Inspired by the legendary professional Minerva watches from the 1920s and 30s that were meant for military use and mountain exploration, the 1858 collection pays tribute to the 160 years of the Minerva Manufacture and its extraordinary heritage. These watches were highly accurate, legible and robust for use in extreme conditions and are the inspiration behind this new collection which is being enriched with new vintage exploration inspired timepieces, featuring distinctive aesthetics, innovative complications, a mix of materials and a choice of different case sizes.
The collection will be composed of five different designs: 40 mm automatic watches and 42 mm chronographs, a 42 mm Manufacture Worldtime Geosphere, a slender 40 mm wristwatch with a 13-line monopusher chronograph movement, and a new multiple-purpose pocket watch with a 24-hour indication and equipped with a 16-line monopusher chronograph movement.
Minerva – 160 years of fine watchmaking heritage
Montblanc Villeret’s watchmaking tradition began in 1858 when Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in the Saint-Imier valley.
The Manufacture progressively gained international recognition for its precision timepieces, becoming a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches and stopwatches. Minerva produced a number of movements equipped with chronograph functions such as the legendary calibre 19.09 (19 lines / launched in 1909), featuring the recognizable V-Chrono shaped bridge.
Several patents for precision timers were filed during this period, attesting to the Manufacture’s innovative spirit.
In the 1920s, Minerva invented one of the first manually wound monopusher chronographs specially developed for wristwatches, marking a new chapter in the Manufacture’s history. This was possible thanks to the smaller size of the movement, the calibre 13.20 (13 lines / launched in 1920), featuring the iconic V-shape bridge – whose design was protected in 1912 – a column wheel, an horizontal coupling and a traditional frequency of 18,000 A/h. In addition to the calibre 13.20, the calibre 17.29 was produced during the 1930s and was one of the slimmest monopusher chronographs of the time, measuring a mere 5.6 mm in height.
These developments symbolize the level of mastery and innovation reached by Minerva over the years and consolidate its reputation in the manufacture of monopusher chronographs with various case sizes and complications.
Upholding the extraordinary Minerva legacy and paying tribute to 160 years of fine watchmaking history, these horological achievements have become the inspiration for the development of the new Montblanc 1858 timepieces.
The Spirit of Mountain Exploration
The Montblanc 1858 collection finds its inspiration in the world of mountain exploration.
Reinterpreting the Minerva pocket watches and chronographs from the 1920s and 1930s, the new Montblanc 1858 timepieces capture the spirit of the past in a modern way, expressing the trend of back to nature and adventure. Combining materials such as a special alloy of bronze that evolves over time with innovative and useful in-house complications, like the Worldtime Geosphere, these timepieces are designed for the modern-day explorer who likes to set his own challenges. He is someone who likes to express his own personal style, lives an authentic way of life, loves adventure, and finds harmony with nature that allows him to reach new heights.
The vintage codes are directly rooted in the spirit of mountain exploration with distinctive designs that are reminiscent of the original Minerva chronographs.
The satin-finished cases have been slightly reworked with horns that have been slimmed down thanks to polished, beveled edges that underline their shape. Other details include fluted crowns that recall those on period timepieces and domed sapphire crystal glass boxes, increasing the robustness and the look of each watch.
For utmost legibility and design, the dials feature striking colour contrasts with their historical luminescent cathedral-shaped hands with “cloisonné” design that have been slightly domed for the finest finish, Arabic numerals coated with SuperLumiNova, railway minute tracks and the original Montblanc logo from the 1930s era with its historical font and emblem of the Mont Blanc Mountain.
Each timepiece is unique thanks to the use of living materials such as bronze cases and aged calfskin leather straps. Very few companies have the knowledge and skills to source the best skins from tanneries and transform them into the finest quality leather straps like the Montblanc Pelletteria, the Maison’s centre of leather excellence where ancestral craftsmanship, state of the art technology and enduring design come together. This expertise allows it to develop a distinctive range of vintage straps, such as Bund strap, that match the aesthetical codes of the Montblanc 1858 collection.
Providing a contemporary look, the watches are also available with high-quality woven “NATO” straps. These straps are handcrafted in France at a traditional weaving manufacture that has been in production for over 150 years. Thanks to this artisanal know-how, the “NATO” straps are refined, robust, durable and extremely comfortable on the wrist.
In order to guarantee the performance of the product line, all the Montblanc 1858 models undergo over 500 hours of simulated wear, with specific testing and controls under extreme conditions. The Automatic, Chronographs and Geosphere models are also water-resistant to 100 meters, ensuring performance in all environments.
Paying tribute to the 160th anniversary of Minerva, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere embodies the spirit of mountain exploration with a professional and innovative timepiece that is destined for those who travel the world in their quest for exploration. This timepiece features a brand-new manufacture worldtime complication powered by the calibre MB 29.25, developed by the Montblanc engineers in Villeret.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is dedicated to the world’s Seven Summit mountaineering challenge, the holy grail of mountaineering adventures where climbers set out to ascend the highest mountains from each continent. The Seven Summits challenge is recognized as the most difficult mountaineering quest worldwide and only 500 athletes have achieved the mission to date.
