Two Gorgeous Montblanc Chronographs Set Side By Side

If you could choose only one, which will it be?

BY Celine Yap | Mar 13, 2018 | Feature

If the new 1858 collection is anything to go by, 2018 is a good year for Montblanc. The brand received a massive boost in the design department the day superstar managing director Davide Cerrato walked through Montblanc’s doors. With immaculate taste in aesthetics and unquestionable acumen in product development, Cerrato applied his Midas touch to Montblanc’s flagship collections which includes the Star Legacy, TimeWalker and 1858 lines. 

The 1858 is beyond all doubt the watch collector’s favourite because it’s the closest in history and pedigree to the Minerva story–Minerva being a manufacture of traditional mechanical timekeepers. Watches in the 1858 collection often come with exquisitely finished Minerva calibres which are absolutely stunning to see. They can be readily identified by their devil’s tail chronograph hammer inspired by Minerva’s original arrowhead logo.

This year Montblanc launched five new 1858 models: an automatic chronograph, a two-hand automatic, a dual-time Geosphere model, a monopusher chronograph and an extra-large pocket watch with built-in compass. In the spirit of Minerva’s heritage as a chronograph specialist, 2018 being the 160th anniversary of Minerva’s founding, we take a closer look at the two timekeepers within the collection.

Both watches–the 1858 Automatic Chronograph and 1858 Monopusher Chronograph–have a distinct modern vintage aesthetic. Whether it’s through the use of stylish colours or exciting materials, they check all the right boxes. But the devil, as always, is in the details. Apart from the fact that they’re twin counter chronographs, little else remains similar.

For a start, one is a standard two-button chronograph and the other, a monopusher chronograph. This leads us to consider the movements driving the timekeepers. The former relies on Calibre MB 25.11 which is based on a Sellita SW500, and the latter uses Calibre MB M13.21 which is an in-house manufactured, modern production of the classic 13.21 Minerva movement. Correspondingly, the 1858 Automatic Chronograph does not display the movement through the back while the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph does. Proudly if we may add. We'd already covered the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph in our SIHH report here.

While the watches are clearly vintage inspired, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph appears to be slightly more contemporary because of its white painted chronograph hands.

On the other hand, the bronze case of the 1858 Automatic Chronograph is a huge plus point since this material is crazy hot in the watch industry right now. Compared to the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph’s plain stainless steel, it looks way cooler. Plus, once you find out that the original green model made for the 2017 Only Watch Auction was cased in bronze as well, this steel one will start to feel like a compromise.

Price wise, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph ($44,600) with its Minerva manufacture movement is obviously in a different league than the 1858 Automatic Chronograph even though both watches are from the same product family. That premium goes straight to craftsmanship and bragging rights of owning something that traces back 160 years of traditional watchmaking.

It’s a fantastic product offer and utterly unique but when faced with the super friendly MSRP of the 1858 Automatic Chronograph (just $7,500) which may not have an in-house movement but is so completely spot on in terms of design, even 160 years of heritage may not be enough to tip the scales over. This is one watch that will give you maximum mileage and all the street cred you need.

Our vote, ladies and gentlemen, goes to the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph in bronze. 

Check out how the watches stack up to each other.

The Montblanc 1858 collection is available at all Montblanc boutiques.