A dash of red

Montblanc entices young customers with the Urban Speed collection

Considering the modern lifestyle, Montblanc created the Urban Speed concept for a new collection identified by a dash of red.

Andreas Boesch, managing director Montblanc Southeast Asia.

Clean lines and architectonic shapes also characterise the design of watches, writing instruments and men's accessories launched in Bangkok earlier this month.

"People expect to see certain products from us. While moving with the times, we stay true to our roots in offering high quality products with contemporary designs," said Southeast Asia managing director Andreas Boesch at the launch of TimeWalker and StarWalker Urban Speed.

Synonymous with writing instruments, Montblanc was founded in 1906 by a Hamburg banker, Alfred Nehemias, and a Berlin engineer, August Eberstein, who partnered to produce high-end pens. 

The 21st century challenges the maison to be relevant to the Information Age, and a partnership with Samsung has resulted in e-StarWalker.

With a hand-lacquered red stripe on the clip, StarWalker Urban Speed is available as a fountain pen with a brushed ruthenium-plated Au585 gold nib, in finer liner and ballpoint, as well as a screenwriter.

TimeWalker Urban Speed Date Automatic with the dial's middle stratum embellished with fine circular striations.

The red design elements stand against a black rugged background, with the cap and barrel in resin enhanced with black PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) plated fittings. PVD is primarily used in the automotive and aerospace industry, for its hardness, scratch, chemical and temperature resistance. 

Even though communication has changed with email, text and chat, Boesch still believes in the value of handwriting.

"You can send messages via the latest technological devices. But the message may be deleted or you wouldn't be able to read it in two years time because the technology has moved on," he said. "But if it's a handwritten message, say a declaration of love, it's a more sentimental expression that the receiver is more likely to keep." Montblanc's precious pens can also be passed on to the next generation, he added, likewise, watches such as the latest TimeWalker can be inherited. The Urban Speed design however already caters to younger customers and urban explorers caught up in a fast-paced lifestyle.

"The latest pens and timepieces are tools for today's achievers and for those young at heart," he said.

Watchmaking is relatively a new activity for Montblanc, which established its own manufacture in Le Locle, Switzerland, in 1997.

Southeast Asia has great potential, Boesch noted, following the success of independent brands in the region, indicating an open-mindedness to new solutions.

"As a young brand, we have to bring a fresh take on watches, to appeal to a vibrant market like Southeast Asia, where the competition requires you to do a lot to be recognised. In Europe, you can reduce marketing effort but here if you are out of focus you are out of the game," he said.

TimeWalker has been in the game since 2004, entering a new decade with the Urban Speed Chronograph, Date Automatic and UTC launched at the SIHH 2015. This family of timepieces is recognised by the design of the 43mm case, skeletonised horns, a narrow bezel, a large dial with Arabic numerals and lancet-shaped hands.

TimeWalker Urban Speed UTC (Universal Time Coordinated) synchronised with a second time zone.

"TimeWalker was designed with a contemporary look to complement our classic range. Whichever product line, we don't make 'loud' watches. Montblanc has never been about show-off watches," said the Swiss managing director.

Special materials are combined in making the sporty Urban Speed Chronograph boasting a a "cold grey" sandblasted steel case and black ceramic bezel.

The black background accentuates white numerals and red elements on the central chronograph hand and the minute scale. It plays with perspectives that emphasise the counters positioned at 6 and 12 o'clock while allowing the readability of the chronograph indications.

The periphery bears the seconds scale for the chronograph's slender elapsed-seconds hand and is subdivided into readily legible quarter-of-a-second increments to match the 4Hz pace of the movement.

On the caseback, antireflective sapphire crystal allows a clear view of the mechanical movement, manufactured according to the art of Swiss watchmaking.

The wristband is made in Florence, where Montblanc has its own Leather Competence Centre.

An innovative manufacturing process gives the upper surface of the grey calfskin a carbon-like appearance. The leather is also textured and simultaneously impregnated with a treatment that coats the surface and strengthens the structure to obtain a high-performance wear-, water- and fire-resistant material.

"The beauty of the Urban Speed collection is that if you are attracted to its contemporary masculine look, you have co-ordinating watch, pen and accessories such as cuff links," Boesch said.

"Over the last two decades, we have  firmly established ourselves in the leather and fine watch segments whereas writing instruments have always been and will always be the heart of the business."

StarWalker Urban Speed pen and screenwriter.

Montblanc TimeWalker Urban Speed Chronograph.

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