What You Need to Know About Montblanc Watches

Apr 09, 2020
What You Need to Know About Montblanc Watches

It is, perhaps, every great watch brand’s goal to consistently deliver high quality — a quality so great that it reaches altitudes as high as the highest peak in the Alps in terms of craftsmanship. Yes, we’re talking about the Mont Blanc, and more importantly, its namesake, Montblanc.

Montblanc is famous for its high-quality luxury goods. It is a brand that began with a simple pen and eventually revolutionised the watchmaking industry. Montblanc Watches, although not as old as its other brethren under Montblanc, is still well-established and loved.

So what is the secret behind this watch brand’s success despite its young age? Well, let’s take a deep dive into the world of Montblanc Watches and discover its history, legacy, best collections, and everything else you need to know about Montblanc Watches.

Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

About Montblanc

It all started with a pen. To many, Montblanc is a familiar name, often found beneath gift wrappings and fancy ribbons. Montblanc is a German luxury goods brand known for providing the perfect personalised gift — from fountain pens to watches.

The company’s origins took off when a Hamburg banker and an engineer from Berlin decided to produce simplicissimus pens. Later on, the company narrowed down their target market by solely focusing on the production and sale of luxury pens. From luxury pens, the brand expanded to selling other luxury goods such as accessories, leather goods, and of course, watches.

History of Montblanc

At the turn of a century, craftsmanship began to boom. This development inspired Alfred Nehemias, a Hamburg banker, and August Eberstein, a Berlin engineer, to create simple pens in 1906. After some time, Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and later on Claus Johannes Voss took over the company started by Hamburg and Eberstein. This change in management would serve as the foundation for the eventual success of the company.

Montblanc Fountain Pen, Montblanc Watches History
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

The Montblanc Branding

The company, then-called Simplo Filler Pen Co., marketed itself as “manufacturers of high-class gold and fountain pens.” In 1909, the company released to the public the “Rouge et Noir”, a safety fountain pen. Soon this pen would be followed by a technically improved fountain pen called the “Montblanc.”

It was said that this name was suggested by a relative who created an analogy between the pen’s grandeur and reputation within the world of writing instruments and the highest peak in the Alps, the ever majestic Mont Blanc. In 1910, the company officially registered and trademarked the name “Montblanc” for all its products moving forward.

In 1913, the company would trademark its white star emblem as the brand’s logo. This logo symbolises the Mont Blanc’s snow-covered peak, indicating the company’s commitment to creating products of the highest quality and craftsmanship — you might say, as high as the highest peak in the Alps. 

Expansion of Products

Jumping to 1924, the company launched the iconic “Meisterstück” which would, later on, become the world’s most celebrated writing instrument. As Montblanc soon made a name for itself on a worldwide scale, its advertising plan became much bigger. Some of its iconic advertising campaigns included putting a gigantic fountain pen in cars and using advertising planes with the Montblanc name plastered on it.

With the company’s reach growing larger, they decided to also expand their products. Montblanc began producing small luxury leather items, which would eventually expand to a whole leather goods section in 1935.

Montblanc Leather Goods, Montblanc Watches History
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Jumping much forward to 1996, Montblanc decided to enter the world of men’s jewellery with the Meisterstück Jewellery Collection. This collection offered different precious accessories targeted towards men.

Along Came the Montblanc Watches

A year later, in 1997, Montblanc built a watch factory, Montblanc Montre S.A., in Le Locle, Switzerland, a municipality known for producing well-crafted Swiss timepieces. This choice of location, of course, was influenced by the company’s philosophy of creating products of the highest quality and craftsmanship.

Despite being a newcomer in the watchmaking industry, Montblanc boldly made their debut in the Salon de International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) which was the leading watch fair in Geneva. There, Montblanc presented the Meisterstück watch, which took heavy inspiration from the Meisterstück pen and held the same standard of quality as the rest of the Montblanc luxury items. This watch gained the interest and approval of the watch industry, letting everyone know that Montblanc was definitely a contender in the luxury watchmaking world despite being new to the game.

Montblanc Meisterstück, Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Combining Traditional Swiss Watchmaking With Innovation

The company further enhanced its watchmaking expertise by acquiring the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie in 2007. Prior to the acquisition, Minerva has been creating exceptional handcrafted Swiss movements since 1858 in Villeret, Switzerland. By acquiring Minerva, Montblanc was able to obtain the watchmaking knowledge and expertise that Minerva had carefully developed through the years. 

A year later, Montblanc presented the MB R100 Calibre at the Salon de International de Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. The MB R100 was the first movement that Montblanc fully developed and manufactured in-house. Montblanc used this movement in the Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph, which was aptly named after Nicolas Rieussec, the inventor of the chronograph.

Montblanc Moonphase Automatic Watch, Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Two years later, Montblanc would unveil the Metamorphosis, further setting the bar higher in watchmaking. The Metamorphosis combines revolutionary design with traditional Swiss watchmaking. True to its name, the Metamorphosis morphs between two different watch faces: a classic date regulator and a mono-pusher chronograph. To achieve this complicated movement, 50 individual components had to perfectly synchronize with one another. 

