Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

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Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by conjurer » November 29th 2023, 5:41pm

While looking around for a field watch--something I really don't have in the collection--I came across a brand called Monta, a microbrand headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Holy shit! you might be thinking, is Conjurer going to buy a fucking micro!?

Hold up there, cowboys. Apparently, the brand's been around for around five years, and has their stuff made in Switzerland. That right there argues that Monta isn't your average micro. Anyway, delving into Ewe Toob and googles and sew Fourth, I found a shit-ton of reviews of the brand. Astonishingly, almost all of them were gushingly positive. Why hadn't I ever heard of this brand before?

Fast forward a month or so, and I bought their Triumph model. It comes in three flavors, gray, white and olive green. I opted for the green, which is apparently limited to 95 copies.

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Bad lighting. The dial's green, OK?

Free shipping from MO got the watch to my door in three days. It came in a very fine wood box, almost as nice as the last Omega I got. Right off the bat, I could tell that this wasn't your ordinary micro; the finishing was amazingly good, right up there with higher end Swiss and, dare I say, damned close to Grand Seiko territory. With alternate brushed and polished finishes, all the lines were sharp, nothing was painful to run a finger over, even the bezel shows radial brushing, which I haven't seen on any watch in a long time.

Particulars: About 38.5mm across, lug width 20mm, 47mm lug to lug, and a very thin just under 10mm. They get the thin case due to using an SW300 movement, which Monta calls their self-winding caliber M-22, although I couldn't find anything in their website mentioning anything they did to the movement to call it their own. The crystal is sapphire, with several layers of antireflective coating on the underside. Water resistance is 150 meters. Here's a poor pic of some of the build and finish:

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The back is see through, although there's not a whole lot to see, just a very basically finished Sellita movement:

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So, how good could it be? Let's start with the bracelet. It's a oyster style, with screw links (and half links!), with a machined clasp with a very cool and usable adjustment--it's got three positions to get a fine fit, each about 2mm. This makes it a breeze to get a perfect fit, and change it slightly over the day. Sizing it was a breeze, the screws were seated firmly but yielded easily; I ended up taking off two full links to get a good fit. This is possibly one of the finest bracelets I have ever owned on a watch. On the wrist, it is so supple and, with the relative lightness of the watch head, almost disappears on the wrist, much like my 2000 vintage Explorer II.

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Now, the bad news: The Triumph is $1700, direct from Monta (surprisingly, I wasn't charged any sales tax.) Seventeen hundred bones is a lot to ask for a watch from a tiny company, but I think the Triumph delivers. Looking at it next to my Sinn 105 UTC (which is as close as I've got to another field watch, which costs about $500 more, the Triumph has a better bracelet, better finishing, and a very similar movement (apart from the Sinn's GMT function.) The Sinn is slightly more accurate, at about -2 seconds a day, while the Triumph has been running about -4 seconds a day. Granted, they are not perfectly similar--the Sinn has a purposeful, Teutonic appearance that looks like it could drive nails, while the Triumph, apart from the green dial, is more dressy--indeed, you could probably get away with wearing the Monta with a tux.

Lume is also good:

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It easily passes the Conjurer quick glance in a dark car test, and the lume lasts all night, which is a lot more than I can say about my new Seiko MM GMT (or the Sinn, for that matter.)

Monta has several models in their lineup, including their diver, the Oceanking, which looks a lot like a Rolex Sub, a GMT pilot watch, which looks a lot like a Rolex GMT Master, a dress watch, the Noble, which looks a little like a Datejust, and the Atlas, which looks a lot like the Triumph with a GMT hand. The Triumph, however, looks pretty unique, especially with the somewhat strange numericals lineup around the dial.

Is it really good, then? Yeah, I think it is. It's sized perfectly, it looks like all it's money and then some, it's fairly accurate (I wish it was +4 seconds a day instead of slow, but there you go.) It also makes a lot of the similarly priced Swiss stuff look pretty overpriced. It'll blow away anything from the Swatch Group until you get into Omega, and it's build quality is pretty damned close to brands like Sinn and Tudor as well.

A real winner from a small company. Highly recommended.
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Re: Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by Mark1 » November 29th 2023, 6:39pm

Nice watch and review, congrats. I had an inkling when you mentioned the brand at lunch recently. Bring that one to the next meet up. An urban gentleman needs a field watch in the wilds of Lewis or Cowlitz county.
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Re: Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by conjurer » November 29th 2023, 11:22pm

gerdson wrote:
November 29th 2023, 10:30pm
Avery Juan cancee the dyel is pitch black, so what are You trying to cell us hear, You rotten plank?
This is some really fine geek-speak right here. Extra points for dirtbox plank reference.

The dial is actually an olive green, which shows up in one of the pics. I always shoot my pics outside for natural lighting, but we've had a lot of clouds and fog and shit around here the last few days.
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Re: Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by conjurer » November 29th 2023, 11:30pm

Mark1 wrote:
November 29th 2023, 6:39pm
Nice watch and review, congrats. I had an inkling when you mentioned the brand at lunch recently. Bring that one to the next meet up. An urban gentleman needs a field watch in the wilds of Lewis or Cowlitz county.
It's admittedly pretty far-fetched that I'm going to use a field watch to actually go stumbling around rural areas like a Subaru-driving jolly Lesbian searching for bear-scat to take Polaroids of to sell on Etsy. If something would occur that might drive me to this--like, for instance, the fucking zombie apocalypse--I'd probably use a Gee Rangeman or some such. Of course, I probably wouldn't last that long, and end up packed into some zombie jagoff's colon.

Then again, I'm not a diver or a pilot, and I own several diver watches and a couple pilot watches.
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Re: Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by conjurer » November 29th 2023, 11:32pm

3Flushes wrote:
November 29th 2023, 7:30pm
The usual fine review — with so much pure shit out there, it's cool to know quality from a micro can still to be had by the discerning buyer.
Indeed. However, with some thought, I'd probably put Monta into the "independant" niche, since they've been around for awhile and they're not ordering catalogue cases and handsets from Ali Baba.
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Re: Impressions of Monta Triumph--How Good Could It Be?

Post by jason_recliner » November 30th 2023, 1:46am

Great review. Monta do their watches differently to most micros by all accounts, including yours. Pricey for a micro but reasonable for a very high quality 2892-powered watch. Looks great, enough going on that it isn't every other field watch out there.
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