Founded by the stationer Claus-Johannes Voss, the banker Alfred Nehemias and the engineer August Eberstein in 1906, the company began as the Simplo Filler Pen company producing up-market pens in the Schanzen district of Hamburg. Their first model was the Rouge Et Noir in 1909 followed in 1910 by the pen that was later to give the company its new name, the Mont Blanc. The first pen (a fountain pen) known as the Meisterstück (English: "Masterpiece," the name used for export) was produced in 1925. Today the Montblanc brand is on other goods besides pens, including leather goods and eyewear.
The company was successful despite its founder, Eberstein, fleeing to the US to avoid prosecution for stealing company funds in 1909. In 1934 the company changed its name to Montblanc-Simplo GmbH, and introduced its first piston filler.
Today Montblanc forms part of the Richemont group. Its sister companies include luxury brands Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chloé, and Baume et Mercier.The Patron of the Art (POA) Series are found in editions of 888, increasing their appeal in Asian markets. These models are intricately adorned in diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones into precious metals typically in 18K gold. A signature mark on these include a Mother of Pearl Montblanc Star adorning the cap.
Although cheaper, the Montblanc Writers Edition has been profitable. These pens are launched each year, commemorating the life and work of a particular writer, with their signature engraved into the cap of the edition. Usually, a symbol of their most distinguished work is engraved onto the nibs, of the fountain pen versions. Montblanc use "aged resin" in the caps of the pens in this series, to give the Montblanc star an 'off-white' or 'cream coloured' appearance, thereby ensuring a contrast in colour when next to models from their regular production line-up.
Apart from a serial number the Limited Edition pieces carry a distinct number placing it within the release of the edition, i.e. 1/888 would be the first pen produced of an edition of 888 pens.
Editions include Patron of Art, Writers Edition, Special Theme Edition, Annual Edition, Donation series and America's Signatures for Freedom. The Donation series includes some limited Editions like the 2009 released Signature for Good limited edition. Montblanc donates parts of its proceeds to UNICEF. They claim to guarantee a minimum of US $1.5 million worldwide within one year.
Mont Blanc will not sell customers or dealers replacement parts without the company performing the repair. When a pen is damaged, it is accepted at any Mont Blanc boutique where it will be forwarded to their service centre for evaluation. A quote for the repair will be provided to the customer if the pen is out of warranty.
Certain Mont Blanc boutiques have on-site technicians to service pens and perform simple repairs. Mont Blanc also offers a free engraving service to customers, however, the pen needs to be forwarded to their local service centre and can take 3 – 5 days.
The Nib Exchange service by Mont Blanc operates as follows. Newly purchased pens, can have their nibs exchanged for free within the first six-weeks, however, the exchange of older and already worked-in nibs will incur a service fee. This service does not apply to Special and Limited Edition pens, as these models have a very limited number of spare nibs. Due to this reason, all Special and Limited Edition pens need to be returned to the Hamburg manufacture, for strict control of the Limited Edition nibs.
Mont Blanc provide a one-year warranty on leather goods, whilst their writing instruments and desk accessories are accompanied by a two-year warranty.
Mont Blanc makes several model of pens, with the Meisterstück (fountain pen) representing the cornerstone model. Each model is slightly different, however all will have a serial number located somewhere on the ring at the top of the clip. Pay attention to the detail of this serial number. Under the clip is usually the words "Made in Germany" and often "Pix". If the pen in question does not have these attributes then it is quite possibly a fake. In most cases, comparison of a genuine pen next to a replica will reveal obvious irregularities.
Social engagement and cultural commitment is closely related to Montblanc’s brand philosophy. Montblanc does cherish and promote the culture of writing and the company seeks to take an active role in the international promotion of basic skills such as reading and writing. Over the years, the company has committed itself to support children without proper access to education; coping with the global problem of illiteracy. Montblanc has been supporting UNICEF since 2004, sharing the common goal to provide children with access to quality education.
Following its tradition to support UNICEF, Montblanc has launched a new campaign in 2009 in cooperation with Signature International to the benefit of UNICEF. Montblanc hosted a charity gala in Hollywood on February 20, 2009, promoting its Charitable Photo Project. The initiative features 12 portraits, taken by photographer Roger Moenks , of the world’s most famous actresses, such as Eva Longoria, Helen Hunt, and Sienna Miller amongst others. Each of the participating actresses has been photographed as her favorite literary heroine, e.g. Eva Longoria as Scarlett from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.