Today I’m going to take a look at the “next level” (for me, anyway) of watches – the Montblanc Star World Time Swiss automatic watch!
Most of the watches reviewed at PRAKTICALA can be categorized as “affordable,” from respected Seiko automatics and Citizen Eco-Drives to “budget” (but still highly regarded) Swiss brands like Hamilton, Tissot, Raymond Weil, and Edox.
Montblanc is a luxury brand from Germany (the watches are manufactured in Switzerland) known for their insanely nice fountain pens, but they also make very nice watches and accessories. Travel to any international airport or upscale shopping area and you’ll see Hugh Jackman plastered all over the walls as Montblanc’s brand ambassador, looking smashing in a Montblanc watch or doing biz with a Montblanc fountain pen in hand.
You might be wondering – doesn’t a $2,000 watch drift out of budget-conscious-layperson range? While it’s true many business people inexplicably love Rolex watches and often pay well over five times that price for the privilege, the reality is the vast majority of laypeople (including me) think spending two grand on a watch is nuts. So how does one justify such a purchase?
Other than the business-related advantages of having a nice watch, the key here is retained value. Consider the fact that many people who would balk at a $2,000 watch easily spend $500 on a smartphone that depreciates to nearly nothing in a year. Conversely, a quality Swiss watch will retain its value for much longer, in some cases, indefinitely – or may even rise in value if you can find a good enough deal initially.
This means that if you play your cards right, you can drop a big chunk of change on a watch, reap the aforementioned business benefits, then resell the piece at minimal loss (or even profit) whenever you want.
Obviously, the more watches you hold in inventory, the higher the opportunity cost – you’re sitting on a lot of money you can’t spend. If cash flow is important to you, you can simply rotate watches in and out of your closet – buy them when they’re cheap, then sell them when you can get a good price for them. While this strategy would be hard to pull of on an inexpensive Seiko or Citizen, and certainly impossible for Chinese-made fashion watches like Fossil, Diesel, or Kenneth Cole, higher-end Swiss brands always hold their value well.
Most watches come in black or dark-colored matte boxes. A Montblanc watch comes, appropriately, in an oversized, glossy, bright white box. Open that and you’ll find the inner black box, which is wrapped in a soft leather-textured material. NICE.
Even the instruction manual (described as a “service guide”) feels luxurious. What the.
The first thing you’ll notice about the watch is that, like the box, it’s large and heavy. It isn’t the dial diameter that’s enormous (40mm is about average for a men’s watch) but that it’s thick and dense. There are a lot of complications in the watch (keep reading) which could explain its weight. In any case, just holding it in your hands makes you feel like you’re holding something rare and valuable.
There is a lot to look at on the Montblanc Star. Beneath the sapphire crystal, the black dial is decorated with a guilloche star pattern, which contrast with the 12-hour markings, indicated by large, silver digits written in a classy script. A separate 24-hour hand points to the military time along a day/night stripe on the dial. Meanwhile, the second hand is accented with the iconic Montblanc white star logo (signifying a birds-eye view of the snow-capped Mont Blanc in the Alps). There’s also a date indicator at the 3 o’clock position.
Of course, it’s called a World Time watch for a reason. The dial is circled by a wide, beveled ring that lists twenty-four major cities around the world, each representing a time zone. If you’re ever curious about what time it is in, say, Dhaka, simply turn the ring (which can be done after loosening the screw-down crown) so your local city matches up with the hour hand, then find where your target city lies along the ring. Sure, it’s faster to Google it, but this method is way more impressive, and feels suitably manual and decidedly old-school.
On the caseback is another sapphire window where you can see the automatic Swiss movement inside. The Montblanc name is engraved along the side of the case, and the large, ridged screw-down crown (also adorned with the white star logo) turns smoothly and with just the right amount of resistance.
The watch can also be hand-wound with the crown, and has a 42-hour power reserve! The strap is croc-embossed genuine leather, and uses a deployment clasp to reduce wear from constant engagement and disengagement.
The Montblanc Star isn’t the most practical watch out there: it’s heavy, bulky, and has features most people will rarely (or never) use. However, the appeal of the piece isn’t in its practicality, but in its uniqueness – no one else will have a watch quite like this one. The added complications give it a one-of-a-kind, steampunk-ish vibe that will certainly get attention and start conversations. If you’re a businessperson, you will be familiar with the sea of Rolex watches the sheep wear to look important. The Montblanc Star will help you stand out and impress, while costing you less!
If you have a Montblanc watch, we would love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below.