Many luxury watch brands are prisoners of history. It’s hard for some to fully embrace the more advanced technology because they are deeply rooted to the rich beginnings of mechanical watch industry and past innovations. But not for Montblanc—it is a brand that aims to be inclusive in reaching possible markets: luxury watch loyalists and high-tech millennials of today, alike.
Started with a fountain pen
Montblanc started its roots in Germany in 1906. It was founded by two most unlikely people, a Hamburg banker named Alfred Nehemias and a Berlin engineer named August Eberstein. Back then, a simple and basic writing instrument was produced. Eventually, its first pen model called Rogue et Noir was released in 1909. The second pen model that was produced in 1910 was called Montblanc and later on became the company name and brand that the world will recognize.
Montblanc created the “Meisterstuck” which literally means “masterpiece” in 1924. Any pen enthusiast would know such name because Montblanc still manufactures such luxury pens up to now. It is a pen that has a rich history to back its name. It is a pen linked with royalty, politicians, writers and artists. And the name itself speaks for its superior quality and worth. Montblanc which is synonymous to high-end luxury has also created some of the most expensive pens in the world that are lavishly decorated with thousands of diamonds.
Branching out into horology
It was in the ‘90s when the brand branched out into making jewelries for men. To cap off Montblanc’s men’s accessories, the brand released the ‘Meisterstuck Jewellery Collection’. This set off the brand into a whole path of expansion.
The brand then established Montblanc Montre S.A. right at the core of the Swiss watchmaking: Le Locle. Even the most well-known jewellers took notice of the brand when it showed the Meisterstuck during the International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). Fast forward to 2007, the brand invested more on its watchmaking through the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie and then launched its very first self-manufactured movement a year later, the MB R100 calibre.
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Love for both watchmaking and giving back
Pieces like the Montblac Villeret are ways of the brand to pay homage to the traditional Swiss watches. Although encased inside a classic-looking frame, it carries with it advanced mechanisms that were also reflected in the next few collections that were released afterwards.
While Montblanc continued to amaze the world with timepieces such as the Exo Troubillon Rattrapante, it also continued its corporate social responsibility. It established partnership with UNICEF, actively participating in its world-wide initiatives. It also headed the campaign “Sign up for the Right to Write” in 2004 to promote quality education for children and raised USD 700,000. In 2009 its campaign to fight illiteracy around the world “Signature for Good” raised USD 4.3 million. These are causes that are symbolic as well as timely.
Watchmaking in modern times
Montblanc fully got onboard the high-tech innovations in watchmaking when it released its smartwatch: the Montblanc Summit Watch. With competition ranging from Connected Watch by TAG Heuer to the highly marketed Apple Watch, the brand has put its best foot forward by seamlessly combining the handsome look of traditional mechanical watch with the technological advancements of the Android platform.
Such move is a great testament to the brand’s commitment to offer the best option for its customers, from both ends of the age spectrum. It may have taken them decades of learning and restrategizing, plus a great deal of courage to expand from a pen company into a brand that produces jewelry and watches, leather goods, eyewear and fragrances—but Montblanc truly earned its place alongside the most respected luxury brands today. More closely, with its co-brands under the Richemont group: Cartier, Chloe, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others.
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