Just released a week and a half ago at the SIAR 2015 in Mexico City, the new Montblanc 1858 Manual Second is another great addition to the new 1858 collection for the brand. Available in three different models, the Montblanc 1858 Manual Small Second brings a vintage look with contemporary design cues and excellent craftsmanship for the money. The four different models available include: Montblanc ref. 113860 a limited edition in 858 pieces fitted with a matte black dial with 'vintage' beige Arabic numerals and black alligator strap with contrast stitching, Montblanc ref. 112639 with a matte black dial and white Arabic numerals on stainless steel 'Milanese' mesh bracelet, Montblanc ref. 112638 with a matte black dial and white Arabic numerals on brown Sfumato —nubuck— leather strap and lastly a sunburst blue dial model with blue alligator strap for which we have no reference number and a piece that doesn't even appear on Montblanc's website or their brochures.
While Montblanc's watchmaking history is still short, the Richemont brand has taken great strides in the past three years to become a 'haute horlogerie' force with a very competitive pricing strategy. Taking advantage of the horological resources of the Richemont watch conglomerate, Montblanc now presents the 1858 collection which is inspired by the heritage of Minerva as one of Switzerland's most revered timekeeping specialists. Fitted with a matte black dial with Arabic numerals, the focal points on this dial are the vintage Montblanc logo at 12 o'clock, the small subsidiary seconds at 6 o'clock and the “chemin de fer” minute track. The Arabic numerals are printed on the dial with a nice raised appearance thanks to the applied lume on them and the rhodium-plated 'pilot's' inspired hands round out the overall vintage look of the watches. Of all four models, our favorites are the limited edition with vintage lume and the sunburst blue dial one. To enhance the vintage appearance of these watches, all of them are fitted with domed sapphire crystals with anti-reflective treatment only on the inside, therefore, unwanted glare is typically present on the top of the crystals.
The Case & Crown
Fitted with a beautifully finished stainless steel case measuring 44 mm in diameter and 10.95 mm in thickness, the case is satin-brushed finished on the case band, with slightly mirror polished curved horns and bezel. The notched crown —marked with the iconic snowcap from above logo— is somewhat small considering the size of the case but with good grip and easy to use. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters and designed in a way where we are confident it can take on daily abuse with no problem.
Bracelet & Strap
Four different options are available depending on which watch you decide to go with. As mentioned earlier, the watch is available either with steel 'Milanese' mesh bracelet as ref. 112639, or Sfumato —nubuck very similar to the Assolutamente straps from Panerai— brown calfskin strap as ref. 112638 or black alligator strap with contrast stitching as ref. 113860 limited edition or in blue alligator with white contrast stitching for the blue sunburst dial reference. The 'milanese' bracelet is exquisitely finished with very smooth edges, equipped with a triple-folding clasp and with easy-to-remove links for proper sizing. All leather strap options are equipped with a tang buckle in mirror polished stainless steel.
Fully visible via the display case back, the new Montblanc 1858 Manual Small Second collection is powered by the manual wound Montblanc calibre MB 23.03, a Unitas calibre 6497 with 17 jewels. We do have to say that Montblanc did a great job at finishing the movements very nicely, considering the price point of these watches.
On The Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and very comfortably. Even if you have a wrist smaller than 7.25", you'll still be able to wear this timepiece with no problem thanks to its slightly curved horns that help the watch wrap around your wrist. For the money, we think this watch is an excellent option if you are into vintage inspired timepieces that fall under the $4K USD. What we think is the perfect combo, is to get the Limited Edition piece and afterwards fit a 'Milanese' bracelet to it.
Now, here's the question, based on the price point would you get this watch or the new Tudor Heritage Black Bay Black we featured here?
Sticker Price $3,360 USD on 'Milanese' mesh bracelet, $3,255 for Limited Edition and $3,045 on leather strap. For more info on Montblanc click here.