Stories of Survival: Montblanc Releases the 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection at Watches & Wonders
At Watches & Wonders 2023, the brand focused on storytelling with four new timepieces that pay tribute to extreme mountaineering.
At Watches & Wonders 2023, luxury goods house Montblanc doubled down on its association with all things alpine with the new Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 Capsule Collection, which features four watches honoring the history of mountaineering and the people brave enough to climb the world’s highest peaks.
Let’s take a look at them.
The Origin of 0 Oxygen
Mountains make up a big part of Montblanc’s brand. Its logo is a stylized image of a bird’s eye view of Mont Blanc and its six glacier valleys. So, while the brand is associated with luxury writing instruments and leather goods, under the guidance of Laurent Lecamp, the brand’s Managing Director of its watch division, Montblanc is now forging another identity, that of a horological storyteller.
With the new Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection, Montblanc is telling a tale of adventure. And this quartet of watches – consisting of the Limited Edition 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Boutique Exclusive, the 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000, the 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000, and the 1858 Geosphere Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 – highlights 14 of the world’s highest peaks – all measuring at least 8,000 meters above sea level.
At altitudes as high as 8,000 meters (or more) above sea level, there is barely enough oxygen to sustain human life for more than a few hours. Moreover, unpredictable weather conditions, avalanches, and extreme cold also mean that only a handful of adventurers have reached the summit of all 14 of these 8,000-meter-plus peaks. For example, between 1970 and 1986, Montblanc Mark Maker Reinhold Messner became the first to climb them all without carrying supplemental oxygen.
Then, in 2019, Nimsdai Purja, one of Montblanc’s newest Mark Makers, became the fastest person to climb all 14 peaks, but instead of taking the better part of six years to accomplish this feat, Purja did it in just six months and six days. Thus, through its partners, it is easy to look back and see Montblanc’s impact on mountaineers, but now, in just the past few years, we can see how mountaineering is influencing Montblanc.
For example, in 2022, the maison introduced its first watch with a vacuum-sealed case (or, to put it another way, a zero-oxygen environment). The rationale behind this tightly sealed timepiece is it eliminates fogging, which can occur with drastic temperature changes at altitude. It will also prevent oxidization, protecting the watch components to ensure a longer life.
1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection
This year, the four more models joining the Zero Oxygen family have a lot of visual appeal, with each timepiece fitted with a sfumato dark grey glacier pattern dial to replicate the color of rock and ice at 8,000 meters.
Sfumato is a blending technique that produces hazy outlines, similar to how mountain tops look from a distance. Under the enamel, the dial makers also employed a technique called gratté-boisé to recreate the feeling of depth and luminosity.
Orange accents set against the grey dial provide optimal visibility and, seeing as the color is found on the protective Tibetan amulets worn by many mountaineers, touch of spirituality.
1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 LE Boutique Exclusive
The 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition Boutique Exclusive, featuring a 44mm titanium case, was inspired by Purja, who wore the first Montblanc 1858 0 Oxygen timepiece on his record-breaking ascent of Everest in May 2022 (and plans to bring this version on his next big climb).
Driven by the manufacture automatic calibre MB 29.27, the timepiece also includes two 3D turning globes with the Northern Hemisphere at 12 o’clock and Southern Hemisphere at 6 o’clock. The globe for the Northern Hemisphere also features 14 orange dots to mark the location of the 8,000m-plus peaks. The watch comes with an interchangeable anthracite textile “climbing rope” strap – ropes being a lifeline to any mountaineer.
The caseback is laser-engraved with the profiles of each of the 14 peaks that reach an altitude of at least 8,000 meters, the name of the watch, two inspirational quotes from Purja, and three Himalayan prayer flags for good fortune.
A limited edition of 290 pieces and available only in Montblanc boutiques, the new 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition Boutique Exclusive costs $9,800.
1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000
The 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000, featuring a 42mm titanium case, is an automatic watch inspired by Reinhold Messner, who is considered one of the greatest alpinists of our age.
The timepiece is powered by the MB 29.25 movement with a world time complication, a 24-hour scale, day/night indications, dual time display, and a date. The timepiece comes with a fluted bi-directional black ceramic bezel and is presented on an interchangeable titanium bracelet. Meanwhile, the caseback for this model features an image of the K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.
1858 Automatic Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000
Powered by the MB 25.13 automatic chronograph movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours, the rugged 1858 Automatic Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 comes in a 42mm stainless steel case with a fluted bi-directional black ceramic bezel.
Available soon for $5,200, the caseback of this edition is engraved with the “spirit of exploration” pattern, while the watch is fitted with an interchangeable tapered stainless steel bracelet.
1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000
Housed in a 41mm stainless steel case with a fixed black ceramic bezel, the 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 also features applied Arabic numerals, a central seconds hand, a date at three o’clock, and blue luminescence on the hour and minute hands, numbers, and cardinal points.
Other details include a minute scale with orange indications every 15 minutes, an interchangeable tapered stainless steel bracelet, and an engraving of the “spirit of exploration” on the case back. The watch is powered by the automatic calibre MB 24.15 with 38 hours of power reserve.
Available soon, the 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 will cost $3,180.
For more information, visit Montblanc’s website.
(Images © Montblanc)