Montblanc Why Collectors Love Montblanc
A coherent offering whose high-end models are attracting a growing cohort of collectors: through a careful balance of legacy and novelty, Montblanc continues to build a brand profile that customers are keen to explore
What is it that draws collectors to a particular brand? Some of the reasons are well-known: rarity, quality, prestige, history and, more recently, a reputation for retaining resale value.
This is something several manufacturers have achieved with huge commercial success and, for some, legendary status. Think Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet or Rolex. They are revered names, giants in the history of time measurement, but whose collections are generally beyond the means of the average watch enthusiast.
This is where Montblanc stands out. It offers collections at the very highest level and, through Minerva, operates its own production facilities, but it also possesses a great many ranges at prices the wider public can afford. It is a brand at the pinnacle of its craft whose summit is still within reach, thanks to these reasonably priced models.
High to low
Maintaining technical and aesthetic coherency across so many different ranges is no easy task, with prices that start at CHF 500 and climb to more than CHF 150,000, from a third-party quartz movement to a unique, entirely in-house mechanical movement, from time-only to grand complications.
The easiest way to cover such a vast spectrum would be to multiply the number of ranges ad infinitum. Montblanc has, on occasion, come dangerously close to crossing this line. Even now, certain lines are the subject of unflattering discussions among collectors – the smartwatches, for example.
Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum © Montblanc
In all other respects, the collections are clearly structured; moreso even than at most manufacturers. Montblanc presents just three collections inspired by three periods in its history. They are Legacy (1880-1920), 1858 (1920s and 30s) and Heritage (1940s and 50s).
One, two, three
The 1858 collection looks to the military and mountaineering watches that Minerva was producing in the 1920s and 1930s. Montblanc 1858 (named after the year Minerva was established) captures the spirit of mountain exploration and engages with the modern desire to reconnect with nature. The focus is firmly on tool watches for the great outdoors. The Star Legacy collection echoes Minerva pocket watches from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A refined and classical aesthetic serves useful functions. The collection includes the Rieussec, a special nod to the legacy Montblanc is perpetuating.
Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph © Montblanc
Lastly, inspired by 1940s and 1950s Minerva wristwatches, the Heritage collection blends the elegance of the past with the bold designs and technical advances of today. This range of perpetual calendars, limited editions, pulsographs and monopusher chronographs is a particular favourite among collectors.
Another key factor for collectors is that collections should hold up well over time. With the exception of the now defunct (and frankly not missed) Sport range, Montblanc is consistent in its creativity. Some even regret the demise of the Timewalker, whose only fault was perhaps to have been ahead of its era, in particular the last iterations with their remarkably complex case and distinctive hands.
And tomorrow ?
Montblanc’s future seems solidly assured. Laurent Lecamp’s arrival at the head of the Watch Division has been welcomed by collectors. The new CEO draws on the brand’s long history to propose models that will please customers who reminisce over decades past as much as those who look ahead to future explorations.
The recently released 1858 Iced Sea comes into the latter category. By way of a dial that reproduces the compact, fragmented nature of the Mer de Glace glacier, Montblanc returns to its original environment with disconcerting realism. For a select group of collectors, a 23-piece limited edition will be unveiled at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, created in collaboration with the Fine Watch Club. More to come on this unique opportunity shortly.
1858 Iced Sea © Montblanc
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 >
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