Pocket watches used to be very popular. Well, in fact it seems certainly understandable, given they were the only available option to carry the time. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, along came wristwatches, which through the first half of the 20th century, became the norm. Pocket watches turned into an obsolete object, more prone to adorned collectors’ displays and museums than to be worn. However, with the actual trend of vintage, couldn’t it be distinguished and fashionable to attach the chain of a pocket watch back on your finely tailored suit? That’s what we’re going to look at with the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch 110 years Edition, a both modern, practical (display-wise), complicated, elegant and well-priced pocket / table watch.
We’re all used to looking at the time on our wrists. A vast majority of collectors and watch-aficionado mainly – if not only – have wristwatches in their displays. We’re not even talking about mere humans. If they have only one timekeeping device, it will be, without a doubt, a wristwatch. If you go in a watch store, whether for affordable or extremely high-end timepieces, what you’ll see in the displays will be wristwatches and maybe, just maybe, one or two pocket watches. In vintage stores, the story is a bit different but still, pocket watches (with only a few exceptions) are not priced to the level of wristwatches, which shows a disinterest of collectors. However, in the last 10 years, vintage / heritage / antique are the major trend. Every single brand is looking at their past, re-introducing some of their most glorious models. Which leads to the question: wouldn’t it be quite cool to wear something different, something voluntarily outdated and offset, like a pocket watch? And if wearing a 100 years old timepiece on a daily basis is not such an easy task, a modern-built pocket watch with a contemporary look could well be the ultimate hype trend. This is the reason why, today, we’re giving our interest to the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch 110 years Edition, with its world-time function and a look that is just the right mix between antique and modern.
The Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch is mechanically based on the Orbis Terrarum wristwatch, a timepiece that we covered, tested, compared and explained several times here, and that we highly recommend. Basically, it gives the opportunity to enjoy the world-time complication in an affordable way. In our days of travelling and worldwide meetings, having the entire main 24 time-zones visible in a glance on a single dial is something extremely practical. However, such a complication is usually rather expensive – something we showed to you in a comparative review. With the Orbis Terrarum, this is no more the case but still, you’ll enjoy an automatic watch with an in-house developed and assembled world-time module.
The 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch shares the same spirit, the same display and the same movement than that of the wrist version but in a totally different case. Yes, it’s a pocket watch and yes, it does look superb – and somehow totally out of the norm and thus, completely fashionable. It has to be appreciated in a different way: it wears differently, it uses differently, it somehow obliges you to a certain ritual, to pull out a large and heavy object out of your pocket, hold it in your hand and look at it to see the time. This ritual, which you’ll certainly do less often than just pulling up your sleeve (something that you certainly do a hundred times a day), is what makes a pocket watch both formal, elegant and “dandy”. There is something that you have to play with, mixing it with an entire attitude that, compared to old times, will be looked as strange, posh or sophisticated for some. Wearing a pocket watch is something you do knowingly and that has to be matched with the rest of your attitude and outfit. Once this barrier surpassed, the result is certainly pleasant.
In details, what is the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch 110 years Edition, besides being a pocket watch? Well, it’s a 53mm block of stainless steel. Of course a bit larger than a wristwatch, it remains reasonable for a pocket watch, making it easy to wear (don’t forget that today’s clothes tend to be more fitted than before, and thus your pockets are much smaller…). The case is entirely polished and weights a lot. What could be disturbing for a wristwatch is here an advantage, participating to the perceived quality. The watch is heavy and perfectly sits in your hand. The whole thing is attached to a nicely executed stainless steel chain, whose distinctive shape recalls the ropes used in seafaring. Also know that when at home or at your office, the Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch is equipped with a hinged piece, allowing the use it as a desk clock. The overall look is clean, elegant and certainly modern – of course combined to the outdated charm of a pocket watch. But still, this Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch is a contemporary watch and you can feel it.
As the pocket watch shares the same movement as the Orbis Terrarium wristwatch, the display and dial of the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch shows some huge similarities. Timekeeping relies on 2 main hands, gold plated, on the central axis – for the hours and minutes. The attraction here is the world time complication, with the specificity of being based on several layers of sapphire crystal and rotating discs, all displaying their own indication. 3 areas can be seen:
- A city ring, with 24 main cities (and 11 other time zones that are here as indications, but not functional). This ring, considering the extra-space offered by the 53mm diameter (compared to the 43mm wrist version) is far more legible.
- A 24h ring, which displays the local time in the 24 cities around.
- A map, showing the world from the North Pole and giving the day & night indication all around the world, via a series of translucent or tinted sapphire discs. This function is rare into words time watches – and usually reserved to high-end watches like seen here.
How to use this watch? On the first use, the home time zone’s corresponding city should be placed in front of the small red triangle at 6 o’clock by using the world-time corrector at 5. Everything, from the day & night disc, the sapphire crystal dial with continents and cities to the central hour hand, will turn together. Then the time is set via the crown. When traveling, the local time is adjusted by moving the local city to the triangle, once again via the world-time corrector.
Altogether, let’s admit that this Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch is a sort of UFO – but a superb one. Of course, this won’t be a watch for the mere customer. Few people will accept to wear such a timepiece but the few that will do it will have to do it with style. In 2016, a pocket watch is something that you deliberately choose and assume. And the result on the wearer can be superb. The watch itself, just like its wrist sibling, is an excellent compromise between function, quality, practicality and reasonable price – 8,500 Euros. Only a few will have this pleasure, as limited to 110 pieces. More details on montblanc.com.
Specifications of the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum Pocket Watch
- Case: 53mm diameter – 16.8mm height – stainless steel – sapphire crystal on front – engraved caseback with hinge part to use it as a table clock – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre MB 29.20 (Sellita SW-300 base, in-house world-time module) – automatic – 42h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, world-time, day & night
- Strap: stainless steel rope-like chain
- Ref. 114928 – limited to 110 pieces – 8,500 Euros