The world of mont­blanc

With the ar­rival of new CEO Jérôme Lam­bert, the es­teemed Mont­blanc company is un­der­go­ing bold changes and mak­ing new state­ments. Plaza Watch gains in­sight into this evolv­ing lux­ury brand.

Plaza Watch International - - The World of Montblanc - WO R D S EL­IZ­A­BETH DO­ERR

as a guest of Mont­blanc usu­ally means you never know who you’ll end up sit­ting next to. Case in point: most re­cently, I sat with some of the brand’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing new CEO Jérôme Lam­bert, and a beau­ti­ful woman I didn’t know who sim­ply in­tro­duced her­self as “Elet­tra.”

Elet­tra was, of course, Elet­tra Ros­selini Wiede­man, so­cialite, model, ac­tor, daugh­ter of Is­abella Ros­sellini, and friend of the brand. This en­joy­able meal spent chat­ting about things such as time­pieces and or­ganic farm­ing was very par for the course for the world of Mont­blanc, a place

At­tend­ing a din­ner

that gleams and glit­ters so much from the out­side that a watch enthusiast may have trou­ble avoid­ing judg­ing this book by its cover to dig down to the heart of the mat­ter.

Ad­mit­tedly, this may also be rooted in Mont­blanc’s short, but ter­ri­bly sweet, his­tory as part of the world of watch­mak­ing.

Launch­ing the watch col­lec­tion in 1997 after be­ing on top of the pen world and then suc­cess­fully en­ter­ing the worlds of leather goods and ac­ces­sories, Mont­blanc had to en­dure a pe­riod of grow­ing pains be­fore find­ing its rhythm and its place. Which it did by ac­quir­ing the same ap­pre­ci­a­tion for fine time­pieces as it al­ready dis­played for fine writ­ing in­stru­ments. In­deed, ac­cord­ing to lead­ing ex­perts in the world of sta­tion­ary, Mont­blanc is the undis­puted Patek Philippe of the field. By the by, the leg­endary Mont­blanc Meis­ter­stück – which boasts in­stantly recog­nis­able de­sign, in­no­va­tive ink sup­ply and a man­u­ally pro­filed gold nib –cel­e­brates its 90th an­niver­sary this year.

On its way to be­com­ing a brand to be taken se­ri­ously in the world of horol­ogy, Mont­blanc ac­quired one of the at­trac­tive art deco vil­las that pop­u­late Le Lo­cle in 2008, trans­form­ing it into a lovely fac­tory lo­ca­tion with 130 em­ploy­ees that de­sign, man­u­fac­ture and as­sem­ble time­pieces. But, hon­estly, it was the Richemont Group’s ac­qui­si­tion of Min­erva in 2006 that has ac­tu­ally cat­a­pulted this Ham­burg, Ger­many-head­quar­tered mar­que into the premier league of horol­ogy.

The Heart of a Watch­maker

Min­erva was a his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant watch­maker spe­cial­is­ing in chrono­graphs and high­qual­ity move­ments. It was founded in 1858 in the vil­lage of Villeret by Charles Ivan Robert, a mem-

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