The humble NATO strap, with its roots in British military, is a great way to give one’s timepiece a functional and stylishly casual look. Manufacturers often include a NATO strap as a alternate option to wear their watches, allowing wearers to live out their inner James Bond. However, not all NATO straps are created equal.
Enter Julien Faure, a fifth-generation ribbon maker who produces high-quality woven fabric straps using the same antique looms his forefathers mastered since the 19th century at a 150-year-old weaving manufacture. Montblanc is currently working with Faure to create refined, robust, durable and comfortable NATO straps for their watches, expanding their 1858 collection to offer more vintage options.
Two new Montblanc timepieces centred around the theme of vintage exploration – the Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph & Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H – will include a hand-made NATO strap by Faure, with the former bundled with a beige strap and the latter in black. These new watches feature classic aesthetics inspired by Minerva chronographs and pocket watches from the 1920s and 1930s with new coloured dials, case elements made of a special alloy of bronze, and unique complications.
For better legibility, the watches’ dials highlight striking colour contrasts with their historical, luminescent, cathedral-shaped hands with a “cloisonné” design, Arabic numerals coated with SuperLumiNova, railway minute tracks, and the original Montblanc logo from the 1930s with its historical font and emblem of the Mont Blanc Mountain.
What sets the Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H (RM12,830) apart is its new complication which allows for a 24-hour indication via a single hand, allowing the watch to be used as a timekeeper, a compass and to read the hours and minutes. The vivid red-tipped hand, which is also coated in SuperLumiNova, acts as a compass that works in tandem with its 24-hour display for increased functionality.
The Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph (RM23,890) on the other hand, sports the MB.25.12 calibre, which indicates elapsed time with a central second hand and a 30-minute counter. The timepiece’s start, stop and reset functions can conveniently be commanded via a single pusher integrated into the crown.