Montblanc International GmbH Type Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung Industry Luxury goods Founded 1908 Founder(s) Claus-Johannes Voss, Alfred Nehemias and August Eberstein Headquarters Hamburg, Germany Number of locations 360 Boutiques (2008) Products Pens, Leather, Watches, Jewellery Parent Richemont Website Montblanc.com
Montblanc International GmbH is a German manufacturer of writing instruments, watches and accessories, often identified by their "White Star" logo.
Founded by the stationer Claus-Johannes Voss, the banker Alfred Nehemias and the engineer August Eberstein in 1908, the company began as the Simplo Filler Pen company producing up-market pens in the Schanzen district of Hamburg. Their first model was the Rouge Et Noir in 1909 followed in 1910 by the pen that was later to give the company its new name, Montblanc. The first pen (a fountain pen) known as the Meisterstück (English: "Masterpiece," the name used for export) was produced in 1924. Today Montblanc brand is on other goods besides pens, including watches, jewel, fragrance, leather goods and eyewear.
The company was successful despite its founder, Eberstein, fleeing to the US to avoid prosecution for stealing company funds in 1909. In 1934 the company changed its name to Montblanc-Simplo GmbH, and introduced its first piston filler.
Today Montblanc forms part of the Richemont group. Its sister companies include luxury brands Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé, and Baume et Mercier. Montblanc is owned, through Richmont, by the South African Rupert Family.
A trademark identified with Montblanc is the white stylised six-pointed star with rounded edges, representative of the Mont Blanc snowcap from above, the symbol being adopted in 1913. The number "4810," the mountain's height in metres, is also a commonly recurring theme.
The star is also referred to as an edelweiss, an indigenous perennial that grows in the alpine forests and mountains of Europe. Less romantically, the star is also referred to as "the bird splat" by some fountain pen collectors.
Product range and customer service
Special and limited editions
Next to various Limited Editions like the Patron of the Art Series (e.g. Francois 1er) with only a few hundred of them being produced around the world, there are some Limited Editions produced from editions of 4810 (the height of Mont Blanc) to those in tens of thousands.
The Patron of the Art (POA) Series are found in editions of 888, increasing their appeal in Asian markets. These models are intricately adorned in diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones into precious metals typically in 18K gold. A signature mark on these include a Mother of Pearl Montblanc Star adorning the cap.
Although cheaper, the Montblanc Writers Edition has been profitable. These pens are launched each year, commemorating the life and work of a particular writer, with their signature engraved into the cap of the edition. Usually, a symbol of their most distinguished work is engraved onto the nibs, of the fountain pen versions. Montblanc use "aged resin" in the caps of the pens in this series, to give the Montblanc star an 'off-white' or 'cream coloured' appearance, thereby ensuring a contrast in colour when next to models from their regular production line-up.
Apart from a serial number the Limited Edition pieces carry a distinct number placing it within the release of the edition, i.e. 1/888 would be the first pen produced of an edition of 888 pens.
Editions include Patron of Art, Writers Edition, Special Theme Edition, Annual Edition, Donation series and America's Signatures for Freedom. The Donation series includes some limited Editions like the 2009 released Signature for Good limited edition. Montblanc donates parts of its proceeds to UNICEF. They claim to guarantee a minimum of US $1.5 million worldwide within one year.
Customer service and repairs
Montblanc will not sell customers or dealers replacement parts without the company performing the repair. When a pen is damaged, it is accepted at any Montblanc boutique where it will be forwarded to their service centre for evaluation. A quote for the repair will be provided to the customer if the pen is out of warranty. If the estimate is accepted, the repair is completed and Montblanc will provide a one year repair warranty on the work that was done.
All Montblanc boutiques have on-site technicians to service pens and perform simple repairs. Montblanc also offers a free engraving service to customers, and can usually be performed in their boutiques.
The Nib Exchange service by Montblanc operates as follows. Newly purchased pens, can have their nibs exchanged for free within the first six-weeks, however, the exchange of older and already worked-in nibs will incur a service fee. All Special and Limited Edition pens need to be returned to the Hamburg manufacture, for strict control of the Limited Edition nibs.
Montblanc provides a two-year warranty on all of their products.
Montblanc makes several model of pens, with the Meisterstück (fountain pen) representing the cornerstone model. Each model is slightly different, however models created after 1990 have a serial number located on the ring at the top of the clip. Under the clip is usually the words "Made in Germany" and often "Pix". Moreover, the barrel of the pen will reveal a reddish hue under strong lighting. If the pen in question does not have these attributes then it is quite possibly a fake. To date, however, there have been no reports of replica piston-filled Montblanc fountain pens. In most cases, comparison of a genuine pen next to a replica will reveal obvious irregularities.
Social engagement and cultural commitment is closely related to Montblanc’s brand philosophy. Montblanc does cherish and promote the culture of writing and the company seeks to take an active role in the international promotion of basic skills such as reading and writing. Over the years, the company has committed itself to support children without proper access to education; coping with the global problem of illiteracy. Montblanc has been supporting UNICEF since 2004, sharing the common goal to provide children with access to quality education.
Arts and culture
Following its tradition to support UNICEF, Montblanc has launched a new campaign in 2009 in cooperation with Signature International to the benefit of UNICEF. Montblanc hosted a charity gala in Hollywood on February 20, 2009, promoting its Charitable Photo Project. The initiative features 12 portraits, taken by photographer Roger Moenks, of the world’s most famous actresses, such as Eva Longoria, Helen Hunt, and Sienna Miller amongst others. Each of the participating actresses has been photographed as her favorite literary heroine, e.g. Eva Longoria as Scarlett from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.
Montblanc boutiques are found in Brisbane, Birmingham (Bullring), Venezia, Johannesburg, Hamburg, Guadalajara, Melbourne, Sao Paulo, Bogotá, London, Moscow, Caracas, Madrid, Cancun, Toronto, Montreal (Laval), Dubai, Santiago, Alexandria, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, Casablanca, Brasilia, Lima, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, Durban, Quito, Medellín, Rome, Panama City, Cairo, Riyadh, Jeddah, Khobar, Manama, Kuwait City, Beirut, Auckland, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Paris, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Lyon, Sevilla, Copenhagen, Manchester, Warsaw, Mexico City, Abu Dhabi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Ludhiana, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Costa Mesa, San Jose, San Diego, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Washington DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, and San Antonio.
The Montblanc Meisterstück 149 (pictured on the right), circa 1978-1980 with regards to date of production, features a rare "14C" nib. A modern Diplomat, circa 2006, is pictured on the left with a 18K Medium (M) nib.
Montblanc F. Scott Fitzgerald Writers Limited Edition fountain pen from 2002 in double-broad (BB) nib. Only 18,500 fountain pens of this Writers Edition were produced, where 4,500 were found in complete "sets". Fitzgerald's signature is clearly engraved on the cap; this is a feature found on all Writers Edition pens.
The Montblanc Solitaire Diamond of the 100th Anniversary StarWalker Ball Pen (left) and the floating Montblanc Star (right)
Brands Owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. Full Ownership Partial OwnershipRoger Dubuis (60%) Joint VenturesRalph Lauren Watch and Jewelry Company (50%) Fountain pen makers by country Czech RepublicKoh-i-Noor Hardtmuth China France Germany IndiaArtex Pen Mart · Camlin · Chelpark · Linc · Luxor · Ratnamson Italy Japan PortugalViarco · MAB RussiaSTAMM · Krasin SpainInoxcrom Switzerland Turkey/TürkiyeScrikss UK US
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