From writing instruments to leather to watches to accessories, Montblanc continues to knock the socks off collectors and enthusiasts. If there is one man responsible for making Montblanc what it is in Australia, it’s Leon Mervis.
So what really elevates this global powerhouse to pinnacle status rivalling some of the oldest luxury brands on the market? Find out in our exclusive below.
(INTERVIEW TAKEN IN NOVEMBER 2016)
This year is Montblanc’s 110th Anniversary. How is the brand celebrating it and what is the symbolization of the Serpent?
To celebrate our 110th Anniversary, we have relaunched “Rouge et Noir”, the very first writing instrument created by the brand in 1906. This revolutionary fountain pen solved two problems by being both refillable and not leaking. The success of this first fountain pen launched the company and changed writing instruments forever!
Montblanc didn’t invent the fountain pen, but we definitely perfected it, which explains the brand’s global recognition for being, ‘the master of writing’. The early 1900’s was a time of great change. The airplane had just been invented while cars and other modes of transportations were improved.
This new fountain pen allowed people to write down their experiences and ideas on the move without worrying about ink and mess. I would say that in the early 1900’s this ‘safety’ fountain pen would be just as revolutionary as the smartphone in this century!
The original “Rouge et Noir” didn’t feature a clip on the cap and in the 1920s the serpent clip was added. The serpent is a representation of the art and culture of the roaring 1920’s.
How have Montblanc watches developed in Australia over the past 3 years?
Three years ago, Mr. Jérôme Lambert, our current international CEO moved from Jaeger-LeCoultre to Montblanc and with him came his flair for fine watchmaking. Over the past 3 years, Mr. Lambert has added new watch collections, updated and refined older ones and created a female range, “Bohéme” which has been very well received.
For the celebration of our 110th anniversary, the very successful “Montblanc 4810” watch collection has been relaunched, including some exciting additions such as The Worldtimer Orbis Terrarum, The ExoTourbillon Stop-Second, and a new Limited Edition TwinFly Chronograph.
What are your thoughts on the speculation of the global slowdown in the swiss watch industry and how did it affect Montblanc?
The swiss watch industry is in a slump. Montblanc has well avoided this slowdown, by being the multi-faceted Maison that we are. The brand does not put all its eggs in the same basket!
For example, our leather and male accessories have soared with the introduction of accessible luxury items and we continue to be a leader in writing instruments. Our collections keep getting better and better.
Luxury needs to be exclusive and yet easily available. How do you maintain this balance?
Thanks to our attractive and functional designs, products like belts, cufflinks, and small leather goods have been repeatedly chosen for thoughtful presents and corporate gifts. We have been providing accessible products to welcome in customers and let them grow within Montblanc. With their loyalty, they have aspired to more exclusive limited collections, which are themed each year. You will always find something at Montblanc for the man who has “everything”.
Please explain Montblanc’s growth and current attention to leather?
Yes, correct, leather is the fastest growing category within Montblanc and it is definitely the core focus of the brand moving forward. New materials, and most importantly the inclusion of technology into functionality, has been the strong selling point in all of our new collections.
For example, our new “Urban Spirit” collection combines contemporary design with RF-id technology. The modern pickpocket can steal both your money and all of your personal data by just walking next to you in public and simply scanning your wallet or briefcase. This new technology prevents it from happening; it keeps your personal and credit card information safe within your wallet!
The “Urban Spirit” range, protects your privacy thanks to our pattern “shield technology”, which is incorporated in the gold-coloured pocket lining and combined with an RF-id chip.
How has your distribution channel evolved?
We currently have 6 branded boutiques and plan to add another 4 in the coming years. Luxury watch retailers are increasingly getting excited about our new product releases because of the evolution of our designs and technology advancements. Efficient & even distribution of collections is very important to Montblanc as we want to allow all Australians to feel welcome in our boutiques and equally served across the country.
Can you share with us any other new and exciting releases?
We have just released this year’s ‘Writer’s Edition’, William Shakespeare which is a must have! Our ‘Special character’ pen edition which is Miles Davis for 2016, should be arriving soon into boutiques. This special edition will thrill both Montblanc collectors and jazz lovers. 2017, will be the introduction of our new “Augmented Paper Technology” into Australia. Keep an eye out for this tech beauty! The technology allows your handwritten notes and drawings to be transferred onto digital devices (smartphone, tablet & computer) in real time! You can even hand write your texts…
Our sincere thanks to Leon Mervis and Montblanc Australia for making this interview possible