Watches & Wonders 2023 was the perfect opportunity for Montblanc to launch new daring pieces: Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Collection, Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection, a spectacular Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph and the Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva Limited Edition.
A New Grey Dial Color Joins the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Collection
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date is back with a new colour and a boutique exclusive.
Inspired by Ice – A New Color Joins the Collection Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea
Following the success of the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date launched in 2022 with its frozen dials, the Maison returns with a new dial colour in an elegant shade of grey. This new grey glacier pattern dial was inspired by the ice of one of the Mont-Blanc mountain’s largest glaciers – the Mer de Glace. In certain light, the glacial ice appears grey as it reveals the mineral deposits that have been captured in its structure for millennia. This new Iced Sea edition comes in a 41mm stainless steel case with a caseback featuring a 3D engraving of an iceberg and a black scuba diver exploring the glacial waters below.
The Creative Process
The process of creating the glacier dials employs a special technique called gratté-boisé as the base and gives each dial the impression of genuine depth and luminosity, while the process for the engravings on the casebacks are realized using a laser that first structures the metal to create a 3D relief image that provides depth and realism thanks to a series of matte and shiny finishes, creating a fascinating contrast.
ISO 6425 Norm for Diving
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Editions are more than sports watches, they are diving instruments, conforming to the ISO 6425 norm. In addition, each timepiece has undergone the Montblanc Laboratory Test to ensure that they are shock, magnetic, temperature, and water-resistant (approx. 30 bar) and that their fasteners are reinforced for enhanced security.
The timepieces also need to be visible in all conditions. For this, Montblanc has incorporated white Super-Luminova® on the hands, indexes, and the dots at 12 o’clock on the bezel, which all glow in a luminescent shade in blue low light, keeping with the glacial theme. The dials are further highlighted by uni-directional ceramic bezels with the first 15 minutes in a contrasting color, which is an important distinction for diving watches.
An Interchangeable and Adjustable Bracelet
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea collection includes the addition of interchangeable stainless steel bracelets which can be quickly and easily switched for a black rubber strap – with stitching to match the dial color – without the need to return to the boutique or the use of any tools. Not only are the bracelets interchangeable, but they are also adjustable on the wrist, so each owner can find their perfect fit, especially when wearing their watch over a wet suit.
The stainless steel bracelets also come with an attractive taper of 20 – 16mm and are secured by a double deployant buckle. The tapered bracelets make the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date timepieces stand out through their character, elegance and excellent quality-price ratio. Stainless steel and rubber were also the materials of choice thanks to their durability in a salty water environment.
Capturing Glaciers in a New Montblanc Boutique Edition
Joining this latest grey edition in the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Collection, the Maison is also unveiling a new Boutique Edition with a green glacier dial that gives the impression of looking into the depths of glacial ice. While most glaciers are white or blue in color, some also come in a deep emerald green color thanks to iron oxides captured in the ice. This is the second green edition in the Iced Sea collection, differing from the previous model thanks to its fitted black ceramic bezel (instead of the previous green one) and a 3D-engraved caseback featuring a larger scuba diver in green, subtly making this special Boutique Edition stand out even more. This Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition comes in a 41mm stainless steel case and will be available exclusively in Montblanc boutiques across the world.
All Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date timepieces are powered by automatic movements and indicate the hours, minutes, seconds, and a date at three o’clock. They also come with a recycled and 100% recyclable watch pouch so that the wearer is even better equipped and ready for their next adventure.
Reaching the Top of the World with the New Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection
Montblanc unveils a new capsule collection that pays tribute to the world’s 14 highest peaks and the inspiring alpinists who dared to climb them
The Eight Thousanders
The new Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection puts the world’s 14 highest peaks in the spotlight. These mountains – all measuring over 8000 meters above sea level – are challenging and dangerous to ascend as there is hardly enough oxygen for a human body to physiologically survive for more than a few hours.
Montblanc Mark Maker Reinhold Messner was the first to climb all 14 peaks without supplemental oxygen between the years of 1970 and 1986, while Nimsdai Purja, one of Montblanc’s most recent Mark Makers, was the fastest person to climb all 14 peaks in 2019. He achieved this feat in just six months and six days, breaking six records in the process (normally, a single expedition would take a trained climber, with the necessary authorizations, over 12 months to complete).
