The GMT hand differs from the pack here, and is mostly black to blend in with the dial, until you get to the bright red, arrow-shaped tip, also filled with BWG9. As I mentioned earlier, the tip is bent upwards into a dog-leg shape to allow it to clear the indices, while still reaching out to touch the chapter ring, making it easy to read your second (or third) time zone. The bent GMT hand is something I’ve also seen on some vintage Seikos, and is a simple, yet creative solution to still allow for the tall indices. Some might call it lazy engineering, or wonder why Monta didn’t just change the dial design to avoid it, but I really dig the dial as a whole and find the bent GMT hand to be a cool detail of the Skyquest.
Monta has one of the best feeling bezels that I’ve ever handled. This was true on the Gen 1 Oceanking that I got the chance to check out, and remains true on the Skyquest. The turning action is distinctly crisp with a very satisfying click, comparable only to a Damasko bezel. There is no play in between the 72 click positions, and it is bi-directional as a GMT bezel should be. While the outer edge of the bezel is coined for easy grip, I did find it difficult to get a solid grasp on it when gripping at 12 and 6 due to there being very little overhang; gripping between 3 and 9 however, is a breeze. Matching with the rest of the high-class build on the Skyquest, the bezel insert here is black ceramic, and is printed with the even digit 24-hour scale, with a neat target-shaped pip at the 12 position, which is lumed with BWG9. The bezel is well proportioned compared to the case and dial and looks great on the watch.
The Skyquest is powered by the Sellita SW330, an automatic GMT movement with a 42-hour power reserve and 25 jewels that ticks along at 28,800 bph. Monta originally showed off the Skyquest prototype at Baselworld 2017, where it had an Eterna movement inside. Since then, Monta has changed their business model to sell only online instead of in retail stores, and have made some cost-cutting measures to provide their watches at lower prices to consumers. One of the largest moves, was to switch away from the expensive Eterna movements, to lower-priced movements. While the Eterna movements are cool from an academic/horological perspective, I understand Monta’s decision to switch to something like the Sellita. Not only are the costs lower, but you’ll be able to easily get this SW330 serviced and parts are easy to come by. The performance of the Sellita SW330 has been just fine during my observation. I wouldn’t make any changes here.
Bracelet & Strap
After I talked about Monta’s cost-saving measures earlier, some of you might have immediately thought that the bracelet would have been one of those areas. However, the Monta bracelet is simply fantastic and easily the most comfortable bracelet I’ve ever worn, being rivaled only by the Grand Seiko bracelets that I’ve tried. The links here articulate extremely well, allowing the bracelet to always drape comfortably. The bracelet is 20mm at the lugs, tapering down to 16.3mm at its thinnest part, with an 18.5mm clasp. Like the rest of the watch, the bracelet has some polished accents along its outer edge, but is otherwise brushed. The clasp features a latch with the Monta logo, and four micro adjusts.
While the bracelet is very comfortable, the one addition I’d like to see would be a tool-less micro-adjust or dive extension like what is seen on the Gen 2 Oceanking, allowing you to give yourself a bit more room on a hot day. However, for those hot days, Monta also includes a nylon NATO strap in the box with the watch. The nylon material isn’t the softest or most flexible I’ve felt, but the hardware is very well done here. The material is a bit stiff, but I imagine it will become softer with regular wear. If you aren’t a bracelet person, the Skyquest is available with a fitted black or blue rubber strap as well, at a slightly lower price.
The Monta Skyquest is a display of what microbrands can be capable of when they really seek something better. While many microbrands relegate themselves to the under-$1,000 price point, Monta has shown that microbrands can produce a really high quality watch complete with the finer details we would expect on a higher-end Swiss piece. From the polished case accents, to the excellent bezel, and ultra-comfortable bracelet, the Monta Skyquest checks a lot of boxes for me, and I greatly enjoyed my time with it. I’m a sucker for GMTs, and the design of the Skyquest is well-executed.
At its pre-order price of $1,575 on rubber, and $1,730 on the bracelet, I think it’s a great watch that will not disappoint you if you choose to spend your hard-earned dollars on it. After the pre-order period ends in July, the prices will go up to $1,750 and $1,925 respectively. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what else Monta creates in the coming years, as I know this is just the beginning and they haven’t yet reached their final form. The Skyquest is available exclusively online from Monta’s site, and begins shipping in August. montawatch.com
>Price: $1,575 on rubber and $1,730 on bracelet during the pre-order, $1,750 and $1,925 after the pre-order
>Size: 40.7mm diameter, 49mm lug-to-lug, 11.9mm case height
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, I greatly enjoyed wearing this watch.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The frequent traveler or really anyone looking for a good all-around, everyday watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: The bracelet. The articulating links make it extremely comfortable.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The clasp. While well constructed, I’d like to see a tool-less micro adjust here.