While Montblanc may be best know for their ink instruments, it’s their watches which are seeing the most growth within the luxury goods company.
Sales of the signature fountain pens from this century old company now account for less than half of the sales at Montblanc. The brand now includes expensive luggage carriers, diamond jewelry for women and for the past 14 years, limited-edition watches which can cost as much as $310,000.
Pens, which are often hidden in pockets or briefcase, don’t offer the same kind of luxury exposure that watches do. Besides, in the days of the internet and smartphones, writing tools are being used less and less.
Montblanc is seeing a particular boom in China, where the company is opening its biggest store to date in Beijing. Overall, Montblanc’s sales have climbed 22 percent in the last financial year and may increase 9 percent this fiscal year. The brand contributes a 10th of Swiss parent company Richemont’s 6.89 billion euros of annual sales, trailing only jeweler Cartier as a contributor to total revenue.
This success is partly due to the repositioning of the brand.
“Either we stayed in the functional writing instrument market, which we saw as limited, or there was this other market where people were buying because of a certain message and desire for the highest quality, and this was the luxury market,” said Richemont Chief Executive Norbert Platt. “This was where Montblanc belonged.”