It all began with a pen. From that one creation of sleek lines and a premium feel, Montblanc has managed to jumpstart a business that is now encompassing all aspects of a stylish lifestyle.
While currently offering everything from timepieces to jewellery and leather goods, the brand is nevertheless, still remembered for having created a tool that many would say has revolutionised the art of handwriting.
The Rouge Et Noir, introduced three years after the brand’s founding in 1906, was made of black ebonite and fitted with a red-crowned cap. It featured a non-leaking ink technology – and a piston converter that would later define the modern fountain pen.
According to Montblanc’s CEO Jerome Lambert, that first creation was very much an embodiment of their design DNA. He says the Rouge Et Noir is living proof of the company’s heritage and legacy.
“The Meisterstuck, which was created in 1924, is another product of quality craftsmanship. This pen, although different in terms of aesthetic, is just as well known as the Rouge Et Noir. Both are icons of Montblanc.”
Montblanc originally began its trade as the Simplo Filler Pen Co. The maison was only renamed in 1910, with the six-point white star (symbolising the namesake mountain) adopted as the company’s emblem.
The pioneering spirit that revolutionised the culture of writing has been described as a driving force for Montblanc. This has lead to the creation of other lifestyle products combining technical innovation, functionality and expression of style.
“We always strive to go further and being one step ahead. Montblanc has been quite fortunate to be involved with culture and expression, as well as with art. This creativity is what we draw from,” Lambert says.
When it comes to the development of digital technology, Lambert explains that it will not be a factor for penmanship’s decline. As introduction of the printing press never did dent the fine writing instrument market, he thinks touchscreen devices will not do so, either.
“It makes writing even more meaningful or unique. It makes the act of it a real pleasure. Also, the instruments to do with writing has now become something beautiful that you can carry with you,” he explains.
To mark its 110th anniversary, Montblanc has now unveiled an integrated digital campaign (viewable on montblanc.com) that tells the story of a pioneering spirit. It features global ambassador Hugh Jackman as part of the project.
A film produced by Directors Guild Of America award winner, Andreas Nilsson, is the gateway to this online campaign. Shot in Budapest, it charts Montblanc’s journey over the last 110 years, with various significant milestones highlighted.
“It’s an open invitation to discover the world of Montblanc in an unexpected way, and experience its trajectory from its founders’ bold ambitions to revolutionise the culture of writing to becoming creators of timepieces, leather goods and jewellery,” comments Lambert.
As Jackman walks through history in the film, he is seen encountering Montblanc founding fathers, August Eberstein, Alfred Nehemias and Claud Voss, establishing the company that would eventually herald the arrival of the Rouge Et Noir.
The Meisterstuck makes an appearance too, as seen in the hands of politicians, writers and even a fictional secret agent. The clip closes with Jackman in 2016 sharing the ways in which the maison’s collection continue this pioneering spirit.
“Jackman is a strong achiever. He is not only involved in filmmaking but theatre, musical and the arts, as well. He plays a strong role in life as a husband and father too,” Lambert states, when asked about the significance of Montblanc’s relationship with Jackman.
The maison is also introducing new collections to mark its big anniversary. These include a new range of fountain pens inspired by the first-founding creation, high jewellery masterpieces, precision watches and soft-grain leather goods.
The celebration is not ending there. Montblanc will be organising events all over the world in conjunction with the anniversary. A lavish party held recently in the United States saw Jackman and other famous celebrities making an appearance.
Under the red-lit dome of the Iconic Rainbow Room inside Rockefeller Center, guests were seen enjoying themselves, while they looked out at the spectacular views of New York – a city that is said to have been built on a pioneering spirit, just like Montblanc was 110 years ago.