Minerva, formerly an independent company, Fabrique d’Horlogerie Minerva, was acquired in 2006 by the Swiss luxury goods group Financière Richemont. Montblanc, also part of the Richemont stable, was tagged to absorb Minerva’s know-how in a fast-track upgrade, raising it into the exclusive coterie of the makers of handcrafted complicated timepieces.
In acquiring the Minerva Institute, Montblanc was able to combine tradition with modernity: the Minerva Institute providing Montblanc’s watchmakers with the opportunity to enhance the art of watchmaking,
Montblanc exclusively manufactured pens until 1992, before it branched out into perfumes, leather goods, jewellery and of course…watches. These new activities have come to make up 40% of Montblanc’s product range, with global revenues exceeding €3 billion. The Montblanc group today employs some 15,000 people.
The company was founded in 1906 by the banker Alfred Netimia, the stationer claus-Johannes voss and the engineer August Eberstein. The company started as the Simplo filler pen organization that focused on producing hi-end pens in hamburg.
The real hero in Montblanc’s battle for mechanical-watch clout, according to Bethge, is the Nicolas Rieussec, a monopusher chronograph made in-house at Montblanc’s factory in Le Locle (it was Montblanc’s first in-house movement).
The Montblanc company is a German company that was founded in the early 1900's under a different name, then became Montblanc in 1910. According to "The Montblanc Diary and Collector's Guide" written by Jens Rosler, the first pens with the white star on the cap were produced in 1914, long before Hitler's rise to power.
Quality, luxury and handcrafted elegance are traits that have cemented Montblanc’s reputation for more than 100 years. Each pen is still handcrafted in a multi-step process that assures that the customer always makes the first stroke: employees test a pen’s flow with colorless ink until its touch and performance meet the company’s exacting standards.
Last week Montblanc opened its largest boutique in the world at Sanlitun Village in Beijing with a glamorous event complete with celebrities like Jessica Alba and Nicholas Cage in attendance. The event was also the launch of the Princesse Grace de Monaco collection of jewellery, watches and ladies accessories.
Lutz Bethge, 59, is the president of Montblanc International, based in Hamburg. Founded in 1906, the company today operates in more than 70 countries and is part of the Richemont group. Bethge joined Montblanc in 1990 and is key to the company’s brand strategy of diversifying from writing instruments into other luxury goods.
Lutz Bethge, Montblanc’s charismatic CEO, is a man of ideas with the energy to make them happen. In troubled financial times, he has taken a great product and wrapped it around major philanthropic causes.