Our beloved MONTA released a new version of the popular Skyquest: their tried and true travelers' GMT watch. The new 2022 model marks a departure from what the brand has been releasing since its inception in 2015. The brand has created a unique visual language that all MONTA models are endowed with and that makes them work with one another, making MONTA the type of brand we want to own several models off. Interestingly, the new Skyquest looks different, and more elevated in many ways which we will discuss in this article. While the brand is clearly evolving and growing, the Skyquest watch, while looking fresh and new, still very much feels like a MONTA. How is that possible?
The Skyquest From Before
The first version of the Skyquest had the iconic MONTA design: Sword hands, multi-faceted applied markers, angled GMT hand that clears the hour markers, subtle crown-guards, and the triangle-rectangular marker at the 12 o’clock. By all means it was an elegant looking timepiece that came with multiple surfaces that reflect light. It was a proper traveler’s GMT in that it had two 24-hour scales—one on the rehaut and one on the bezel—however it looked more “serious” than the new Skyquest due to having, as we mentioned above, more reflective surfaces and a more intricate dial layout.
In many ways, the previous generation Skyquest was a logical next step for MONTA after releasing the Triumph and Oceanking; it had the same design language which means one could buy a Triumph, an Oceanking, and a Skyquest and not have two watches fulfilling the same purpose, but two watches that looked coherent together. Each model was built to do something special and looked the part. Now that MONTA has upgraded the Skyquest—before any other collection—could it mean that perhaps MONTA wants to move the entire collection in a different direction, or just the Skyquest?
I don’t have insider information on this topic, sorry.
The New Skyquest
The new Skyquest is a whole different animal. The first thought that came to mind when I first saw it was “Dang, this is a legible GMT!” Indeed, while I loved everything about the previous generation Skyquest, I find the new one to be more purposeful (more on that later) and more legible. While I described the first generation as being “serious” (in a positive way, by the way,) I find the new one to be more “rugged.” (I know, saying this doesn’t make me sound intellectual but it best describes how I feel about it.)
As mentioned above, I do not have insider information about where MONTA will go after the new Skyquest. Meaning: will they update the rest of the collection? This is left for perhaps a future article. In the meantime, there are a couple of things that MONTA preserved from the first generation that makes the new Skyquest very MONTA: the Swords hands are still here, the case profile is the same although they revised its proportions: the first generation measured 40 x 49 x 11.9mm and the new one 40.7 x 47.4 x 11.8mm.
So the new one is a tad wider whilst being shorter and virtually keeping the same thickness. These remain therefore Goldie-locks dimensions for a 300 meters water resistance traveler’s GMT watch.
It’s More Purposeful
Going a bit more in the details, I wanted to touch upon three visual changes that contribute to making the new Skyquest look more purposeful. First, the font used on the bezel seems to be four times bigger than the one on the previous generation Skyquest. The font is also wider, making reading the GMT time a breeze. Enlarging the font makes reading time easier and makes the watch more purposeful because its essential function—besides telling time—is to let you know what hour it is in a different time-zone. This is easily done now having such a larger typeface. Interestingly, I find the bezel to look cleaner too although the Arabic numerals are larger.
MONTA also cleaned up the dial layout. They removed the 24-hour scale on the rehaut to make way for the dial. The dial has therefore more space to breathe, something that contributes to making the watch more legible. It also means that the GMT hand is easier to spot, especially now that MONTA painted it entirely red (only the tip was red on the previous generation.) Again, having a GMT hand easier to see and having a more legible dial makes the whole operation of reading time in different timezones a breeze.
Lastly, I love the new marker design. While the previous generation had three-dimensional hour markers, the new one has flat applied ones. This contributes to the new non-sense visual DNA of the 2022 Skyquest which makes it a purposeful and functional GMT timepiece. Furthermore, having flat markers gives the dial a calming aspect since there is less to see and fewer layers to take in. For example, the date window is simply framed instead of having a bevel. A tiny detail that makes the dial look overall cleaner.
It’s quite fascinating to me that MONTA went in such a different direction without compromising quality. Although the dial looks simpler in some ways, the watch is still a MONTA in that it is built and finished to the highest standards: rhodium-plated hands, a well-finished case, the patented bracelet, 300 meters of water resistance, and the GMT movement. While I say simpler, perhaps what I mean is more refined. I cannot wait to see how the other MONTA collections will evolve over time, whether they will follow the path of the new Skyquest or if each collection will come with its own and new design language. In the meantime, I am here for the MONTA glow-up.