Eric Vergnes, President, Montblanc Middle East, Africa and India chats about Montblanc in India and reveals some beautiful new products from the Maison.
Montblanc is a brand much loved and known in India. Their recent joint venture with Titan and the brand’s aggressive growth in India stands out amidst an otherwise low-key global scenario. Karishma Karer talks to Eric Vergnes, President, Montblanc Middle East, Africa and India about Montblanc’s India strategy and the new launches in the market.
Can you talk about Montblanc presence in India?
We have a strong partnership, a joint venture with Titan. In December 2015 we opened 2 stores and as of today we have 7 boutiques. The latest one opened few days ago in Bengaluru. By the end of march 2018 we expect to have between 12-14 boutiques. We are developing fast. We have new locations coming up in Bengaluru and Pune in the near future.
The recent Montblanc association with AB de Villiers…What makes him the perfect Ambassador for the brand?
When we choose an ambassador it is not because he or she is a famous person. It goes beyond that. AB de Villiers is joining a fantastic line of ambassadors. Not only is he one of the most successful cricketers, but he shares key values of the maison. He is a genuine person. He has strong values about challenging himself and about family. We thought about expanding his role in India as he has a huge fan base here. He has been playing for the IPL for some years now.
You recently launched a bracelet designed in collaboration with AB de Villiers?
We worked with AB de Villiers for a very specific item for the Indian market, or rather for sale only at the latest Bengaluru boutique. It is a bracelet for men, a leather woven red bracelet. It matches the jersey of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team. It is also a way of celebrating the launch of the new boutique. It is limited to 118 pieces.
Tell us about the TimeWalker collection.
We have launched the latest edition of the TimeWalker Collection in India. It has a classic motorsport look in the way it is designed and crafted. It is very close to the original design launched by Minerva. It has a very specific look which we believe should be successful here. It is for the new generation, the millennials.
Montblanc has also launched a smartwatch?
Yes, it is called the Montblanc Summit, the first luxury classic smartwatch in India. When it comes to the technology, it is state-of-the-art. We are in partnership with Google for this. It does everything that a smartwatch is supposed to do. It is more than anything else, beautifully crafted Swiss watchmaking. The case is inspired by the 1858 collection. The crown activates the menu. We have a slightly curved sapphire glass over the dial which gives better readability. It gives a touch and feel of luxury watchmaking. We have various finish options as well. Of course we have leather straps, but also an absolutely stunning NATO strap. We are targeting a younger crowd but also newcomers to watchmaking.
What about limited edition models? Are they available everywhere?
The pieces that are very limited, are promoted and sold differently. We manufacture only a few pieces every year. We cannot display these products everywhere. Hence, we host events in different markets. For instance, we held the Black and White week in Mumbai, where collectors can come and watch exceptional products.
What makes the brand so popular here?
Few elements are important. Firstly, our customer base makes us successful. We have a great response. We are also investing massively to ensure we have a strong presence in India. We are ambitious and fast-paced. We are working hard to bring the best environment and to partner with the right people. We ensure a great team on the floor. It is all about building this comprehensive network on par with the network in any other part of the world.
Eric Vergnes has identified spot-on what makes Montblanc click in India. Combining centuries of heritage with a clear focus on the changing lifestyles of modern luxury consumers, Montblanc seems to have struck the perfect balance!