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Meet Montblanc's New 1858 Automatic and 1858 Chronograph Watches

Montblanc celebrates 160 years of its Minerva watch production with a three-handed automatic watch and a chronograph model – both complete with stunning deep blue dials that capture the spirit of mountain exploration.


Is mountain exploration your bag? Doesn’t matter anyway. The Montblanc 1858 watch collection was initially designed for mountain exploration but it also captures the essence of a 160-year Minerva heritage. The brand’s Villeret watchmaking tradition stems right back to 1858 when the Saint-Imier-based workshop was first founded by a man named Charles-Yvan Robert. Soon, the company gained international recognition for its precision timepieces. Minerva was producing quality movements equipped with chronograph functions that featured a revolutionary V-Chrono shaped bridge. During the 1920’s it had developed a manually wound monopusher chronograph movement for use inside a wristwatch. The Calibre 13.20 was much smaller than previous movements and was designed to support and protect a column wheel and horizontal coupling. One of the slimmest monopusher chronograph movements of its time, however, was the calibre 17.29  developed in the 1930s measuring a mere 5.6mm height. Over the last few years, Montblanc has chosen to exploit the success of its Minerva heritage after the Richemont Group took over the production facilities back in 2006.


Why the Montblanc 1858 matters…


All these inventions marked significant chapters in Minerva’s heritage. It, therefore, makes perfect sense for Montblanc to naturally want to uphold this long-held reputation for expert movement manufacture with designs like those belonging to its 1858 series. The Montblanc 1858 watch collection pays tribute to 160 years of Minerva production. If you take a close look at the recently launched Montblanc 1858 Automatic watch ref: MB126758 and the 1858 Automatic Chronograph ref: MB126912 watch, you’ll see that both take inspiration from Minerva pocket watches and chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s. Some of the models from the 1858 collection incorporate bronze into their designs, others feature Worldtime functions such as the Geosphere model, yet it is the uncluttered appearance of the three-handed version of the 1858 Automatic watch and its slightly sportier sibling, the 1858 Automatic Chronograph watch, that really manage to entrap the look and feel of these former timepieces so accurately.


Vintage codes are certainly there…



Both of the new 1858 Automatic watches from Montblanc feature stainless steel cases that have been satin finished. They also feature slightly slimmer lugs compared to older Minerva chronograph watches. The bevelled edges and fluted crowns are small details that amplify their appeal to dedicated collectors of original Minerva watches. A domed sapphire crystal glass front adds robustness to the design whilst keeping in line with Montblanc’s clear vintage codes.


The cathedral-shaped hands


It is, without doubt, the cathedral-shaped hands seen in both of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic watches that guarantee that all-important purist vintage look. The curved horns on the case lead to a smooth deep blue Sfumato calf leather strap. The ornate look of the cathedral hands manages to accentuate the roundness of the case and, in both designs, the watch’s blue ceramic bezel with the four cardinal points of the compass on. Other references to mountain exploration are paid on the back of a specially engraved stainless steel case, water-resistant to 100 meters. The back features an engraved image of the Mont Blanc mountain, positioned above a compass combined with two pickaxes. Of course, the addition of the push-pieces on the case of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph watch provides effortless handling over the central chronograph hand and the 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock. The small second sub-counter at 9 o’clock balances the layout of the bicompax dial perfectly.


Both the Montblanc 1858 Automatic and 1858 Automatic Chronograph watches feature white luminescent material applied to the surface of the Arabic numerals around the hour track and the central hands. These glow richly in the dark, marrying with the compass points on the bezel at the North, East, South and West locations. The glacier-inspired blue dial of both watches is also accompanied by the Montblanc lettering below the 12 o’clock location and a detailed minute track around the edge of the display.



The three-handed version of the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic watch is equipped with a Sellita-based movement. The Calibre MB 24.15 is a powerful engine that provides a 38-hour power reserve and performs at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. In both designs, the movement is concealed neatly behind said engraved steel caseback. It’s not the first time the movement has been utilized by experts at Montblanc. It has had success in models such as the Heritage Spirit too. The chronograph version is powered by the Calibre MB 25.11, which provides a 48-hour power reserve, offering hours, minutes, seconds, a 30-minute function and central chronograph seconds.



The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph is slightly bigger than the standard automatic model, measuring in at a 42mm diameter as opposed to the more compact 40mm size of the three-hander. Even so, both versions are cleverly designed to give an overall “snugger” feel on the wrist thanks to those subtly curving lugs.


Both watches are now available to order from Jura Watches. If you wish to find out more details or place an order with a member of staff, call our team today on 01335 453453 or check out both watches here.


Technical Specifications of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic and 1858 Automatic Chronograph

  • References: MB126758 three-handed model / MB126912 Chronograph model
  • Case; 40mm / 42mm respectively - stainless steel - satin-finished - curved lugs - domed sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective properties – 100-meter water-resistant – blue ceramic bezel with four cardinal points in luminous material – specially engraved caseback with an image of the Mont Blanc Mountain and a pick axe-adorned compass.
  • Dial: Glacier-inspired blue / white Super-LumiNova-coated cathedral hands and Arabic numeral hour markers – chronograph version featuring small second, 30-minute sub-counters and central chronograph hand
  • Movement: Calibre MB 24.15 / Calibre MB 25.11 respectively – 38-hour power reserve / 48-hour power reserve respectively / 28,800 v.p.h
  • Strap: Smooth deep blue Sfumato calf leather strap / stainless steel fastening
  • Price: £2,255 (Three-hand), £3,940 (Chronograph)
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