The Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition. The Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition. Image © Montblanc

Pilot's watches 2016: A pilot’s watch by Montblanc Featured

An example of the new interest in the pilot’s watch genre on the part of high-end watch brands

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07 March 2016

The Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition is pure pilot’s, and what’s more, the vintage pilot’s appearance, with black dial, cathedral hands, generous SuperLuminova and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It reflects the earliest watches in the genre that were made using pocket watch calibres with the small seconds in that position. The heritage aspects of the piece are underlined by the name of the collection, 1858, the year in which Minerva was founded. This brand was purchased by Richemont Group in 2007 and assigned to Montblanc. The logo on the dial is not the usual Montblanc star but a much older 1930s design based on the mountain’s profile.

Related: Top ten pilot's watches 2012

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Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition

This piece is large but very wearable, 44 mm in diameter with comfortably curving lugs, and slim at 10.95 mm thickness. Its crown is fairly large and enhances the winding experience. Differently to classic pilot’s watches, Montblanc has chosen to give the watch a transparent sapphire caseback, and this provides a fine view of the MB 23.03 hand-wound movement, which has the same elegant simplicity as the dial and perfectly matched to the case size. Côtes de Genève, the rubies and the wheels leading from the crown to the mainspring, and the large balance running at 3 Hertz are lovely to examine. The watch has a 46-hour power reserve.

Related: Montblanc's 10 best watches 2015

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Caseback of the Montblanc 1858 Small Second Special Edition

Handling this watch is even more satisfying than the impression provided by the photographs. It’s beautiful both dial side and reverse, and it’s smart both with the black alligator strap shown here and with a steel milanaise bracelet. Price €3,290 with alligator strap, €3,390 with steel bracelet. It’s a limited edition of 100 pieces.