About Montblanc Leather Goods
Tuesday - 31 August 2021
Ever wondered where and how your leather goods from Montblanc are manufactured? If you haven’t already researched the ethos behind the prestigious German manufacturer and how it crafts each unique leather product, you probably should. Here we take a look at the brand’s leather manufacturing facilities near Florence and how each design is quality controlled to standards of excellence.
Since the introduction of the fountain pen in 1913, Montblanc has remained at the forefront of the industry with a profound selection of luxury writing instruments that now sit alongside a plethora of other luxury lifestyle products, one of them being its range of leather products. It was around twenty years after Montblanc registered its iconic white star emblem as a trademark that the company began focusing on growing a unique range of male and female leather goods. As a result, a Lammerspiel production works was developed near Frankfurt that was headed up by Karl Seeger around 60 years later. Within this realm, Montblanc extended upon its Meisterstuck collections growing and refreshing its design with larger and more diverse products for leisure, travel and business. Now the leather range is home to many sub-collections, including the brand’s latest UltraBlack series launched under a new “What Moves You, Makes You” campaign.
Today, Montblanc’s leather goods are manufactured in Italy and are sourced ethically from the finest cowhides. The leather manufacturing facility is situated just outside Florence, positioned alongside designer brand names such as Gucci and Prada. Montblanc decided to relocate from Germany since there are 150 tanneries situated in the region, as well as suppliers for hardware. Combining the spirit of the German manufacturer with Italian craftsmanship gives each leather goods item from the brand a unique spin. Head of the facility, Giacomo Cortesi explains;
“All the talent is here, the workers we hired to create this facility,” continued Giacomo. “That was an interesting process – hiring from everyone else. And of course, having everything on-site means we can develop and adjust new pieces quickly. You can’t do that with a pen or a watch.”
The Pelletteria has become the hub of leather excellence. Every unique design - whether that be a belt, a watch strap, a bag, a purse or a wallet - brings together ancestral craftsmanship and enduring design. This is done through a mix of state-of-the-art technology and, of course, the hand of a highly skilled expert. Each stage of the process is overseen at this one facility. This includes the sourcing of each piece of leather, the proto-typing and the final stages of quality control. Within the facilities is a one-armed robot for endurance testing, as well as climate chambers that simulate different conditions from hot to humid. Entirely dependent on the skills and passion of each artisan working at Montblanc’s leather manufacturing facilities, every design is unique and tells its own story, from the way it was cut to how the individual parts are assembled and hand finished – even the lines, marks and lived-in feel of the cut of leather used for each design.
One of the most striking things about a leather product from Montblanc is how the brand is committed to putting it through a quality control process. Very few leather factories have bespoke quality control machinery like Montblanc. One piece of machinery for testing belts, for example, opens and closes a buckle repeatedly to determine where the areas of weakness in the design are. Giacomo explains a little more about one concept that tests for buckle damage; “We spent a long time trying to work out how to test a buckle when it has been dropped repeatedly – when you undo your trousers or chuck the belt in a draw”. To target this area, a set of steps was devised, measuring a height of around 6 feet. The buckle is dropped down the steps repeatedly. Giacomo concludes; “It’s very simple, but it works. It breaks things,”.
Aside from quality testing, it is how the leather is handled and treated that really makes a difference when it comes to comparing a Montblanc leather product with another competitor on the market. The brand’s full-grain leather is untreated and leaves the top layer of the leather intact. This layer, complete with hair and skin is not treated in any way that could harm the surface of the leather, instead aiding strength and durability whilst allowing it to breathe. In addition to this, the surface of the leather develops a nice patina over time. In these cases, Montblanc uses calfskin since this is much softer compared to cowhide.
Some of Montblanc’s leather products are treated to make them softer and more pliable to work with. This process is called tanning and there are several ways to achieve this result. Vegetable tanning and chrome tanning are two examples that Montblanc combines. Leather belts, straps, and bags from Montblanc can be treated using tannin extracted from vegetables and organic material. This is the least toxic of all tanning processes and the most natural. On the other hand, chrome-tanned leather first appeared during the 1800s and uses chromium sulphate to treat the hide. This type of salt makes the leather particularly soft so that it is less likely to become brittle and damage over time.
So, if you were wondering how your leather accessories from Montblanc are treated, designed, quality controlled and hand-crafted – now you know. You can explore our diverse range of luxury leather goods from Montblanc here at Jura Watches by following the link here.