Innovation did not stop there. In 2011, Montblanc released the Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique which possessed an MB65.63 calibre. This became the world’s first watch to have a tourbillon with two cylindrical balance springs. This was achieved by miniaturising the escapement, which was originally found in 18th-century marine chronometers, and then placing them into a tourbillon. Two years later, Montblanc would create its most complicated timepiece to date. The ExoTourbillon Rattrapante had a split-second chronograph and the four-minute ExoTourbillon, a Montblanc patent.

Where Are Montblanc Watches Made

As previously mentioned in the company’s history, Montblanc Watches have two factories: the Montblanc Montre S.A. in Le Locle and the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie in Villeret. The company’s main factory is the one in Le Locle and it is where they produce and test most of their watches. However, for specialty modules and those that require exceptional watchmaking skills, the Minerva in Villeret is where they go.

The Montblanc S.A. in Le Locle

The Montblanc Montre S.A. is where Montblanc Watches produces and assembles the parts for most of its watches. It is also where the design team creates the best watch designs for Montblanc. In fact, a building on the Le Locle factory is exclusively for the highly-skilled Montblanc team of watch designers and engineers. To ensure the highest quality, designers carefully draft several concept drawings which the engineers must then check for feasibility through the use of computer-aided design software and 3D printers. 

The Le Locle factory is also where the testing of watches happens. To ensure the highest quality, Montblanc watches undergo the Montblanc 500-hour test which simulates a year’s worth of wear. The test includes two hours of water resistance testing, four hours of winding performance and assembly control, 80 hours of continuous accuracy control, another 80 hours for general performance testing such as temperature change and testing over time, and finally, a whopping 336 hours of function testing that simulates both wear and non-wear periods. 

The Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie in Villeret

Everything is created in-house in the Minerva factory. All of the Minerva components are crafted within the facility, even the more complicated parts. Because of this level of expertise, Montblanc’s more high-end watches are created in the Villeret factory. The process of production is so time-consuming that only certain watches must be reserved for the Minerva factory since the watchmaking there requires so much skill and craftsmanship. In fact, almost all of their individual components are crafted by hand by highly experienced watchmakers.

Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Montblanc Watches’ Best Collections

Although Montblanc Watches has only been around for a couple of decades, they’ve already produced several watches under different collections, all of superb quality. Here, we take a look at five of their collections and see what they have to offer.

Montblanc 1858

The Montblanc 1858 pays tribute to the Minerva’s over 160-year legacy in the watchmaking industry. This collection redesigns the vintage chronograph, transforming it into the watch of the modern world. It mixes together traditional Swiss movements with contemporary designs, creating beautiful timepieces whose intricate designs and incredible craftsmanship capture the essence of the Minerva.

Montblanc 1858, Montblanc Watches

Montblanc Heritage

A beautiful marriage between the elegant past and the bold present, the Montblanc Heritage captures contemporary watchmaking design and technology in a vintage, timeless look. This collection takes inspiration from the Minerva collections of the 1940s and 1950s.

Montblanc Heritage, Montblanc Watches

Montblanc Star Legacy

Yet another collection inspired by the outstanding Minerva heritage, the Montblanc Star Legacy shows off sophisticated designs. This series is an extension of the iconic Metamorphosis collection.

Montblanc Star Legacy, Montblanc Watches

Montblanc TimeWalker

The Montblanc TimeWalker encapsulates the spirit of motor racing and is an ode to the incredible history behind Minerva. This collection brings together traditional Swiss watchmaking with modern technology as it features activity tracking, remote control, and smart notifications, all while sporting a classic look.

Montblanc TimeWalker, Montblanc Watches

Montblanc Summit 2

Luxury smartwatches with a vintage look, that’s what the Montblanc Summit 2 series offers. It creates a beautiful mix of fine Swiss watchmaking codes and advanced wearable technologies. The Montblanc Summit 2 comes with all sorts of handy features such as a step counter, navigation and weather sensors, and a heart monitor.

Montblanc Summit 2, Montblanc Watches

How to Spot a Fake Montblanc Watch

Being such a well-known luxury watch brand, counterfeits of Montblanc watches are plentiful. However, nothing could compare to the original. But sadly, some replicas come close, especially for those who don’t really have the eye for authentic luxury watches. To avoid getting a bad deal from a good replica, here are some ways you can spot a fake Montblanc watch.

The best way to avoid tragedy is by doing your research. Be familiar with the typical price range of Montblanc watches. If the watch offered to you is suspiciously much lower in price than the usual Montblanc watch, then it’s best to trust your suspicions. In addition, a quick Google search can help you out. You can check the images featured on the official Montblanc site and the features and specifications listed for that watch. Any deviation from what your research shows is an immediate red flag.

Montblanc watches are famous for their incredible quality. In fact, the company’s philosophy centres around the commitment to create products of the highest quality and craftsmanship. So one can assume their quality control is impeccable and incredibly strict. Therefore, you should always inspect the watch to find any possible flaws that would not have surpassed the strict quality control of Montblanc. This includes typographical errors and uneven spacing.

