Monta Triumph Review

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When Monta first launched, they did so with the Oceanking, an attractive, retro-inspired diver boasting a set of solid specs. Then came the Internet pushback. The Oceanking was priced at $3,500, not an inconsiderable ask for a young micro-brand competing against mainstays like Tudor and other Swiss giants. That $3,500 included a classic—and at the time necessary—retail mark-up because Monta’s line was, in fact, meant to be sold in brick-and-mortar shops alongside other retail brands. But Monta also sold direct through their online store, and buyers who were used to direct-to-consumer pricing on the Internet couldn’t justify the price tag.

The team behind Monta decided to rethink their approach. Ultimately, they abandoned their retail push, and now the brand is focused solely on e-commerce. And with that decision came a significant price drop—the Oceanking is now $1,995 on strap and $2,350 on bracelet. There were also some changes made to suppliers, but the bulk of the difference came from this new—and, in my opinion, more sensible—strategy.

Two Triumphs side-by-side.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Triumph collection. A military-esque spinoff of the Oceanking, the Triumph is, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, Monta’s best watch to date. I can’t fault Monta for wanting to get these watches into stores and in front of people because the quality really needs to be seen and handled in person to be fully appreciated. When Monta presented at this year’s Wind^Up, I spoke to numerous people idling by their booth who admitted to being naysayers in the past only to have their minds changed upon seeing the watches in the metal.

Let’s take a closer look.

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$1375

Monta Triumph Review

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
Sellita SW300
Dial
Black; sunburst grey,blue, and green
Lume
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
Lens
Sapphire with internal AR
Strap
Bracelet; fitted leather and rubber
Water Resistance
150m
Dimensions
38.5 x 47.5mm
Thickness
9.6mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$1375

The case measures 38.5mm wide, 9.6mm thick, and 47.5mm lug-to-lug. It’s a restrained size, though I’d say the watch wears a little larger on the wrist than the 38.5mm might suggest. This is mostly due to the thicker, broad lugs, which give the watch some visual heft. Overall, the case is wonderfully balanced on the wrist, and I really like the sub-10mm thickness, which isn’t too common with contemporary sport watches. I spoke to Michael DiMartini and Justin Kraudel, two of the people behind the brand, and they confirmed that it was absolutely their intention to get the watch as thin as they reasonably could. The result was well worth the effort.

The slender case profile of the Triumph really stands out.

As I wrote above, the watch is superbly finished, and nowhere is that more true than the case. The stainless steel is a dynamic mix of polished chamfers contrasted against brushed planes, making this an extremely dynamic watch on the wrist. Just take a look at the mid-case as it moves down to the lugs. There are chamfers running along the top and bottom ends of the mid-case with both finally meeting at the lugs. The lugs are also chamfered inside where they meet the bracelet’s end-links, an uncommon detail but one that really adds to the look of the case. This mix of polishing and brushing is carried through the rest of the watch, from the bezel down to the bracelet and clasp.

The case finishing is one of the Triumph’s strongest qualities.
Note the many polished chamfers visible from this angle.
I adore the polished chamfer along the inside of the lugs.

The crown at three screws down and has the look of a slightly compressed onion-style crown. I’ve seen some critique of the crown design, but I personally find it to be well-matched to the rest of the case. The action on the crown is solid, and the threading is sure and precise. There’s no grittiness here whatsoever.

Flipping the watch over, you see an open case back showing off the Sellita SW-300, a well-established, Swiss-made ETA clone. I have no complaints with the movement choice here. Worth noting is that Monta’s website makes the claim  that the movement is chronometer tuned, and I found that to be true during my time with the watch.

The watch shown here is prototype. The final production will have a decorated rotor and an engraved case back that reads “MONTA,” “SWISS MADE,” “500FT/150M,” and the individual serial number “XXX/500.”

Now on to the dial. The Triumph borrows heavily from the Oceanking, and it builds on that design to take on more of a field watch style. From the manufacturing standpoint, the dial is exceptionally made. I am especially a big fan of the bold, applied markers at three, nine, and 12. I’m also fond of the molded chapter ring, which frames the hour markers in a way that reminds me of the Tudor Pelagos.

The Triumph takes an interesting approach to the minute’s track. It’s segmented between each marker, which creates a unique visual effect that really pops, especially on the high-contrast black dial.