Montblanc 1858 – The 8000 Zero Oxygen
All four of the Montblanc 1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection models join the Maison’s series of “Zero Oxygen” timepieces that feature several benefits for explorers who need their equipment to work in harsh environments. Zero oxygen inside the case not only eliminates fogging, which can occur with drastic temperature changes at altitude, but also prevents oxidization. Without oxygen, all the components last longer and will provide unfaltering precision over time. Each timepiece comes with a certificate as proof of this special, yet invisible, technology and guarantees that it has been successfully encased without oxygen.
The Sfumato effect combined with the glacier dial
For the Montblanc 1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection, each timepiece is fitted with a Sfumato dark grey Glacier pattern dial that replicates the colour of the rock and ice at 8000 meters and fades darker towards the exterior of the dial. The Sfumato effect is an old Italian technique that allows tones and colours to shade gradually into one another, producing softened outlines and hazy forms. The addition of the Sfumato technique here is a nod to the visual effect of being at high altitude and observing mountains as far as the eye can see.
To provide the glacier pattern, the dial makers employed a special technique called gratté-boisé as the base, giving the dial the impression of genuine depth and luminosity. This time-consuming process takes three times longer than a standard dial to complete and requires over 20 separate steps.
Orange is an important colour on the mountain. It is featured in mountaineering outfits and equipment so that alpinists can be visible against snow and ice in bad weather and improve their chances of being spotted in case of an emergency. The colour is also found on the Tibetan amulets that are made of Dzi and coral beads and worn by mountaineers – Messner included – as they are believed to bring positive spiritual power. This orange hue has been included on the dials of the Montblanc 1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection for a touch of colour that stands out against the icy grey background.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition 290 – 44mm
Following his recording breaking ascent to Everest with the first Montblanc 1858 0 Oxygen timepiece in May 2022 without supplemental oxygen, Mark Maker Nimsdai Purja continues to serve as the inspiration for the latest edition of the watch that’s ready to accompany him on his next adventure – the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition 290.
The timepiece is powered by Montblanc’s Manufacture automatic chronograph with worldtime complication, Calibre MB 29.27, which has a power reserve of approx. 46 hours. The timepiece includes two 3D turning globes with the Northern Hemisphere at 12 o’clock and the Southern Hemisphere at six o’clock. North Hemisphere feature 14 orange dots, marking the location of the 8000m peaks, surrounded by Day&Night indicators. Both hemispheres also use the colour orange to mark the Greenwich reference meridian for easy setting of the worldtime function.
The chronograph functions are made up of a central chronograph seconds hand, a 30-minute chronograph counter at three o’clock, and a 12-hour chronograph counter at nine o’clock – all with orange-tipped hands. The chronograph is operated via pushers on either side of the crown. There is also a date at three o’clock and a glacial blue luminescence added to the hours, minutes, numerals, indexes, continents, and cardinal points of the bezel for visibility at night.
The 44mm titanium case, which has been assembled without oxygen, comes with a fluted bi-directional black ceramic bezel with cardinal points, and a 3D coloured laser engraving on the caseback. The engraving showcases the list and profiles of the 14 Eight Thousander peaks according to Nimsdai. The engraving also includes the name of the watch, two inspirational quotes from Nimsdai, three Himalayan prayer flags for good fortune, and the mention “Limited Edition.
The watch comes with an interchangeable anthracite textile strap, the design of which has been inspired by the rope – a vital tool to any mountaineer.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 42mm
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 is inspired by Montblanc’s Mark Maker Reinhold Messer, who was the first mountaineer to climb all 14 of the planet’s highest peaks, and is considered among the greatest alpinists and explorers of our time.
The timepiece is powered by the MB 29.25 automatic movement with Manufacture worldtime complication, which includes turning Northern and Southern Hemisphere globes, a 24-hour scale, Day&Night indications, dual time display, and a date. The timepiece comes in a 42mm titanium case with a fluted bi-directional black ceramic bezel with the cardinal points and is fitted with a Sfumato dark grey glacier pattern dial with orange accents, and an interchangeable titanium bracelet with a taper and fine adjustment system.
