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Object of Desire: Montblanc's 1858 Split Second Watch

By Lynette Kee

At SIHH this year, Montblanc gave its adventure-spirited collection a new facelift that brought its consumers just a little closer to nature. The Montblanc 1858 product line of two Automatic variations, Automatic Chronograph and the other worldly Geosphere were reimagined to the theme of exploration through the great outdoors, rendered in an elegant pairing of bronze cases and khaki green dials with matching nato straps. While it is mostly about aesthetic updates this year, Montblanc also introduced an all-new watch with a serious complication to the fold. 

Enter the 1858 Split Second Chronograph. The watch, boasting a whopping 44mm bronze case, packs a high-end chronograph movement made in-house at Minerva. Montblanc has been introducing Minerva-inspired timepieces in recent years as a nod to the brand’s rich heritage, referencing the Minerva Manufacturer either aesthetically or mechanically.

Like the original Minerva timepieces conceived in the 1920s to 1930s for military use and exploration, the Montblanc 1858 Split Second is equal parts precise and robust, finished in a size that is larger than life. Other technical attractions of the watch also include a telemeter, which is used to measure natural phenomenon such as lightning and thunder; a tachymeter that measures a length of time up to three minutes instead of the usual one minute in most traditional chronographs; and, of course, the “rattrapante” (split second) complication, which allows users to measure intermediate times without interrupting the ongoing measurement of longer elapsing time. 

Despite its massive dimensions, this of a timepiece looks understated with just the right amount of personality on the wrist. The brushed bronze case adds a vintage semblance to the modern brand that is Montblanc. 

The 1858 Split Second Chronograph in bronze is now available limited to 100 watches, 32,500 (S$45,000).