Stay on top of all watchmaking news ! OK

This search is sponsored by Blancpain

Search in :
Watches and Wonders
Montblanc - Laurent Lecamp

Montblanc Laurent Lecamp

Interview with Montblanc's Managing Director Watch Division

Do the mountains that you have recently chosen as your realm of expression enable Montblanc to reach new heights?
Yes, and when one peak is reached, we aim for another! Last year, for our first diver's watch, the 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date, we started with a concept based on the famous Iced Sea in the Mont Blanc range, and we developed the first-ever glacier dial in the watch industry. We use an ancestral gratte-boisé (literally ‘scratched with wood’ ) technique specific to dial makers to capture the light and we work the layers of lacquer as if they were layers of ice. The three colors that were chosen (green, blue and black) are all natural colors found in icebergs around the world. The success of the models has exceeded all our expectations, so this year we are continuing with an even more stunning shade. In the wake of this, other developments have emerged that are visible in models unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2023 and linked to the brand's history. We hope that success will not be about individual summits, but rather a permanent ascent! 

Laurent Lecamp

1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 42mm © Montblanc

How do customers relate to the 0 Oxygen concept?
Again, nothing happens by chance, as customers understood very well when we launched the Geosphere 0 Oxygen last year. This limited series immediately found takers among people sensitive to the world of mountains and traditional mountaineering, so extending it this year was an obvious choice. Reinhold Messner used to tell me about his climbs to the 14 highest peaks in the world without oxygen, an incredible feat. Looking for ways to strengthen the ties between this extraordinary explorer and Montblanc, while paying tribute to him, we imagined a watch without oxygen. My teams explored several avenues and found that oxygen had to be replaced by another gas. We chose nitrogen, which is a neutral gas. Removing the oxygen significantly slows down the oxidation process of the oils, while at the same time eliminating the humidity in the watch. This is an advantage when travelling and when the watch undergoes drastic changes in temperature: misting no longer appears inside and models stand the test of time without oxidation. One of these watches was on the wrist of our other ambassador Nimsdai Purja during his first ascent of Everest without oxygen. This year, we are presenting the "8000" collection, consisting of four oxygen-free watches with four specific casebacks. They are distinguished by a blue seal around the crystal, which underlines the absence of oxygen inside the case, along with discreet orange accents reminiscent of Nepalese necklaces. The automatic model with a glacier dial, ceramic bezel, adjustable and interchangeable strap and 3D engraved caseback is available for less than CHF3,000, which is unique in the watch industry.

Laurent Lecamp

1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 41mm © Montblanc

How is the Geosphere developing?
Extremely well. It is a flagship collection marked by the exploits of our ambassadors and for which demand is proving greater than availability. This year's grey shade reflects the color seen at an altitude of more than 8,000 meters, when rock is mixed with ice and snow. We are also offering a boutique edition this year with a skyblue dial and the first titanium bracelet in this collection. It is a model inspired by Reinhold Messner's 2,800 km crossing of the South Pole in complete autonomy in 1989. He observed glaciers in these colors, as well as the aurora australis (Southern Lights). We therefore created a unique caseback in blue and red tones with an aurora australis achieved by oxidation of titanium, an extremely complex image obtained after more than three months’ hard work.

Last year you successfully launched the first Montblanc diver's watch, the Iced Sea: is it here to stay?
The sea of ice and the Mont Blanc Massif have inspired us again for one of the two new Iced Sea models we are launching to complete the collection. We are also releasing a boxed set of three different-colored Iced Sea models, each depicting a mountain in the Mont Blanc range, a limited edition that many customers are eagerly awaiting. The collection has been a complete and global success, particularly in the 20 or so countries where customers collect Iced Sea watches. The product's characteristics are unanimously appealing and not just because of the dolphin-like sound the bezel makes when turned! There is a lot of emotion behind this watch.

Laurent Lecamp

1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date © Montblanc

While you have been overwhelmed by the requests for limited series on this model, you have chosen the readers of GMT and WorldTempus – through their club – for the very first limited series Iced Sea. Why is that?
Yes, we didn't want to do a limited series with the Iced Sea, but there again, it all ties together. First of all, we enjoyed a very special longstanding relationship with GMT and with you its founder. You also accompanied us right from the start in the co-production of the film on the genesis of this new collection. Not only does GMT enjoy acknowledged legitimacy in the watchmaking world, but the Iced Sea as selected among the essential models cited in its The Millennium Watch Book divers’ watch edition Finally, the members of its club came to visit the Manufacture and we greatly appreciated their interest. For all these reasons we decided to create a special 23-piece series for them, unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2023. This is the first and only time we have modified the dial of this collection, so it is really an exception.

Laurent Lecamp

1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date © Montblanc

What can you say to a sports watch lover who does not yet have a Montblanc in his collection?
Destiny depends not on circumstances but on actions. I believe that Montblanc has now clearly demonstrated that the brand is not a follower, but instead writes its own history. The latter is honest, sustainable, linked to the mountains, in the very particular universe of exploration, of challenges, of people like Messner who climbed slopes by tracing their own path and in their own way, without any frills and fuss, for the sheer love of mountains. That's what drove the founders of the brand. I think that people who are looking for both simplicity and complexity will feel at home with Montblanc. That's what interests me. If they don't yet have a Montblanc watch on their wrist, it's because they don't yet know this incredible story.

Is the quality-price ratio part of the success of your new products?
I think so, even if it's not a determining factor. I believe it is an element that carries a certain weight: before buying a watch, we evaluate it. Our customers tell us that they compare bracelets, dials, casebacks etc., and Montblanc clearly offers distinct advantages.

The Manufacture Minerva, which has belonged to Montblanc since 2007, is very popular among collectors. What treasures can they expect this year?
They will discover two exciting new products. The first is the 16.29 movement, the world's first inverted chronograph movement. Each caliber is hand-assembled by a single watchmaker. Each of the 88 collectors acquiring this model will be able to meet its watchmaker and discuss it with him. This timepiece is very special with its fluted Minerva bezel in white gold, a distressed black DLC-treated case whose very singular patina is obtained by contact with the Mont-Blanc and Villeret stones used to rub the case. Each of the cases is shaped by Nature and houses a spectacular movement. 

The second new model offers – through two limited series – a complication featuring a totally new mechanism: the chronograph is activated by the bezel, a great first in watchmaking!

What else can we expect from Watches and Wonders?
Together with the other collections Star Legacy, Tradition and Nicolas Rieussec, we are presenting a total of almost 30 new releases.


Recommended reading

Watch Finder

Search by:

Find your watch >

The brand

Synonymous with excellence in craftsmanship and design, Montblanc has been pushing the boundaries of innovation ever since the Maison first revolutionized the culture of writing in 1906.

Find out more >

All the news >

Contact brand >

All the watches >