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Thread: An evening with Jerome Lambert, CEO of Montblanc

  1. #1

    An evening with Jerome Lambert, CEO of Montblanc

    As I hinted at in another thread, I had the pleasure of attending an event in NYC a little over a week ago. The event was sponsored by Wempe and held at Eleven Madison Park, a lovely restaurant adjacent the Flatiron Building. The guest of honor was Jerome Lambert, CEO of Montblanc. It was a rather intimate affair, with 16 guests, a handful of Wempe and Montblanc representatives, and, of course, Mr. Lambert.

    Mr. Lambert was named CEO of Montblanc in 2013 following his leadership of 12 years as CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre. To give an indication of Mr. Lambert's abilities, he became head of JLC at the age of 33. While he helmed JLC, he also supervised A. Lange & Sohne. Needless to say, his appointment as CEO of Montblanc should have signaled great things for the company.

    Montblanc is a relative newcomer in the world of watchmaking, having introduced its watch line in 1997. The watch atelier of Montblanc was created by Thierry Pellaton, a name that should be familiar to fans of IWC. In 2006, Richemont purchased famed movement manufacturer Minerva. One interesting piece of trivia shared to us by Mr. Lambert prior to the start of the evening: Richemont was not sure at first where to incorporated Minerva and Panerai was one of the top choices. If that scenario had played out, I would imagine Panerai would have either moved in a much different direction than it has today, or the imagination of the watchmakers at Minerva would have been stifled (more on that below).

    Between courses of our five-course dinner, Mr. Lambert talked about watchmaking at Montblanc and the watches were passed around for us to handle and admire up close.

    The high end watches are made using traditional techniques. The collection of watches housing Minerva movements is beyond exclusive. Each watchmaker is responsible for individual watches. Not only are they part of its development, but the watchmaker is in charge of its assembly during manufacturing, as well as any servicing. In other words, you can rest assured knowing that when you send your watch in for servicing, it will be worked by the very same watchmaker responsible for putting it together in the first place. In one of the photos below, you will see that the inside of the case back bears the name of the watchmaker that assembled it.

    One thing that was made abundantly clear, Montblanc is and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of high horology. Mr. Lambert is both passionate and knowledgable about watchmaking. He knew every detail about every watch that was shown that evening and his excitement for the watches was palpable. I expect to see (more) great things coming out of Montblanc and would urge everyone to pay a bit more attention to what they are doing.

    I will continue updating this thread with pictures and narrative as I have time.

    For now, I will leave you with some photos of our host and images of the evening's setting.





    And a sneak peek at things to come.


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  3. #2
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    Very elegant.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

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    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyB View Post
    One interesting piece of trivia shared to us by Mr. Lambert prior to the start of the evening: Richemont was not sure at first where to incorporated Minerva and Panerai was one of the top choices. If that scenario had played out, I would imagine Panerai would have either moved in a much different direction than it has today, or the imagination of the watchmakers at Minerva would have been stifled.

    Excellent report - and I'm looking forward to more.

    And the quoted text above is interesting, and I agree with you.

  5. #4
    Cool. Awaiting the next update...

  6. #5
    For the next few posts, I am going to upload the photos first and then fill in the text for those who see this before I update the text from my computer.

    The evening started out with one of the watches I thought would be the highlight of the night, especially given how the evening began.

    My father-in-law and I arrived a little early and had the chance to chat with Mr. Lambert before the evening began. I mentioned that I was looking forward to seeing the 1858 Chronograph, which had been announced just a few days before. He smiled and said we were in for a special treat as he pulled back his sleeve. He happened to be wearing the previously unannounced stainless steel version of the earth with a rather striking blue dial. (I still haven't seen any news of the stainless version, which is a shame because I found it even more attractive than the rose gold version.)

    I believe Mr. Lambert agrees about the stainless steel model. He has purchased one of them for his own collection. And, yes, he buys his own watches.







    I was so impressed by the stainless model that I neglected to take a picture of the dial of the rose gold. Better pictures can be found online of that model anyway.



    The time only model was the simplest watch of the night and used a Unitas movement. It does show off the color blue used in the chronograph.



    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 01:57 AM.

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    The Vintage Tachydate. Another monopusher chronograph featuring a Minerva movement. I believe I actually preferred this watch to the 1858 Chronograph. The printing on the dial was nice and crisp and the mix of black, blue, and red ink gave this watch a nice vintage feel. The lovely blued hands also help. I am a sucker for blued hands. The dial is enameled solid gold. This one retails for 48,200 Euro, so more than a little out of my price range.









    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 02:12 AM.

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  10. #7
    The next watch is the Heritage Chronometrie Quantieme Annuel Vasco Da Gama Limited Edition. Short, sweet names is not a strong point for Montblanc. This watch features an annual calendar in a rose gold case for $11,700 in a limited series of 238 pieces. Value is certainly a strong point in Montblanc's lineup. The steel version retails for $7,000 in a limited series of 316 watches. I like the positioning of the moonphase indicator in the middle of the round blue sky. It is a nice departure from the typical moonphase opening.





    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 02:06 AM.

  11. #8
    This next watch is a perpetual calendar. The dial is actually made of smoked sapphire. Despite what the pictures may lead you to believe, it was actually a very legible watch. I believe the sapphire dial was graduated to allow better viewing. This watch is part of Montblanc's 500 hour certification program, in which watches are tested for 500 hours before leaving the factory. Mr. Lambert mentioned that Montblanc has the lowest issue rate among watchmakers. He seems to take quality personally.







    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 02:21 AM.

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  13. #9
    The Heritage Chronometrie ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph is one of the more interesting looking chronographs I have seen. Even with a tourbillon and chronograph functions, the dial maintains a relatively clean look. Again, the watch features a monopusher chronograph. The "exo" of the ExoTourbillon name refers to the fact that the balance is separated from the rotating cage. This means that the balance is not affected by the inertia of the cage and the balance wheel oscillates with greater isochonism. This model retails for 39,500 Euros. Again, this price seems significantly less than many of the other big name brands. Unlike the Minerva-based models, this watch has an automatic movement.





    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 02:29 AM.

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    Montblanc also brought some of their ladies' models. I like the fact that they put some high end complications into their women's watches rather than just add diamonds to time only watches. The first watch pictured below, the Boheme Moongarden, has a complication I have not seen before. In addition to the moonphase, the watch also presents the name of the month's full moon. In a way, you can think of this as a monthly calendar assuming you are up on the names of the full moons. A cheat sheet is located on the back for reference.






    The second women's watch shown was the Boheme Perpetual Calendar. This watch was quite lovely in person and at 36mm, seemed like a decent size even though it was far larger than what my wife would wear. At an asking price of 20,900 Euros, there is no danger of this watch ever appearing on her wrist anyway. One touch I though was nicely done is the crown. Inset within the crown is a diamond. And not just any diamond, but a diamond cut in the shape of the Montblanc logo. I attempted to take a picture of it, but the sparkle was too much for my phone's camera in the low light.





    Last edited by FuzzyB; Nov 24, 2015 at 02:39 AM.

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