The caseback for this model features the K2, the world’s second-highest mountain that was chosen by Reinhold Messner himself. The K2 is widely considered the most difficult, technical, and dangerous summit to climb due to the unpredictable weather which can whip up winds in an excess of 200 km/h.
The route climbs at a sharp angle of around 60o and is extremely exposed to the elements. There is no easy way to the top and it is often referred to as the “savage” or “merciless” mountain. Messner first reached the summit in 1979 and the weather was so perfect at the top that he could see for over 200km. He stayed there for a moment, enjoying the beauty of the landscape, and it is for this reason he chose it for this timepiece. This mountain takes its honorary place on the caseback thanks to a 3D laser engraving that provides special colour shading, depth, and realism.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 42mm
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 is powered by the MB 25.13 automatic chronograph movement with a power reserve of approx. 48 hours. It comes in a 42mm stainless steel “zero oxygen” case and is adorned with a fluted bi-directional black ceramic bezel with the cardinal points; a dark grey Sfumato glacier patterned dial; and blue luminescence on the hour and minute hands, applied Arabic numerals, and cardinal points.
For the functions, there is a black seconds’ counter at nine o’clock, a central chronograph seconds hand with an orange tip, and a 30-minute chronograph counter at three o’clock, also with an orange tip to highlight the chronograph indications. Other orange accents can be found every 15 minutes on the railway track that encircles the dial. The caseback is engraved with the “Spirit of Exploration” pattern and the watch is fitted with an interchangeable tapered stainless steel bracelet with a fine adjustment system.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 41mm
The 1858 Montblanc Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 comes in a 41mm stainless steel case, again without oxygen, and features a fixed black ceramic bezel with the cardinal points. The dial is fitted with the same dark grey Sfumato glacier pattern as the other models in the capsule collection and includes applied Arabic numerals; a central seconds hand; a date at three o’clock; as well as blue luminescence on the hour and minute hands, numerals and cardinal points. Other details include a minute scale with orange indications every 15 minutes, an interchangeable tapered stainless steel bracelet with a fine adjustment system, and an engraving of the “Spirit of Exploration” on the caseback. The watch is powered by the automatic calibre MB 24.15 with approx. 38 hours of power reserve.
All four models in this capsule collection celebrate Montblanc’s connection to the mountain while showcasing some of the latest technical novelties, converting these timepieces into professional sports watches for explorers who demand enhanced performance on their adventures.
Distressed Steel Creates a New Look for The Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph
The Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph gets a contemporary look in a limited edition of 88 pieces in distressed steel
A New Limited Edition
Following the release of two limited editions of the Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph in 2022 in Lime Gold (limited edition of 18 pieces) and stainless steel (limited to 58 pieces), Montblanc is unveiling a new limited edition in distressed steel, giving this model a more contemporary look.
This distressed steel finish is achieved by treating the 43mm stainless steel case with a black coating. The material is then manually washed and brushed with quartzite from the Mont-Blanc and limestones from the “V”-shaped mountain opposite the Villeret Manufacture, called La Combe Grède, bringing the mountain and the valley together. This interesting treatment gives each timepiece its very own individual patina and appearance.
This new version comes with a white gold fluted bezel inspired by Minerva’s first fluted bezel that dates back to 1927, adding a new level of finesse to the model. It is fitted with a black nubuck alligator strap with a distressed steel triple-folding clasp, and includes a caseback featuring an engraving of the historic Minerva Manufacture.
A Closer Look at the Monopusher Chronograph
The Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition features a historic hand-wound Minerva MB M16.29 movement with all its meticulous hand-finishing. This mesmerizing movement has been flipped over to display all the mechanical action on the dial side of the watch. At first glance, the viewer may think it is a skeletonized movement, but a closer look reveals that this historic chronograph movement is on full display on the dial side of the watch.
This is one of the first times in Minerva’s 165-year history that a timepiece features the movement on the dial, making it an object of desire for watch lovers who wish to admire the movement without altering their timepiece.
