Since its inception, the vintage-tinged Montblanc 1858 collection has been closely associated with the pursuit of mountain exploration, especially through the distinctive Geosphere series. For its latest release the brand has partnered with legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, the first man to climb Mount Everest solo as well as the first man to climb all 14 peaks above 26,200 feet, to create a special variant of the Geosphere honoring his lifetime of achievements in exploration. The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition is filled with special nods to the mountaineering legend, along with a handsome blue and bronze colorway.
The 42mm case of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition follows the same sporty general form as the standard Geosphere, but is rendered in a warm yellowish bronze. The long tapering lugs feature a nicely executed mix of brushed and polished surfaces, while the bidirectional bezel features a clean and simple compass insert in navy blue ceramic. The overall effect is a classic sports watch look, but the real visual centerpiece of the case is the heavily engraved titanium caseback. The engraving is dominated by a complex rendering of the Mont Blanc mountain, but the design also includes a list of the Seven Summits (the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents) along wit a pair of crossed ice axes, a compass, and Reinhold Messner’s signature. With this rugged, exploration inspired design, water resistance is a must, and the 100 meter rating here is simply adequate.
For the dial of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition, the design is much more in line with previous variants. A dramatic degradè effect applied to the deep blue dial surface looks in initial images to reinforce the warm vintage feel introduced by the bronze case. The overall dial layout is identical to previous versions, with its slim cathedral hands and instantly recognizable dual globe world time complication. These two globes at 12 and 6 o’clock, corresponding to the Northern and Southern Hemispheres respectively, rotate on a 24 hour scale to indicate time across each time zone. While this is already a distinctive and graphic way to integrate a world time complication, the 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition adds another reference to mountaineering in the form of seven dots across the two globes corresponding to each of the Seven Summits. Like its standard production cousins, this dial design feels balanced and handsomely patinated between the khaki lume and smoky dial effect, but the 3 o’clock date window disrupts this feeling noticeably. With all other elements rendered in soft aged colors, the transition to a stark black date window feels abrupt and unconsidered.
Like its standard production stablemates, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition is powered by the Sellita SW300 based MB 29.25 automatic world timer movement. While the base movement may be from an outside manufacturer, the world time module is fully in-house designed, allowing for the unique dual globe display. Overall performance is on par with a standard SW300, with a 42 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Montblanc finishes the 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition with a soft NATO strap in navy blue, matching the tones of the dial solidly while helping to dress down the design somewhat.
While perhaps not the most radical of limited editions, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition offers a subtly and handsomely detailed tribute to one of mountain exploration’s greatest living legends while delivering an attractive new colorway to the Geosphere lineup. Only 262 examples of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition will be made, available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $6,500. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.