Most people know Montblanc for their fancy pens and wallets, but the enterprising German luxury brand is also a top watchmaker.
Made in Le Locle, Switzerland – a famous watchmaking town that’s also home to big names like Tissot, Ulysse Nardin and Zenith – Montblanc’s timepieces are cosmopolitan, retro-inspired, and full to the brim with alpine imagery… Which is why it’s so surprising that they’ve now come out and released a dive watch.
Yes, at a Watches & Wonders 2022 fair filled with plenty of surprises, Montblanc has stepped up to the plate with the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date: a capable new tool watch that reaffirms that there’s a lot more to Montblanc than most people give them credit for.
Dive watches tend to be associated with tropical, summery adventures: just think about the Eterna Kon-Tiki or Tudor Pelagos. Instead, the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date takes its inspiration from the glacial lakes of the Mont-Blanc Massif, such as the Mer de Glace.
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Indeed, the Iced Sea features a rather unique dial treatment that pays homage to these frosty environments – one that looks sick as hell. Montblanc’s dial makers employed an almost-forgotten ancestral technique called gratté boisé to create the effect.
Essentially, highly detailed stamped steel is covered in a thin layer of either blue, green or black lacquer to produce a rather remarkable 3-D effect that resembles the complex crystal structures of glacial ice. It’s rather striking, especially considering that the dial’s actually only 0.5mm thick.
The Iced Sea isn’t just all show and no go, though. It’s a bona fide tool watch that conforms to the ISO 6425 standard and is shock, magnetic, temperature, and water-resistant (to 300m to be exact).
As gauche as it is to talk about, the best part about the Iced Sea might just be its price: AU$4,470 on a rubber strap and AU$4,800 on a steel integrated bracelet. In a somewhat overcrowded tool watch market, that’s extremely competitive, especially when you consider how aesthetically unique the Iced Sea is.
All in all, this is an extremely solid watch – in all meanings of the word – and a rather pleasant surprise from Montblanc. Now, just to put it to the test with a dip at Bondi Icebergs…