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Montblanc - Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

Montblanc Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

It’s clean and green at Montblanc watches this year. The company’s CEO explains why.

How was the SIHH 2019 for Montblanc?
This was a very important SIHH for us. We had a completely new booth with a new layout and a new approach. It also marks an important milestone for the brand, since we are now starting to capitalise on the integration of Minerva and the independent watchmaking business unit that we set up with its own managing director, Davide Cerrato.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

© Montblanc

We have now been able to simply our approach. We have classic and sport watches and two different ways of expressing both of these: contemporary and vintage. This, together with a structure of three main price segments (pure Minerva movements, in-house movements and entry-level prices) keeps things very clear for the customer.

What impact has this had on the watch business at Montblanc?
I have seen big collectors, who may not have been interested in us a few years ago, stopping by to check out the booth and people are telling their friends that it is worth visiting Montblanc. The completely revived Minerva offer is exciting for watch collectors. We still have enormous potential. There is a huge store of components and stories at Minerva to give us more inspiration.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

© Montblanc

I think we are about to open a new chapter in the story. It will be about creating faces that can be recognised. My objective, for example, is that people should be able to immediately recognise the Geosphères from a distance. This is why it was important to have the clarity I mentioned earlier.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

The 1858 Geosphere green on the wrist © Montblanc

You had a green theme on your booth and we can see a green theme in the products. Do you see this as a general trend for the brand?
When it comes to other product categories at Montblanc we have a concrete wall between them and for good reason, because when we look at a category we do so as a specialist in that category with a fully vertically integrated approach. I don’t have a head of products, I have a head of watches, a head of writing instruments and a head of leather goods. They have full freedom to develop what is needed for their category.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition © Montblanc

As you know, we started with the green theme three years ago with the MB 16.29 limited edition. Last year we had the monopusher chronograph with the MB 13.21 in green as well. So for us this is our third year with green dials and I see a lot of other brands following suit, which suggests that we had a good vision.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

1858 Automatic and Automatic Chronograph Limited Editions © Montblanc

What is your outlook for 2019 in general?
To be honest, I think that every time I answer this type of question I’m wrong. I don’t have a crystal ball. Nowadays just one tweet can change a situation drastically, so I really have no clue. I think the most important thing is to remain extremely focused and extremely consistent. I feel that there could be some big winners but also some bigger losers. I would prefer to be the former!

And what about the shows in 2020? What impact has that had on the product cycle?
It’s great news. First, I believe that both exhibitions have a great future given the way that they are going. What we are presenting at SIHH this year will not be available until April anyway, so I would prefer to have the full impact next year and be able to deliver the products the next day. In a world in which people expect everything immediately, I think April next year will be a much better date to present our new watches.

We saw the technology behind the latest Summit models showcased in the LAB at the SIHH. How is this smartwatch collection faring?
We used to have three product segments at Montblanc, but I think that we are now entering a fourth with digital products. The person who is responsible for this category is not the same as the person who is responsible for watches, because I believe that they are two completely different things. I have never seen a customer hesitating between a Summit and an entry level mechanical watch – they are two different worlds.

Interview with Nicolas Baretzki

Summit 2 © Montblanc

The time when your connected device just shows you what’s on your phone is coming to an end. People are expecting more added value, whether in health or security. Connected devices will become even more important. If I have to wear a connected device because my insurance tells me that I have no choice, I don’t want to wear something cheap, or something that doesn’t look good, or hasn’t been designed properly. So that’s why I think that this segment can co-exist with the others for luxury brands. I see this as a strategic category for the company.

Summit 2 has been a much better success than the first model. It is a smaller watch and we were the first to come out with the latest technology. We added so much attention to detail with the design, the apps and the price that it has been a huge success.

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Lecture 1 Comment(s)

11 February 2019
Christian De jonGhe
Toute mes felicitations a mr. Baretski pour sa vision et son dynamisme. Sous sa direction La marque evolue d une maniere tres interessante et avec coherEnce . CHaque secteUr offre des produits de grandes qualites, avec une adn propre.

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