12 Best Montblanc Mens Watches (Across ALL Categories)
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Best Montblanc Mens Watches

12 Best Montblanc Mens Watches (Across ALL Categories)

Old heads may swear pens are the only thing they know Montblanc excels at. While that’s true for an out-of-touch millennial or Baby Boomer, the reality is the opposite. Once a luxury stationery and leather goods brand, Montblanc inherited over 150 years of watchmaking experience following a smart acquisition of Minerva. 

And like it or not, Montblanc men’s watches hold their own against big players in the industry like Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC Schaffhausen, and even Rolex. A close look at their Day Date 40 may make you question splurging over 30k and joining a waitlist for a Rolex alternative if you’re not emphatic about resale. 

So if you’re here to confirm your doubts about Montblanc as a watchmaker, the short answer is you’ll be disappointed. A closer look at Montblanc’s collection reveals a dozen sporty, casual, conceptual, and complicated watches at almost unbeatable prices. 

But first, I’ll hit the ground running with a snippet of how a fountain pen maker became an underappreciated horologist. 

Montblanc Watches: How It Started

The Montblanc legacy started way back in 1906 when August Eberstein developed a range of fountain pens in Berlin, Germany. While they’re currently based in Hamburg, the German brand is a part of the Swiss conglomerate Richemont Group, which includes brands like Cartier and Baume & Mercier. However, I’ll spare you the unnecessary details and focus on MB’s history as a watchmaker.  

Interestingly, Montblanc only recently ventured into watchmaking in 1997 after acquiring Minerva. Now, the techniques and craftsmanship of the Victorian-era Swiss watchmaker live through Montblanc watches. Aside from being respectable watchmakers for the military, they were former official timekeepers of the Olympic Ski Events and leading producers of handmade movements. 

So when you think of Montblanc as a watchmaker, think of the Minerva heritage and the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie. The latter is an institution for “preserving and cultivating” old precision timekeeping techniques and research for innovative technologies.  

Today, Montblanc is a force to reckon with among entry-level and, perhaps, mid-level luxury watch brands. So whether you picture a pen manufacturer when the name comes to mind, they’re not pushovers when it comes to watchmaking.

What’s The Status of Montblanc Watches Today?

What I said earlier stands; Montblanc isn’t a pushover and is more than a leading pen maker. And anyone who thinks otherwise is either biased, unacquainted, or resourceful enough to easily afford higher-end luxury.

Agreed, MB can be inseparable from the crowd when you stick to their entry-level models. But you start to see the excellence in craftsmanship when you go higher up, between $2000 to $15,000 – considerably still a moderate price to pay. 

I’ll emphasize craftsmanship to back Montblanc as a formidable watchmaker. The German luxury brand has watches, particularly dressy models, that make some popular brands look overpriced. They exude the finishing of a master artisan, in-house movements (mostly Selita-based), and a trademark Sfumato leather making.

Some notable mentions are the Vasco da Gama Moonphase and Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum, which are excellent watches that would contend with any timepiece, even from the Holy Trinity. Aside from being capable of a side-by-side comparison for engineering prowess, Montblanc watches offer a sizable bang for your buck.

For instance, the Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Vasco Da Gama Moonphase in red gold, at around $13000, is almost half the price of the JLC Master Calendar. And they are evenly matched in functionality, looks, and craftsmanship. The only edge the JLC offers is brand recognition and, consequently, better resale value.  

The Best Montblanc Watches

Now that we’ve established that Montblanc watches are high-quality and affordable, here are some of the best models for men. 

1. Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date (ref. MB129371)

Price estimate: $3,600

This is Montblanc’s first diving watch, and it’s also themed after the Mer de Glace “Sea of Ice”, a massive glacier in the Mont-Blanc Massif. It’s interesting to have a Diver’s watch with a cool backstory. Better yet, it’s built with exceptional quality and attention to detail.

The most prominent feature is its glacier pattern in honor of the model name, Iced Sea and Merce de Sea. This glacial texture is achieved using an ancient technique called Gratte Boise. It also has an artistic engraved case back and crown. It’s a good example of Montblanc’s interest in preserving the old ways of watchmaking and infusing them with modern technology.

The Iced Sea is a 40mm stainless steel diving watch that can take a beating for generations. The dial has a ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel and 300 meters of water resistance to bring it up to and beyond diving standards.    

2. Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph (ref. MB126098

2. Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph (ref. MB126098

This Montblanc is more than any other 43mm chronograph you’ve ever seen. It’s a work of art that’s ridiculously affordable for the level of engineering and artistry that goes into it. And it preserves Montblanc’s legacy of protecting the precious history of watchmaking.

As you may have deduced from the name, it’s a homage to Nicolas Rieussec – a French watchmaker who invented the inking chronograph in 1821 and King Phillipe’s official watchmaker. 

