In a recent interview to Wealth-X, Jérôme Lambert, CEO of Montblanc, discusses the challenges and opportunities in today’s market.
Wealth-X: Are there drawbacks of being known primarily for fountain pens, when it comes to selling watches and jewellery?
Jerome Lambert: Not at all. We are known for an icon, how many brands can truly say that? It provides us with a foundation to build upon, if people know us for the Meisterstück Fountain Pen then they know us as a Maison with heritage, exceptional craftsmanship and classic timeless designs. We apply the same values to creating jewellery and timepieces in our manufactures in Switzerland and leather goods in our Pelletteria in Florence as we do with fountain pens – values that have lasted for more than a century.
WX: How have you tried to establish yourselves as a more broad luxury accessory brand, e.g. through marketing campaigns, wholesaling, etc.?
JL: Montblanc is the Maison for Fine Lifetime Companions. We communicate across multiple platforms and invest in integrated marketing campaigns for all of the expertly crafted pieces we create. Today, all luxury brands need to embrace print and digital as well as diversify their distribution channels. Whilst our boutiques allow us to reveal Montblanc collections together, with our wholesale partners this gives us the opportunity to offer our collections to a wider audience.
WX: What makes up most of your sales now, in terms of segments – pens, leather goods, watches, jewellery, fragrance?
JL: Writing instruments make up the largest segment of sales still today – we are proud to be the undisputed leader in this field. Timepieces and leather closely follow this category, with new collections being developed and launched almost on a monthly basis. Finally, we have jewellery and then licensed fragrances and eyewear. We have a fantastic creative team and expert craftsmen who work together to create Montblanc pieces that we want to be cherished.
WX: Which markets do you plan to grow in and invest in coming years?
JL: We will continue to support our mature markets whilst investing in South America including Mexico and Brazil, the Middle East and India, and of course the investment in Greater China and Asian region will grow.
WX: What are the challenges and advantages of being part of a very large company, and larger than your previous owner?
JL: The ability to share unsurpassed knowledge and expert skills across all the four manufactures that we own. As an example, we were able to develop special Extreme leather at our pelletteria in Florence which we used for the new TimeWalker Chronograph timepiece launched this year. This is a very special benefit and unique to Montblanc compared to many other Maisons of a similar size.
WX: How you have changed the brand for the better?
JL: None of the above could be achieved without a dedicated, passionate team – a team who not only want to create new products, but want to do so by combining traditional skills with true innovation. They live to achieve more and more whilst remaining loyal to Montblanc’s values. The embodiment of this desire can be seen in our new high-complication the Metamorphosis II; a watch with two different faces and functions, a feat in haute horlogerie, uniting the codes of fine Swiss watchmaking with cutting-edge technology.
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