A source of inspiration for the Montblanc brand since its inception, Mont Blanc is a peak that towers above all other mountains in Europe. Having scaled its heights, I can attest to the awesome vistas of glaciers, glacial peaks, and iced lakes that it offers.
Marco Tomasetta, Montblanc’s creative director describes the new Iced Sea Automatic date as a “way to create that same sense of awe and wonder that comes from the incredible experience of gazing into the depths of Alpine ice.”
That “Frozen” Dial
It is Montblanc’s first-ever certified diving watch and it is clear from our conversation with CEO Nicholas Baretzki that the Iced Sea is no mere “me too” product. Eschewing the purely utilitarian and functional dials of traditional diving watches, Montblanc embraces a reproduction of the texture of ice with its interlocking network of crystals that have been frozen in time for millennia.
Inspired by La Mer de Glace, the main glacier of the Mont-Blanc massif, the Glacier inspired dial is handcrafted to reflect the ice’s depth and reflection. After volume stamping the dial, Montblanc utilises a traditional, almost forgone ancestral technique called ‘gratte bois’ followed by several sequences of printing, lacquering and polishing, each time leaving the dial one night to dry before applying the next layer.
Maintaining a dial of 0.5mm is a real watchmaking challenge and after several trials, the maison found a technical solution to create an impression of genuine depth and luminosity. Employing this technique, the dial of the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date takes four times longer to be manufactured than other dials made by the Swiss watchmaking industry. However, the proof is in the pudding, creating such an effect of depth and offering an extremely realistic glacier pattern.
Deep Diving For Greater Heights
Typically, modern dive watches tend to opt for dot or bar markers for hour indices, but on the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Montblanc pays homage to the age of classical dive watches with luminous rounded arabic numerals for the “12”, “6”, “9” cardinal hours while the “3” remains absent for the date complication with luminous bar indices marking out what remains.
It’s a nice touch of nostalgia further accented with aesthetically updated “syringe” indicator hands – combining sword and plume hands rather than what is typical, this serves not to tilt the timepiece into unnecessary vintage territory since dive watches were never part of Montblanc’s heritage.
That said, what is affixed upon the dial is Montblanc’s original logo as well as its 300m/1000ft dive rating emblazoned beneath and a logo illustrated at “6” to denote its debut as part of the company’s new lineage.
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date comes in a 41mm stainless steel case (largish but not unwieldy for smaller wrists), with a bicolour ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel and a case back featuring a 3D relief engraving of an iceberg and a diver exploring the glacial waters below.
The interchangeable V-shaped stainless-steel bracelet can be quickly and easily switched for a rubber strap without requiring any tool. Not only is the bracelet interchangeable, it is also adjustable on the wrist, so each owner can find his perfect fit, especially when wearing it over a wet suit.
The stainless-steel bracelet also comes with an attractive taper of 20mm to 16mm and is secured by a double deployant buckle. The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date comes in three different dial colours– blue, green, and black – each one representing different colours of glacial ice from around the world.
MONTBLANC 1858 ICED SEA AUTOMATIC DATE
PRICE + SPECS
Case 41mm stainless steel with 300 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic MB 24.17/SW200 with 38 hours power reserve
Price S$4,400 (rubber strap); S$4,700 (bracelet)