January 25, 2019
by Ariel Adams
Montblanc is following up last year’s launch of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere with a green and bronze model this year in a limited edition of 1,858 pieces. Debuted at SIHH 2019, the reference 119909 1815 Geosphere is the same as the existing model, but with a new green color palette to match the current bronze case and last year’s black color palette for the Geosphere pieces.
The green and bronze theme extends across three new Montblanc 1858 limited edition models for 2019 that also includes the reference 118222 1858 Automatic and the reference 119908 1858 Automatic Chronograph. As stated above, each of these three watches will be in limited editions of 1,858 pieces. For me, the Geosphere is the most compelling of the watches, given its casual, sporty demeanor and original design dial.
For those not familiar with the 1858 Geosphere, the dial complications are interesting. Essentially, this is a world time traveler’s watch with a little twist. Meant to be as visually intriguing as it is useful, the 1858 Geosphere includes two rotating globes on the dial that move with the dial. These globes display the Northern as well as Southern Hemispheres, allowing you to see what the time is in other parts of the world, as well as whether it is day or night there.
At 9 0’clock is the true second time zone reference, displayed in 12-hour format. Using the respective globes, you can look to see if it is AM or PM in the part of the world where your second time zone is located. Assuming you know the general area of the reference city, then using the Geosphere system is effective. The watch isn’t designed to be a precise world time watch, but rather a useful traveler’s watch when style is as important as utility. I consider the watch to be an at-a-glance reference, but if I need to know a more specific time, then I can consult an electronic device.
The movement is known as the Montblanc caliber MB 29.25, and it is a base ETA movement (I believe) with a module for the world time mechanism. The full complications include the time, date, second time zone in 12-hour format, and the dual 24-hour discs for the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. The movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a power reserve of about 42 hours.
Bronze as a case material is here to stay, but its personality is changing slightly. When bronze first came on the scene, its novelty was related to how it oxidized (or “patinaed”) over time, changing its coloration. Collectors liked the idea of a watch that would turn “unique” for them. Other collectors found the idea of an oxidizing metal on their wrist to be silly. Indeed, while bronze is a cool material, it is inferior to steel in many regards — especially tensile strength (here, scratch-resistance). Bronze has been accepted as a new metal offering because of its color. It doesn’t quite look like gold, but it is on its way there — and it certainly doesn’t cost gold prices.
I’m not saying that bronze is popular only because it looks like a bit like gold, but rather that it doesn’t look like steel. In the watch space, variety is extremely valuable, and color choices win points in that department. The bronze used by more established watch makers like Montblanc is not the same as the corroding bronze alloys used in some early bronze watch products. I like to use the term “stable bronze” to describe those alloys used by companies such as Montblanc in watches like the 1858 Geosphere limited edition. These bronzes will age a bit, but not turn green and oxidize quite like some people expect them too. This is a good thing, and a big step toward bronze as a watch case material being a bit more mainstream.
The bronze case for this 1858 Geosphere watch is 42mm-wide and 12.8mm-thick. It has a rotating navigational bezel with a green ceramic insert, and over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. The caseback has an attractive engraving on it and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters. The caseback is actually titanium but is said to be bronze-coated so that it can match the look and feel of the rest of the case.
To compliment the bronze case material of the 2019 limited edition 1858 Geosphere watches, Montblanc decided to pair them with an outdoorsy khaki green color, which, in their words, was inspired by “mountain exploration.” The collection is very woodsy in a lumberjack sort of way (thankfully, no plaid). I was really happy to see green watches in a sea of blue at SIHH 2019. Montblanc is going all out “camping” with this collection, and the matching green khaki NATO-style strap (that isn’t too long) goes with the vintage exploring theme very nicely. This, of course, is further enhanced by the vintage aviator-style hands, which you’ll see on the dial.
Some people can probably pull off a green and bronze color palette on a daily basis; I cannot, though I do find the refined design and attractive color palette here both masculine and to my liking. It is also likely that most collectors don’t already have green and bronze watches in their collection — which makes the 2019 limited edition Montblanc 1858 Geosphere watches further compelling. Enough that I can forgive the fact that I’m not a huge fan of this antique-style Montblanc logo. Price for the reference 119909 Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition of 1,858 pieces watch is $6,300 USD. Visit montblanc.com to learn more.