First look at some of Montblanc’s exciting Watches and Wonders Geneva launches for 2024

The Maison expands its Iced Sea lineup, with each new model reflecting nature’s vivid hues against glacial backdrops.

By Debbie Hathway

When roles are reversed, and I’m the one being interviewed, I’m often asked which watch I would love to own. It’s not an easy answer, but it is influenced by several things – artistry and innovation are part of it, but if the storytelling gets an emotional reaction out of me, then I’m sold! Montblanc is one of the brands that excels at this. Consistently adept at regaling audiences with fascinating tales, whether launching a new writing instrument, adding to their leather goods, or revealing a new watch, it’s a skill ignited by a passion for their subject that has me hanging on every word and collectors reaching for their wallets!

The Iced Sea Automatic Date is a perfect example. The diver’s watch collection is notable for its “frozen dial” designs inspired by the Mer de Glace on the Mont-Blanc massif, which invites discussions around the lifelike, nature-focused, adventure-based connection the Maison seeks for the Montblanc 1858 collection. Creating the glacier pattern dials begins with the gratté-boisé technique to develop the impression of depth and luminosity on the dial, while the engraved glacier and underwater dive scene on the caseback are laser crafted to shape the metal into a 3D relief image before coaxing out a series of matte and shiny finishes for contrast.

In an early preview of Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024 releases, Laurent Lecamp, Global MD of the Montblanc Watch Division, shared that the Iced Sea’s success since launch in 2022 now warrants a standalone collection outside the 1858 where the line was initially housed. Collectors clamour for an “Iced Tea” in every colour, a nickname reflective of status. This year, the Maison revealed two more versions: a bronze-tone edition with a black dial and another with a burgundy dial, capturing shades of the setting sun against the glacier.


“As usual, we are not launching any colour that is not connected with the world of glaciers. It means that we found red glaciers as well. The result is superb,” Lecamp says proudly. He’s referring to the “Bloody Falls”, cascades that emerge from Taylor Glacier situated within Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys. They are named for their unusual colour caused by brine rich in iron in the intricate labyrinth of subglacial rivers and a lake.

The Montblanc Iced Sea Automatic Date – Bronze-tone Edition has a black glacier pattern dial encased in cupro aluminium, a new alloy one-and-a-half times more resistant than bronze and highly resistant to corrosion and rust. “The Iced Sea collection was always launched with a steel case. This is the first time we are offering the cupro version in 41mm and the watch looks great,” says Lecamp.

As a result of a mix of aluminium and copper, cupro is more resistant than regular bronze, yet it will still develop an appealing patina with time. The sporty watch comes on an interchangeable black rubber strap with a brown outline, referencing the shade highlighting the first 15 minutes on the bi-colour unidirectional anodised aluminium bezel. Other notable features include a new Montblanc Iced Sea logo inspired by a vintage Minerva export seal and a 3D engraving on the titanium caseback with bronze-toned coating that features an enlarged scuba diver.

These line extensions lead to another significant Watches and Wonders launch for the Maison, which literally goes deeper with the diver’s watch concept to produce the Montblanc Iced Sea 0 Oxygen Deep 4810. The number features in Montblanc products because it’s the height of its namesake. Still, the Montblanc Iced Sea 0 Oxygen Deep 4810 takes the focus in the opposite direction by being able to withstand depths of minus 4810 metres and more. “We want to develop the Iced Sea and bring it into a world of something very complicated and innovative. This year, for the first time, we present an extreme diving watch that conforms to the Montblanc Laboratory’s battery of tests and the ISO 6425 standard, meaning it has been tested up to minus 6 000 metres because the ISO certification requires testing 25 per cent beyond the stated water resistance,” says Lecamp.

This watch is the latest addition to the Maison’s “Zero Oxygen” collection, developed for explorers confronting harsh environments. The absence of oxygen within the case prevents fogging and oxidisation, ensuring precision and guaranteeing longevity and performance. It is accompanied by a certificate validating its oxygen-free enclosure.

Encased within a sturdy 43mm titanium frame, safeguarding its screw-down crown, the Montblanc Iced Sea 0 Oxygen Deep 4810 features the same attention to detail on the dial and caseback as its Automatic Date counterparts. The ethereal blue hue, enriched with a sfumato effect, mirrors the icy depths of the sea, which is apt for a timepiece capable of descending to 4 810 metres below the surface. “It takes 30 days and 30 steps to complete the dial,” says Lecamp.

To ensure visibility under all circumstances, Montblanc integrates white Super-LumiNova® into the hands, indexes, and a 12 o’clock marker. In low-light conditions, this material radiates a luminous blue glow in harmony with its glacial motif. The watch is powered by a Manufacture movement and has a five-day power reserve.

“This watch is COSC-certified, ISO 6425-certified, zero-oxygen certified. We are only producing 900 pieces because we can only produce and test 80 pieces per month. Nobody in Switzerland can test this watch. We had to develop our own tools to certify that it can be tested up to minus 4 810 plus 25 per cent, which means minus 6 000 metres. The dial is a mix of blue and black, with a ceramic bezel, in a full titanium grade 5 case – 43mm, a very good size for such an extreme diving piece,” says Lecamp.

  • Look out for more stories of extreme adventures after I interview Montblanc Mark Maker William Trubridge, seven times free diving world champion and multiple world record holder dubbed “the deepest human” for diving 102m without fins when I’ll chat with him about his experiences and how they connect him to the brand and this incredible watchmaking feat.

  • I’ll also share more about the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen CARBO2, a brand-new limited-edition watch featuring a CARBO2 middle case. The Maison’s 1858 Collection comprises timepieces crafted as essential tools for mountain exploration. They draw inspiration from the revered Minerva pocket watches and chronographs of the 1920s and 1930s, initially tailored for military use due to their precision and durability. For this watch, the brand takes the concept of oxygen, central to the success of any daring ascent, into new realms. The middle case material harnesses CO2 from biogas production and mineral waste generated by recycling plants through calcium dissolution and carbonation. The resulting CARBO2 material has a graphic aesthetic, with its dark shades depending on the mix of carbon fibre and CACO3. Much like the intrepid alpinists and adventurers who dedicate their lives to exploring the planet’s rugged peaks, this material blazes new exploration trails.
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