This timepiece features a worldtime complication with two turning domed hemisphere globes, which make a full rotation in 24 hours. The northern hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns anticlockwise, while the southern hemisphere turns clockwise. They are both surrounded by a scale with the 24 time zones, along with a day/night indication in contrasting colours. The longitude reference meridian for both hemispheres is highlighted with a white line coated with SuperLumiNova. Additionally, a second time zone display is located at nine o’clock and a date (linked to the local time) is indicated in an aperture at three o’clock. With this new worldtime display of the two hemispheres, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere brings a new instinctive way of appreciating different time zones.
The world’s Seven summits are marked on the globes with red dots, enhancing the spirit of mountain exploration. They are also engraved on the case back along with the unique drawing of the Mont Blanc mountain, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes. SuperLumiNova has also been applied to the continents for increased visibility and performance at night.
The black dial of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere features contrasting colours with the addition of rhodium-coated or red gold-coated elements, depending on the models. The watch includes all the design codes from the 1858 collection with beige luminescent Arabic numerals and indexes, the authentic Montblanc logo from the 1930s, domed and resized cathedral shaped hands, as well as a railway track that all come together in this highly legible, vintage-inspired timepiece.
The timepiece comes in two versions, with a stainless steel case or a limited edition bronze case. Both feature polished and satin finishing as well as vintage fluted crowns with the Montblanc emblem in relief. A new bidirectional stainless steel or bronze bezel with shiny black ceramic completes the design. The bezel is also fluted on the flank for a better grip and features the four cardinal points which have been engraved.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is water resistant to 100 metres and is certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500. It comes on a choice of a high-quality black “NATO” strap, a cognac-coloured aged calfskin strap with beige stitching or a new brown Sfumato aged calf leather Bund strap with beige stitching, reminiscent of historical Minerva timepieces from the 1920s and 1930s that were equipped with this kind of strap and that were ideal for military use and mountain exploration. The Bronze series is limited to 1858 pieces, paying tribute to the year of foundation of the Minerva Manufacture.
Guided by the pioneering spirit since 1906, Montblanc revolutionized the culture of writing with breakthrough innovations. Today, the Maison continues to push boundaries and evolve the expression of fine craftsmanship across each of its product categories: the pinnacle of luxury writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods, accessories, fragrances and eyewear. With every innovation, Montblanc offers new functionalities and groundbreaking designs imbued with the Maison’s heritage of sophistication and crafted to the highest standards through the skills of its artisans in each of its manufactures whether Hamburg, Germany for its writing instruments, the Swiss Jura in Le Locle and Villeret for its timepieces or Florence, Italy for its leather goods. Reflecting its ongoing mission to create fine lifetime companions born from the most pioneering ideas, the iconic Montblanc Emblem has become the ultimate seal of performance, innovation, quality and expression of style. With its origins deeply rooted in the culture of handwriting, Montblanc continues to assert its cultural commitment around the world with the creation of wide-ranging initiatives to promote arts and culture in many forms, while honouring the modern day patrons who support the advancement of the arts.
Sharing the Passion for fine watchmaking
The horologic legacy of the Montblanc Manufactures
Centuries of collected knowledge, decades of experience, years of development and hundreds of hours of dedicated labour – they all culminate in a Montblanc timepiece coming to life. With their skills and knowledge handed down through generations, the watchmakers at the Montblanc Manufactures in Villeret and Le Locle put their pride, passion and soul into each timepiece. Villeret’s watchmaking tradition began 160 years ago, when in 1858 Charles-Yvan Robert founded a watch workshop in a small village in the Saint-Imier valley. Under the name Minerva, the company gained worldwide recognition for its precise chronometry and became a leading specialist in the fabrication of professional watches. Capable of measuring time accurately to 1/100th of a second in 1916, its mechanical stopwatches were fundamental to the evolution of modern-day motor racing.
As the former home of Minerva, the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret upholds the manufacture’s legacy of expertise. Here, Montblanc’s Movement & Innovation Excellence Centre continues to enrich fine Swiss watchmaking with ground-breaking innovations. This watchmaking expertise gained from high complications is also applied to the creation of highly functional small complications. In the Manufacture’s ateliers, all the movements’ components are carefully crafted and decorated by hand using traditional methods. The watchmakers chamfer every edge, polish even the tiniest wheel and adorn plates and bridges with the traditional circular graining and “Côtes de Genève” stripes. Their great dexterity and skill are also indispensable in crafting delicate balance springs, an accomplishment only very few watch manufactures manage.
Manifesting in a superior level of craftsmanship and timelessly elegant design codes, the Montblanc Manufactures’s horological knowledge is deeply embedded in all Montblanc timepieces, handing the passion for fine watchmaking on from grand complication timepieces to refined three-hand watches.