Montblanc Releases New 1858 Iced Sea Models & Its First Limited Edition Coffret at Watches & Wonders 2023
As part of its commitment to watchmaking, Montblanc is going for a “less is more” mindset at Watches & Wonders this year. We’re not talking about minimalism but rather the volume of new releases. As a result, the company is introducing fewer than 30 new models this year so that it can focus on quality, execution, innovation, and storytelling.
To achieve these aims, the brand is primarily focusing its attention on the classic Geosphere and the 1858 Iced Sea collection.
Since the luxury house first became affiliated with the historic Minerva manufacture in 2007, Montblanc has tried to align itself with the watchmaker’s heritage. Thus, the high-end 1858 line was named for the year Minerva was founded.
Launched at Watches & Wonders last year, the 1858 Iced Sea was a breakout hit for the brand and hit on something new and uniquely Montblanc: It was the brand’s first sports diving watch with a distinctive glacier patterned dial that evokes the surface of the Mer de Glace (a.k.a. the Sea of Ice) – the main glacier of the Mont Blanc massif.
Now, with the release of the 1858 Iced Sea Coffret Limited Edition and the 1858 Ice Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition on Monday, Montblanc has its very first limited-edition box set (presented in a curated chest) and a stunning boutique-exclusive model with a deep emerald green dial that pays homage to rare green glaciers.
It’s a bold move that builds the brand of this innovative timepiece while endearing it to fans of the first iteration.
New & Newer
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date collection is made for enthusiasts. For those who loved the first version, this limited-edition box set includes two timepieces from last year – the green and blue models – as well as a brand-new version in glacier grey.
Each dial is inspired by the Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc’s largest glacier, and gives the impression of looking directly into the ice thanks to a special dial fabrication technique called gratté-boisé.
And while the colorways seem similar, the green and blue models in the box set are different from last year’s stand-alone pieces and this year’s stand-alone grey Iced Sea because the coffret versions feature an image of a different peak in the Mont Blanc massif: the blue model displays a picture of the Aiguille du Moine, the green one shows Les Drus, and the grey model displays Les Grandes Jorasses.
Each of these mountainscapes is made memorable because Montblanc’s artisans use a laser to create a bas-relief image. The texture and color of the engravings are also achieved by laser, creating authentic 3D renderings that provide depth and realism.
Similarly, the Boutique Edition’s caseback does not feature the Iced Sea collection’s standard caseback with a 3D engraved iceberg and a small black scuba diver. Instead, the boutique-only version still features a 3D engraved iceberg, but the scuba diver is larger and colored with the same emerald green as the dial.
Interestingly, whether part of the box set or not, the most obvious difference between the blue and green models from 2022 and this year’s grey and emerald green versions is: the ceramic bezels on the 2022 models color-match the dial, while both the 2023 models sport black ceramic bezels.
All three timepieces in the coffret (as well as the Boutique Edition) come in 41mm stainless steel cases and are powered by automatic movements that indicate the hours, minutes, seconds, and a date at three o’clock. And in the spirit of their sporty design, they are all ISO-certified dive watches.
In addition to this important safety certification, each timepiece has undergone an in-house laboratory test to ensure that it is shock, magnetic, temperature, and water-resistant (approximately 30 bar) and that its fasteners are reinforced for enhanced security.
For maximum performance under pressure, Montblanc designed these timepieces to be visible in all conditions. As a result, all 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date models incorporate white Super-LumiNova on the hands, indices, and pip at 12 o’clock. And in low light, the lume glows in a light blue shade, further emphasizing the glacial mood.
As for versatility, each of the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Dates is presented on interchangeable straps plus an additional black rubber strap so you can mix and match. And even more, straps will be available exclusively in Montblanc boutiques.
Inside the Box
For die-hard collectors, all three pieces in The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date collection come cozied up in a Plexiglass casket with a granite-like base. The bottom of the box represents the rock of Mont Blanc Mountain, while the top is engraved with an illustration of the illustrious Mont Blanc.
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Coffret is limited to 191 pieces as a nod to the first three numbers of the year the Montblanc logo was created (1913). Coincidentally, the Mer de Glace also measures 1,913 meters. So, for those who like to dabble in numerology, keep this in mind: According to brand, “Like everything in watchmaking at Montblanc, nothing is left to chance.”
Finally, the Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Coffret Limited Edition lists for $11,600, and the non-limited, stand-alone version of the grey-dialed 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date will retail for $3,140 on a rubber strap and $3,350 on a steel bracelet. Meanwhile, the non-limited 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition comes on a rubber strap and costs $3,670. For more information, visit Montblanc’s website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)