Montblanc 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18

Montblanc Releases A $50,000 Lime Gold 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition

The crown jewel of Montblanc’s watch division gets juiced with a new lime gold case.

By Rhonda Riche

Luxury goods manufacturer Montblanc entered the horology business in 1997. The company's prestigious Meisterstück pens originally inspired its timepieces. In 2007, the brand upped its horological credibility when it acquired the vaunted Swiss watchmaker Minerva. In 2018, Montblanc debuted the 1858 Split Second Chronograph, powered by a marvelous, mono-pusher Minerva movement.

The watch was a hit across the board. It had handsome heritage details and a finely finished movement. Plus, the first of these limited editions came in an entirely bronze case which boasted a lovely mix of Minerva's history (1858 references the founding date of the Villaret-based manufacture) and Montblanc's high-end savoir-faire.

Since then, Montblanc has released several limited-edition versions of the 1858 Split Second Chronograph, but last week's introduction — the 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18 — is perhaps the most inventive expression of this timepiece.

Gold And Green

Montblanc unveiled the 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18 on March 18th, ahead of Watches & Wonders 2021 edition (no doubt to help juice interest in the company’s upcoming 2021 novelties). 

The most exciting part of the story is that this iteration of the 1858 Split-Second Chronograph is crafted out of an exclusive 18K gold alloy called Lime Gold. This new novelty is unique for Montblanc since it's the first time the Maison will debut a model with this color of gold fondly named Lime Gold.

The light green case is composed of a special alloy that's 18K Gold (Au 750‰), Silver (Ag 238‰), and Iron (Fe 12‰). There was a somewhat polarizing lime gold Porsche a few years back, but we can't recall another watch that uses this hue. This bold new look still manages to have a warm, worn-in vintage appearance.

To complement the distinctive color of the 44 mm case, the watch has a glowing gold-colored sunray dial. It also leans into the green motif with contrasting grassy tones on the luminescent cathedral-shaped hour and minute hands, the central split-second hand, and the tachymeter scale. It is presented on a matching green nubuck calf strap. These touches help boost legibility and lend more depth to the dial. Another fun feature is the Arabic numerals made of Super-Luminova printed in a patented process that creates a 'monobloc' or outline-free appearance. And for a final Midas-inspired touch, gold is used for the hands-on the for the central chronograph seconds, 30-minute and small second-counters.

We've Got The Beat

The 1858 Split-Second Chronograph Limited-Edition 18 is easily the most luxurious-looking version of this already high-end collection. But the inner beauty is also appealing to enthusiasts.

Historically, Minerva's movements are celebrated among collectors as some of the most beautiful in-house movements ever made. The 1858 Split-Second Chronograph uses a caliber inspired by a 46 mm Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s. These watches were designed for use by mountaineers in extreme conditions, making the modern Montblanc 1858 timepieces well suited to today's world, where nature and outdoor experiences have become much more valued.

The mechanism is robust, but the finishes are incredibly refined. A see-through sapphire display back reveals handcrafted traditional finishings such as Côtes de Genève, inner angles, circular graining, and bevelling – all made at the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret. The plates and bridges are crafted from Maillechort (German-silver) and plated in 18 K gold. The calibre has two column wheels for the chronograph and the split complication, horizontal coupling, and a power reserve of 50 hours. The large balance wheel beats at a traditional frequency of 2.5 Hz / 18,000 A/H. These refined elements surround the unique Split Second mechanism. 

In another innovation, the glass above the dial has an anti-magnetized treatment on the inside top sapphire crystal to enable greater precision of the chronograph’s two-second hands. 

The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18 is limited to 18 pieces and priced at $50,000.

(Images © Montblanc)

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