Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date: Ice Diving With Its First Diver’s Watch
Diver’s watches rank among the most popular timepieces, which is not surprising considering that they combine cutting-edge features with bold sporty looks. Every year we see a plethora of debutantes catering to different tastes and needs, and 2022 is particularly rich with some impressive releases in the high-end segment, including Omega’s new Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep and TAG Heuer’s Aqua Professional Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver. Both of those timepieces are water-resistant to 1,000 meters and thanks to a helium escape valve suitable for saturation diving.
It seems that today most luxury watch manufacturers pride themselves on having at least one state-of-the art diver’s watch in their collections. At Watches and Wonders 2022 Montblanc joined their ranks with a refreshing take on the diver’s watch: instead of referring to historical maritime diving or paying tribute to some South Sea paradise, Montblanc uses the glacial lakes around the Mont Blanc massif in the Chamonix valley in eastern France as inspiration for its new 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date.
Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date: beautiful dials
To capture the rough alpine beauty of the region’s famous Mer de Glace (“Sea of Ice”), the designers revived a vintage technique called gratté boisé.
To make the gratté boisé finish, a special wood is used to carefully “scrape” the surface, no easy task without damaging the dial considering that it’s only five millimeters thick. However, the effort is worth it because the blue dial evokes the impression of an icy surface covering a frozen lake, with different layers and textures reminiscent of ice crystals and formations.
It is not only Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, that both lends its name to the brand and inspires the blue variation of this watch, other cold regions have influenced the other two dial variations: the green colorway was inspired by Antarctic regions in which microscopic snow algae blossoms create a greenish hue.
On the other hand, black occurs in nature when there is a complete absence of inclusions or air bubbles in the ice so that it absorbs the light, appearing almost black.
With their unique frosty looks, these three colors build an unusual and magnificent backdrop for eight rhodium-plated index markers and four Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. Thanks to their luminescent coating, the markers omit a gorgeous glacier blue at night and stand out clearly during the day; legibility is of course crucial for a diver’s watch.
Speaking of watch genres: because of its great looks, one could almost forget that the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date is a professional diver’s watch conforming to the international ISO 6425 standard. Its modestly sized 41 mm stainless steel case with a height of 12.9 mm is water-resistant to 300 meters (1,000 feet) and equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel.
Inside we find the automatic MB 24.17 movement, based on the Sellita SW200, which has a date aperture at 3 o’clock. It ticks behind a closed case back with a detailed relief engraving depicting an iceberg and a diver exploring the glacial lake.
It is also notable that the watch undergoes the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Hours test, which includes resistance to shock, magnetism, temperature, and depth.
So even if you don’t plan to dive with this one, it makes for a reliable companion for outdoor adventures and all kinds of workouts. And with its unique dial and moderate proportions, it also looks great in casual settings.
Montblanc has done a great job with its first diver’s watch, which effortlessly checks all the boxes in terms of function and equipment and includes the brand’s aesthetic appeal, all at a very reasonable price under €3,000.
For more information, please visit www.montblanc.com.
Quick Facts Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date
Case: 41 x 12.9 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 24.17 (Sellita SW200 base), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date