Wondering what an inking chronograph is? It’s simply a chronograph that prints elapsed time on the dial with ink. This Star Legacy has an equally well-engineered automatic chronograph movement, the caliber MB R200 with 72 hours of power reserve. It has a column wheel and counters with rotating discs that give off a 3D effect. 

The blue dial also has a unique guilloche pattern that catches the light and turns heads. It’s then coupled with a Sfumato alligator strap that completes its classy look as a dress watch. If you want a dressy Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCouture alternative, or a statement watch, the Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec is a top contender for men.      

3. Montblanc Heritage Automatic Day & Date (ref. MB119947)

3. Montblanc Heritage Automatic Day & Date (ref. MB119947)

Price estimate: $2,700

Does “the President” ring a bell? This is the nickname of Rolex’s famed Day Date watch, and the Heritage Automatic Day & Date gives it a run for its money. But the Heritage has a style of its own, and it’s not just some cheap replica. Actually, it’s a tribute to Minerva’s classic dress watches from the ’40s and ’50s. 

The case is consistent with the vintage design of a seamless round frame and teethed crown in a 39mm case. Combined with the fully-polished finish and silvery white dial, this watch will complete a formal look for every man. 

Also, the combination of the hour marker and minute graduation inside the case and day and date windows give this watch a cool, refined, yet, classy appearance. More specifically, I fancy how the blue syringe seconds hand extends to the five-minute graduation.

It’s coupled with a grey Sfumato alligator leather strap that gives it a unique look and is comfortable to wear. Additionally, it’s powered by an in-house caliber concealed behind the solid case back with a Minerva Manufacture” engraving. Priced at a little over $2000, you’ll be getting plenty of luxury and comfort for the Heritage Day Date. 

4. Montblanc Tradition Automatic Date (ref. MB127770)

4. Montblanc Tradition Automatic Date (ref. MB127770)

Price estimate: $2,115

Another masterpiece from Montblanc for men seeking casual luxury and style for occasions. It’s a classic stainless steel watch with a round case and the signature Montblanc straight lugs I’ve come to love. It’s 40mm across the case and has a unique 5-link stainless steel bracelet that exudes a bold and authentic aura. 

The dial is a beauty. It’s an infusion of matching silver-white with Roman numerals and baton hour markers, and a date window at 3 o’clock. Similar to the Heritage Day Date, it has an internal bezel, except this time, it’s a 15-minute graduation and railway minute design for indexes. And you can’t go wrong with the ultra-slim hands toning down the bold impression of the dial and bracelet. 

This Tradition Automatic uses an in-house MB 24.17 automatic caliber with a 38-hour reserve. Compared to similar models from name brands, like the Oris Artelier Automatic, Tissot Tradition Automatic, and even the Longines Master L2.357.4.08.6, the MB holds its own. 

And some may say it has a dressy edge with the Roman numerals on the dial. And, of course, it’s a slightly more economical timepiece, also offering a leather option if you want a more corporate style. Or the 36mm case if you’re more reserved. 

But I’ll admit the 2500-dollar Longines Master is enticing when you consider the diamond indexes and color options. All in all, Montblanc’s Traditional Automatic is a top-rated luxury watch any serious watch lover can appreciate for engineering, value, and beauty. 

5. Montblanc 1858 Geosphere (ref. MB119286)

Price estimate: $6,800

If you checked out the MB Vasco Da Gama from earlier, you’d understand Montblanc is a fan of exploratory watches. The type an ordinary fountain pen maker would struggle to idealize, much less perfect in production. Yet, the folks at Montblanc made the 1858 Geosphere as a tribute to mountaineers braving the Seven Summit Challenge – climbing the tallest mountains across the seven continents.

This is a befitting watch for Montblanc’s heritage since the brand’s name means “massif” or “principal mountain mass”. So it was no surprise extra attention was paid to detail, and it was released as a celebration of Minerva’s 160th anniversary. 

The 1858 Geosphere dial has two globes with a red dot signifying the location of each summit around the world. It also has a second timezone at 9 o’clock and a knurled ceramic bezel doubling as a compass. Talk about a new world timer. 

The structure is no less impressive. It’s a 42mm stainless steel case, black dial, and aged Sfumato calf leather for class and comfort. The 1858 Geosphere is also available in Nato and Bund straps for ultimate wearability. 

6. Montblanc Heritage GMT (ref. MB119950)

6. Montblanc Heritage GMT (ref. MB119950)

Price estimate: $3,300

By far the dressiest GMT watch you’ll come across, Montblanc gives travelers a timepiece to slay on the road. While I love the attention complicated watches like GMTs bring, I’m a simple man at heart. The MB Heritage GMT ticks all the right boxes with this simple design.

