For many years you would hear watch people downplay Montblanc's importance in the watch-world simply due to the fact the brand wasn't historically considered a watch manufacturer. However, over the past half-decade Montblanc has invested a lot into its watch division and has come up with interesting and complicated watches at an affordable entry point.
As part of the 2020 Watches and Wonders, Montblanc has released the new 1858 Automatic 24H as part of its Outdoor Luxury line, inspired by mountain exploration. It is also the first single-hand watch produced by Montblanc. The watch's aesthetic embodies a classical look, however, it is designed for outdoor utilitarian type use. The logo on the dial is a mid-century Montblanc logo, which ads a bit to the retro feeling of the dial. Time telling on this watch is fundamentally very peculiar as it has a lone red hand indicator, which looks exactly like a compass needle. The outer dial emphasises the compass display with directive coordinates. If you didn't already feel immersed in the soil of the earth with other aspects of this watch the dial itself features most of the northern hemisphere with the 24 meridian lines.
When it comes to telling the time you will have to be relatively imaginative in the process. If you would like to use this watch to plan when to show up to your next meeting you're better off with an Apple Watch. There is some sort of process with this piece as the red needle-like hand rotates around the watch on a 24-hour timescale. Not only are you looking at the time with a single hand but you are grasping the time of the day better than if you had a 12 hour time, however, with no to-the-minute accuracy. You will essentially get a grasp at what point of the day you are in during a 24-hour period but nothing exact.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24 (Source: www.hodinkee.com)
The watch can also act as a type of compass if you lay the watch down horizontally on the ground and point the red hand to the direction of the sun that is visible to you. Then by looking at the compass direction markers, you will know where to go.
The watch has a brushed bronze bezel and stainless steel case. At 42mm the watch will stand out on any wrist with lume markers and a black NATO strap. It houses an MB 24.20 movement which functions the 24-hour single hand timescale.
If you ask me for my personal perspective I think it is very cool for Montblanc to do something this left field in order to appeal to a new segment of the market with a compass inspired timepiece. The best part of it is they do this at a relatively low price point of ~$3,000 USD for something as unique as this. The watch will be available from September 2020 onwards!
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