Watches and Wonders 2020: Montblanc 1858 Split Second in Titanium and Blue Enamel. Some quick thoughts.

Apr 26, 2020,01:47 AM

Our dear Mahesh posted this novelty from Montblanc some days ago, And I have to say that, to this day, the 1858 Split Seconds is one of the winners of this year. 

Last year, I fell in love with the Bronze 1858 Split Second, but I am not a big fan of that material, especially when i is associated to such a fine piece of horology. 

The 2019 1858 Split Second Bronze: 

Here is the link to my review on the Bronze:

This year, Montblanc has it all right... Or almost. 

For this 2020 edition, Montblanc opted for a titanium case, which is an excellent thing: Titanium is lighter than steel, which is important when we have such a big watch ( 44 mm ). 

Then, titanium gives an interesting hue to the case. Slightly darker than steel, it is very much my taste. I would have loved a tantalum case, but I am very happy with titanium. 

The second superb part of this watch is the dial, which is enamel blue! With the orange touches here and there, we have an eye catching, very young and fresh outcome. Some would have preferred a more classic  white contrast, I like both of them and I find the choice of orange is very cool looking. 

The third great point is, of course, the movement. You can have a cool watch, it may not be a great one. Here, the chronograph movement is one of the finest, in terms of finishings. Judge by yourself! 

I am a big fan of this typical double pliers which makes all the difference between a " simple " chronograph and a split second. 

The fourth nice detail is the bevelings of the lugs, something I really miss on my 1858 Tachymeter. 

And the last important, or should I say incredible thing is the price... At 36, 000 USD ( if I correctly got it ), it is a massacre for the contenders. A very aggressive offer from Montblanc. 

Would I find some negative points? 

Well, some will say that 44 mm may be too big for such a fine watch. I would say that one or to millimeters smaller could be great, indeed, but let's not forget that the Cal 16.31 is a big movement ( from memory somewhere between 38 and 39 mm ) so the case has to be big. 

The second point is purely subjective: the choice of orange. As said, some would have preferred a more classical color to offer a contrast to the beautiful enamel blue. 

The third point is that Montblanc should stop playing with the limited edition concept? Split Second and Enamel are far from being massively produced, and limited editions are not that limited, if you are offering a different version each year...

As an owner of the 1858 Tachymeter, I can tell you that I don't see myself selling it, as I am deeply in love with it, but I wold gladly consider getting this 1858 Split Second, for what it is, a cool and great watch, a pure piece of fine horology, and this enamel blue dial which is killing me. 

If only the time was right to get it! 

Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts.



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it's a beauty indeed!

 By: Arronax : April 26th, 2020-01:59
Love titanium and the telemeter scale, the only thing which bugs me is the overall thickness on some pictures, possibly inevitable because of the split second...

A lot to like!

 By: M4 : April 26th, 2020-02:14
A fine offering indeed. I agree with your assessment, Nicolas, and mark me down as a fan of the orange accents. I would add that the crown appeals to me as well. It's a little sportier and aggressive than the onion crown that I love so much on the 1858 ta... 

Nice dial colors great minerva caliber

 By: GuinnessForMeAndTheWatch : April 26th, 2020-02:21
Winner at that price point

What I think... [nt]

 By: amanico : April 26th, 2020-02:25

That is the best looking MB-Minerva since a while.

 By: jlux : April 26th, 2020-02:35
For me personally,the 44mm case wpuld be a bit too much for this kind of watch.

Go, my friend, go! [nt]

 By: amanico : April 26th, 2020-02:56

After all the effort...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : April 26th, 2020-03:18
Montblanc decided on a 44mm case. A significant design error.

I did consider the movement size but...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : April 26th, 2020-04:24
That’s still 5.6mm. Looking at the Montblanc range, I think that they believe that larger cases sell watches.

Yes, a 40mm is fine ...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : April 26th, 2020-09:23
It’s a classic style watch at 44mm that is out of place.

I knew this one was coming

 By: penfriend : April 26th, 2020-03:23
But i still decided some month ago to purchase the black enamel snail dial vintage chronograph: IMHO this new split second is too busy in its appearance: the mix of colors and the numerals and the hands lead to an unsteady look. I would not want to be puz... 

Nothing to add- it just ticks all the boxes-

 By: jlc.thomsen : April 26th, 2020-03:25
As many are pointing out the size is an issue, but so many things make up for it, and being a pocket watch based movement as some critics call it might just be the direct excuse-42 would have been grand! Maybe it's about time to organise a WPS visit to Mi... 

So far the best piece to come from W&W 2020!

 By: patrick_y : April 26th, 2020-10:56
Thank you for your introduction to this piece Amanico! This and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar are my favorite so far this year! Of course, this one costs a third of the price!

Hard not to admire this release

 By: jmpTT : April 27th, 2020-20:30
Beautifully finished movement, lively dial, simultaneously fresh and traditional. The price is quite good, even if you concede that a large split seconds movement is far easier to construct than a small one. For one, the large diameter of the movement bri... 

I can only support that

 By: penfriend : April 27th, 2020-23:44
I have two Minerva/Montblanc in this diameter (both in gold) and it is no problem on my wrist (which is rather normal in size). The weight is also well balanced - unlike my fullly white gold Daytona which becomes quickly too heavy for me when wearing it.