Watch enthusiasts don’t view too much marketing from Montblanc these days, but the multi-faceted Hamburg-based company that is part of the Richemont Group has nevertheless been working on some interesting timepieces. Even though advertising the brand and its timepieces isn’t currently well-budgeted at the company, the big upside is that Laurent LeCamp (who is in charge of the watches division at Montblanc) is a very serious timepiece enthusiast himself. He is also a lover of the outdoors and much of his recreational focus seems to be on mountains and climbing. This is a good thing for the mountain-related Montblanc brand as Mr. LeCamp has not only ushered in watches that relate to these activities but also with personalities that tie those activities back to the Montblanc brand (whose name and logo include the image of a mountain). With that said, let’s take a closer look at the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited-Edition watch.

In 2023 Montblanc introduced a very interesting “capsule” collection of four watches as part of its “The 8000” set. This reference MB130811 watch was the most expensive of them. “The 8000” refers to “8,000 meters,” and the watches “honor” those mountains whose peaks are above 8,000 meters high. In fact, the caseback of this 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen watch is given a special design that mentions all 14 of the 8,000m+ summits. The particular engraving and coloring technology Montblanc uses this for and some of the other recent Montblanc 1858 models (including others in The 8000 set) is particularly impressive and highly detailed.

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Montblanc has done a lot to legitimize itself in the mountaineering watch world. It has placed this and other watches on the wrists of climbers who have traveled to peaks around the world wearing Montblanc timepieces. Not much of this is shared with the timepiece community, but the company really has tried to not only make attractive and interesting sports watches, but also watches that are authentically tested in their “natural environment” outside. This has led to design cues being borrowed from mountain climbing gear (the watch comes with a climbing rope-style textile strap option and The 8000 watches have orange color accents on the dial), along with design cues from the mountains themselves. That includes the gray “glacier-style” sfumato dials, which offer an interesting texture and color. Personally, I think the most interesting part of these watches is the “0 Oxygen” feature. This is most directly inspired by the fact that oxygen is lower at high altitudes (climbers must often bring their own) but translates into an incredible technical feature that I was very surprised to find in these models.

Right now, Montblanc has produced about six different “0 Oxygen” watch models including this 1858 Geosphere Chronograph The 8000 piece. Montblanc points to inspiration from the mountain peaks, but really the brand is doing something different here because no-oxygen casing is a highly specialized process meant for special purposes. In essence, Montblanc puts these watches in a special vacuum environment while they are being cased. Oxygen is replaced with a different gas mixture. Part of this process also removes any humidity from the case. While operating the pushers or the crown will not break the seal, it should go without saying that if these watches need servicing, only a specialist can ensure that the watch continues to have no oxygen in the dial or movement. What are some of the benefits of this technology?

I will point to two main benefits of having a wristwatch without oxygen in it. The first is that you remove any ability for the watch dial to fog up. When dealing with extreme temperatures, watches can be prone to having their dials fog up if there is any moisture in the case and if they experience quick temperature changes. A good example of when this can happen is during flying or jumping out of a plane. Not having oxygen in the cases prevents this. Another benefit is perhaps more relevant to watch lovers even if the effects are less visual. Oxygen is an oxidizer, and that means the gas can break down parts of the movement over time. Removing oxygen theoretically increases the service life of mechanical movements. Note that I don’t think the Montblanc 0 Oxygen watches have vacuums inside them but rather replace oxygen with another gas. I do want to note that in the exceedingly rare situation that a watch movement has no gas in it at all, accuracy over time can theoretically increase in performance because there is no air to create drag on the oscillating balance wheel. I really don’t know if anyone wearing any of these limited-edition Montblanc “The 8000” series watches will ever need the interesting 0 Oxygen feature, but it is very cool, and I admit to being drawn to the collection for this reason.

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The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited-Edition watch is big, but fun. The titanium case is 44mm wide and thick at 17mm. The navigational bezel rotates in two directions and is made of steel with a black ceramic insert. The case is water resistant to 100 meters and has a domed sapphire crystal over the dial. Overall quality is very good, even if this is an expensive product. For those who like this aesthetic but perhaps don’t want to spend as much, the other three pieces in the 2023 Montblanc 1858 The 8000 collection are lower-priced.

Montblanc doesn’t use its MB 29.27 automatic movement all that often, and it is easy to confuse it with the brand’s standard “Geosphere” movement. This module-based automatic has an exclusive Montblanc system for the second time zone on top of a base Swiss Made Sellita automatic movement. In this configuration, the 4Hz, 46-hour power reserve movement features the time with hours and minutes, the date, a 12-hour chronograph, and a two-display GMT system that uses turning globe discs to indicate the time anywhere in the world using a more visual system (as opposed to with city names). Funny enough, this module combines the complications of two other modules, which is probably why the case is so thick. So, if you just want the chronograph or the Geosphere features, there are other watches Montblanc makes, as well as those in this “The 8000” capsule collection, that have you covered.

There is just so much detail and enthusiasm in the entire watch concept and dial construction that it is hard not to be impressed with what Montblanc is doing here. These are pretty enough to be mainstream luxury watches, but everything about The 8000 series says “watch nerd” in a good way. As I said, this Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition is both the largest and most expensive of the limited-edition pieces. So, if the look of these watches compels you, but this model is too pricey, large, or complicated, I encourage you to check out the others. Price for the comfortable, stylish, technically interesting, and still under-the-radar Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition (of 290 pieces) reference MB130811 watch is USD 9,900. Learn more at the Montblanc website.

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