The name Montblanc may instantly evoke images of fine pens, carrying the distinctive white and black logo of the brand, but the Swiss-based company has arrived as a maker of timepieces as well. Montblanc, which opened its watch factory about a decade ago in Le Locle, Switzerland, is now releasing its first watches with their own movements.
"Our brand is built on craftsmen," says Jan- Patrick Schmitz, president of Montblanc. "If you are really true to your brand, you have to do this. All the great watches have their own watchmakers and vision, and this is what we are about."
The Star Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher is named after Nicolas Rieussec, who invented the chronograph in 1821, and it borrows his technique of using two rotating discs (seconds and minutes). The watch uses one pusher to control both discs. Peer through the sapphire crystal base of the case, and you can see the decorative Montblanc calibre MB R100 movement ticking away. The Star Nicolas is available in two movements: the hand-wound MB R100 or the automatic MB R200 (72-hour power reserve). Both power a chronograph as well as the time of day and the date.
The watch's extremely limited debut (only a few dozen released) of the platinum, and white and yellow gold, came in November. But it now is coming out in a more accessible stainless steel version for about $10,000 (steel bracelet) and $9,700 (leather strap). The limited-edition Rieussecs were $52,700 for the platinum, $32,600 for the white gold and $30,600 for the yellow gold.
"Watches and pens, there is a lot of commonality," says Schmitz of the synergy between his products. "You reward yourself. You have a great year or an anniversary. Or you collect. You hand it down one generation to another. These are all the same thing. They are part of who you are and what you are doing."