Montblanc Plans to Capitalize on a Popular New Design

“We are not looking for customers,” he said later in the interview, “we’re looking for fans.”

The Danish watch specialist Kristian Haagen likely would put himself in the second category. “I like what they do at MB, don’t get me wrong,” he wrote in an email. “But I think the Minerva bit is a completely different story. I have a hard time seeing any connection there.”

And Oliver Müller, founder of the Swiss marketing consultancy LuxeConsult, wrote: “Consumers don’t understand what the brand’s message is about. Why do they propose watches and perfumes and headphones? To make more money and become a generalist accessible luxury brand, just like sister brand Cartier. Could it work? Yes, if they were to find the common thread between all those different product categories.”

Mr. Baretzki said he can see opportunities to unite watchmaking with the company’s other divisions. “There are a lot of points we can bring together across the categories,” he said. “As long as it’s not gimmicky.”

But Mr. Lecamp said he needs time, not flash-in-the-pan collaborations, to build recognition. “Customers are looking for concepts, and something real behind them,” he said. “Not something we start and then a few months later we stop. We have longtime projects for our customers.”

(Mr. Lecamp joined Montblanc in 2021 from the Swiss watch brand Carl F. Bucherer, where he had been international sales director. The 1858 Iced Sea, which features dials made to look like glacier ice in six colorways and is priced from around $3,000, was the first line he developed for Montblanc, inspired by his own love of ice.)

This year, he said, Montblanc will introduce just half the number of new watches it presented in 2022, in a bid to make its timepieces more recognizable to potential buyers. “Sustainability is not only about the materials you use, but how much time you work with the same collection,” he said. “If every year you come with new product, that’s not sustainability.”

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