by John Russel Jones

The legendary Mont Blanc rises out of the Alps to a height of 4,810 meters on the border between France and Italy, the highest peak in Western Europe. On August 8, 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard because the first to ascend the peak. To honor that courageous first ascent the Montblanc luxury maison has created a series of five limited edition writing instruments.  

Montblanc High Artistry The First Ascent of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 1

The Montblanc High Artistry The First Ascent of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 1 expresses the great vision of conquering the Mont Blanc massif in the delicate precision of a handcrafted miniature grisaille enamel painting encircling the Au 750 solid white gold cap. The enameled icy mountain top scene displayed in masterful color and detail is framed by vibrant ribbons of alternating sapphires and diamonds. The lower part of the cap is densely bejeweled with diamonds in mixed settings and mixed cuts that artfully transition in a graduated effect from a crystalline base upwards into a light blue sapphire atmosphere.

At the top of the cap, a rounded rock crystal opens to reveal a skeletonized ‘Mont Blanc massif’ holding the high-value center stone resting atop an engraved Montblanc emblem. The Swiss naturalist who offered a prize for the first successful expedition to the summit, Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, also invented the cyanometer to measure the intensity of the sky’s blue color at varying altitudes. A special visualization of this device, made of diamonds and blue lacquered color fields, adorns the cap of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 1. The pen retails for a mere $1,392,500.

To learn more about the Limited Edition 1, or to read about the other four pens in the series (starting at $46,500), check out Montblanc’s website.

Higher and Higher

Another legendary peak, Mt. Everest, rises out of the Himalayas to a height of 8,848 meters, on the border between China and Nepal, the Earth’s highest above sea level.

On May 16th 2022, Nimsdai Purja achieved the extraordinary feat of being the first mountaineer to ascend the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Kanchenjunga without supplemental oxygen in the record-breaking timeframe of just 8 days, 23 hours and 10 minutes and a second record of doing the Everest to Lhotse traverse without oxygen in 26 hours. He undertook this challenge wearing the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph “0 Oxygen” LE290 on his wrist, a timepiece devoid of all oxygen, putting the timepiece through the ultimate test.

The 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. The Geosphere retails for $8,600.

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 company’s unforgiving 500-hour test.