Watches of Dreams and Daring from the Montblanc Manufacture

The Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection is a tribute to the fearless mountaineers who conquered the world’s highest peaks.

By Debbie Hathway

The new Montblanc 8000 Capsule Collection pays homage to two daring mountaineers who successfully climbed the 14 highest peaks in the world. The unparalleled bravery and tenacity of Italian Reinhold Messner – the first to summit these peaks without oxygen between 1970 and 1986, and Nepal-born Nimsdai Purja – the fastest to do the same thing in six months and six days in 2019 – inspired the design of these watches, which embody the spirit of adventure and exploration.

Montblanc’s design aesthetic is heavily influenced by mountaineering, featuring elements such as rugged terrain, icy landscapes, and snowy peaks. With the iconic Mont Blanc massif visible from the Maison’s Villeret Manufacture, the watchmakers find constant inspiration from the natural environment. Admired for their creativity, innovation, and attention to detail, all qualities often associated with dreamers, they find synergy with the Montblanc Mark Makers, whose courage and determination drove them to test the limits of human endurance decades apart. Even their philosophies, which Laurent Lecamp, Global MD of the Montblanc Watch Division, loves to quote, are similar. Messner’s favourite saying is “everything begins with a daydream.” For Purja, it’s “don’t be afraid to dream big.”

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 42mm

All four pieces in the collection join the Maison’s unique Zero Oxygen timepieces named for the absence of oxygen inside the case, thus eliminating fogging caused by drastic temperature changes at altitude and preventing oxidation.

The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 42mm in lightweight titanium is inspired by Messner. It is powered by the MB 29.25 automatic movement with Manufacture world-time complication, which includes turning Northern and Southern Hemisphere globes, a 24-hour scale, Day&Night indications, dual time display, and a date. A fluted bidirectional black ceramic bezel with cardinal points surrounds a Sfumato dark grey glacier pattern dial with orange accents. The dial colour replicates the dark grey of the rock and ice at 8000 metres, becoming increasingly darker as it extends outwards. The pattern itself is achieved via a gratté-boisé technique, a time-consuming process that achieves the impression of depth and luminosity on the dial.

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 LE 290 44mm

The caseback features a 3D laser engraving of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. Why? Because it’s Messner’s favourite. “It’s considered the wild mountain because it’s always snowing, windy, grey, cold. Messner told me that when he reached the summit, the sky was so beautiful and blue that he could see beyond 200km and absorb the beauty of the landscape. I thought this was so romantic I decided to use the colour on the caseback,” says Lecamp.

The watch is secured with an interchangeable titanium bracelet with a taper and fine adjustment system.

Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 Limited Edition 290 – 44mm is dedicated to Purja. It is limited to 290 pieces, a subtle reference to the height of Mount Everest (around 29,029 feet).

The timepiece is powered by Montblanc’s Manufacture automatic chronograph with world-time complication, Calibre MB 29.27, which has a power reserve of around 46 hours. It has two 3D turning globes – the Southern Hemisphere at 6 o’clock and the Northern Hemisphere at 12 o’clock, featuring 14 orange dots to mark the location of the 8000m peaks – surrounded by Day&Night indicators. Both hemispheres use orange to highlight the Greenwich reference meridian to easily set the world-time function.

The collection of watches features orange accents that contrast nicely with the dark grey dials. This is because the colour is evident against the snow and ice in lousy weather and improves the chances of being spotted in an emergency. Orange holds tremendous significance in mountain climbing and is often incorporated into both gear and attire worn by alpinists. In addition to its practical uses, orange is also present in Tibetan amulets made of Dzi and coral beads. Many mountaineers, including Reinhold Messner, wear these amulets for their positive spiritual power.

The engraving on the caseback includes the watch’s name, quotes from Purja, Himalayan prayer flags for good fortune, the words “Limited Edition”, and details of the 14 highest peaks as per the tattoo Purja commissioned for his back before he even climbed them. “When Nimsdai says giving up is not an option, it’s true!” says Lecamp.

This watch comes with an interchangeable anthracite textile strap, the design of which has been inspired by a mountaineer’s rope.

The Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 42mm and the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 – 41mm, engraved with the “Spirit of Exploration” pattern on the caseback, complete this capsule collection of professional sports watches.

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