In addition to the hour indices, there’s a ring of Arabic numerals flanking the markers from one to five and seven to 11. Below the marker at 12 you have the Monta logomark and logotype, and in place of the six is a framed date window. If you’ve read my past reviews, you likely know that I’m very touchy when it comes to date windows, and when I first saw renders of this watch I was convinced that I would be turned off by the framed date window. In person, however, I wasn’t really bothered by it. In fact, I hardly noticed it.

Above the date window is the model name “TRIUMPH” and the word “AUTOMATIC,” the latter rendered in red on the Silver model.

The hands are rhodium-plated, broad sword-style hands. They’re also faceted, so they have a way of playing with the light—mirroring the impressive chamfering on the case. (Quick aside: that’s actually one of my favorite things about the watch. I love the way it manages to play with the light without coming off as needlessly blingy and relying on large polished surfaces to get that effect.) The hands also provide ample surface area for luminous paint, which Monta takes advantage of here. Speaking of lume, the BG W9 Super-LumiNova provides ample glow well into the night, and the application here is even and precise.

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My only major point of contention with the dial design is this: I think there is a bit of a redundancy in using both the hour markers and the Arabic numerals. Particularly, the enlarged “3” and “9” feel unnecessary. I think by removing these two numbers, you can still offer enough differentiation from the Oceanking dial while keeping the military inspiration intact. I think it would also open up the dial a bit and give each element some space. Now, does it ruin the design? The answer is no, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s not something that ever really grabbed me as I wore the watch about town. It’s more of a detail one notices when examining a watch with a critical eye. I own and love—as I’m sure many of you do, too—numerous watches that have a detail or two that I would love to change, but it doesn’t impact my enjoyment of those watches. The same goes for the Triumph.

Please note that the Silver dial prototype here shows a black date disc. The final production will have all sunburst dials paired with white discs, and the black dial will retain its matching date disc.

The two watches we got to handle featured a black dial and a silver sunburst dial, which reads more gray than silver, but I digress. Personally, I’m a fan of the matte black and prefer it over the sunburst, but I can see people really loving the silver dial with its red accent. I don’t know, maybe I’m a bit dull, but I just appreciate a classic black dial. Plus, I also like the matching date wheel here. The other two dial options being offered are blue and green sunburst.

There’s quite a bit to say about the strap and bracelet options here. Let’s start with the bracelet. It’s fantastic. I love how it looks and feels, and it’s one of the most ergonomic bracelets I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing. That comfort comes largely from the construction. The links on the bracelet are completely articulating, which is not a common feature among most oyster-style bracelets, but it really should be because the difference in comfort on the wrist is palpable (but more on that later).

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You can actually stack the links.
The custom clasp.

If you’re not one for bracelets, Monta also offers four leather options (black, tan, chestnut, and chocolate) and three rubber options (black, blue, and gray). In case you’re unaware, Monta’s Michael DiMartini is also behind Everest, a company that produces aftermarket straps designed specifically to fit numerous Rolex references. For Monta, they brought over some of Everest’s mainstay designs. The rubber band I was provided with fit perfectly against the case, giving it that seamless look many customers often desire. It was also extremely pliable and comfortable when worn. We weren’t given a leather band to test, but I imagine the idea there is largely the same.

Though Monta aren’t cutting any corners with their rubber and leather straps, it’s always been my opinion that one should always get the watch with a bracelet if that option is available. You can always buy an aftermarket strap from anywhere, but there’s only going to be one bracelet that will fit perfectly to your watch, and that’s always an option worth having.

On a seven-inch wrist.
There’s that lovely profile on the wrist.

On the wrist, the Triumph is a joy. It’s comfortable and it’s svelte. It’s a contemporary sport watch that wears more like a dress watch. I have a flat wrist, and I appreciated the way the case back seemingly molds to it. My preferred way of wearing the watch was on the bracelet. I enjoyed the slimmer profile, and it made it easier to wear with a long sleeve shirt.

Altogether, my experience with the Monta Triumph was overwhelmingly positive. My few gentle criticisms aside, the Triumph is an exceptional watch that’s well-made, versatile, and really feels like a luxury piece on the wrist. And with the price reduction, it’s also an exceptional value. For $1,375 you get the watch on rubber or leather, and for $1,550 you get the stainless steel bracelet (whichever you choose, you also get an additional nylon band). As I wrote above, I feel that the Triumph is Monta’s best watch to date, and my stretch of time with the watch only cemented that feeling. And if you ask me, I would happily say that the Triumph measures against similar watches from brands like Longines and TAG, and that’s no small feat. Monta

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
ryvini
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