era depicting the Mont Blanc Mountain in the centre. Vintage shaped crowns and classic minute railway tracks that encircle the dials complete the classic look.
I’m a fan of both the dual time and automatic model, but the one that takes the cake for me is the 1858 Chronometer Tachymeter Limited Edition 100.
The design is true to the 1930s Minerva chronographs, but it has been scaled up with a champagne dial that has a sunray finish to match the bronze colour of the case. This gives the handcrafted watch a retro monochrome look that is met with a pop of red colour at 12 o’clock.
This limited edition is powered by a traditional manual monopusher chronograph, the Minerva MB M16.29. Designed in a pocket watch style, the movement was inspired by the original 17.29 Calibre for pocket watches and wristwatches in the 1930s. This new version uses almost the same shape as the original, but features different finishing, including red gold-coloured components.
All three models hark back to Minerva’s military wristwatches and pocket watches from the 1930s. But it’s only the 1858 Chronometer Tachymeter Limited Edition that houses the special Minerva developed movement. Expect it to be the first one off the shelves, given Minerva’s strong collector following.