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Montblanc’s writing instruments are icons and precious collectors’ items. Particularly valuable models are transported from Hamburg via Lufthansa Cargo.

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Secure flight for fine nibs.

Lufthansa Cargo offers the valuable cargo product Safe/td for precious freight items such as the Montblanc Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1 (left) – price: 1.2 million euros – and much more. A valuable freight box co-designed by Lufthansa Cargo as well as sealed containers guarantee the greatest possible security. Employees accompany the transport to the aircraft. Likewise upon unloading: Lufthansa Cargo employees take over the monitoring even before the loading doors are opened at the destination airport. Such precious items are stored before and after the flight in specially secure areas, for example in a separate, video-monitored and electronically secure room to which only authorised employees with a corresponding permit can gain access.

Rouge et Noir LE 1

Rouge et Noir LE 1

is written on the goldcoloured inlay. The black varnished wooden stand enhances the brilliance of the lavishly decorated nib. Alongside it is the engraving. “LE 1” – this abbreviation makes collectors throughout the world shiver with delight. It means just a single model of the Limited Edition of the fountain pen decorated with 99 grams of 740 rose gold exists worldwide. The “Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1” of the “Rouge et Noir” nib icon from Montblanc came at a price of 1.2 million euros when issued. The special production pays tribute to the original 1906 model that paved the way for an unrivalled company history. The wooden stand with the prototype of the gold nib decorated with a snake design as well as other highly exclusive models can be viewed in the nib production of the Montblanc headquarters in Hamburg.

Jade and mammoth rusk as an exclusive edition.

About 1,000 of the 3,000 plus Montblanc employees work at the Hamburg location. This is where the writing instruments are produced and is the core of the luxury brand, which has been part of the Richemont Group since 1993 and in the meantime is known for exclusive accessories such as bags and leather goods as well as high-quality watches.

At various stages the employees here process the blanks stamped from gold bands that can meet the high expectations of customers purchasing Montblanc products. Many of the men and women who work here are professional watchmakers, jewellers or have worked in dental technology. They have a steady hand and the absolute precision for example to weld the iridium tips and decorate the nibs in numerous stages by hand.

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During its development in 1906, the exclusive “Rouge et Noir” fountain pen was seen as an outstanding technical achievement because it could be used easily without having to dip the nib in an inkwell. Today, the writing instruments with the Montblanc star are no longer purely articles of everyday use but rather precious collectors’ items. And the worldwide clientele is increasing. “Above all the Asian market is growing fast,” says Oliver Gößler, Managing Director of Montblanc Germany. Many particularly luxurious models and individual special productions are sold in China and India for example.

To honour the design requested by solvent customers to their satisfaction, engineers work in the Artisan Studio at Montblanc in Hamburg at highly modern workplaces on the planning and design of the special models. It is often the case that magnificent decorations in gold, diamonds and jade or other rare materials such as mammoth tusk are crafted here.

From Hamburg many of the finished writing instruments – from the classic “Meisterstück” to a special production costing several hundred thousand euros – are transported by airfreight to customers worldwide.

Lufthansa Cargo Safe/td is used to bring the precious consignments securely to the destination. “The complete documentation of the transport chain based on the security principle is the Alpha and Omega of our valuable freight transport operations, for example for Montblanc,” explains Michael Medved, who in the capacity of Account Manager Sales in Hamburg is also responsible for the fine writing instruments from the Hanseatic City. “The goods are removed from the safe and initially placed in a sealed, special container co-designed by us and accompanied to the aircraft. An additional colleague takes possession of them there and in turn at the destination airport hands them over personally to the next Lufthansa Cargo employee.

Until they are handed over to the forwarding agent, the goods are once again stored in a safe in the safety zone,” says Medved about the transport process. Lufthansa Cargo is repeatedly used to transfer Montblanc special models for presentations or photo shoots: “On occasion, in particular in the case of strictly limited series, one of the few models will need to be forwarded swiftly and returned to its original location just as quickly. That can only be achieved by air,” says Oliver Gößler. After more than 110 years of Montblanc, collectors are still curious about the exciting creations and special editions that leave the Hamburg production facility. Most of all, of course, the next “LE 1”.

Photos: Christoph Börries

Planet 2/2017