Metamorphosis is the first timepiece to come from the Timewriter concept? How was the selection process made? What criteria do the watchmakers have to fulfil?
The industry is a small one. We had initially wanted to talk to the schools and put in place a proper selection process but as soon as the word was out, people were talking about this person or that who was doing something interesting. We were immediately directed to these two people and we were so excited by the project, we didn't go through a selection. We said we'd do it for the second one, but we've already started production for the second watch.How was the Timewriter concept started and why?
The Timewriter concept is basically a homage from replica chanel watches
to the traditional way of Swiss watchmaking. When you think of the success of the watch industry, it is basically based on this traditional way of watchmaking. It is really about the hand craft; this was what excited people but of course for the industry, you have to keep it exciting and interesting, as well for younger people who should become watchmakers. We need watchmakers. This project looks for people with innovative ideas, sometimes just dreams, and helping them achieve them. When we acquired the atelier a few years ago, we thought this was the perfect place to do that.As a brand, Montblanc seems to favour chronos more than any other movements. Why is that? And is that likely to remain the core of Montblanc timepieces in the near future?
Of course we will do other movements as well. But it's good because chronograph means Timewriter and it was very clear from the beginning that chronographs would form the biggest share of what we would be selling. It seems like it's the face of Montblanc. We're developing other movements like the tourbillon and the double tourbillon. We're working on very different movements but, overall, the chronograph is what people expect from Montblanc.How has the access to Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie helped develop Montblanc's horological vision?
The reason why we acquired the atelier was a simple one. Montblanc has been known for its atelier in its other businesses. For instance, writing instruments. Our customers come to our atelier because they can create special pens that they couldn't get in the shops. They can tell us about their dreams and passions, and they work with our masters who create special items for them.They came to us and said, 'yes, we love your timepieces but we want to have pieces that are especially made for us. We want something very special, very limited, ideally created just for us'.What plans do Montblanc have for the mainland market?
It's not a new market for us any more. We were already here in the early 1990s with standalone shops.I think this is basically the reason for our success. We have established ourselves not only in Beijing and Shanghai, but from Harbin in the north to Shenzhen in the south.This has helped us get close to our customers. This has also helped make China our No1 market in the world and it continues to grow significantly.