We speak to Montblanc about their new boutique at The Conrad Bengaluru and the limited edition James Dean collection
The luxury collectible brand, Montblanc was born in 1906 and their products, from pens to luggage, bring together precision, ingenuity and imagination. The brand now opens its 12th store in the country at The Conrad Bengaluru. We speak to Franck Juhel, Montblanc President, Middle East, India and Africa about the store, the Indian luxury goods market and a new limited edition collection.
Give us your overview of the growing potential for luxury products and lifestyle-conscious buyers in India. How key is India as a market for you?
Montblanc has been in India for over 30 years now. We were pioneers then and we still are. For Montblanc, India is a strategic market. The luxury industry in India in 2018 was $30 billion and it is going to double in the next five years. This just reinforces us to develop our brand more here.
What sets the store in The Conrad Bengaluru apart from others?
This latest boutique is part of a new concept of boutiques, called Neo², that we started almost two years ago worldwide.This concept, as opposed to the previous one we had, allows us to give space and life to each of our categories of products and the storytelling, be it writing instruments, leather goods or accessories. We partnered with the French designer and architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance to develop this new concept.
Do you have any new lines of products that have been curated especially keeping Indian buyers in mind?
Montblanc is a global brand and we rarely do special editions for countries. We offer our clients and collectors in India the same experience that you can find anywhere else in the world, be it London or Paris or Dubai. We release all our ranges at the same time globally. For instance, we are launching our James Dean collection globally right now.
Tell us about your plans for online retail?
India is a very interesting case study when it comes to e-commerce. Usually, as a luxury brand, you wait to establish your brick and mortar network to reach a certain size before going online. But because India’s e-commerce reach is one of the highest in the world, we didn’t have to wait to reach that stage. We partnered with Tata Cliq Luxury and our products are available there.
We’re very interested in the Le Petit Prince collection. Could you tell us more about that?
The Le Petit Prince collection has been one that we’ve had for a couple of years now. It started with Saint-Exupéry, the author of the iconic French novella. We partnered with his foundation and we help them through our sales. It is an important and long-term project for us.
Tell us about the choice of ambassadors for Montblanc — AB de Villiers, for instance.
The value that AB possesses as a human being are the same that we as a brand have had for the past 110 years. He is very volatile and versatile in the way he plays, and we are the same. He is also a very innovative player, and that is also in our DNA.
Great Characters James Dean Special Edition
“Every year we launch a Great Characters Limited Edition, and this year we chose to make it about the actor James Dean. It takes years to work on each writing instrument. This one in particular took us over three years to develop,” Franck tells us. Every little detail on the pen is symbolic of the legendary actor’s legacy and his early death at the age of 24. The red colours represent Dean’s iconic red jacket and embossed on the body are the dates of James’ birth, death and the geographic coordinates of the place where he died.
At The Conrad