If you aren’t familiar with German luxury brand Montblanc, firstly, shame on you for neglecting the instruments with which you write, but secondly, and most importantly, it’s a good time to get familiar, considering the Maison is this year celebrating 110 years of pioneering spirit.
But where did it all begin? In 1906, Hamburg merchant Alfred Nehemias and engineer August Eberstein teamed up with Claus Voss, combining a vision of performance, innovation and quality with an entrepreneurial eye for innovation, to produce a writing instrument with non-leaking technology and a piston convertor that would change the course of writing history forever.
In 1909, the trio who originally traded as the “Simplo Filler Pen Co” created an early premium-quality writing instrument they dubbed “Rouge et Noir”. A year later, the name Montblanc was adopted, inspired by the highest mountain in Europe that would come to symbolise their vision of excellence and their pursuit of ultimate performance and the finest craftsmanship.
110 years later and Montblanc have mastered an arsenal of products from 1924’s Meisterstück fountain pen, to a range of writing-related leather pieces, cufflinks, jewellery and of course, finely crafted timepieces that reflect the Maison’s dedication to technical innovation, functionality, and style, and catering to every man’s needs.
From a simple breakthrough in handwriting technology came a larger vision for Montblanc, who this year are celebrating a rich history with the new “Rouge et Noir” collection of writing instruments, stylish jewellery and elegant leather craft.
The lucky bastards of D’Marge recently peeped the collection in Singapore, and here’s the the lowdown…
Any man of considered style knows a leaky biro simply won’t do if you take yourself, and your handwriting seriously.
In celebration of its 110th anniversary, Montblanc have returned to the beginning, reimagining the brand’s first 1909 “Rouge et Noir” fountain-pen series. While the revamped Rouge & Noir writing instruments evoke the pioneering spirit of Montblanc with a vintage look and feel, the design brings a contemporary twist to the early model with a slimmer and longer silhouette, as well as incorporating modern piston technology.
There’s no way we can describe the Montblanc’s Rouge & Noir writing instruments without mentioning the best bit: the serpent. With its sensual curves, the serpent features prominently through the entire Rouge et Noir collection, and wraps around the top of the writing instruments, undulating down the cap to become the clip.
So, what is the significance of the serpent? It’s a design motif of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco period and represents desire, power and mystery, as well as rebirth and renewal, making it a fitting tribute to Montblanc’s quest for excellence since 1906. Plus, we think a serpent wrapped around the top of your pen looks pretty damn cool.
Now we’ve got your tools sorted, how about the accessories to compliment? In celebration of 110 years of craftsmanship and coinciding with the Rouge & Noir writing instruments, Montblanc have introduced a new collection of men’s accessories, including cufflinks, a tie bar and bracelet centered around the recurrent serpent theme.
Honouring the Maison’s founders: Nehemias, Eberstein and Voss, three one-of-a-kind cufflinks make up Montblanc’s Heritage men’s accessories offering, in yellow gold, white gold and red gold designed to be paired with the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Serpent writing instrument. In a technical feat, a brilliant Montblanc diamond is suspended at the centre of the cufflink, rotating slightly like a real compass.
With a design concept inspired by a pioneering spirit since 1906, Montblanc have also introduced a bespoke leather piece in celebration of its 110th anniversary: the Steamer Bag.
Crafted from the finest soft grain leather, the steamer bag is the Maison’s first interpretation of this early 20th century style of luggage, designed to accompany larger trunks for sea voyages aboard the great Atlantic Ocean liners, and reminiscent of the era in which Montblanc was founded.
Despite having only made its foray into watchmaking in 1997, Montblanc is paying tribute to 110 years of fine craftsmanship with three limited edition timepieces.
The Montblanc Collection Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition is a wristwatch that features an in-house one-minute tourbillon, a double cylindrical balance spring and the Maison’s Heures Mystérieuses – which sets new records in terms of ultimate precision and innovation combined with artisanal aesthetic.
Montblanc’s 110th year recurring motif can be seen on the face of this Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique timepiece, where a three-dimensional, hand-engraved, anthracite serpent has been integrated into the bezel. The design has also been hand-engraved into the back of the 52 mm red gold case.
A large tourbillon occupies the top half of the watch’s face, while a subdial of the same dimension at 6 o’clock shows the time display below. A closer look reveals an unusual set of regate-shaped hands that are unattached, floating mysteriously above the subdial. This fascinating complication is called the Heures Mystérieuses and was inspired by the mysterious clocks of the 19th century.
All of the timepiece’s 95 components are hand-bevelled, chamfered, angled, polished and decorated in-house by Montblanc’s master craftsmen, following the same techniques of techniques of decoration used centuries ago.
So there you have it. It’s been 110 years of pioneering for Montblanc, and today the Maison can proudly present a range of men’s essentials that not only celebrate a rich history of craftsmanship, but reflect incredible attention to detail, innovation, functionality, style and most importantly, demonstrate that whether you’re a style novice, watch aficionado, writing instrument collector or luxury expert, Montblanc have you covered. It’s time to rewrite the rules.
D’Marge attended the Rouge et Noir media presentation in Singapore as a guest of Montblanc.