Montblanc favors a traditional approach

Jérôme Lambert, CEO Montblanc © Montblanc Swiss Replica Watches

Jérôme Lambert hasn’t wasted any time in putting his stamp on Montblanc with the Heritage collection. Based on traditional watchmaking principles and “less strictlyMontblanc”, this new collection reflects the brand’s ambitions in the world of watchmaking.

Jérôme Lambert has been at the helm of Montblanc since summer 2013 and, having been accustomed to strong growth during his time at Jaeger-LeCoultre, he now faces a new challenge at the Hamburg brand. Although the world leader in writing instruments achieved a turnover of 766 million euros—with an operating profit of 120 million euros—during the last financial year (which ended on March 31, 2013), results from the first nine months of the new financial year show a 3 to 4% drop in sales. It was precisely to give the brand a kick-start that Richemont appointed Jérôme Lambert to head up Montblanc, which was once the second largest company within the group. Lambert is a man who relishes a challenge, has a lot of energy to give and, according to his colleagues, has come into the company like a whirlwind. Although the pace of change has come as a surprise to some, the CEO notes that “our teams are extremely motivated and highly qualified.”

Back to basics

As Jérôme Lambert sees it, his task is first and foremost to “free the Maison’s creativity and inventiveness and improve the content of its products to show that Montblanc is a brand that values substance.” The CEO demonstrated that he has already made his mark on the watch collections of the Hamburg company at the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), where the world leader in writing instruments showed how it plans to mark its territory with the launch of the new Heritage collection. The collection reveals that, when it comes to consolidating the brand’s position and boosting its reputation within the watchmaking industry, you can’t beat the classics. The Heritage collection is therefore “more traditional watchmaking and less strictlyMontblanc”. The Rolex Replica watches in the collection are timeless and draw on the fundamental principles of traditional watchmaking, similar to those found in the catalogs of practically all long-standing brands. Today, the brand is focusing less on originality and more on watchmaking heritage.

Jérôme Lambert’s overall aim is to “reinject creative energy and boldness” into Montblanc’s products and he has begun by laying solid new foundations for the brand’s watchmaking activity. His strategy is no doubt to use these as a basis on which to rebuild the brand. “We have 150 employees in Le Locle and nearly forty in Villeret, as well as 5 watch manufacturers, so we clearly have expertise in watchmaking that not all brands in our market can claim,” notes Jérôme Lambert. With approximately 90,000 Omega Replica watches sold every year, Montblanc’s watchmaking activity today accounts for some 25% of its overall turnover (nearly 200 million euros). This is equivalent to revenue from its leather goods, but far behind that from writing instruments—the brand’s original market—which account for 40-45% of its turnover. Jewelry accounts for most of the remaining 5-10%. However, it should be noted that this breakdown of the brand’s different business activities differs greatly from region to region and from one country to another. For example, in Switzerland watchmaking is Montblanc’s primary business activity.

Bridging the gap

Elegant esthetics and timeless design are the two principles that underpin the new Heritage collection. One replica watches UK in particular will immediately stand out to watch connoisseurs—a classic single push-piece chronograph with two timers and a vintage design to rival those of the most prestigious Manufactures. There are just 90 of these limited edition timepieces available, each fitted with a superbMontblanc Minerva movement. The new collection also includes a classic perpetual calendar, a moon phase model, a three-hand model with date display and an automatic model with hour and minute displays. All models come in rose gold or steel, with the exception of the single push-piece chronograph, which is available only in rose gold.

The Heritage collection was also designed to bridge the gap between Montblanc’s standard ranges (priced on average at several thousand euros) and its Villeret collections (costing closer to 100,000 euros).

By the end of SIHH 2014, no one was left in any doubt that Montblanc, as well as consolidating its position as the undisputed market leader in writing instruments, is also aiming to strengthen its position in the watch market. Being ranked in the top twenty of watch manufacturers is clearly not enough. However, all this talk of growth and creating a mid-range line between its standard collections and haute horlogerieVilleret/Minerva products points to an increase in the brand’s manufacturing capacity. Could it be thinking of acquiring a Manufacture capable of producing tens of thousands of movements per year, like almost all of the other brands in the group? Jérôme Lambert neatly sidesteps the issue, claiming “It’s a bit early for me to give a definitive answer to that question.”But the question is on the table.