Montblanc is making a big noise for the brand’s 110th birthday, and this has resulted in a number of highly-covetable objects – pens, of course, but also jewellery, watches and luggage accessories.
Montblanc has unveiled a raft of new products, in key events around the world. However, there’s one single item which has been revived that, while unlikely to challenge the image of the white star on each pen cap, will delight those who ever fancied a La Doña watch from Cartier or Bulgari’s Serpente, or anything else with a snake motif: Montblanc’s own take on a serpentine emblem. What’s more, the company also revived a colour other than black, coral is back in fashion.
Originally trading as the “Simplo Filler Pen Co”, Montblanc was born in 1906 for the express purpose of creating “a tool that would revolutionise the art of handwriting.” Alfred Nehemias, a Hamburg merchant, and August Eberstein, an engineer, teamed up with stationery trader Claus Voss to bring their idea to life. Together, they produced a non-leaking device with a piston convertor that would define the modern fountain pen.
A safety filler named “Rouge et Noir” from 1909 provided the theme for the new products, a name recalling of one of the great novels of the 20th century. In 1910, 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.”
Representing the scale of Montblanc’s achievements, with its mission to create products “that combine technical innovation, the utmost functionality and an expression of style,” are new items in every category. The most obvious arrival is that of a new pen, the handsome – and slim – Heritage Edition Rouge et Noir pen offered in black with a coral end-piece, or a limited run all in pure coral.
A significant feature is its pocket clip, formed of a snake which coils around the cap, taken from recurring motif in art and design, especially during the art nouveau and art deco period. This tribute to the design of the serpent clip of the Montblanc 1920s writing instrument occurs throughout the collection, “sensually uncoiling its skin of precious metals and fine stones.” Along with the “regular” pens are spectacular limited editions, including the Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1 limited, as the name states, to just one piece worldwide and with a price of €1.2 million.
This example of the gem-setter’s and engraver’s arts is made from a single, solid piece of rose gold, its weight a hefty 99g. Weighing over 130g in total, its cap and barrel are set in full pavée with approximately 1950 dark blue sapphires, the serpent itself decorated with 153 individually-cut geometric diamonds. Two rubies are set into the eyes of the serpent.
Restricted to three pieces is the Imperial Serpent Limited Edition 3 with the snake engraved in solid white ruthenium-coated gold filigree, set with 55 individually cut diamonds and 106 sapphires. The Royal Serpent Limited Edition 10 combines the grey PVD-coated snakeskin motif with a cone, crown and fittings crafted from solid white gold. The serpent is set with individually cut diamonds and rubies, and the Montblanc emblem consists of 72 diamonds. Lastly, The Serpent Limited Edition 110 is made of PVD-coated titanium in a graphite colour, with the winding hand-engraved serpent crafted from solid white gold.
For the leather goods’ role in this party, luggage redolent of the era arrives as the Steamer Bag (pictured above), with snake motif, while a tie-bar and assorted cufflinks formed of snakes have been added to the jewellery collections. Lastly, the snake has found its way into a wristwatch, the serpent encircling the dial of the Collection Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition.
Three-dimensional, exquisitely engraved, the coiled snake in the watch looks like a genuine reptile caught under glass, another Victorian conceit contrasting with a smaller dial with floating, or “mystery” hands. It’s impossible to avoid pointing out that Montblanc’s theme from the anniversary brings its history full-circle.
Find out more on www.montblanc.com
Copyright The Duty Free Hunter 2019