Photos by David Bredan and Ariel Adams

Two years ago, at Watches and Wonders 2022, Montblanc released the all-new 1858 Iced Sea dive watch collection. The watches were established as the brand’s first regular collection of sporty dive watches, featuring textured dials inspired by glacial ice. Montblanc thusly had entered itself into the sports watch segment, with a creative dial that set itself apart. In 2023, the brand expanded the collection with a few watches, including a new brand-exclusive model that offered a few tweaks to the green dial original. The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition isn’t limited, but comes with some bonuses that give it added charm.

Like the original models, the Boutique Edition has a wearable 41mm case that measures 12.9mm thick; for a watch with 300m water resistance, it’s quite a nice package. I found it to wear easily on the wrist, with the stainless steel case draping nicely thanks to the curved lugs. Finishing was good, with the lugs showing off a polished ribbon chamfer. The crown and bezel are both easy to operate and leave nothing to be desired. The watch is equipped with a domed box sapphire crystal that ably resisted glare. The case itself, though, it’s really what this watch is about. All you need to know about it is that it’s right-sized, wears well, and is ISO 6425 certified, making it a proper dive watch.

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Unlike the other Iced Sea models, the Boutique Edition comes with both the stainless steel bracelet and a fitted rubber strap with green color-coordinated accents (N.B.: the photo in the gallery is of the rubber strap on the grey dial model). The finishing and adjustability of the tapered 20mm steel bracelet are quite good, with crisp edges, unfussy articulation, and a smoothness to the touch that all elevated the watch to competitors’ prices a few thousand dollars above. Both options feature quick-change tabs for easy swaps, but the bracelet clasp is bolstered further by a built-in quick-adjust mechanism for on-the-fly sizing (which served very nicely when trying the watch on). Despite the added functionality, the clasp isn’t bulky, nor is the deployant clasp on the rubber strap.

The dial is the main draw for the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea models, and that remains true for the green Boutique Edition. This is not a new color for the watch: the original release was of blue, black, and green, but those models had color-matched ceramic bezel inserts. Here, the watch receives a black bezel that adds a nice contrast, but perhaps hedges its bets by not going for the full-color blast (there is a grey dial option that also has the contrasting bezel). The dial features prominent sword hands and applied baton and Arabic numerals that are filled with Super-LumiNova and are easy to read against the green. The lume actually contrasts: the hands glow green, while the markers and the bezel pip glow blue. Thinking about the white printing on the dial, I could’ve done without the expedition badge-style graphic at 6 o’clock, but like the 3 o’clock date window, it’s harmless and it does balance out the brand logo up top.

While we often think of glaciers as blue or white, according to Montblanc (and National Geographic), they can take on an emerald green color when conditions are ideal. The texture of the dial is supposedly inspired by the glacial lakes of the Mont Blanc massif (which do not have green glaciers) and is achieved by a process called gratté boisé, which uses a special piece of wood to scrape the texture into the dial. Given the price point and execution (which appears uniform on all the models of this watch I’ve seen), I don’t buy that this is done for each dial. Either it was done to one dial which was used as a model to create the rest of the dials, or the brand has automated the process. A careful inspection reveals the use of both etching and some sort of dot-matrix texturing (seemingly with a topcoat or layer to smooth out the dial), so it’s anyone’s guess as to how these are done. One thing to note is that the dial appears quite different in the metal than it does in renders, with no real traces of the icy white swirling seen in the latter. Instead, it’s really pure texture, and as a textured dial, I found it compelling, if a bit erratic feeling.

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While it may seem identical to the caseback on the non-boutique models, the engraving on the caseback of this model is made slightly more playful with an enlarged, green scuba diver to complement the dial. The bummock (that’s the part below the water) brought to mind an inverted Mont Blanc, whether that was the brand’s intent or not — and I have trouble believing it wasn’t. Under the caseback, the brand uses the caliber MB 24.17, which is based on the Sellita SW200-1, with an average power reserve of 41 hours at 28,800 vph.

With the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea in this green/black colorway, I found myself torn with it on my wrist: did I want the black contrast that makes the watch a bit more subdued, or did I want to Hulk out with all green? I think my personal preference is the black bezel, but the all-green is objectively more exciting.  The 1858 Iced Sea watches are excellent timepieces that wear well and offer a unique dial, which is ultimately their main draw. The boutique edition adds a few quirks, but I’m not sure if I find this edition so much more attractive that I’d spend the extra $315 to get the contrasting bezel, rubber strap, and little green scuba diver. If you’re interested in the 1858 Iced Sea, you have my full support, but unless you have to have the black bezel and the green dial, you’ll be entirely happy with any of the other options (for which I’m sure you can get the rubber strap, and for less than $315).  The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition (Ref. MB130810) is priced at $3,730 USD and available directly from Montblanc, via its website and boutiques. For more information, please visit the brand’s website

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