Montblanc removes the oxygen from its latest mountaineering timepiece for its new Mark Maker Nimsdai Purja to test on his upcoming expedition to the summit of Mount Everest.
This “Zero Oxygen” timepiece, limited to 290 pieces, has several benefits for explorers who need their equipment to work in some of the harshest environments. Zero oxygen inside the movement not only eliminates fogging, which can occur with drastic temperature changes at altitude, but also prevents oxidization. Without oxygen, all the components last far longer and will provide greater precision over time.
Each timepiece comes with a zero oxygen certificate that attests to the fact that the watch has been successfully encased without oxygen. In addition to the certificate, each timepiece undergoes the Maison’s unforgiving 500-hour test. But Montblanc wanted to take things one step further by taking the new 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290 on a real mountaineering expedition to the world’s highest mountain above sea level – Mount Everest.
Nimsdai Purja is an exemplary mountaineer who was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom for outstanding achievement in extreme high-altitude mountaineering.
Born in Nepal, Nimsdai started his career in the military, where he spent six years as a Ghurka – the British and Indian army units recruited in Nepal – and then 10 years in the UK’s Special Boat Services (SBS), one of the most elite units in the British Military. He developed an interest in mountaineering during his spare time, after a trek to Everest Base Camp.
The experience sparked a passion that would later serve him well in his work as he took part in missions with the SBS’s mountain unit.
In 2019 he left the military to concentrate on extreme altitude mountaineering. Since then, he has achieved numerous mountaineering records, including several of the fastest ascents to the most peaks in a single season. He summited the world’s 14 highest 8,000-meter peaks in an astonishing seven months, smashing the previous record of eight years.
In May 2022, Nimsdai will undertake an expedition to the summit of The Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen while wearing the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290 on his wrist to put the timepiece through the test.
In addition to removing the oxygen from inside the case, Montblanc’s watchmakers have made numerous improvements to the timepiece in preparation for this challenging climb.
Firstly, they have chosen specific oils for the movement that will perform perfectly at temperatures as low as -50oC. The precision of a watch movement depends on the lubrication of its components, and Nimsdai cannot afford to have his equipment fail him on the mountain.
Another first for the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere line is the arrival of a chronograph function that can be used to record elapsed time of various operations on the mountain. The new complication is powered by Montblanc’s brand-new MB 29.27 automatic chronograph movement that comes with a central chronograph seconds hand, 30-minute chronograph in a sub dial at three o’clock, and chronograph hour at nine o’clock.
The start/stop pusher is at two o’clock, while the reset button is at four o’clock. The chronograph joins the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere’s unique world time function with its turning globes for both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, a 24 hours scale, a day/night indicator, and a date via a disc.
The timepiece comes in a 44mm polished titanium case that is very lightweight to help keep Nimsdai’s equipment weight to a strict minimum. A bi-directional satinated finishing ceramic knurled bezel with cardinal points will also help him keep his bearings on the mountain.
And last but not least, a striking new glacial blue dial gives the impression of looking into the depths of a genuine glacier. The dial makers employed an almost-forgotten ancestral technique called gratté boisé to get this spectacular glacial effect.
Mount Everest is celebrated on the case back of the timepiece. This image of the world’s tallest mountain above sea level depicts the route that Messner took back in 1978. Montblanc uses a very special technique to highlight Mount Everest on the back of the watch, giving it an authentic 3D rendering, providing depth and realism as if it was a photograph.
Made of titanium, the metal must first be structured, which means that the decoration will be engraved by laser, taking into consideration the relief of the drawing. Then the desired finish (matt and shiny) is also achieved by laser. Finally comes the colouring phase.
The colours are created with laser-generated oxidation. It is the level of oxidation that determines the final desired colour. Montblanc is one of the most advanced Swiss Maisons to use this technology on such a large surface. This innovation is in line with the brand’s spirit of exploration.
The timepiece comes in a limited edition of 290 pieces, a number that is a nod to the 29,031 feet that Nimsdai will need to climb to reach the summit.
Montblanc 1858 – Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290
Calibre MB 29.27
New Manufacture automatic movement Chronograph with world time complication
Number of rubies: 33
Power Reserve: Approx. 46 hours
Frequency: 28,800 A/h (4 Hz)
Hairspring: Flat hairspring
Hour, Minute and Chronograph’s seconds hands from the center
Date at 3 o’clock
30 minute counter at 3 o’clock
12 hour counter at 9 o’clock
Turning Northern and Southern hemisphere globes at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock with a 24-hour scale and day-night indication
Titanium case without oxygen with slim curved horns featuring polished and satinated finishing
Start/Stop chronograph titanium satinated pusher
Reset chronograph titanium satinated pusher
Bidirectional black ceramic knurling bezel, knurled finishing and engraved cardinal points coated with Super-LumiNova® with blue emission.
Scratch-resistant, domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating
Diameter = 44mm; Height = 17.10mm
Fluted titanium crown with Montblanc emblem in relief
Plain titanium case back with Everest 3D laser color engraving
Water-Resistance: 10 Bar (100m)
Blue and black coloured glacier dial with white Super-LumiNova® blue line luminescent Arabic numerals, rhodium and white Super-LumiNova® blue line luminescent cathedral-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand, rhodium luminescent time zone hand, Northern and Southern hemispheres globes with shading blue ocean with blue light continents, historical Montblanc logo at 3 o’clock
White date on black background
Blue Sfumato calf leather strap with titanium deploying buckle.
Limited edition of 290 pieces
Certified by the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500H