Your eyes do not deceive you, this is a wristwatch with just one hand for telling the time.
More specifically, this is the new Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H, and aside from the single-hand design, we think it does a great job of looking like a forgotten relic, unearthed in the attic with stories of adventure and expedition to tell.
While that isn’t quite true – the 1858 Automatic 24H and its sibling, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph, is a brand-new addition to Montblanc’s portfolio – it’s a watch designed as if from a bygone era.
The significance of a 24-hour dial like this is two-fold. Firstly, it makes for an interesting way to tell the time, albeit with a little less accuracy than with a more legible 12-hour scale of the Monopusher.
But more interesting is how this watch can also be used as a compass.
If in the northern hemisphere, hold the watch horizontally to the ground and rotate until the single hand is pointing towards the sun. You can then use the red compass markings on the outer edge of the dial to work out which direction you are facing.
The black and grey dial features a graphic of the northern hemisphere, complete with 24 meridians, 1930s-era Montblanc logo, a single red hand for enhanced legibility, SuperLumiNova coated Arabic numerals, and a compass scale accurate to five degrees.
The watch features a 42mm case made from stainless steel and a bezel made from a bronze alloy to give the timepieces a vintage aesthetic.
The words ‘Spirit of Mountain Exploration’ are engraved on the case back.
The case is attached to a black, hand-crafted NATO strap that Montblanc says is made by a traditional 150-year-old strap manufacturer in France.
Inside, the watch features a Calibre MB 24.20 automatic mechanical movement with 25 rubies and a power reserve of approximately 24 hours.
Also newly announced by Montblanc is the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition. Borrowing a similar vintage design ethic as its one-handed relative, the Monopusher has a traditional 12-hour dial with hands for hours, minutes and seconds, plus a pair of chronograph dials.
The Monopusher name refers to how the chronograph complication is controlled with a single button incorporated into the crown, instead of the traditional two.
The 42mm case is made from a bronze alloy that is designed to age over time, creating a unique patina. Drive comes from a Calibre MB 25.12 automatic mechanical chronograph movement with 27 rubies and approximately 48 hours of power reserve.
Options include a bronze case with beige NATO strap, and stainless steel cases with either a cognac calf skin strap or matching steel bracelet.
Unlike the Automatic 24H, this watch is a limited edition, with Montblanc aptly producing 1,858 examples, priced from £4,200.
Both watches are joined by an updated Montblanc 1858 Geosphere – now in Blue. This rugged-looking timepiece features a stainless steel case, beads of rice bracelet, and a pair of world time dials. What really sets these dials apart is how they are coated in SuperLumiNova, beautifully illuminating the carefully detailed landmass in low light.
The watch features a lightweight but tough titanium case and matching bracelet in place of its predecessor’s leather strap, a graduated blue dial, and 100 metres of water resistance.
Inside, there is an MB 29.25 automatic movement with world time complication, 26 jewels and a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. The 1858 Geosphere is priced from £5,000 and is not a limited edition.