To the right eye, pens and watches, despite their diminutive size, will scream elegance and grandeur and they have done so for decades. As Montblanc have proven with their extensive and extravagant legacy, both of these items can be key markers of luxury, opulence and sophistication in the 21st Century – and with a deep history entrenched in the brand, coupled with a pivotal merge, Montblanc will be a mainstay in the watchmaking industry.
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Speaking to Davide Cerrato, Managing Director of Watch Division at Montblanc, he took note in how important celebrating the brand’s impressive history is to their new collection.
“The big novelty of this year is the fact that we come back to sport watches and we come back to sport watches with the shuffle of the TimeWalker Collection,” said Cerrato. “We say we come back because part of our story and DNA is Minerva. And Minerva for the first half of the 20th century made an incredible exploration – technical exploration – into timekeeping.”
Of course, Minerva was acquired by Montblanc in 2006 but had existed as its own manufacturer, and a very esteemed one at that, since 1858. That’s almost 160 years which means the collective brand has a history that is deeper and richer than most.
“With the Minerva history, the Minerva heritage and the Minerva legacy, which is Montblanc – Minerva is Montblanc, there’s no difference between the two,” said Cerratio. “It’s part of our heritage and of our DNA…Now the expression of our watches and of our product, being it design-wise, technology-wise, technically-wise with the movement, is completely coming from that. So there is a real supporting evidence of the bridging between this two different entities.”
However, for Montblanc, history does not mean a trend that is anchored in nostalgia to give consumers a classic feel. No, history, to Cerrato, is something that should be recognised and commemorated at all times. When asked about his view of nostalgia as a trend – not just in watchmaking but in general society – he blatantly said that he does not view it as such.
“I don’t think that is a trend,” said Cerrato. I think that is a very deep move in society that came up after the financial crisis of ’08 and ’09. And that was somewhere the end of this crazy exploration into the world of digital and digital-generated design and environment and so on. That really marked the end of, and we shifted into a new era where we are getting the best of the digital exploration but melting again with the best of before, which was the analogical, human, sensual touch brought into our products. We launched in 2010, the first Heritage product, which rocketed. And at that time, people were saying, “Do you think that is a small trend?” Now we are seven years after that and still is very relevant.”
Cerrato also notes the struggle about maintaining an essence of timelessness in an age where everything becomes obsolete so quickly. “There is a timeless component into it that gets out of fashion and the fast-changing environment on which we are getting used to the digital. It has been fantastic to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation but it has also brought in a dimension of very quick obsolescence that people don’t like very much. You don’t like…to buy a product and after one year it is completely obsolete and already you are forced to (purchase a new one).”
Montblanc, since their acquisition of Minerva, have really rocketed to being a timepiece brand that is exploding with potential to innovate – “having a vision of innovation is really one of the key pillars of the DNA of Montblanc” – but their primary focus remains on timelessness. As Cerrato put it, “While here we are really into the deep essence of what luxury is and into this timeless style, timeless value and even value that can grow up or value that you can pass by to your son and he’s going to pass by to his. This is very, very important.”