How did the first Montblanc watch come to be, and how did Montblanc watches enter the world of high horology?
Montblanc is, of course, known by many aficionados for its luxury pens. But Montblanc watches — the first of which debuted in 1997 — have also developed a reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Montblanc watches have come a long way from that first model, the swiss Montblanc Meisterstuck fake watch, the Montblanc watch equivalent of the famous Meisterstuck pen. Many of today’s Montblanc watches are crafted in the Swiss village of Le Locle, in the Jura Mountains, which has been making timepieces since 1705, long before the first Montblanc watch debuted.
It was 1997 when then-Montblanc CEO Norbert Platt faced the wristwatch press after the introduction of the first Montblanc watches. Platt maintained his composure in the face of sarcastic questions such as “Where do you fill it with ink?” As the world would soon learn, however, the first Montblanc watch collection, with design cues from the popular Montblanc Meisterstuck pen, was far from a mere novelty. The Montblanc Meisterstuck watch proved to be the success that put Montblanc watches on the road to haute horlogerie, and by 2006, Montblanc was a full-fledged manufacture.
The state-of-the-art Montblanc watch atelier in Le Locle was created under the auspices of master watchmaker Thierry Pellaton, who now oversees the development and manufacture of the many Montblanc watches that have followed in the wake of the original Montblanc Meisterstuck watch, like the Nicolas Rieussec chronographs and the Star 4810 collection, which takes its name from the famous star logo now as common on Montblanc watches as on Montblanc pens. If you want to know about Pellaton’s accomplishments, and his rigid quality control standards for all Montblanc watches.
As a member of the Richemont Group, which also includes brands such as Cartier and Piaget, Montblanc intended from the beginning to be uncompromising in the quality of its timepieces: a Montblanc watch should be just as much of a coveted luxury item as a Montblanc pen, with the same attention to detail and quality, and in some cases, the same design touches. The dials of the first Montblanc Meisterstuck replica watches had the same deep black hue as the fountain pens and a typeface reflecting the era when the first Montblanc pens debuted. The white star logo remains a fixture on the crowns of Montblanc watches today. And the pens also influence the names of the models: As the Montblanc Meisterstuck pen begat the Montblanc Meisterstuck watch, the Montblanc TimeWalker watch collection takes its cues from the Starwalker series of pens.
How did the timing of 19th-century equestrian sports influence today’s Montblanc watches? Find out in this free article from WatchTime, which documents the creation of the Rieussec chronograph, a Montblanc replica watch with an unprecedented dial design influenced by the very first “time writer” invented by French watchmaker Nicolas Rieussec to time horse races. Montblanc invented an entirely new caliber for these watches, which have two rotating disks instead of hands to tally the chronograph minutes. The Rieussec has become perhaps the most recognizable Montblanc watch and have helped put Montblanc watches on the map for connoisseurs of chronograph watches.