18 August, 2018

Luxury Watchmaking Series - Montblanc

Established watchmakers such as Omega and Rolex started their story 100 years ago. Vacheron Constantin? 250. Their stories pushed watchmaking to heights unimaginable and continue to surprise us today. This expertise became their identity which they continue to reinvent with new complications and timepieces.

Montblanc started watchmaking in 1997 and demonstrated their growing expertise with an array of watches which show they can compete with watchmaking royalty.

Mont Blanc (White Mountain) is the tallest mountain in the Alps but how did Montblanc reach the pinnacle of watchmaking?

Montblanc Origins

Montblanc started life in 1906 as Simplo Filler Pen Co when they made the breakthrough in making fountain pens an established writing instrument.

Despite Alfred Nehemias and August Eberstein founding the business, Wilhelm Dziambor, Claus Johannes Voss and Christian Lausen gained control and sought to internationalise the company.

Montblanc state the inspiration of their name came from a card game, where a player compared the pinnacle of writing instruments to Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps.

Trivia - The switch Montblanc became official in 1909.

Richemont Acquisition

Despite starting with pens and obtaining a renowned reputation for their craftsmanship, they extended their product line to include leather goods and jewellery. 

Montblanc joined the Richemont group in 1993 when they acquired their owner, The Dunhill Holding Group. This move increased the exposure Montblanc could achieve and paved the way for future projects.

For example, in 1997, their venture into watchmaking began.

Montblanc Montre is born

To maintain their value of master craftsmanship, they established a watchmaking presence in Le Locle, the beating heart of the Swiss Watchmaking industry.

They started to make their name at events such as SIHH (The Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie) when they presented their first collection, the Montblanc Star.

In 2007, they solidified their interest in watchmaking by creating their own research facility in Switzerland. Within one year, they debuted their first in-house MB R100 Calibre at the 2008 SIHH watch event.

Trivia - the Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph is a tribute to the inventor of the chronograph, Nicolas Rieussec.

Famous Montblanc Watches

We do 5 but they have so many, we included an honourable mention! Take a look at Montblanc's success watches.

1) Montblanc Bohème Perpetual Calendar 

This watch can track seconds to leap years! The Bohème contains an elegant design with the dials placed in the middle and adorned with 60 diamonds. With a 42-hour power reserve and its intricate design, the watch won't need adjusting until 2100!

2)  Vasco da Gama Limited Edition

Look at that! The ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph - it's the second image in the article. What do you think of the dark blue 'aventure'? The watch has an engraving of São Gabriel on the reverse which explains the inspiration for the collection.

Trivia - Vasca Da Gama rode the São Gabriel on his explorations.

3) Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

This watch displays the time in the world's different time zones. How? With superposed discs. So, one disc shows how the world from the perspective of the north pole. A second disc shows the time-zones and their cities. Finally, a 24-hour indicator is on the outside which acts as a day-night reference.

4) Montblanc Metamorphosis II

Designed by Johnny Girardin and Franck Orny, the Metamorphosis became a game-changer. Inspired by Transformers, the watch changes!

So, it starts with a classic dial with hours and a minute dial. When the slider moves down, the watch dismantles and becomes a chronograph! In 5 seconds! How? Using 746 hand-made components.

5) Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap

When the smartwatch wave started, nobody knew the devastation it would cause on the Swiss Watch market. To cushion the blow, watchmakers started making their own! 

Montblanc took a different approach. Instead of creating a smart-watch, they created an E-Strap which provides an activity tracker and notifications from the wearer's smartphone.

Honourable Mention

Montblanc Collection Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphéres Vasco da Gama

The third watch from the Vasco de Gama collection! This watch is unusual because it features two miniature globes which represent the northern and southern hemispheres. They combine to show the time at any place in the world.

Final Words

Despite being in its infancy compared to other watchmakers, Montblanc continues to show that you can make the transition from a pen maker to a watchmaker. Their endeavour to become a fine watchmaker underlines their value of master craftsmanship.

As they continue to delve into new areas, you'll be reassured that their historic path will guide them along the way.

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The History of MontBlanc
The History of MontBlanc
The History of MontBlanc
The History of MontBlanc
The History of MontBlanc
The History of MontBlanc