As a brand synonymous with the finest writing instruments in the world, it is somewhat surprising Montblanc is steadfastly setting its sights on a new avenue.
However, as Montblanc South East Asia President Matthieu Dupont explained at the brand’s inaugural Australian event, there’s more to Montblanc than writing.
“Today, Montblanc is not writing. Today, Montblanc is not leather. Today, Montblanc is not watches. Today, Montblanc is your lifestyle companion,” Dupont told The CEO Magazine at the Sydney launch of its Black and White Week. “All of these things come together as one.”
And there couldn’t be a more magnificent way of showcasing the lifestyle concept than at Australia’s inaugural Black and White Week.
“Montblanc is a beautiful brand. I consider it to be a diamond, but it’s still not perfectly cut in Australia – we still have to work on those facets,” – Matthieu Dupont
In an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art mansion perched atop the rolling hills of Sydney’s prestigious northern suburbs, friends of Montblanc gathered at the VIP unveiling of the 2019–20 capsules.
The German manufacturer presented its impressive collection across three expansive floors, taking guests on an exquisite Montblanc journey.
After being met by a talented calligrapher who personalised leather notebooks, guests were shown a selection of luxury goods including sunglasses, perfume, cufflinks, jewellery and Montblanc’s famed writing instruments, displayed throughout the first floor.
With crystal vases full of gumnuts and eucalyptus leaves set against a beautiful Australian bush-beach backdrop, it was hard not to be impressed by Montblanc’s first showcase Down Under.
“Montblanc is a beautiful brand. I consider it to be a diamond, but it’s still not perfectly cut in Australia – we still have to work on those facets,” Dupont told The CEO Magazine . “Australian consumers like the experiential aspect of a brand, and that’s something we’re working towards. It’s not just about the product, it’s the lifestyle that comes with it.
“Historically we’ve been known for our writing products and that will always remain the case, but today we move away from that towards being a global luxury player.”
While the company has an array of stylish leather goods suitable for all forms of travel, it’s the timepiece division that is really amazing.
“I’m not worried about our leather products because the growth is so strong; it’s absolutely phenomenal,” Dupont says. “What’s going to take work is our watches.
“The product is fantastic, but we need to put it in front of the customer and really explain it.”
After guests made their way past the leather luggage on the second storey, skilled horologist Julien Miribel welcomed the intimate group on the lowest floor as he demonstrated the intricate skills required to handcraft a complication.
Framed by a quaint forest, bringing a touch of Geneva to Australia, cabinets of Montblanc’s SIHH collection took centrestage.
“When you look at the heritage of Manufacture Minerva, the stories we can tell around our watchmaking, our capacity to finish watches so well and to manufacture movements that are absolutely beautiful is second to none,” Dupont says. “One of the challenges we face, however, is the question of relevance.
“Our capacity to finish making watches so well and to manufacture movements that are absolutely beautiful is second to none.” – Matthieu Dupont
“We will have more technological elements, but it has to bring in an order of complementarity and added value to the customer.”
And for the Montblanc executive, getting his hands on a rare chronograph is what creates an enviable experience for himself and many other watch aficionados.
“The 1858 geosphere, bronze and green, is absolutely stunning – elegant yet sporty,” Dupont says. “You can’t get enough of them – for they are limited to 1,858.
“We have 300 boutiques around the world and if each boutique only sells five watches a year, which isn’t that much, that’s it.
“It adds a bit of flavour, knowing you’re not going to find it across the board.”