Review: Monta Atlas GMT (Opalin Silver Dial)

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Finding the ideal travel partner can be a heck of a task. I’m not talking about a friend you can stand for a week straight. I’m talking about a watch. The ideal travel companion for your wrist should be able to blend dressy and casual, have a solid set of specs (that in a perfect world should stand up to a spontaneous swim) and, most importantly, you should be able to wear the watch for for a week straight without getting sick of it. Is Monta’s new Atlas GMT capable of achieving such a task?
Today, we’re looking at this new slim GMT offering from Monta that’s not quite a dress watch, and not quite a sports watch, but fills an all-important gap in-between. The case draws from classic sport watch design, while the excellent finishing and slimness suggests something dressier. There’s a lot to say about the Monta Atlas, so let’s get into it.

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$1615

Review: Monta Atlas GMT (Opalin Silver Dial)

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
Sellita SW330
Dial
Opalin silver
Lume
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Oyster-style steel bracelet with custom deployant buckle
Water Resistance
150m
Dimensions
38.5mm x 47.5mmmm
Thickness
10.2mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$1615

Case

Finishing, finishing, and finishing are the first three words that come to mind when observing the Atlas’ 38.5mm steel case. There’s a healthy mix of polishing, straight brushing, and fine sunburst brushing throughout. While on paper the finishing might sound overwhelming, in practice it’s not. On the sides of the case, you’ll find a fine-grain brushed finish running horizontally from lug to lug. On the transitionary bevel between the side of the case and the top of the lugs, there’s a polished surface that widens slightly as it curves down to the base of the lug. Moving up the case, you’ll notice the side of the fixed bezel angling outwards, terminating at a point, then angling back in towards the flat sapphire crystal. The two side surfaces of the bezel are polished to a mirror-like shine — a small detail that I constantly find myself admiring.

When looking at the watch from the top down, the first thing that catches my eye is the sunburst brushing on the bezel surrounding the “Opalin Silver” dial. I’m a sucker for sunburst style finishing, no matter where it is on a watch. This finishing technique has a way of playing with the light that has me rotating my wrist back and forth and getting lost in it.

On the lugs, you’ll notice straight brushing on top. In between the lugs, there’s a polished bevel where the end-links meets the case. This is an interesting detail that makes the lugs appear slimmer than they really are. The effect is more pronounced when the watch is on the bracelet since the polished section is flanked by brushed metal on either side.

The case measures in at a very wearable 38.5mm wide with a lug-to-lug measurement of 47.5mm. On my 6.75” wrist, the Atlas is right at home. Protruding from the right side of the case, there’s a rather unique crown. It’s reminiscent of an onion crown, but more refined. It’s not quite as large or imposing but features the same deep ridges cut into the sides that make it very easy to adjust the time, date, and GMT hand. You won’t find a crown guard here either, which makes it that much easier to adjust the time. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the crown is ever-so-slightly recessed into the case for some extra protection and a lower profile look.

Overall, the case feels very flat. I say that in a good way, as it helps keep everything nice and slim. On the underside of the case, you’re treated to a nice view of the Sellita SW330 movement via a display back that sits flat on the wrist. With a little help from the flat sapphire lens up top, the entire package measures in at only 10.2mm thick — an impressive feat for a watch with an automatic GMT movement inside.

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Dial and Hands

The theme of this review  seems to be finishing. Just as much detail goes into the dial of the Atlas as does the case. The color of the review sample here  is called “opalin silver.” It’s a light shade of silver with a slight metallic shimmer. Blue accents are featured throughout the dial, most notably on the tip of the GMT hand and most subtly on small hashmarks on the flange between the GMT hour markers. Each hour is denoted with a precisely cut and polished applied index with larger accents at 3:00 and 9:00. At 12:00, there’s a trapezoidal index that starts wide and tapers in towards the tip — a nice bold accent without being overbearing. Between each of the hour markers are four printed hash marks denoting individual minutes. All of the indices feature several surfaces on them, each with the same mirror polish. The resulting effect is stunning, as the light has so many little surfaces to reflect off of depending on the angle. In lieu of a marker at 6:00, there’s a white date window with a highly polished frame. 

Monta’s logo is proudly printed just below 12:00. Their logomark is tastefully done and the typeface chosen for “MONTA” pairs well with not only the Atlas, but also the rest of their watches. Underneath the hands there’s “ATLAS” printed in blue, with “GMT – 150 m” underneath. In very small letters flanking the date window is the text “SWISS MADE.” All of the text is rather light in appearance, but remains legible. As far as printed text on dials, I think the Atlas does it very well.

