Vintage vibes with the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph
Looking to the past for inspiration is a familiar concept when it comes to style reinvention. Designers often give a nostalgic nod to times gone by with a vintage-inspired aesthetic, and the world of luxury horology is no different. The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph has embraced this particular ethos with triumph. Part of the Montblanc 1858 Collection, which was created to mark the 160th anniversary of the legendary watch manufacturer Minerva, this striking timepiece is a modern reinterpretation of Minerva watches of the 1920s and 1930s.
Available in two versions – steel with a black dial or bronze with a Champagne dial – the timepiece bears a remarkable resemblance to old Minerva chronographs. The large, sapphire crystal case, with its rugged crown hints at military watches of the early 20th century, while the robust, domed design recalls vintage Minerva pocket watches and chronographs. The 42mm case comes in both polished and satin finishes and is available with a chic, calfskin leather or NATO strap.
Another nod to the past is in the bi-compax counters on the dial, positioned at three and nine o’ clock, a design feature often seen on Minerva’s historic chronographs. They’re perfectly complemented by the elegant, smoked Champagne colour and sunray finishing. The beige luminescent numerals and the domed, cathedral-shaped hands – both of which are enhanced with SuperLumiNova® – complete the retro-inspired aesthetic. One could easily imagine the timepiece on the arm of a 1930s gentleman as well as a modern-day style aficionado. The warm colour scheme incorporates ‘living materials’, with its bronze cases and calfskin leather straps. These materials are predisposed to ageing beautifully, and are therefore the perfect match for this vintage look, creating the impression of a modern-day heirloom.
Along with the rest of the Montblanc 1858 Collection, the contemporary chronograph is inspired by the spirit of mountaineering. Like the recently launched Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition, the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph showcases key design elements influenced by the sport – apt, given that the maison takes its name from the highest peak in the Swiss Alps. The Champagne-coloured dial features the Montblanc logo bisected by an engraving of the snow-capped mountain top. The caseback boasts a relief engraving of the mountain itself, as well as a compass and two crossed ice-pickaxes, symbols of an adventurous spirit.
To represent the collection, Montblanc selected a pioneer of the sport, Kenton Cool. The 44-year-old Briton has summited Everest 12 times and in 2013, became the first person to summit Nuptse, Everest and Lhotse in a single push without returning to base camp. Cool is inspired by the British mountaineering expeditions of the 20th century, often referred to as the sport’s golden age, when adventurers would push the boundaries of possibilities to reach great heights.