Montblanc is a company specialized in writing instruments and also produces watches, jewelery and small leather goods
3. The 80s and social commitment
Montblanc’s story begins in 1906 in Hamburg, when the engineer August Eberstein, returning from a trip to the USA, had the intuition of creating a fountain pen, i.e. a pen with innovative technology capable of having its own tank for the ink. The intuition was brilliant so, in 1908, thanks to the investments of the entrepreneur Claus Voss, Christian Lausen and the banker Alfred Nehemias, the Simplo Filler Pen Company was founded. For the first collection they designed a pen with a black coating and a red tip. To best convey the idea of sophistication of the pen, they chose a French name and called it “Rouge et noire”: the first pen with a refillable tip. Thinking of the tip of the pen as the highest level of technological invention, the top of the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, came to mind.
Inspired by great heights and achievements, the Simplo Filler Pen became Montblanc. From now on, the summit of Mont Blanc will be a precious basin for the trio of creators. In fact, for the second edition of Rouge et Noire, the tip became white and the new marketing director Wilhelm Dziambor, in 1913 created the first company logo inspired by the “snowcap”, or the shape of the snow on top of the mountain. A sign that was also associated with the stars, or with a flower. In addition to the Rouge et Noir, Montblanc also began production of the Simple, a dropper filler pen, and the Diplomatum, a model with a short cap.
The success of Montblanc
In the meantime, the premature death of Nehemias and the outbreak of the world war halt production. However, it resumed after the war at full capacity thanks to the commercial strategies of Grete Gross, a designer from the Bauhaus school. Montblanc becomes a well-defined and successful company that sets itself the goal of creating timeless objects in the name of craftsmanship and quality. In 1919 Montblanc opened its first store in Hamburg. A network of nationwide stores soon followed, including one in Berlin.
The Meisterstück pen
In 1924 the Meisterstück fountain pen was launched, which later became a legend in the world of luxury writing instruments. The new pen model is produced in three versions – with three different prices according to the finishes – and they have a lifetime guarantee and the engraving “4810” (the height of Mont Blanc). At the end of the 1920s, the brand established itself in over 60 countries around the world. The company expands the range of products, introducing pencil cases, pen holders and notepad holders. In 1935 he acquired a manufactory of leather products in Offenbach, Germany.
The Second World War hampered activity again: the company continued to produce mainly for the government but then, in 1944, the Montblanc factory was completely destroyed during a bombing. In 1946 production resumed. The Meisterstück 149 was born, made famous by President John F. Kennedy when, in 1963, he lent it to German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, rescuing him from a moment of embarrassment on a public occasion.
At the end of the Fifties they started the production of ballpoint pens, initially relying on an external company for the production. The 60 Line is born, the first major new line of the brand after the Meisterstück.
The 80s and social commitment
The 80s were the years of the slogan “Montblanc – The Art of Writing” which became a point of reference for many other luxury brands: the fountain pen became a real status symbol.
In 1992 the Montblanc Cultural Foundation was born which includes the Montblanc Cutting Edge Art collection, a private collection of 200 works of art exhibited at the Montblanc headquarters in Hamburg, and the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award project, which celebrates the great patrons of the ‘art. For this last occasion, the first limited editions of the “Lorenzo de’ Medici” pens, the “Patron of Art” and the “Hemingway” were launched, much loved by collectors from all over the world.
In the 1980s and 1990s, under the direction of Norbert Platt, Montblanc strengthened its positioning in the luxury writing instruments segment and at the same time started a progressive and constant process of diversification into leather goods, watches and jewellery.
The 2000s and new products
At the end of the 20th century, the brand expands with the line of luxury jewels and launches the
Meisterstück Jewelery Collection and the Meisterstück Solitaire Royal, a pen with 4,810 hand-set diamonds. In 1997 he started the production of high-end watches. Montblanc watches are produced in the former Minerva Manufacture atelier from 1857 of Charles Yvan Robert. Manifatture Minerva attracted Montblanc’s attention for its production of professional watches capable of measuring small intervals of time with the utmost precision. This later became the headquarters of Montblanc watch production, renamed the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret. The first Meisterstück watch line was presented at the watch industry trade fair Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. Montblanc production exploits European excellence. Thus, writing articles are produced in Hamburg, leather goods in Florence and watches in Switzerland.
In 2001, the brand debuted with the first collections of perfumes and eyewear. Two years later, the StarWalker, known today as one of Montblanc’s most iconic lines of writing instruments, arrived along with the Timewalker watch collection.
2005 is the year of fine jewelry. In recent years, the social commitment continues with campaigns such as “The Power to write” in favor of the right to literacy and the sponsorship of the Philharmonia of the Nations, a symphony orchestra that brings together young talents from all over the world. In addition, since 2009 Montblanc has been presenting a product line in collaboration with UNICEF. The proceeds of which were donated to the association to encourage literacy.
In 2006, on the occasion of the centenary of the foundation, the company presented a line of products with “Montblanc cut” diamonds: a star-shaped diamond that reproduces the logo symbol of the highest peak in Europe. Montblanc is one of the few jewelers in the world to have created a new patented and exclusive diamond cut.
Becoming part of the Richemont Group and in 2008 it had a turnover of 625 million euros. Many well-known faces have been chosen by the company for its campaigns, such as Charlotte Casiraghi and Cillian Murphy.
In 2015, the company appointed Davide Cerrato as head of the watch division and Nicolas Baretzki as CEO.
In 2017, the company landed on the smartwatch market, again inspired by the aesthetic codes of the brand’s watch collections, and had a turnover of 370.4 million euros. The Montblanc brand has also entered into several collaborations with other fashion brands. In 2019 he collaborated with Yoox, also in the orbit of the Richemont group, with which he created a limited edition of notebooks customized by Stefano Boetti and with the cover in fine Saffiano leather.
Since 2021, the creative guide of the German brand has been Marco Tomasetta.