It’s been a few months since we’ve had a Monta in for review at The Watch Clicker and quite frankly, it’s been too long. It seems that when you don’t have a Monta on hand you forget how good they are. It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of the brand and all their releases have impressed me in different ways. At the time of this writing, the Monta Skyquest is the last watch in their stable I haven’t reviewed. It’s time to fix that.
On the Wrist
If you’ve ever tried on a Monta Oceanking, there aren’t going to be many surprises with the Skyquest in terms of fit and comfort. They share the same case apart from a few small changes to accommodate the taller GMT movement. The crown is more centered on the case, for example. If you haven’t been able to try either of these watches on, the bottom line is that it is a comfortable watch that looks stellar on the wrist.
The Skyquest isn’t a large watch but it isn’t small either. The 40.7mm diameter is paired with a lug-to-lug distance of 49mm. Monta has done a good job mitigating the lug-to-lug distance despite the slightly flat appearance when looking at it from the side. There is a gentle turndown in the lugs which makes this watch wear 1-1.5mm smaller than it is. It fits perfectly on my 6.75” wrist and should be comfortable for wrists smaller than that.
I found myself constantly staring at the Skyquest. I would check the time, look at the watch for a few seconds, and realize I didn’t check the time. It is one of those watches that is just plain beautiful. Monta’s case finishing is top-notch and gives it the appearance of glowing, especially in direct sunlight. The various finishing techniques and mix of brushing and polishing in just the right places make this watch great to look at.
Monta uses the same handset across all their watches so if you found one of their watches to be legible, there will be no issues here. My only complaint about the handset is that I think the hour hand is a hair too short. If it is between the cardinal positions it can look a little stubby.
In one of my earlier reviews I lamented that Monta did not include their amazing quick-adjust clasp on all their models. Monta has remedied that and now offers it as standard. This has vastly improved the comfort, especially for the Skyquest, which is a touch larger than the Atlas and Triumph. I say this mainly because their clasps are long and getting the right fit is extremely important for all-day comfort.
Monta Skyquest Video Review
Monta executes the dials on their GMT models extremely well. GMTs inherently display a lot of information when compared to a three-hand watch. The 24-hour track running around the rehaut needs to be unobtrusive, otherwise you might not know what time it is in any time zone. Monta has kept the numerals in the rehaut out of the way so that they disappear when you don’t need them.
The text on the dial is sparse with branding at 12 o’clock and Skyquest and the water resistance rating at 6 o’clock. While the text is sparse, I do feel it is a little large. Paring down the text size would have made for an even cleaner dial.
The applied markers are well-executed and the larger markers at 12, 3, and 9 o’clock make for easy orientation. The date at 6 o’clock has a beveled and polished window which complements the marker at 12 o’clock perfectly.
Because of how the handset needs to stack, the GMT hand might need to be shortened when using applied markers. The hand would hit the markers if it were any longer. Monta has come up with a clever way around this by adding a kink into the hand so once it extends past where the hour hand passes over it, it raises up and over the markers. It’s a great solution to this problem and looks cool.
While the bezel looks like the Oceanking’s, there are a few differences, with the most obvious being the insert. The Skyquest’s GMT bezel insert contains the even numerals (the rehaut has the odd numerals), removing any confusion as to what hour the GMT hand is pointing to. The other key difference is the bezel action. Monta used a different bezel action instead of just adapting the 60-click operation from the Oceanking. A 72-click bidirectional operation allows the wearer to properly align to the correct time zone. No corners were cut here and it shows.
Case & Bracelet
When it comes to case finishing, Monta are the best at their price point (and even above it in some cases). If you have never handled one of their watches this may sound weird but here we go. The case on the Skyquest feels soft, but it isn’t…but it feels like it. Andrew from the 40&20 Podcast described it as supple, an accurate description. You must feel it to experience it.
Monta’s use of polishing and brushing is some of the best I have seen. Polished chamfers are in the right place and are never too large or too small. The chamfers on the inside of the lugs are one of my favorite design details and complement the bracelet perfectly. There isn’t a blemish on any part of the case; put simply, it’s perfect.
The crown guards on the Skyquest are interesting. They are part of the case, but they look as if they are a separate piece. Looking straight on at the watch, the edge of the bezel extends just enough that it hides where the crown guards join the case, creating this effect. I didn’t notice this as much on the Oceanking, probably because they sat a little lower on the case.
If I could change one thing about the case, it would be the crown. It is a bit too small for my fingers and sometimes I had issues screwing and unscrewing the crown. Once it is popped out, this isn’t as much of an issue especially considering how easy the Skyquest is to wind.
Despite having so much alike with the Oceanking, the casebacks on the two watches are entirely different. The Skyquest has an exhibition caseback as opposed to the solid caseback on the Oceanking. The ETA 2893 base (Monta caliber M.23) is nicely finished and a pleasure to look at.
I spoke briefly about the bracelet and I’ve discussed how good Monta’s bracelets are in my other reviews. I encourage you to read them if you want to know more about the bracelet. There is one thing you need to know: the fully articulated links make the bracelet as comfortable as possible. It drapes around your wrist as soon as it leaves the watch and has a satisfying heft to it.
As I said above, Monta has added the quick-adjust clasp and I’m beyond thrilled it is there. The other new addition to Monta bracelets is half links. I always had a difficult time getting just the right fit on the Triumph and Atlas bracelets and the half links have completely fixed that problem. Because of the shape of my wrist, I needed a half link at the end of the fold of the bracelet to avoid an awkward bend in the bracelet. I can now say that the Monta bracelet feels custom-fit to my wrist.
I’m not sure if Monta considers the Skyquest or the Oceanking their flagship watch (or if they consider one at all). They are both fantastic watches in their own right, but when I look at the Skyquest I see a watch that is downright good. The busy-ness of the dial is just right and presents the time in a way that feels like a pure sport watch. Even more shocking is the fact that the Skyquest costs the same as the Oceanking. In my book, that makes the Skyquest a bargain (relatively speaking).
Monta is producing some of the best watches at any price point, but this is especially true for the space they play in. The ~$2,000 watch segment is jam-packed with great watches. There are watches in that segment that are a good value and some that should cost less for what you get. The Skyquest is the first I’ve handled where I feel like I’m getting away with something. The Skyquest doesn’t feel like a $2,000 watch; it feels more expensive. I have no doubt Monta knows their buyers are getting a good deal. The question is how long will it be before the market realizes a Monta should cost more?
Check out more Monta reviews from The Watch Clicker
Check out the Monta website
|Lug-to-lug Height||49mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Water Resistance||304 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova® BGW9|
|Movement||MONTA Caliber M-23 (ETA 2893)||Price||$1,970|