“Noble” is a pretty decent name for Monta’s current flagship dress watch. The idea behind the name seems to suggest a certain level of refinement and detail, as well as achievement in the product. It is no secret that Missouri, USA-based Monta Watches wants its timepiece to be considered on par with a lot of timepieces that come from European brands. To do this, the company has made sure that its watches are not affordably priced compared to the European competition, but that many of the same features and qualities you’d find in a Swiss-conceived timepiece are represented. In a lot of ways, I would argue that the minds behind Monta watches have succeeded, and the Noble is a very competent, handsome little watch.
What makes things a bit confusing for consumers is the “Swiss Made” label on the dial. Indeed, this watch features a Swiss Made movement and gets final assembly in Switzerland in accordance with the Swiss legal requirements for the product to say “Swiss Made.” But the Monta company is American and so are its business style and goals. The genesis of the brand wasn’t so much that the Swiss didn’t make good enough watches, but rather that it was clear Swiss business interests don’t quite understand the American market as well as a home-grown business owner might. Monta has seen success in offering a blended message that combines American ingenuity and spirit with an attention to detail and refined design of associated with Old-World values. More so, Monta easily predates many of the newer crop of smaller “indy” American watch brands and thus has had appreciably more time to improve its products and up its game. This fact is very important in the watch world because it takes multiple product iteration rounds before a lot of rookie production mistakes are sorted out.
In addition to its soft lines and legible dial, what Monta is most proud of in the Noble (and its other watches) is the level of detailing and finishing. That means the watch’s metal surfaces are not only given a large assortment of polishes but also that the quality of the polishing and finishing is high and meant to create visually attractive surfaces. This is a combination of how well the parts are initially machined and how well they are polished and treated prior to being assembled into the final watch.
The resulting Monta Noble wristwatch plays with light reflections in a visually satisfying way, and the Noble watch is a rewarding tactile experience when you handle the timepiece. This manifests itself in not having unpleasant sharp surfaces for your fingers to travel over, as well as excellent low tolerances as pieces fit together nicely and how the bracelet links move without unpleasant resistance. Monta is very proud of the level of polishing and finishing that is made available in a product priced like the Noble, and I tend to agree that for this price point, Monta offers a far better than average timepiece experience.
Monta produces a few Noble dial colors, ranging from more conservative colors such as black to more playful colors that are probably intended to allow for the Noble to appeal to both men and women. With a steel case sized at 38.5mm-wide, I would consider this case solidly “mid-sized.” That doesn’t make it too small for a men’s watch but rather puts it in an interesting category where larger people can wear it as a small watch and smaller people can wear it as an appropriately sized watch. I think the Noble is ideal with sleeves, but given that the lug-to-lug distance isn’t too short (47mm) I didn’t feel like the Noble was really ever too small for me. The steel case is 9.7mm-thick, and is water resistant to 150 meters with a screw-down crown.
The box-style sapphire crystal, as well as the sloped, polished bezel, help the Noble watch feel thinner than it is, while also giving it a more classic wearing style. One of the things I believe Monta did correctly was to combine some sharp angles with curved lines for the dial design. The result feels legible and precise, but also curvy and elegant as people like to see in dress watches. The reality is that while right angles and straight lines might be good for precision and legibility, human eyes don’t really like to see that many harsh angles on a watch dial most of the time. The color of this reviewed Noble watch face is blue, but it is done with a handsome gradient so that the center of the metallic dial is a slightly lighter shade of blue than the comparatively black-colored outer periphery of the watch face. The hour markers and hands are applied with Super-LumiNova luminant for viewing in darkness.
Monta further emphasizes visual symmetry for the Noble dial in placing the date window at the 6 o’clock position, which works out rather nicely. Monta refers to the automatic mechanical movement inside the watch as the “Monta Caliber M-22,” but it is a Swiss Made Sellita SW300 automatic movement that operates 4Hz with 42 hours of power reserve. The Noble has a handsome display caseback window which offers a view of the movement and doesn’t seem to make the watch case any thicker than it needs to be.
Wearing comfort for the Noble is very high. That is a predictable outcome of having a polished case with no sharp edges and a bracelet with much articulation. A little extra engineering in the bracelet is not only very welcome, but it further helps distinguish Monta’s products because a lot of the metal bracelets at this price point are relatively basic or even primitive, by design. Monta’s steel bracelet for the Noble has an elegant tapering design and a bespoke deployant buckle. The buckle has a micro-adjust system that allows the Noble to be worn more or less loose on the fly for optimal wearing comfort. This is a feature that can be quite hard to find at these more entry-level luxury watch prices. The Noble bracelet even has two half-links, which means that Monta is very serious about people being able to have ideal wearing comfort, no matter their wrist size or shape.
While the Noble is full of small, desirable details, what makes the product a winner is how simple and approachable it is. Few people need the design explained to them or given suggestions about how to wear a watch like this. Blue is an ideally versatile conservative color, but Monta makes the Noble with other dials for those who seek a different personality in their wristwatch. Monta makes mostly sports watches (mainly because that is what the market demands), but items like the Noble are popular because of how many different types of wearers can enjoy it and the long-standing versatility of dress watches that feel as though at least 25% of their DNA comes from sports watches. Price for the Monta Noble watch is $1,795 USD. Learn more at the Monta website.
>Price: $1,795 USD
>Size: 38.5mm-wide, 9.7mm-thick, 47mm lug-to-lug distance
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Comfortable daily dress watch or for more formal attire.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Watch enthusiast interested in this case size who wants to support an American watch brand that has moved beyond its startup years.
>Best characteristic of watch: Comfortable to wear, easy to style and live with, and great quality and finishing for the price.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Design lacks much distinction.