The story of the Opalin Silver MONTA Atlas
MONTA was not started by businessmen who saw an opportunity in the industry. Quite the contrary, we started MONTA out of passion for watchmaking and design, and the desire to create the kind of watches and connection to a brand that we were missing from the existing brands we adored. That perspective has stayed with us and goes into every decision we make. We always listen to what our customers want, and during the design process of the Atlas we decided to truly distill the tool GMT dress watch.
Back in 2018, the idea for the Atlas GMT was born out of customers asking for three things: another GMT offering, a Triumph with “no numbers on the dial” and a white dress watch. There is always a risk with every new model launch: Will people like it? Will they like it enough to buy it? We once again leaned on my experiences and wants as an enthusiast, and knew it would resonate with fellow watch lovers.
Enter a personal story of my Rolex Daytona reference 116520, my first “grail.” I obsessed over the white dial that I saw on the wrist of a certain TV personality as well as the CEO of my employer circa 2009. For me the versatility, cleanliness, and legibility of the white dial was what did it. I could wear the same watch with any color suit/tie combo because everything goes with white. And on the weekend it stayed on the wrist with jeans and a sweater or shorts and a t-shirt. It was classic, timeless, and always fresh.
We had great success with our signature MONTA blue dial Oceanking and Skyquest as well as the silver Triumph, therefore the first two dial colors for the Atlas were predetermined. But we now had an opportunity to manifest the “GMT dress watch” requests from our loyal following. However I continued to think about the clean, timeless versatility of my Rolex Daytona. I expressed my want for a “white watch” to our design team when talking about the Atlas.
Before our CEO and head designer, Michael DiMartni, left for his summer in Switzerland we agreed to do a white dial and I was absolutely thrilled. So when he called and told me I was going to love the white dial Atlas I was ecstatic. Only “it’s not white….it’s silver.” Huh? Before my confusion could set in he reassured me that this was the right move and it renders itself as white, but it’s technically called “Opalin Silver.” Frankly, the wind had been taken out of my sails, but I had to trust him. I put myself firmly back in the enthusiast mentality when I saw the first renderings. I could not tell the difference on a computer screen from white, so I felt we had a success on our hands.
Months had passed from the original renderings that I lusted over and it was the day before Baselworld 2019, when I finally got to hold the Opalin Silver Atlas in my hands for the first time and put it on my wrist. Little unknown tidbit: we historically pick up our newest models and see the finished product ourselves for the first time only hours before the rest of the world. We had a 90-minute drive back to Basel, Switzerland from our assembly facility and I think I only looked up a few times as I marveled at my new grail. Once again sticking with my enthusiast roots, I knew we had a winner on our hands/wrists.
As we go into 2021, we were stuck home dreaming of past adventures for the last year. I look at my Atlas, set to two time zones, one Central US time and the other set to Central European time (Swiss local time). I dream of getting back to Switzerland and developing more ideas with Michael, however something quite funny has happened. My original grail watch, the white dial Daytona is now collecting dust and my Atlas is only sharing wrist time with the newest MONTA creation my Opalin Silver MONTA Noble.