This my newest watch I picked up while in Vegas for a conference. Itís a Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual-Time. On another post I previewed this watch as well the others I considered. I believe that this and a sister time only watch were released in 2017. This is a throwback design, the likes of which we are getting used to seeing. This is, however, one of the more successful brand new vintage designs available. This watch was mostly favorably reviewed early in the year. Complaints included the size, the movement, the bronze and the length of the hands. Iíll address these as I go along. Note, most pics here have the home hour hand hidden-- the two hour hands overlap perfectly.
Important to note, concurrent with writing this an online MB representative affirmed that there have been no changes to this watch. HmmmÖ.. My watch differs from that depicted on the MB website and also in various reviews Iíve seen online. At the very least the hands on mine are longer, perhaps to address reviewer concerns. The date disk also seems to have better printing on mine. I put an email into MB service and they responded in just a few hours across several emails. Good customer service. Here is their response
ďMembers of our inventory specialist team have seen your photos and assure me that you should not be worried about the length of the hands. The photos on our website are stock photographs and things like color and size may not exactly correspond to the actual product.Ē
The case is 44 mm (47 including crown) and is rendered in stainless steel with bronze accents. The bezel is bronze and so is the crown. Have no idea on the composition of the bronze or the SS for that matter. Sides of the case are satin brushed. The size is wearable for me. Iím 6í2Ē and 205 lbs with a 7.5 inch wrist so Iím not a small dude. It works for me, maybe it will for you too. Since it is supposed to harken back to pocket watches, which were larger, and because the dial elements and hands are in proportion the design at this size works; it looks fantastic and composed. Crystal is slightly domed box type. It does not seem to unduly attract dust as one reviewer mentioned. I enjoy box type crystals, you can peek in at the hands and dial from the side.
The bronze. Yeah, the bronze. Iíve not been a fan of two-tone watches or of bronze watches. I had a Halios bronze watch I always wanted to polish. I own a two-tone submariner Iíve learned to dislikeówanna buy one? Perhaps Iím just not a two-tone kinda guy. On this watch, however, the design really benefits from the bronze accents. No other metal looks like bronze. I really don't think they used it to be cool or because it will patina. This watch is about harmony of design. The faux antique patina color of the Superluminova and the bronze really go well together. So much so that it barely even registers that the watch has fake aged lume. The colorway is so complimentary in hues, positioning, and amounts no one feature sticks out; it is really poetry of design. This MB kinda makes my two-tone sub look like a bit of a hot mess.
Function does not play second fiddle to design though. This watch has a dual-time feature implemented to a 12-hour time display with two hands and a circular day/night indicator window. In true GMT fashion the hour hand is independently set in one-hour increments. Moving backwards runs the date backwards like on my Omega Globemaster. Hope that does not harm the movement... The partially skeletonized home hour hand is visually distinctive and is tied to the day/night indicator. The day/night indicator changes slowly from day to night from about 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock. If you travel across time zones itís reasonable to assume you know local day/night. Having the home hour hand tied to the day/night indicator is useful and intuitive. When not traveling, or keeping track of a second time zone, the hour hands can be perfectly overlapped, which cleans up the display. Nice feature not available on GMTs with 24 hour hands.
This brings us to the movement. People get their underwear in a bundle about in-house movements. This watch evidently has a Selitta SW200 base and an in-house developed module for the second time zone. Nice solution that no doubt kept the price down. Nothing wrong with that and nothing unusual for the Swiss watch industry. So easy for people to complain about stuff they have not thought deeply about or have a stake in. In some cases the in-house movement errrÖ movement has been good for innovation but it has been universally been bad for prices. Anyway, this watch has a perfectly acceptable and understandable movement that is indeed worthy of the wonderful caseback depiction of the Minerva works.
As mentioned above, my watch has hands that reach out to proper aesthetic and functional lengths. Review samples and the official MB photos shows watches with hands that are indeed too short. Seems MB listened to complaints or maybe I got a fluke. In any case the cool cathedral handset is now proportional and super easy to read. I will say, however, that with the size of the dial it is perhaps best and most easily read at a distance greater than my arm length. Lume is really solid and lasts all night. Not a diver, of course, but super legible at night.
Strap is a lovely cognac brown with a curved ends, a full center padding, and a nicely machined buckle reminiscent of the buckle on my IWC. Really great attention to detail. Strap length is just right for me, which is refreshing since so many watches have straps sized for teenage girls. On strap or not this is not a water watch. The crown is push-in, which is neither here or there, but the WR is a measly 3 bar. This is 97.9 feet of sea water. Nothing to worry about for incidental water contact, but not up to modern standards. Would have liked to see 100 meters; that should have been easy for them to accomplish I reckon. Only letdown in this watch. Crown does look cool. Neat shape overall to the crown and nicely integrated MB snow top emblem as well. Vintage emblem on the dial, modern on the crown.
This is a watch I never expected to buy. I thought I would buy a JLC Master Control Sector Date. The JLC is only a little more expensive at $5.7 vs $5k but that JLC was too small for me. The harmony of design and the dual-time function of the MB really sold me. Plus, it looks great on the wrist and has a neat caseback design. Lots of tangible value built in here. Previously, Iíve viewed the MB foray into watches with some suspicion. To me, as a decades long serious fountain pen collector MB is first and foremost a fountain pen company. Their growth into a luxury lifestyle brand is not always palatable to me. This watch I just view on its own merits almost independent of manufacturer. Highly recommended.