How did the first Montblanc watch come to be, and how did Montblanc watches enter the world of high horology?
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Montblanc is, of course, known by many aficionados for its luxury pens. But Montblanc watches — the first of which debuted in 1997 — have also developed a reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Montblanc watches have come a long way from that first model, the Montblanc Meisterstuck watch, the Montblanc watch equivalent of the famous Meisterstuck pen. Many of today’s Montblanc watches are crafted in the Swiss village of Le Locle, in the Jura Mountains, which has been making timepieces since 1705, long before the first Montblanc watch debuted.
In this FREE download, WatchTime Spotlight: Montblanc, we take you back to the very beginning of Le Locle’s watchmaking history, reveal why Montblanc decided it was the best place to make Montblanc watches, and take you inside the process of making a modern Montblanc watch.
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It was 1997 when then-Montblanc CEO Norbert Platt faced the wristwatch press after the introduction of the first Montblanc watches. Platt maintained his composure in the face of sarcastic questions such as “Where do you fill it with ink?” As the world would soon learn, however, the first Montblanc watch collection, with design cues from the popular Montblanc Meisterstuck pen, was far from a mere novelty. The Montblanc Meisterstuck watch proved to be the success that put Montblanc watches on the road to haute horlogerie, and by 2006, Montblanc was a full-fledged manufacture.
The state-of-the-art Montblanc watch atelier in Le Locle was created under the auspices of master watchmaker Thierry Pellaton, who now oversees the development and manufacture of the many Montblanc watches that have followed in the wake of the original Montblanc Meisterstuck watch, like the Nicolas Rieussec chronographs and the Star 4810 collection, which takes its name from the famous star logo now as common on Montblanc watches as on Montblanc pens. If you want to know about Pellaton’s accomplishments, and his rigid quality control standards for all Montblanc watches, download our article now.
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As a member of the Richemont Group, which also includes brands such as Cartier and Piaget, Montblanc intended from the beginning to be uncompromising in the quality of its timepieces: a Montblanc watch should be just as much of a coveted luxury item as a Montblanc pen, with the same attention to detail and quality, and in some cases, the same design touches. The dials of the first Montblanc Meisterstuck watches had the same deep black hue as the fountain pens and a typeface reflecting the era when the first Montblanc pens debuted. The white star logo remains a fixture on the crowns of Montblanc watches today. And the pens also influence the names of the models: As the Montblanc Meisterstuck pen begat the Montblanc Meisterstuck watch, the Montblanc TimeWalker watch collection takes its cues from the Starwalker series of pens.
To learn more about the various collections of Montblanc watches, their movements, and the rigorous process of developing and testing them, simply click below for our free download.
How did the timing of 19th-century equestrian sports influence today’s Montblanc watches? Find out in this free article from WatchTime, which documents the creation of the Rieussec chronograph, a Montblanc watch with an unprecedented dial design influenced by the very first “time writer” invented by French watchmaker Nicolas Rieussec to time horse races. Montblanc invented an entirely new caliber for these watches, which have two rotating disks instead of hands to tally the chronograph minutes. The Rieussec has become perhaps the most recognizable Montblanc watch and have helped put Montblanc watches on the map for connoisseurs of chronograph watches.
All of this and much more is detailed in WatchTime Spotlight: Montblanc. Download it for free right now and become an instant expert on Montblanc watches.
Download our FREE article to learn more about:
- How Montblanc became a manufacture
- How the first Montblanc Meisterstück watch was conceived
- How Montblanc watches are tested and evaluated
- The development of various models in the Montblanc watch collection
- Montblanc watches’ connection to the very first chronograph device
This FREE Montblanc download can be read on all devices. To download it, please click on the teaser box below. We also invite you to have a look at our other FREE WatchTime Spotlight downloads, covering many other brands and watch models. If you need another reason to download WatchTime Spotlight: Montblanc Watches – remember that WatchTime is the most respected watch magazine in the industry, and the only one in the U.S. to conduct independent tests of watches. If you’re interested in Montblanc and want to expand your knowledge of the Montblanc watch brand, take the opportunity to download WatchTime Spotlight: Montblanc Watches — The Birth of the Montblanc Watch Brand From the Montblanc Meisterstuck Watch to Today!
This promotional article was originally published in 2013, and has been updated.
It was an adventure from the beginning, having left TAG-Heuer to become the 1st Director of Sales and Marketing Watches for Mont Blanc, the Timepieces had already been conceived, and mimic’d the Meisterstuck Writing Instruments with Black Dials and Straps and Gold Casing, both precious and plated. Leaving my previous employer, my first responsibility was to get placement and we were over the next 5 months able to get 25 of the Industry Leaders Nationally and Regionally as well as Key Market Independents, then off to training the Associates and marrying the Brand, it’s Accessory Collections to Timepieces, all under the eye MB mantra that “Randy, we will always bleed ink at Mont Blanc”, which both Norbert and Wolfe Heindrichsdorf would remind me constantly. Though MB was the icon in Writing Instruments, the cosmetic as I indicated to both Norbert and Wolfe, in Timepieces was ‘white’, regardless of Platinum, White Gold, Silver or SS, and that in one heated pre-S.I.H.H. session, I advised Wolf, “if we have to make a SS Writing Instrument to make a SS Timepiece, then we need to move on this now, as the year will be short post-Geneva, and we’re talking about 1999. No less important was a Bracelet to which I suggested a single iconic design that would be married through all sizes and genders…………………….to my surprise at Geneva, I was presented with the proto-type, a SS and Gold Linked Bracelet, this for a Head that was all Yellow! My Swiss counterpart was quite taken back, when I advised, we have something no one else in the industry has, a bi-color bracelet on a Yellow Head! All said and done we finished ‘year 1’ very strongly and I having passed on the opportunity to move back east to be VP Sales in early ’98, decided to leave, not thinking we would be able to move fast enough to anniversary our position. Great experience, great leader in Fred Reffsin and team, the Brand, is with Minerva and Rieussec challenging the potential that the iconic Mont Blanc represents.
I am surprised there is no mention of Minerva in this article and the fact that Montblanc actually became a watch only after the acqusition of Minerva