The History of Montblanc
Tuesday - 16 June 2020
When you think of leading creators of luxury goods like that of breathtaking timepieces, meticulously crafted fountain pens and high quality leather bags, the Montblanc brand immediately springs to mind.
With over a century of experience under their Italian leather belt, Montblanc have proved their dedication to craftsmanship, functionality and all-round elegance signified by the unique white star logo decorating each product. Since Jura Watches is now an official retailer of all Montblanc’s collections, we thought it time to delve into their history and discover how Montblanc came to be so synonymous with writing culture, leather goods and timekeeping luxury.
Montblanc started its history in 1909 becoming “manufacturers of high-class gold and fountain pens” under the name Simplo Filler Pen Co. The brand’s name was believed to refer to the simplicisssimus pen or the simple pen designs which included a built in ink-well. During that same year, Hamburg businessman Claus Johannes Voss joined the company and Simplo Filler Pen Co. established its headquarters in the “Industriepalast” on Caffamacherreihe in Hamburg.
Just a year later, the name Montblanc became a registered trademark and would be used for all writing instruments produced by the company. Under the new name, a technically improved fountain pen “Montblanc” was introduced which featured a white top on the pen cap – an accent that would eventually become the world famous white star logo. The name for Montblanc was also believed to have been decided during a card game when a relative of one of the partners drew an analogy between a Montblanc fountain pen becoming the pinnacle of writing instruments and the Mont Blanc mountain, the world’s most majestic and highest peak in the Alps.
In 1913, the Montblanc star emblem became the brand logo and trademark with all writing instruments produced by Simplo Filler Pen Co. included the unmistakable image. The shape was conceived to represent the snow covered peak of the Montblanc mountain but overtime it has come to symbolise much more including the brand’s commitment to quality, luxury and elegance and their remarkable manufacturing abilities.
1924 remains one of the brand’s most pivotal year’s in its history since it was the year the legendary Meisterstück fountain pen was launched. The Meisterstück remains one of the world’s most celebrated writing instruments of all time, with the collection remaining a symbol of perfect writing culture and timeless design. From the success of the Montblanc Meisterstück pen, the brand was able to quickly expand into a well-known name in more than 60 countries and spend profits on impressive advertising campaigns.
During this time, Montblanc also established its first leather goods workshops near Offenbach, a town renowned for its leather craftsmanship in Germany. These included luxury small leather items like pen pouches. It was also in 1929 that the first Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen was detailed with the number “4810” on its nib, a number that represents both the height of the mountain and the supreme level of quality of the writing instrument. Since that day, every Montblanc Meisterstück pen has included this engraving.
The company made the decision to change its name with one that had already become a brand all over the world: “Montblanc Simplo GmbH.” With a strong brand identity recognised all over the globe, they decided to issue their first lifetime guarantee for the Meisterstück proving that customer’s who chose to opt for the absolute best would be rightly rewarded. They also expanded their product range by taking over a producer of leather goods in Offenbach and began to create leather items like pen pouches, notebooks and writing cases with the Montblanc name on them.
Unfortunately, during the second World War, many of Montblanc’s facilities were destroyed so while they were rebuilt, Montblanc fountain pens were produced in Denmark while representative offices began to be re-established abroad. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Montblanc began to announce new pen collections including the Meisterstück 149 in 1952 and the “60 Line” in 1955. Then in 1963, the brand was given the ultimate praise when John F. Kennedy helped the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer out of a predicament by offering him the use of his Meisterstück 149 fountain pen.
Montblanc continued to develop and improve their product line with the Meisterstück Solitaire Collection, a range of Montblanc Meisterstück pens crafted from precious metals. Alongside the collection, the famous claim “Montblanc - The Art of Writing” was also launched which came to be a model for many other brands in the luxury field. During the late 80’s, Montblanc also moved into a new, purpose-built head office in Hamburg, integrating design, production, and administration, as well as the Montblanc Museum.
In the same way that they expanded their product line, Montblanc continued to open up more boutiques across the world including their first Montblanc store in Hong Kong. Then in 1994, the brand created the Montblanc Meisterstück Solitaire Royal pen, a breathtaking piece of art that included 4,810 diamonds painstakingly set by hand across the design. The writing instrument became the world's most expensive fountain pen of its time.
