The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen Limited Edition is restricted to just 1786 pieces, a number that references the year Jacques Balmant completed the first ascent of Mont Blanc. Simon Messner, an ‘Alpinist and Freelancer’, is scheduled to wear the watch whilst ascending Mont Blanc in what will prove an extraordinary means of validating product performance.
Established in 1906, Montblanc began life as a pen company. It was founded by August Eberstein and Alfred Nehemias, from Berlin and Hamburg, respectively. Initially, the company was known as Simplizissiumus-Füllhalter and focussed on making simple to use fountain pens. Thereafter, the company changed its name to Simplo Filler Pen Co. GmbH.
Shortly after its inception, the firm was acquired by the commercially savvy trio of Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and Claus Johannes Voss. It was under the aegis of these three men that the brand came to global prominence.
In 1913, the iconic Montblanc emblem, inspired by the snow-capped peak of Europe’s highest mountain, was applied to the company’s products. The symbol has since become synonymous with excellent products, encompassing exceptional craftsmanship. Today, the brand makes an array of luxury goods, including bags and leather goods, fragrances, gifts, stationery and watches. Montblanc entered the world of watchmaking in 1997 and has since created some incredible timepieces.
These days, Montblanc is owned by the Swiss luxury group, Richemont and benefits from its vast expertise, operating in numerous market sectors and many geographic regions.
Montblanc has just unveiled a new, limited-edition timepiece which comes with a fascinating backstory and some interesting details. The luxury marque has forged close ties with Rheinhold Messner, a man the firm states is ‘among the world’s most acclaimed mountaineers’. He was the first man to climb all 14 of the world’s peaks and was also the first climber to undertake a solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. Based on the evidence, Montblanc’s statement seems refreshingly restrained. Indeed, it seems that many commentators refer to the Italian as the ‘greatest mountaineer in history’. At the age of 77, Rheinhold Messner has chosen to pass the mantle of climbing duties to his son, Simon Messner. The 32 year-old, along with his siblings, began mountaineering at a young age. Despite his comparative youth, Simon is experienced at scaling mountains, sometimes in the most arduous conditions. His aspiration is to scale the world’s highest summits while experiencing first-hand the unique beauty of the altitudinous scenery in his midst. Simon Messner is scheduled to ascend Mont Blanc with a new snow-capped watch affixed to his wrist. This timepiece, the ‘Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen Limited Edition’, is housed in a 42mm bronze case and presented on a blue Sfumato calf leather strap. The limited edition model features a self-winding movement and includes an interesting array of functions. Aside from the cathedral-shaped hands which impart the hour and minutes, the watch has a date function and a dual time display, located at 9 o’clock.
Two representations of the earth, one for the northern hemisphere and another for the southern hemisphere, indicate whether the prevailing time is day or night. Another interesting characteristic of this model relates to the movement. The Maison has somehow removed all traces of oxygen from inside the watch. Apparently, with an absence of oxygen, there is no fogging, a problem that is often encountered when a watch is subjected to extreme temperature changes, typically experienced when at altitude. Moreover, these anaerobic properties prevent oxidisation and improve the longevity of components. Montblanc has endowed the model with a striking dial. Adorned with a blue glacier motif, the dial exhibits an alluring depth. Moreover, it’s enriched with a generous helping of Super-LumiNova, bestowing a bewitching blue emission in dim light. This nocturnal glow is repeated on the bi-directional bezel.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen Limited Edition is restricted to just 1786 pieces, a number that references the year Jacques Balmant completed the first ascent of Mont Blanc. Since 1913, the snow-capped emblem has served as a beacon, attracting discerning individuals seeking a quality writing instrument. These days, the firm’s reputation for excellence extends to an array of luxury goods including some sublime expressions of fine watchmaking. With the advent of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen Limited Edition, the luxury marque upholds the esteemed reputation of the brand and its capacity to exist in the rarefied heights of luxury. With Simon Messner exposing his chosen timepiece to the harshest conditions, the eponymous snow-capped mountain also serves as an extreme means of product testing. Based on the excellence of the products originating from Montblanc’s facilities in Le Locle and Villeret, I suspect Simon’s watch will perform to a very high standard.