Turning a movement over sounds simple, but it is a technical feat as the direction of the hands also has to be reversed. The MB M16.29 calibre was one of the only movements in Montblanc’s archive of chronographs where this could be achieved. Reversing the direction of the dial hands required the addition of 21 components, making this more than an aesthetic feature, but a truly technical one too.
And just for fun, the Maison has turned the last digit of the reference number upside down to represent this change, so MB M16.29 becomes MB M16.26.
When the Movement Becomes the Dial
Looking through the sapphire crystal into the depths of the movement, the viewer can immediately perceive the detailed level of finishing on the sanded German silver movement and the beauty of the bridges and plates that have been coated with anthracite ruthenium to match the tone of the case. A keen eye will also detect the Maison’s unique snailed diamantage coquille motif and the thorough polishing, which includes the inner angles of the components, a feat in itself.
Signature Minerva Movement Design
In keeping with all Montblanc’s complicated movements, the distinctive Minerva arrow and the Maison’s “V”-shaped bridge are also on display. The Minerva arrow is a tribute to the Roman Goddess who is always depicted with her arrow-tipped staff in hand, and the unusual “V”-shaped bridge comes from the view of the mountains seen from the watchmakers’ window in Villeret, a sight that has been a constant since the founding of the workshop in 1858.
Particular attention has been paid to the indications so that they don’t distract from the movement with an open-worked 30-minute chronograph counter, an open-worked small seconds display, and elegant hands and indexes that have been created with Super-LumiNova® for enhanced legibility.
This Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition unveils the secret of the Maison’s watchmaking past in a timepiece that is contemporary for today’s watch lovers.
Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva Reimagines the Chronograph
The Maison unveils a bezel-activated chronograph function to celebrate 165 years of Minerva watchmaking as well as the 100th anniversary of its first wristwatch chronograph movement.
Montblanc introduces its new Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva, a timepiece that rethinks the expected. Based on a historic calibre from 1923, all the traditional Minerva design codes and watchmaking finishes are present, and yet this chronograph is highly avant-garde. A keen eye will immediately notice the absence of chronograph pushers, raising the question – how does this chronograph work?
Thanks to a new mechanical function, the Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva chronograph is activated via its elegant 18K gold fluted bezel, a feature that defines all new timepieces crafted at the manufacture in Villeret. Just one click of the bezel will start the chronograph, a second click will stop it, and a third click will reset it, transforming the way a chronograph has traditionally been activated. This hidden feature respects the beauty of the historic calibre, while incorporating modern-day know-how to create a contemporary timepiece.
A Double Anniversary
This year marks the 165th anniversary of the founding of the Minerva Manufacture, as well as the 100th anniversary of its first wristwatch chronograph movement, the Calibre 13.20. This historic calibre from 1923 was reworked in 2003 with new materials and finishings to make it more contemporary, although the original construction remained the same, with just the reference changing to Calibre 13.21. This year, an intriguing new chronograph function is being added to the Calibre 13.21 in celebration of these milestones, attesting to Minerva’s history in the production of professional timekeepers.
Despite the 100th anniversary of the Calibre 13.20 movement, the Maison’s chronograph story goes back even further in time. Montblanc’s Villeret watchmaking tradition began in 1858 when Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in the Saint-Imier valley. As early as the 1880s, the Minerva Manufacture in Villeret had already gained international recognition for its precise timekeepers. In 1909, Minerva started to develop chronographs, quickly becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches, and in 1923 – exactly a century ago – it unveiled its first manually wound monopusher chronograph dedicated to wristwatches.
Fast-forward 100 years, Montblanc is now unveiling a chronograph function that shows how Montblanc is continuing the Minerva legacy, transforming it from the past to the present through design, style, and technical expertise.
The Story of the White Gold Fluted Bezel
In 1927, Minerva was among the first manufactures to make a fluted bezel as well as an internal countdown rotating bezel. This was followed in 1939 by its first wristwatch chronograph with an external rotating bezel and a reset function.