1996 and 1997 were two huge years for Montblanc since it marked their arrival into the men’s jewellery world. They started off with the Montblanc Meisterstück jewellery collection which included precious accessories for men like the 18 carat gold cufflinks. Then a year later, the first Montblanc watch was born in the Montblanc Montre S.A factories in Le Locle - the heart of the Swiss watch industry. They didn’t wait long before participating in one of the world’s largest watch exhibitions, the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), and showed off the masterly handcrafted Montblanc Meisterstück watch for the very first time.
In 2000, Montblanc’s first major new collection of writing instruments were announced since the legendary Meisterstück. The Montblanc Bohéme pen was designed to inspire passionate enjoyment of the best in life. During the same year, the Meisterstück Sports watch was released for active men who needed a robust, rugged, and high functioning timepiece. A couple of years later, the Montblanc StarWalker fountain pen was unveiled to draw the interest of younger enthusiasts looking for a purist, aesthetic design.
To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Montblanc launched an exclusive Anniversary Editions throughout the year which included the Montblanc diamond. It took almost eight years of research and development, but Montblanc achieved maximum brilliance and became the first brand in the world to own its own patented diamond cut derived from its logo.
The late 2000’s were also home to a significant turning point in Montblanc’s watchmaking history with the creation of the Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie at Villeret where they designed and hand-assembled their first in-house manufacture movement, the MB R100 calibre. The movement was shown off during the 2008 SIHH within the Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher Chronograph, a timepiece that paid tribute to the inventor of the chronograph, Nicolas Rieussec.
In 2010, they developed the Montblanc Metamorphosis watch which showcased a revolutionary design and function which could transform itself from one watch face to the other in a way no timepiece had done before. The highly complex process involved over 50 individual components to move technically synchronously. A year later, they also unveiled the first Montblanc Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique with the in-house Montblanc calibre MB65.6. It became the world’s first watch to feature a tourbillon with two cylindrical balance springs.
The brand’s manufacturing expertise continued to impress the world, with their most complicated timepiece yet, the Montblanc Villeret 1858 released in 2013 and the first Montblanc digital series released in 2014, the e-StarWalker and Pix, two custom mobile-ready styluses, digital writing devices for use with Samsung’s Galaxy Note. Shortly after, Montblanc introduced their TimeWalker Urban Speed e-Strap which included a highly functional e-Strap with an integrated-technology device offering an activity tracker, smart notifications, remote controls and Find-Me functions.
In 2016, Montblanc continued to dive deeper into the digital world with the release of their Montblanc Augmented Paper. Bringing the beauty of handwriting to the digital world, this innovative technology allows you to transfer handwritten information digitally to apps and devices. It works by connecting the Montblanc Augmented Paper to your smart device so you can write away with the StarWalker resin platinum ballpoint pen writing instrument. When the pages are full, you simply press the transfer button which with automatically send all your notes to your device.
In the last few years, Montblanc have shown no signs of slowing day with new innovations, technology and luxury designs being released all the time. In 2017, we witnessed the very first Montblanc full luggage collection which comprises of a pilot case, two cabin-sized trolleys and two larger trolleys. Of course, these stunning travel accessories are made at Montblanc’s leather goods factory in Florence, Italy with gorgeous Italian leather accents on the handles, corners and front.
In 2019, we also saw the release of the iconic Montblanc Summit 2 smartwatch, a luxury wearable which beautifully unites the traditional craftsmanship the brand is so renowned for with new modern technologies. Filled with a large set of features and apps for a life of travel, fitness and exploration, each Montblanc smartwatch perfectly bridges the gap for those wanting luxury, technology and sophistication all at once.
Don’t forget, we have all the latest Montblanc collections on the Jura Watches website available with interest free finance and free next day delivery. You can discover a huge range of Montblanc watches, smartwatches, writing instruments, notebooks, leather goods, travel accessories, cufflinks, belts and Montblanc Augmented Paper on our website here. For any assistance, get in touch with our team of luxury good specialists on 01335 453453 or email us at email@example.com!