Beyond The Hype, Montblanc Is Creating With Real Travel In Mind
Nicolas Baretzki is in a good mood. It’s a sunny afternoon in Berlin and the CEO of Montblanc is sipping an espresso. “I was just in Milan for a seminar, and straight after that I was going to friends for the weekend in Bucharest and then flying to Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai for business,” says Baretzki with a smile on his face. He likes to travel and it shows.
The head of the German luxury brand, most famous for its pens, is sitting down to discuss why, after the 113-years, they have finally decided to create a complete travel collection.
“I had some friends who were recently trying to understand how many kilometres per year I carry my trolley bag. It was a very serious mathematical study,” he jokes. “And I ended up saying that it’s close to 200 kilometres.”
Montblanc's CEO, Nicolas Baretzki
It’s this realisation that fuelled Montblanc’s vision for the collection. “We don’t offer a dream, we don’t offer the most luxurious travel experience. It’s more about answering the needs of customers, like me; to not only have a luxury product but also some performance and functionality.
Because when you arrive in Dubai,” Baretzki starts to tease, “and you have to walk those two kilometres from the plane to immigration, I can tell you, I want the trolley to carry me after the night on the plane and not the other way around.”
Focusing on what mobility actually entails for a proper traveller is how Montblanc is establishing itself in a saturated market, Baretzki explains.
But, as a heritage house, the brand still delivers in terms of style and craftsmanship, with the entirety of the collection manufactured at Montblanc’s Pelletteria in Florence. “We were born from founders that were travelling from Hamburg to New York and discovering the world,” he adds. “And I think this mind-set is still really part of the company today.”
Montblanc’s travel items, Baretzki adds, are merely a continuation of its status as an overall luxury lifestyle brand, meant to be a natural extension of the company’s other offerings, including watches, jewellery, and fragrances.
The Montblanc #MY4810 cabin trolley
“Luggage goes with you all over the world. It’s a kind of witness to your journey. Luxury is not about the product anymore, it’s about experience. Because in the end, that’s what you will remember.”
Montblanc’s DNA translates effortlessly into travel. A quick look at the luggage perched next to Baretzki immediately conjures up images of the classic Meisterstück, and that’s the point. Easily recognisable is the brand’s white snowcap logo marking the suitcases and backpacks in an identifiable but understated way. Another sign that the brand isn’t attempting to go outside of what they know.
That night, at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin, guests from around the globe celebrated the release of the #MY4810 luggage pieces, named after the height of the eponymous Mont Blanc (4,810m).
“When we come back to this travel theme – this notion of not just travelling but really exploring and really interacting with local culture and global culture – that’s what the Montblanc journey is actually about.”