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Why Montblanc is poised for success in a world still in stasis

The Peak speaks to the Davide Cerrato, managing director of Montblanc.

With his printed bow ties, double-breasted suits and dark-rimmed glasses, Davide Cerrato is one of
the most recognisable figures in the watch industry. Even those who do not closely follow the industry might be familiar with the work of Montblanc Watches’ managing director. Also a Tudor alum, Cerrato was the creative force behind Tudor models such as the Heritage Black Bay. Since 2015, the Italian has headed Montblanc’s watch division, strengthening its design identity by streamlining or revamping collections, and creating striking new pieces such as the 1858 Geosphere, a dual-time watch with hemispherical world-time displays. Here, he tells The Peak about the brand’s new launches, digital versus real-life engagement, and why the great outdoors is more important than ever in a movement-restricted world.

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Montblanc participated in Watches and Wonders, which went fully digital this year. You also met with the press via Zoom in April. Will the digital outreach ever supplant physical experiences?

It’s crucial in these times to continue to nurture a passion for fine watchmaking. While the online fair was an exceptional measure, we are looking forward to next year’s physical fair. Nothing can take the place of physical exchanges and animated discussions or that feeling of discovery when experiencing beautiful watches in the metal. Looking at a watch on your wrist, feeling its weight, seeing its proportions, colours, textures and how the light shines on it, hearing the unique tick-tock of the movement, and learning the story behind it – all this creates a unique level of excitement in the watch community.

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Travel is a key theme for Montblanc. Your 2020 collection has a strong outdoorsy focus as seen in the alpine ice-inspired 1858 pieces. How is Montblanc tailoring its travel-centric philosophy for a world at a standstill?

With confinement measures, such as those in Europe, nature and the outdoors become even more relevant. Humans have a strong connection to nature. When shutdowns were first announced, we saw many people leaving the cities with their kids to head to their second homes in the mountains or countryside. That dream of having a cabin in the woods is getting stronger. Our message just has to remain consistent.

Many watch brands have chosen to limit their launches this year. How did you decide what to launch?

We are still building our presence and legitimacy in the watch market, so we need to make a special effort. Despite the situation, we decided to push ahead strongly, focusing on the 1858 and Heritage pieces, as well as the integration of the 4810 line into the Star Legacy collection. That said, we have moved the launch of a few watches to next year, too. For the blue 1858 Geosphere, we organised its launch at the beginning of the year and the watches were delivered to the boutiques before confinement measures began. This allowed us to present it to our customers quickly and the response has been very positive.

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