Climbing legend Reinhold
has signed on to Montblanc’s latest 1858 Geosphere watch, literally, with a limited edition of 262 pieces bearing his signature.
The 42mm 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition (US$6,500), in a bronze alloy with a gradient blue dial, pays tribute to the Italian mountaineer and explorer who was the first person to climb all 14 of the world’s peaks that are more than 8,000 meters. In 1978, he and his climbing partner,
, were the first to summit Everest without using supplemental oxygen. Two years later, Messner became the first man to make the climb solo, also without supplemental oxygen.
Messner’s thirst for adventure is not limited to summiting the world’s highest peaks. He and the German explorer
were the first to trek across Antarctica and Greenland on foot in 1989-90. And in 2004, at the age of 60, he was the first to complete a 1,250-mile solo trek across the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia. He has written more than 80 books about his experiences, and he even served one term (1999-2004) in the European Parliament, where he championed environmental issues.
embodies the values we want to highlight with our Montblanc 1858 product line and the Spirit of Exploration,” said
, Montblanc’s CEO, in a news release. “He is a living legend of outdoor exploration and mountaineering. With his fearless spirit and irrepressible sense of determination, he is seeking to make his mark in the world, being a source of inspiration for adventurers across the globe.”
Montblanc’s 1858 models are designed and conceived as rugged tool watches for mountain exploration, taking their inspiration from the pocket watches and chronographs produced by Switzerland’s
manufacture during the 1920s and ’30s. Montblanc acquired the chronograph specialist and its technical expertise in 2006.
The distinctive 1858 Geosphere launched in 2018 as an homage to mountaineering. The piece was dedicated to the Seven Summits Challenge, the quest of climbing the tallest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. Messner has his own version of the challenge called the Messner List, laying out his preferred route, considered the most challenging of all.
Those seven peaks are marked with red dots on the dial’s two rotating global hemisphere discs, offering a unique spin on the world-time function, simultaneously displaying the world’s 24 time zones. The discs, each paired with a 24-hour scale and day/night indicator, complete a full rotation every 24 hours with the northern hemisphere at the top of the dial turning counter-clockwise, and the southern hemisphere spinning clockwise below. A second time zone sub-dial at 9 o’clock makes it easy to keep track of home time while globetrotting.
In addition to his signature, the Messner edition’s case back is engraved with the Messner List, an image of Mont Blanc, a compass, and two crossed ice pick-axes, along with the watch’s number in the series of 262 pieces, a nod to all the peaks over 26,200 feet that he summited over the course of his career.
In classic tool-watch fashion, the watch lights up after dark for easy legibility with glowing SuperLumiNova that illuminates the hours, minutes, and second-time-zone hands, the cardinal points on the bezel, and the arrows used for the compass in green contrasted with the globes and their continents, Arabic numerals, and indexes in blue.
The retro-spirited piece is fitted with a blue NATO strap that is hand made in France by highly-skilled craftspeople using old manual shuttle machines called jacquard looms. The result is a superior NATO strap that is fade resistant, robust, and quick drying, not to mention soft and comfortable to wear.
“A reliable and high performing watch is an essential companion to any adventurer setting out on a major expedition,” said Messner in a news release. “It is exciting to be associated with a watch inspired by Minerva and its rich heritage of manufacturing companions to so many adventurers before me who relied so faithfully on these professional watches. Also, a meaningful and personal reminder of the thousands of feet climbed over the course of my career as a professional mountaineer.”
In the spirit of partnership, Montblanc will make a donation to support the Messner Mountain Foundation, founded by Messner in 2005 to support educational programs in remote mountain communities.