I do have one gripe with the Atlas’ dial, specifically on the Opalin dial. The GMT scale is printed on the angled flange surrounding the dial. The angle of the flange is steep and it’s rendered in a darker grey than the dial, and because of this it can be hard to make out the black printed numbers along the GMT flange.  This issue is unique to the Opalin colorway, as both the Monta Blue and Charcoal Grey dials have contrasting numerals and red hashmarks for the GMT scale. Monta states that this choice of color  was to keep the watch looking low-key, but I think it’s so low-key that it gets in the way of functionality. 

To tell the time, you’ll have the pleasure of reading a set of polished, rhodium-plated hands. They’re precisely diamond cut, and then polished to a high shine. There’s not a rough edge anywhere to be seen. The hour and minute hands are faceted, which reflects light off of either side of the hands depending on the angle.  Then there’s the arrow-tipped blue GMT hand. In order to clear the applied indices, there’s a slight kink in the hand that allows it to reach all the way to the outside of the dial without colliding into anything. When reading the time from the top-down, it’s barely noticeable, but you’ll see it at an angle. The seconds hand is similar in shape to the GMT hand, but on a smaller scale. Again, you’ll notice an arrow-shaped tip at the end with a tiny plot of lume inside.

Speaking of lume, all of the indices and hands are treated with Super-LumiNova BG W9, which gives the watch a great, blue-tinted glow. I’ve found that it lasts a good while into the night, and because it reads white in daylight, it pairs nicely with the silver dial with blue accents.

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Movement

If you flip the watch over, you get a front row seat to the Sellita SW330 movement through the display case back. The SW330 is a slim, Swiss-made automatic GMT caliber. Monta has each movement tuned to chronometer-grade specs that boast an impressive +/- 5 sec/day accuracy. The 4.1mm thickness of the movement allows the watch’s overall profile to remain slim, which is a big selling point, in my opinion. 

The SW330 is a GMT movement that sends the GMT hand around the dial once every 24 hours. If you’re hopping across timezones, it’s really easy to set the GMT hand to your desired time. Simply unscrew the crown and turn it clockwise. As you turn the crown, the hand will jump hour to hour. If you wish to set the main time, the GMT hand also comes along for the ride. Some will argue that this isn’t a “true GMT” movement since the 24-hour hand is tethered to the hour hand. This can easily be worked around by setting the time you’d like on the main hands first, then jumping the GMT hand to point to the desired hour. If you want to read up on different GMT movements and their functions, check out this article by my colleague Brad Homes.

Straps and Wearability

The Atlas ships on either a brushed metal bracelet or a leather strap. We have the bracelet version on hand, and it’s quite nice. It’s an oyster-style bracelet that tapers slightly from the lugs to clasp. The top and side surfaces of the bracelet are brushed, but there’s a polished bevel between them. This technique adds a little pop of shine to an otherwise matte bracelet. It really works in conjunction with the finishing on the case. Underneath your wrist, you’ll find a large clasp with four micro-adjustment holes. Monta custom designed the deployant clasp here and it feels really solid. The main piece snaps into place with an authoritative and satisfying click. There’s a small security clasp brandishing the Monta logo that folds over the top for an added layer of protection. I’ve found the bracelet to have just the right balance of comfort and heft. On the wrist, it balances out the case nicely.

Quality and design of the bracelet are top-notch. Monta has gone the extra mile to ensure a comfortable fit by using fully articulated links on the bracelet. On other three-link style bracelets, the two outer sections are usually fused with the one in the middle. A fully articulated bracelet means that the center link has the ability to pivot back and forth to conform to your wrist. When a bracelet is made with the fused links, it doesn’t have nearly as much range of motion. There’s no question that the fully articulated links contribute to the Atlas being so comfortable on wrist.

Since the watch is steel with a silver dial, you can pair it with nearly any strap that suits your preferences. While I really enjoyed my experience with the bracelet, I did throw it on a silvery grey mil-strap for a bit. It gave the Atlas a more casual look overall, and wore well. The blue accents on the dial are so subtle that I wouldn’t worry about it clashing too much with any strap.

As far as versatility foes, you can wear the Atlas in a variety of situations since it balances casual and dressy so well. The slimness of the case also helps since it allows the watch to easily slip under a cuff. The Atlas is an easy choice for a go-to everyday watch.

Conclusion

Monta describes their watch as “a modern timepiece for the modern gentleman that is both elegant and functional.” We’re definitely on the same page. The Atlas is sporty, yet refined, and versatile without being bland. The finishing throughout the case and quality construction really make the watch a strong option at their $1,615 asking price.

In my time with the watch, it’s been remarkably easy to wear whether I’m at work or enjoying the outdoors with my family on the weekend. And that’s the sense that I’ve gotten from others who have either tried this watch on or have owned a Monta. Monta

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.
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