Brand grows along with busi­ness life­style

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By SUN YUANQING sun­yuan­qing@chi­

The brand Montblanc has been known in China for its writ­ing tools and leather goods. But, the Ger­man com­pany also pro­duces jewelry, fragrances, eye­wear and lux­ury watches.

And since Jerome Lam­bert be­came its CEO in 2013, he has given the brand a new ori­en­ta­tion. The ac­ces­sories now have a stylish touch and the foun­tain pens come in more colors.

Lam­bert has a great pas­sion for watches made in Switzer­land, since he worked with some of the best watch com­pa­nies there for more than 25 years.

In Septem­ber, Lam­bert vis­ited Bei­jing to launch watches from Montblanc’s pop­u­lar line Bo­heme. Chi­nese film di­rec­tor Xue Xiaolu, su­per­model Zhang Zilin and ac­tress Ou Xuan were cho­sen as spokes­peo­ple for the line, to rep­re­sent the self-con­fi­dence, style and glamor that the watch line por­trays.

“The Bo­heme col­lec­tion for women is highly ap­pre­ci­ated in Asia. The mar­ket is very ac­tive in China. It (the col­lec­tion) is for the new gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese women who shoul­der a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity — rang­ing from fam­ily to ca­reer,” Lam­bert says.

In Novem­ber, the brand launched a new ul­tra-light model in Shen­zhen, in South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince.

Con­sid­ered one of the light­est me­chan­i­cal time­pieces in the world, the TimeWalker Pythagore Ul­tra-Light Con­cept com­bines high-tech ma­te­rial and top watch-mak­ing crafts­man­ship. It weighs only 14.88 grams without the watch­band.

In Shen­zhen, they also held a trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, cele- brat­ing the 110th an­niver­sary of Montblanc with the theme “bring on the next game, trib­ute to pi­o­neer­ing spirit”. The ex­hi­bi­tion traced the brand’s his­tory since its found­ing in 1906 and shed light on its pi­o­neer­ing spirit that has been driv­ing in­no­va­tion to this day.

Shift­ing the fo­cus to con­sump­tion pat­terns, Julien Re­nard, pres­i­dent of Montblanc Asia-Pa­cific, who was at the Shen­zhen watch launch, says that while ear­lier, Chi­nese con­sumers used to buy the brand’s prod­ucts as a sta­tus sym­bol, they now buy the prod­ucts to ex­pe­ri­ence the thrill of us­ing them.

“They have be­come more knowl­edge­able in the last five years, and they now at­tach a lot of im­por­tance to the his­tory and her­itage of the brand,” he says.

“This watch (TimeWalker) is for niche con­sumers. It is for col­lec­tors who un­der­stand fine watch-mak­ing,” he says.

“China is a key mar­ket, chang­ing a lot, ex­pand­ing a lot. So it is im­por­tant for me to visit of­ten to un­der­stand it,” Lam­bert says.

Mean­while, he says that though China’s lux­ury in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a slow­down due to the on­go­ing cam­paign against ex­trav­a­gance and an eco­nomic slow­down, Montblanc is grow­ing here.

Montblanc is a busi­ness life­style brand. As the busi­ness life de­vel­ops in China, Montblanc’s busi­ness de­vel­ops.

“We now have stores in more than 20 ci­ties. We have good dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners and do good lo­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” he says.

Lam­bert also says the brand will de­velop a dig­i­tal di­men­sion for its dis­tri­bu­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion as well as “work by city”.

“China is not only about Bei­jing and Shang­hai. We are de­vel­op­ing a mar­ket pro­gram adapted to dif­fer­ent re­gions, and some­times, even by city,” he says.

He also em­pha­sizes that Montblanc will im­prove its ser­vice in its China stores to at­tract more lo­cal cus­tomers.

Now in China, he says, any prob­lem with the leather can be re­solved in 10 days, and for watches it is three weeks.

China is a key mar­ket, chang­ing a lot, ex­pand­ing a lot.” Jerome Lam­bert, CEO, Montblanc


From left: Ac­tress Ou Xuan, Montblanc CEO Jerome Lam­bert, su­per­model Zhang Zilin and di­rec­tor Xue Xiaolu at the Bei­jing launch of Bo­heme, Montblanc’s line of watches.

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