WHEN BRONZE ARRIVED IN HAMBURG
A successful gamble for Montblanc, introducing bronze into their watch collections with two models powered by self-winding movements
The 1858 collection is a homage to the famous Minerva factory established in Villeret, in the Bernese Jura, best known for its technical mastery of chronometry and its chronographs and sports timers. The watchmaking workshop, established in 1858 (the year that gives the collection its name) by the Robert family, remained independent for a long time before being bought by the Richemont group and linked to Montblanc since 2007 – Montblanc, whose watchmaking activities officially started in Le Locle in 1997. During this year, two new pieces were added to the catalogue of the Hamburg brand: 1858 Automatic Dual Time and 1858 Automatic.
Their undeniably retro look is accentuated by the appearance of bronze – a first in the Montblanc collections – on the fixed bezel and the movement crown and setting. This metal with its golden-brown glow is made from an alloy of several metals: a large proportion of copper (between 60 and 90%) combined with a substantial quantity of tin and aluminium, lead, and other ferrous metals. To embellish these two models, Montblanc has used a particular alloy that enables them to control the sulfidation of the bronze and create a uniform patina. The body of the 44mm-diameter case of both the 1858 Automatic Dual Time and the 1858 Automatic is made of steel.
The 1858 Automatic Dual Time version is powered by the MB 29.19 calibre, a self-winding movement that runs the time-keeping, second time zone and the date functions, while providing a 42-hour power reserve. This watch, principally designed for travellers, has three large silver cathedral-style hands in the centre of its black dial that are rimmed with beige Super-LumiNova®. One of them is skeletonized, and shows the time at home. So as not to overload the dial, the seconds are displayed off-centre in a counter placed at the 6 o’clock position, coupled with a date window.
In the 1858 Automatic model, its movement – the automatic MB 24.16 calibre – powers the essential time-keeping features, that is the hours and minutes shown by two large hands that lie above the hour marker which is composed of luminous Arabic numerals.
These two watches are supplied with a leather strap in nut-brown calf-skin with creamy-white top-stitching by the lugs and a steel buckle.
Price: 4,990 EUR (Automatic Dual Time) – 3,490 EUR (Automatic)
By Sharmila Bertin