Montblanc continued its year-long celebration of its 110-year anniversary by showcasing a well-rounded collection of products Tuesday led by a one-of-a-kind $1.3 million writing instrument and a limited-edition high complicated watch. This coincided with a black tie dinner in New York with Hugh Jackman as the guest of honor.
The new collections are based on Montblanc’s first writing instrument, the Rouge et Noir (“Red and Black”), introduced in 1909, when the company was named the Simplo Filler pen company. It was crafted in black ebonite and fitted with a red-crowned cap. A year later the company took on the Montblanc name and in 1913 crowned each pen with its iconic 6-pointed star emblem, representing the peak of Mont Blanc. During the 1920s the company designed the serpent clip for some of its writing instruments as an expression of the Art Deco period.
Montblanc recreated this history with a new collection of writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods, cufflinks and jewelry called “Montblanc Heritage Collection, Rouge & Noir.”
The crown jewel is the Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1 (top photo and below). The unique piece is priced at 1.2 million euro ($1.37 million) and is already sold, although those who attended the anniversary dinner were able to view the artisan, bejeweled pen.
A 6.1-carat internally flawless diamond cut in the shape of the Mont Blanc star crowns the writing instrument. The body along with the serpent that entwines it are made of 99 grams of 18k rose gold, the most gold ever used in a Montblanc fountain pen. Weighing over 130g in total, the cap and barrel are set with approximately 1,950 dark blue sapphires in a pavé setting weighing 15.34 carats. The hand-crafted skin of the golden snake is topped with 153 diamonds cut in geometric shapes. When the writing instrument is closed, the serpent can be seen starting with the head on the clip, then winding down to the end of the cone. When the cap is removed, a second serpent becomes visible, with the head starting on the nib and once again ending on the cone. The 18k rose gold nib is decorated with an engraving of the snake’s head, with two rubies representing its eyes.
The other Rouge et Noir watch is the Collection Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary Limited Edition (pictured above and below). Only three pieces have been made.
The most striking visual feature of the 52mm 18k red gold watch is a hand-engraved, black serpent made of anthracite that is coiled within the bezel, wrapping around the timepiece display. The serpent theme continues on the back of the case, this time hand-engraved in 18k red gold.
Another visual aspect that is more subtle is the Mystery Hours, in which regate-shaped hands appear to be floating above the small dial on the bottom half of the watch display. Two wafer-thin transparent sapphire crystal discs—one with the hour hand embossed on it and the other with the minutes hand—are linked to the movement and turn to indicate the time. The inspiration was the mysterious clocks of the 19th century, in which the original designs hid the mechanism in the clock case.
The timepiece, including the hand-crafted, Calibre MB M65.63 manual movement, was developed at Montblanc’s Villeret artisan workshop. Unlike the Mystery Hours, a significant portion of the movement can be seen within the main display—most notably, the minute-tourbillon on the top half of the display. It’s detached from the movement and revolves in a case of its own. The watch has a 46-hour power reserve. The large escapement is composed of a bi-cylindrical hairspring that was developed by the Villeret manufacturer exclusively for the Montblanc Collection Villeret. It is one a few watch manufacturers that produces its own balance springs.
Hugh Jackman, the actor, singer and producer, led the event at the Rainbow Room, the rooftop restaurant at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a place he said held significant meaning for him because he was going to take his wife, Deborra-Lee, there for an evening of dinner with dancing for a surprise fifth anniversary gift. However, he had to film late that evening and she ended up spending the evening out with Meg Ryan. The couple will celebrate their 20th anniversary April 11.
Jackman has been associated with Montblanc for three years and described the Hamburg-based luxury brand as having a “family atmosphere.”
“I’m the baby of the family but even after three years it is a place that I’m proud to be associated with, to call our friends,” he said. “It’s a great company and what it represents are qualities if I could half emulate I would be very happy. It is attention to detail, craftsmanship on the highest order, a real commitment to design. But more than anything what I love, is they have one eye permanently on the past and their heritage; but one eye permanently on the future…. As an artist, you can’t rest, you have to keep creating you have to be innovative, you have to keep moving forward (and) you have to take risks.”
Jackman was the top draw among several high-profile celebrities that included actress Kate Bosworth, Montblanc brand ambassador Charlotte Casiraghi, socialite Olivia Palermo and her husband, Johannes Huebl.
Montblanc began celebrating its anniversary in January at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) with several events attended by brand ambassadors Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco and Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun Mei, and new nautical themed timepieces.
Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet, the Forbes website and on Instagram @JewelryNewsNetwork