Finally, the best way to ensure that your Montblanc watch is authentic is by purchasing only through official retailers and authorised dealers. Let’s take a look at where you can buy Montblanc watches in our next section.

Where to Buy Montblanc Watches

Luxury watches are not as accessible in comparison with the much cheaper brands. Your local department store might not sell Montblanc watches. To find the nearest Montblanc boutique to you, you may use the store locator found on their official site. Speaking of their official site, you can also purchase a Montblanc watch online through their site since they ship worldwide. Another online option would be to purchase Montblanc watches via Amazon.

Montblanc Store, Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

How to Take Care of Your Montblanc Watch

If you’re gonna cash out a lot of money on a luxury watch, then you should probably know how to properly maintain it. Of course, being such a high-quality brand, Montblanc watches don’t break easily. But it’s still best to take proper care of your Montblanc watch to keep it in pristine condition, and also as a form of respect to the highly-skilled craftsmen that put hours of work into creating your Montblanc watch.

How to Care for your Montblanc Watch
Photo from Montblanc

To prolong the lifespan of your Montblanc watch, it’s best to have it regularly serviced. The recommended duration between each servicing is somewhere from one to five years, depending on the particular watch. For water resistance, it’s best to have it checked every three years or every year if the watch is in frequent contact with water. If water gets inside the watch, this may deteriorate the movement.

If you own an automatic or manually wound watch, here are a few care recommendations. In cases in which you have not worn your watch in a long time, you must fully wind it or turn the crown 20 times to bring it back up to speed. For manual watches, wind the watch once a day at around the same time each day. Be careful not to do this between 10 PM and 2 AM since this period is typically when the date changes and could result in damages to the movement. 

What to Avoid

Here are a few things you should avoid to properly care for and maintain your Montblanc watch:

  • Exposure to temperatures below -10°C (14°F) or above 60°C(140°F).
  • Wearing other jewellery on the same wrist as the watch.
  • Exposure to saltwater, humidity, soap, and cosmetics for satin, rubber, calfskin, and alligator straps.
  • Treatment of wax, leather polish, shoe polish, or other chemicals that may damage the leather.
  • Exposure to high temperatures and direct sunlight for this may fade the colouring of the leather strap. Strong perspiration may also affect the colouring by darkening the leather.
  • Contact with chemical products like detergents and fragrances for watches with diamonds. In cases of exposure, you may clean it with lukewarm water and a soft toothbrush and then rinse with fresh water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Pulling out the crown or using the pushers while submerged underwater.
  • Exposure to heat sources such as radiators and hairdryers. Natural drying or use of a soft cloth is recommended when drying it after cleaning.
  • Exposure to magnetic fields that may affect the watch’s mechanical movements. 

Montblanc Watches’ Selling Points

A brand’s success relies on a well-trusted and tested formula. Of course, this includes several components, some a little bit more complicated than others. But from the consumer’s point of view, it all boils down to the brand’s best selling points. These are the attributes a brand possesses that positively affect and influence the consumer’s likelihood to purchase from the brand and possibly create brand loyalty.

For Montblanc Watches, their great reputation centres around these three selling points: high quality, unparalleled craftsmanship, and great designs.

High Quality

There’s no question that Montblanc watches are of the highest quality. With a corporate philosophy centred around a commitment to quality, Montblanc watches always end up at the top. This assurance of quality is prominent in their 500-hour test and their incredibly strict quality control process. Nothing comes out of the Montblanc factories being less than the high standards they have put upon themselves.

Unparalleled Craftsmanship

With the acquisition of the Minerva factory, the craftsmanship behind Montblanc watches is truly unparalleled. Not only are their best watches painstakingly handcrafted by experienced watchmakers down to the individual parts, but the sheer innovation that Montblanc has exhibited is proof enough of their great craftsmanship. With revolutionary watches like the Metamorphosis which require great skill to achieve, the craft that Montblanc puts into their watches is truly world-class.

Montblanc Watches' Movement
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Great Designs

Montblanc watches aren’t just well-made, they’re also well-designed. It’s what you can expect from a company that has designated an entire building in their factory complex just for their skilled design team. Montblanc watches undergo several concept drawings before moving on to the engineers, ensuring that these designs are well-thought-of and with incredible detailing.

Montblanc Star Legacy, Montblanc Watches
Photo from Montblanc Instagram

Final Thoughts 

Montblanc Watches create a beautiful marriage between traditional Swiss watchmaking and contemporary design and technology. It brings the centuries-old craft into the modern world, without sacrificing quality. The sheer craftsmanship behind Montblanc is undoubtedly top tier, with such rigorous testing and strict quality control. And the handcrafted quality of their high-end timepieces is truly remarkable.

Montblanc is a brand truly dedicated to delivering the highest quality of craftsmanship, exhibiting the great heights its namesake is known for. Although the brand does not solely focus on watches, unlike its competitors, Montblanc Watches is not one to look down upon in the luxury watchmaking industry. It is definitely a great contender, consistently producing timepieces of the highest quality.

 

In the mood for a dress watch? Check out our feature on the iconic Patek Philippe Calatrava.

 

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