When it came to imagining a new sports diving watch, Montblanc didn’t go to the world’s tropical waters for inspiration, but rather climbed up to the glacial lakes of the Mont-Blanc Massif. Ascending via the Chamonix Valley to the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), the Maison’s designers were captivated by the texture of the glacial ice with its interlocking network of crystals that have been frozen in time for millennia.
Research and Development on the Mer de Glace
Full with ideas, they returned to the Manufacture to try and figure out a way of translating what they had seen onto the face of a watch. This was no easy feat as not only had it never been done before, but a watch dial measures a mere 0.5 mm in height, making it very difficult to create the illusion of looking into the depth of a glacier.
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Frozen Dial
After several trials, the Maison found a technical solution to create an impression of genuine depth and luminosity. The dial makers employed an almost-forgotten ancestral technique called gratté boisé as the base. The result captures Montblanc’s spirit of exploration, both in terms of the adventures the watches are made for, but also the way in which they are designed and created.
An Interchangeable and Adjustable Bracelet
This timepiece includes the addition of an interchangeable v-shaped stainless-steel bracelet which can be quickly and easily switched for a rubber strap without the need to return to the boutique or the use of any tools. Not only is the bracelet interchangeable, but it is also adjustable on the wrist, so each owner can find their perfect fit, especially when wearing it over a wet suit.
The stainless-steel bracelet also comes with an attractive taper of 20 – 16mm and is secured by a double deployant buckle. To find tapered bracelets at this price point is quite rare due to the fact that they are more complicated and expensive to manufacture, but it makes all the difference as they bring an element of character and elegance to the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date. Stainless steel and rubber were also the materials of choice thanks to their durability in a salty water environment.
ISO 6425 Norm for Diving
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date is more than a sports watch, it is a certified diving timing instrument, conforming to the ISO 6425 norm. In addition to this important safety certification, each timepiece has undergone the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Hour Test to ensure that it is shock, magnetic, temperature, and water-resistant (30 bar) and that its fasteners are reinforced for maximum security. The timepiece also needs to be visible in all conditions. For this, Montblanc has incorporated white Super-Luminova® on the hands, indexes, and dot at 12 o’clock, which all glow in a luminescent shade in low light, keeping with the glacial theme.
Three Shades for Three Types of Ice
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date comes with three different dial colours – blue, green, and black – that represent different colours of glacial ice. Blue ice can be found in the Mont-Blanc’s Sea of Ice and is created by the inclusion of air bubbles in the ice, while green ice is found in Antarctica and is the result of the presence of microscopic snow algae blooms. Black ice occurs when the ice has no inclusions or air bubbles, therefore absorbing enough light to appear black. It can also be turned black by deposits of volcanic ash in its structure; examples of which can be seen in the polar regions.
All the Details
Each timepiece comes in a 41mm stainless steel case with a bicolor ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel and a case back featuring a 3D relief engraving of an iceberg and a scuba diver exploring the glacial waters below. This image is achieved using an engraving technique that is rarely seen on such a small surface. The engraving begins with the metal being structured by laser to create a 3D relief image that provides depth and realism.
The collection is powered by an automatic Sellita SW200 calibre and indicates the hours, minutes, seconds, and a date at three o’clock. The timepiece also comes with a recycled and recyclable watch pouch so that the wearer is even better equipped and ready for the next adventure!