NEW YORK — One star will be shining brighter than others at Montblanc’s centennial anniversary celebration here on March 14.
The Hamburg, Germany-based brand that built its reputation on selling high-quality writing instruments and, more recently, women’s and men’s fine watches, leather goods, fragrances and sunglasses, and women’s fine jewelry, is unveiling a diamond cut that mimics its six-pronged logo. It is the first time a brand has interpreted its logo in a diamond cut.
The patented cut will be incorporated into the brand’s 100th-anniversary collection of pens and fine watches, and will serve as a cornerstone for Montblanc to build its offering of women’s diamond jewelry.
“Montblanc has become much more than just a writing instrument brand,” said Jan Patrick Schmitz, president and chief executive officer of Montblanc in North America. “When we decided in the Eighties to grow it into more of a luxury lifestyle brand, we wanted to be mindful of our roots and grow the brand in concentric circles. The diamond is the centerpiece within those concentric circles.”
The diamond cut, which took eight years of development and research to create, features 43 facets. To retain the maximum brilliance of the diamond and to obtain the shape of the Montblanc star, the symbol of the glacier-covered summit of Europe’s highest mountain for which the brand is named, the stone had to be at least 0.5 carats or larger.
“The approach needed to get the quality and light Montblanc desired from the cut, and the resemblance to its logo was very complicated,” Schmitz said. “The diamonds give off a tremendous fire because of how they are cut.”
The 100 Years Collection in which the diamonds will debut at retail beginning this month are in limited-edition quantities. The editions are based on three distinct numbers: Three pays tribute to founders Claus-Johannes Voss, August Eberstein and Alfred Nehemias, 100 is in honor of the anniversary and 1,906 references the brand’s inaugural date.
One of the first pieces in the collection is a new version of Montblanc’s Lady Profile watch, featuring a white alligator strap, an 18-karat white gold case, a white mother-of-pearl dial, diamond indexes and a crown in which the Montblanc star diamond is embedded. The edition of 1,906 watches will retail for $3,050 at key Montblanc doors, like its flagship in New York on 598 Madison Avenue, which is one 41 freestanding boutiques in North America, in addition to 1,300 wholesale doors, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and independent jewelers.
Other limited-edition watches and pens will be introduced throughout the year.
“We want to roll out the pieces step by step so there will be continual excitement at Montblanc,” Schmitz said.
The launch date of the women’s diamond jewelry collection featuring the new patented cut is to be determined, but represents the next step for the brand, which is a subsidiary of Compagnie Financière Richemont. Richemont’s other brands include Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Alfred Dunhill, Chloé and Lancel.
For the six months ended Sept. 30, Richemont reported a sales increase of 16 percent to $2.36 billion. Richemont’s writing instrument manufacturers, the largest of which is Montblanc, generated sales growth of 18 percent for the three months ended Dec. 31.
Schmitz said sales for Montblanc in North America have undergone double-digit increases in the last year, making this geographic region the biggest growing market for the brand. He attributed some of those gains to the developing women’s market and the launch last fall of Montblanc’s jewelry collection, which comprises silver rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings featuring the Montblanc logo, playful elements like dangling charms and semiprecious colorful stones in prices ranging from $200 to $620.
“The time was right last year to launch something purely for women,” Schmitz said. “Women have always come to us to buy gifts and when we launched women’s watches, we found that there were a substantial number of women buying them for themselves.
“The response to the new jewelry line has been very strong and it is a way to gain trust with our customers in this category,’’ he said. “We hope when we launch the precious diamond jewelry, they will already have the experience with our jewelry and recognize the quality we can bring. Our writing instruments have always incorporated pearls and diamonds and precious elements, and have demonstrated the strength of our craftsmanship with these materials.”
The New York party, at the Newspace in Chelsea, is the first of several worldwide for Montblanc’s centennial, including an event to be held in Geneva during April’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. The New York event, which is expected to draw 400 guests, will be hosted by Claire Danes and include a performance by singer Lauryn Hill. Illusionist Criss Angel is scheduled to unveil the diamond.