In 2022, the Maison unveiled the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88 inspired by these rare external rotating bezel models. The key elements from the past included a fluted bezel, now in white gold, and Minerva’s recognizable red arrow that allowed a quick and easy reading of elapsed time.
The Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva
The new Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva takes the fluted bezel from the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow and turns it into a chronograph function, marking the first time in Montblanc’s watchmaking repertoire it has been possible to activate a chronograph without having to push on something. The chronograph function is operated through the unidirectional rotating bezel (turning clockwise), avoiding any mishandling. One-click will start the chronograph, the second will stop it, and the third will reset it. The bezel has 30 jumps/steps per whole turn, meaning that it can time 10 separate events in one complete turn. Montblanc is one of the rare watchmaking company to have developed such a system and has filed several patent applications for it.
The Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper is being debuted with two limited editions. The first comes in a stainless steel case with an 18K white gold bezel, blue dial, and red accents. This model is limited to 100 pieces in reference to the 100-year anniversary of the Calibre 13.20. The second limited edition is housed in a Lime Gold case, features a dark green dial, and comes in a more exclusive limited edition.
Both timepieces come in a 42mm size with a dial design that is inspired by Minerva chronographs from between the 1940s and 1960s with their sunray finishing; luminescent hands, numerals, and indexes; elegant sub-dials; tachymeter scales (with a base of 1000m, 400m, and 200m); and coloured accents for easy reading. Each model is fitted with a matching-coloured interchangeable alligator leather strap.
Calibre MB M13.21
The Calibre MB M13.21 is the latest version of the historical Calibre 13.20 movement that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Calibre MB M13.21 is a hand-finished, manually wound movement with a 60-hour power reserve. The chronograph seconds are indicated with a contrasting colored chronograph seconds hand with the Minerva arrow as the counterweight, while a 30-minute chronograph counter is positioned at three o’clock, and a small seconds’ indication balances the dial at nine o’clock.
A Caseback that Pays Tribute to the Minerva Legacy
The Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva is completed with a caseback that tells the complete story of Minerva, starting with the name of the collection and the date of birth of the Minerva Manufacture at six o’clock. On an inner ring, key dates from the Minerva chronograph story are separated by little stars from the original Minerva logo, with the Minerva arrow at 12 o’clock. These key dates include:
1887 – Minerva brand and arrow symbol registered on July 30th, 1887.
1908 – Development of the first Manufacture chronograph movement (19/9CH) for pocket watches.
1912 – The Minerva V-shaped chronograph bridge is patented on April 10th.
1920 – Development of the Manufacture chronograph Calibre 13.20 for wristwatches.
1927 – Production of Minerva’s first fluted bezel and internal countdown rotating bezel.
1929 – Development of the Manufacture chronograph Calibre 17.29 (evolution of the Calibre 19/9CH)
1948 – Development of the Pythagore Manufacture Calibre 48 using the Golden Section ( = 1.618…).
2003 – Development of the Manufacture chronograph Calibres MB M13.21 and MB M16.29, respectively, inspired by the historical Calibres 13.20 and 17.29.
2023 – Launch of the chronograph function through the bezel.
Through the caseback, 165 years of watchmaking novelties are documented, right up to the present day with the introduction of Montblanc Unveiled Timekeeper Minerva Limited Editions. Their classic and elegant aesthetic holds within it one of the most fascinating chronograph novelties of watchmaking’s modern era, showing that the Montblanc chronograph story is only getting started.
Synonymous with excellence in craftsmanship and design, Montblanc has been pushing the boundaries of innovation ever since the Maison first revolutionized the culture of writing in 1906. Ingenuity and imagination continue to be driving forces for the Maison today as it advances its expression of fine craftsmanship across product categories: writing instruments, watches, leather goods, new technologies and accessories. Reflecting upon its ongoing mission to create fine lifetime companions born from bold ideas and expertly crafted through the skills of the Maison’s artisans, the iconic Montblanc Emblem has become the ultimate seal of performance, quality and an expression of sophisticated style. As part of its on-going commitment to elevating and support those who strive to leave their mark, Montblanc continues to assert its encouragement of education programs around the world and initiatives that inspire people to express their full potential.