Don’t let the uncharacteristic round case with straight lugs fool you. It’s durable and just fine without a bezel. The salmon dial has a double entendre appeal (vintage and eye-catching) with three different layers of finish. 

The wood grain finish for the hands (inner layer), guilloche pattern for the 12-hour marker (center), and clear finish for the minute and 24-hour marker (outer ring) make the dial beautiful, readable, and shows thoughtful craftsmanship. 

This 40mm two-timezone Montblanc is water-resistant to 50 meters and has an automatic MB24.50 caliber with 42 hours of power reserve. Talk about a simple, stylish, yet powerful, GMT watch at an affordable price.  

7. Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H (ref. MB126007)

7. Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H (ref. MB126007)

Price estimate: $3,300

With this “piece of art,” you’d recognize that the “1858” collection is MB’s dedication to complicated watches. It’s strictly a collector’s watch for enthusiasts who fancy the addition of a conceptual one-handed watch to their collectibles. It’s a beautiful 1858-themed watch with stainless steel case and an attractive patina-like bronze bezel. 

The bezel ages fine even with wear as the patina blooms, giving it the intended 19th-century feel. But that’s not the whole of the 19th-century story with this watch. What’s special about the Automatic 24h is also the unreal fact that it’s unable to keep time accurately. 

On the beautiful compass-like dial is a 24-hour marker with even gradations of 2-24 and a black map background. Interestingly there are compass indicators on the outer bezel, although I’m uncertain about their accuracy. What’s certain, though, is the bright red hand pointing to the rail tracks is the only way to tell the time – albeit accurate to only +/- 15 minutes. 

But I like the adventurous side to it; the first 12th hour of the day starts on the west, and the rest of the day is covered within the 24th hour on the east side of the dial. 

So how you tell the time is down to tracking the four minutes within the hour, leaving you accurate to only 15-minute intervals on the hour. Fun fact: the dial comes alive at night to reveal a map of the Northern Hemisphere and the Meridian lines. 

Montblanc wraps the bronze case in their much-hyped vintage textile strap from Julien Faure – a strap manufacturer that uses the same antique looms his forefathers used 150 years ago. 

While this is more of MB’s conceptual timepieces, I find it overpriced for the concept of feeling an alpine adventure and inaccurate timekeeping era. But I can’t deny it’s the perfect watch to pass down generations.      

8. Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date 39 (ref. MB118517)

8. Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date 39 (ref. MB118517)

Price estimate: $2,650

Now we’re back in the present with another Montblanc beautiful dress watch – the Star Legacy Date 39. This 39mm stainless steel piece is a refresher from the complicated 1858 Automatic 24h, thanks to its easy-to-read Arabic Breguet numerals and uncluttered slate gray dial.  

The dial looks clean, but a closer look reveals the attention to detail of a skilled craftsman on the guilloche patterns. It’s the type of watch face that just seems to always get the attention of co-workers and friends. It’s classy and familiar, yet stands out from what you’ll see anywhere else.

Coupling it with MB’s sfumato alligator leather strap confirms its ultimate dress appeal. If you’re unfamiliar with the sfumato technique, it’s a technique from way back in Leonardo Da Vinci’s era that basically gives paintings, in this case, the leather strap, a smoky, faded, but stylish appearance like it aged like fine wine. Without a doubt, the Star Legacy 39mm is one timepiece for a businessman or classy professional to start a dress watch collection.

9. Montblanc 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 (ref. MB130984)

9. Montblanc 1858 Automatic Date 0 Oxygen The 8000 (ref. MB130984)

Price estimate: $3,180

In support of Montblanc’s intricate support for mountaineers for obvious reasons, I introduce the Date 0 Oxygen. The artisans and engineers constructed this sporty watch “devoid of oxygen” – airtight – to prevent fogging at high altitudes. Not to mention a spectacular dial to brave cold nights in the wild or rock every day.

The 8000 comes with a black glacier-patterned dial with Montblanc’s sfumato technique finishing, giving it a modern and vintage look. The watch face is a true work of art. In addition to the iced-out background, the 8000 has an easy-to-read dial with large-font Arabic numerals and illuminated cardinal points on the bezel.

It has a black bezel and boxy lugs that are sporty compared to the straight lugs of a typical Montblanc. But don’t write it off as a dress watch just yet; it’s leaf hour hands. Plus, it has an interchangeable bracelet so you can swap it for a leather strap.   

The Date 0 Oxygen 8000 runs on the powerful MB21.17 we’ve seen in the previous Montblanc models so far. It’s concealed in the closed case back with a “Spirit of Explorations” engraving as an honor to the brave who explore in this watch. Just remember, it may be 0 Oxygen, but it’s only water resistant to 100 meters. 

10. Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar (ref. MB119955)

10. Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar (ref. MB119955)

Price estimate: $6,110

The Montblanc Star Legacy Full Calendar is one of the more complicated models from the German luxury brand. But it keeps its tradition of making simple, round, and dressy watches with a nod to Minerva’s heritage from the 19th century.

As you can probably tell, the Star Legacy has a calendar function or moon phase, but also day, date, month, and hour running on the MB 29.12 caliber. I can’t help but fantasize about how it holds up against heavyweights like the Breguet Classique Calendrier 7337 and Blancpain Quantieme Complet because they share some similarities in style. The Star Legacy has the round pocket watch shape not only for its Minerva heritage and like top competitors with the moon phase complication. 

Its dial is a stunning work of artistry despite having a seemingly simple white background. But the masterful artisans at Le Locle made some magic drilling the Montblanc exploding star guilloche front and center. And it’s encircled by the days of the week and the day and month window below the Montblanc logo.

In addition, black Roman numerals and dotted minute markers on the silvery-white dial give the Star Legacy a crisp and readable profile. The red crescent moon and blue hour and minute hands contrast so perfectly that it’s even easy for a horology newbie to get the concept. 

Couple this beautiful dial with a 42mm polished stainless steel case and Sfumato alligator leather; you get a casual and formal timepiece. Despite being one of the more pricey models, the Star Legacy calendar strikes a pretty good bargain for design and functionality at its price.  

11. Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph (ref. MB117836)

11. Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph (ref. MB117836)

Price estimate: $5,602

The 1858 collection has got to be as iconic to Montblanc as the Submariner or Datejust is to Rolex. Before you get axes out, this is an assumption based on the number of impressive models and not judging by popularity. The Automatic Chronograph is a vintage beauty that keeps giving from simplicity, and contemporary fashion, to functionality. And the magnetic charm is from nothing over the top.

The watch has the typical round and polished case we’ve come to expect from Montblanc but with the added touch of a satin finish to the 42mm stainless steel contraption. Enter the dial; you’ll notice the faded but appealing old-school aesthetics of the leaf hands, markers, and sub counters on the black backdrop. 

And for a new look to the entire brand, MB introduces bi-pushers to Automatic Chronograph. Another change from the usual is its MB25.11 caliber with a 48-hour power reserve and 27 jewels. 

Although not uncommon in today’s luxury watch world, the calf leather strap is what catches my fancy. The raw look and bright contrast of the cognac strap give the timepiece a bold and versatile style that would pass for a house or beach party, dinner, or running errands. 

12. Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar (ref. MB119925)

12. Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar (ref. MB119925)

Price estimate: $21,000

Last but not least is the latest version of what was once the most affordable luxury perpetual calendar watch on the market. Although this new upgrade is not on the cheap side, it comes with a bigger case, less clutter and more harmony on the dial, and stronger movement. 

The Heritage Perpetual Calendar is powered by what Montblanc calls the “new manufacture” 29 caliber MB29.22. For folks unfamiliar with the perpetual calendar function, it’s simply a calendar that can be adjusted to read accurate days of the week from the past or future. Hence the MB29.22 reads hours, days, months, leap years, and moon phases accurately with a 48-hour power source.  

However, it’s not these features that are intriguing, but the engineering prowess to present them tastefully on the silvery white dial. The Star Legacy’s dial carries Montblanc’s signature multi-level textured finish that, while simple, exudes extreme attention to detail and makes the functions extra legible. This is a reminder that the Heritage Perpetual calendar also has a second timezone function, which is impressive. 

And to top it off, the watch fits in a slim 12mm stainless steel case thanks to the efficiency of engineering on the MB29.22. Pairing the Heritage Perpetual Calendar with Montblanc’s trademark sfumato leather strap was an obvious genius.

You’ll be adding a classy weekend or daily dress watch that commands respect in any room to your collection. And it has a seemingly positive resale value. It debuted at $15000 during its release at SIHH 2019 but now costs over $20000. 

Montblanc Watches: The Brand for Classic Men

Montblanc is the ultimate men’s luxury watch brand for classic men and even modern-day professional women. I don’t say this because they make exceptional watches, but the possibility of staying loyal to one brand for your luxury accessories.

At least for me, I enjoy having a brand I can trust to deliver quality, taste, and a good price for several items. It saves me the stress of starting a new customer journey of window shopping around to find a fit. 

And Montblanc caters to a niche of folks who want fashionable and sophisticated watches, briefcases, bracelets, wallets, and fountain pens for the traditional man. Overall, the German luxury watch manufacturer makes timepieces a beginner or hardcore enthusiast that values simplicity, style, and reasonable pricing would appreciate.

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