There is a reason I love tool watches. To me, they serve as a reminder that before these timekeeping devices became luxury products, they were just that – tools. And just as the unidirectional bezel on dive watches helped the diver, and the slide rule on the Breitling Navitimer helped pilots, the compass on the Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H, launched just recently during the digital edition of Watches & Wonders, will help those who want to explore the wilds.
It would be easy to just slap a miniature compass on the band of the watch and be done with it. But what Montblanc has managed to do was create an elegant solution to having a compass on a watch, one that still allows the watch to be incredibly functional and yet still have that feeling of luxury.
The most obvious design element of this 1858 Automatic 24H is the fact that it only has one hand. Unlike the one-handed watches from brands like Meistersinger or Defakto, that make one full rotation in 12 hours, this Montblanc piece has a hand that will rotate once in the span of the entire day, a full 24 hours. If you think about it, this hand works exactly like the extra hand on a GMT watch.
In order to use the compass function, you must first make sure that the watch is on a level, horizontal plane. Then align the tip of the 24H hand with the sun and the corresponding cardinal directions (north, south, east and west) will be marked accordingly on the dial. The markings will only work if you are on the Northern hemisphere of the world, if you are in the other half, you have to invert the printed indicators. On a side note, you can also use a traditional watch to tell the cardinal directions but it requires a bit of work as demonstrated here.
Driving the point home that the Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H is a watch made for adventure, the black dial offers a relief of the northern hemisphere map while “Spirit of Mountain Exploration” is engraved on the caseback. The watch is powered by the Calibre MB 24.20 movement that offers automatic winding and a power reserve of approximately 42 hours.
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H is priced at MYR 12,830 (Approx. USD 2,950)
Case: Stainless steel with a bronze bezel
Case size: 42mm
Crystal: Scratch-resistant, domed box-shaped sapphire crystal with antireflective coating
Movement: Calibre MB 24.20, automatic, 24h hand
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: MYR 12,830