Meet Montblanc’s new world-timer, the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

Earlier in the year Montblanc introduced the Heritage Spirit collection, which included the incredible Heritage Spirit Pulsograph, and the Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar. Both were extremely well received for a number of reasons and now, the brand has a new world-timer known as the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum.

Montblanc looks to be on a serious roll this year with multiple desirable watches.

Montblanc looks to be on a serious roll this year with multiple desirable watches.

The Heritage Spirit Collection is a new collection for 2014, Montblanc introduced this family of watches to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its legendary Meisterstück fountain pen. Of course the brand also launched special and limited edition pens but the real story was this new collection of watches. The Pulsograph boasted stunning looks, a monopusher design, and an immaculately finished movement, whereas the Perpetual Calendar blew everyone’s socks off by offering a perpetual calendar complication at an extremely enticing price point.

So, two great watches to kick-off a new collection, and now it seems that Montblanc has pulled off a hat-trick. The Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum will be offered with either a steel or 18K red-gold 41mm case, and – as you can plainly see from the pictures – an attractive dial that features continents (as viewed from the North Pole), country names, and 24 hour markings in a circular arrangement that is similar to other world-timers on the market (Vacheron’s Traditionnelle World Time comes to mind).

The Orbis Terrarum offers up an attractive, colorful dial, and Rhodium-plated dauphine hands, which present as legible against the continents dial.

The Orbis Terrarum offers up an attractive, colorful dial, and Rhodium-plated dauphine hands, which present as legible against the continents dial.

If you like to see time ticking away on the dial of your watch, you may be disappointed to find that this timepiece doesn’t feature a seconds complication. We aren’t too fussed about this because if you’re really looking for a watch to measure time down to the second, this isn’t the type of watch you should be looking at in the first place.

Montblanc says the timepiece boasts an innovative multi-layer dial construction, which makes the Orbis Terrarum easy to use and read. The centre of the dial – with the continents – is made from sapphire crystal, and under this is a disc showing the day and night, as well as the 24 hour timezones. This disc moves with the movement.

A complicated multi-layer dial construction was needed to make the watch as easy-to-use as Montblanc says it is. This image shows exactly how the dial is set-up.

A complicated multi-layer dial construction was needed to make the watch as easy-to-use as Montblanc says it is. This image shows exactly how the dial is set-up.

The way the watch works is that by using the pusher at the eight o’clock position, you first set the local city by positioning it at the six o’clock position. Next, the hours and minutes can be adjusted using the crown, which is always linked with the day/night time of the desired city. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see the correct local time of the local city, as well as the correct time of all the 24 timezones on the dial simultaneously.

When you’re moving to a different timezone, the new destination city (your new local city) has to be positioned at the six o’clock position using the pusher at the eight o’clock position (as before), and this will turn the continents, cities, the day/night disc with the 24 hour timezones, along with the hour hands in increments of one hour, with each push. The minutes aren’t affected, and by completing this process, the watch’s new hometime, as well as all of the 24 timezones will be in sync again. This is an elegant and rare approach to world-timer watches, and we can’t wait to see this in action first hand.

It's interesting that the Orbis Terrarum is only being offered with one choice of precious metal at launch (rose-gold).

It’s interesting that the Orbis Terrarum is only being offered with one choice of precious metal at launch (rose-gold).

Like the Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar, the Orbis Terrarum relies on a modular movement, in this case the calibre MB29.20. The base movement, which keeps time, is a tried and tested automatic Sellita that has seen service in other watches, however the world-timer mechanism is built in-house by Montblanc. Surprisingly, at the time of publishing this article, no official pictures of the movement have been offered but we suspect that it will have a reasonable level of finish, as the new collection of watches is very much the pet project of Jerome Lambert, who is absolutely not a stranger to watches and watchmaking.

The Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum in steel with a steel bracelet is expected to retail for US $6,800, whereas the rose-gold version with a leather strap should cost about $18,000. The steel version can also be had with a black leather strap for slightly less money.

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