Eric Vergnes, President of Montblanc Middle East, India and Africa: Montblanc Will Remain in the Spotlight in Terms of Innovations and New Models

21 Jan, 2016
What are your brand’s “star” novelties for the SIHH 2016?

This year, our ‘star’ novelties include new complications introduced to two of Montblanc’s highly successful collections.  One is the Montblanc Timewalker Exotourbillon Minute Chronograph Limited Edition 100 – that marks the introduction to this modern, urban collection of the Maison; the exclusive in-house patented ExoTourbillon.  The combination of this high performance regulating organ with monopusher, daring and imposing aesthetics and mix of lightweight, yet highly resistant material reinforces the spirit of performance of the TimeWalker from case to movement.

The other collection to enjoy the addition of two new complications at SIHH 2016 is the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie collection, which enjoyed such success when it was launched at SIHH 2015.  This year, the Maison presents a manufacture date complication and a chronograph with annual calendar – further enriching this elegant line. 

Montblanc’s passion for fine watchmaking is the driving force behind the Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie collection – from the movements, the functions, the complications, the precision and the design, everything comes together to celebrate the heritage of Swiss fine watchmaking.  The inspiration for this collection dedicated to precision was drawn from the legendary 15th century explorer Vasco da Gama whose quest for new frontiers changed the course of history, while the design finds its creative influence in the Pythagore watches crafted in 1948 by the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret, set up under the name of Minerva. 

What are your expectations at SIHH 2016?

Expectations are for an exciting, busy and dynamic show for Montblanc.  There is no doubt that the Maison remains in the spotlight in terms of the innovations and new models it showcases every year, and 2016 will be no exception. 

What are the foreseen trends and directions with watches in 2016?

The luxury watch segment continues to evolve every year, not only in innovations and new levels of craftsmanship, but also in the growth of the watch collector audience. Access to knowledge and informed evaluation from collectors, as well as growing demand worldwide, helps drive the competitive edge for reputable watch manufacturers.  

Montblanc remains at the forefront, thanks to its uncompromising commitment to craftsmanship, passion for fine watchmaking, and the exceptional watchmaking legacy of its Manufactures.  The Maison is developing timepieces that are triggering appeal beyond the traditional watch collector, and with a catalogue now of 24 manufacture movements, enjoys a broad diversified portfolio.  Because the vision for Montblanc is to ensure our pieces are fine lifetime companions, you will see that we are increasingly creating products for travellers – with global travel now as common as it is, relevance for our customers is key. So is technical performance, and with Montblanc showcasing some exciting and key engineering achievements in our latest pieces, 2016 will prove to be a dynamic year.  

When would we expect the SIHH novelties to be available at boutiques and POS in the Middle East?

The novelties will be in our point of sales starting from April 2016 and through the year.

How is your brand faring in the Middle East?

Montblanc is well established in the Middle East and has been for decades.  The loyalty that Montblanc enjoys in this region also extends across generations – not only are pieces handed down in families, new generations become passionate the Maison at an early age.  

2016 marks a landmark year for Montblanc in the Middle East, with the 20th anniversary of the first Montblanc boutique to open in the region – in Deira, Dubai in 1996.  We are fortunate that Montblanc has established itself as leader in the luxury accessory segment, in which a discerning, appreciative and loyal customer base is further supported by a thriving tourism industry.

Do you propose to open more independent boutiques in the Middle East?

The Montblanc network continues to grow with a combination of independent and partner-led boutiques.  We currently have over 50 boutiques across the Middle East, India and Africa region with more scheduled to open during 2016. 

Describe your relationship with collectors in the Middle East.

We are fortunate to have a passionate and loyal group of collectors in the region who appreciate Montblanc’s heritage and passion for artisan pieces, across both our writing instrument and watch segments.  Montblanc’s relationship with collectors is a collaborative one – and as a Maison we benefit greatly from their passion, input and loyalty.  It really is a family. 

What are your brand’s priorities for 2016?

Montblanc’s priority remains across all categories – to develop products that are fine lifetime companions.  This means ensuring they are exceptionally well crafted, include technological performance in some manner, and are relevant for today’s customers around the world.  

Both globally and regionally, expansion will also remain a key focus in 2016, with a number of new boutiques scheduled to open. 

Did your export figures increase in the Middle East for 2015?

I am positive by nature!