When Rolex updated its legendary Explorer and Explorer II models last year, the brand expanded a legacy that dates back to the 1930s, when it equipped early expeditions in the Himalayas to test how its watches performed under extreme conditions.
Most famously, Rolex outfitted the 1953 expedition of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay that reached the summit of Mount Everest. To mark the milestone, the brand introduced the Explorer that same year. And in 1971, it followed up with Explorer II, which became the go-to watch for polar explorers, speleologists, and volcanologists.
“A reliable and high-performing watch is an essential companion to any adventurer setting out on a major expedition,” said the Italian mountaineer, explorer, and author Reinhold Messner, at last year’s launch of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Messner Limited Edition ($6,500).
The special edition of 262 pieces is the culmination of Messner’s long partnership with Montblanc and pays homage to his accomplishments and all the peaks over 26,200 feet that he ascended over the course of his career. His route, dubbed Messner’s List, is one of four approaches to the Seven Summits Challenge—climbing the highest peak on each of the seven continents.
In 2018, Montblanc launched the 1858 Geosphere with a particularly novel way of displaying the world time complication—two turning domed discs representing the Northern and Southern hemispheres.