Montegrappa has just embarked on its second century in business, and combines its traditional Made in Italy writing instruments with a range of luxury items including perfumes, watches, cufflinks, small leather goods and other accessories. Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Elmo & Montegrappa, talks to us about this iconic Italian company.
Montegrappa boasts a long history. What does purchasing a product manufactured by this brand entail today?
It means taking home a small piece of our history, the result of more than 100 years of craftsmanship and passion; an object to be held, admired and kept close to one’s heart.
Does the description “authentic Made in Italy apply”?
Definitely! All of our pens are designed, developed and produced at our factory in Bassano del Grappa. The origin of the materials used (e.g. celluloid, precious metals etc.) is exclusively Italian. But note that although our watches are designed in Italy, they are Swiss Made.
Where does the inspiration for your creations come from?
There’s no specific rule. I’m the inventor of most of our creations, at least, on a conceptual level. In most cases, I envisage the creation of our products at night, when I’m trying to sleep but can’t, because just thinking about what I’d like to do tends to keep me awake for hours. I suppose that my brain gathers information during the day, especially during my frequent trips, and then processes and reorganizes it to produce hundreds of new ideas every month.
Tell us about the specific techniques used to make your products?
Since our writing instruments are real jewels, we use several of the same techniques employed in the working of jewelry including lost-wax casting, hand-etching, setting of precious stones and enameling or hand-painting. We also make regular use of more contemporary techniques including laser or bas relief engraving and, where design is in question, 3D modeling software/hardware and 3D printers. There’s no doubt about it, our products epitomize a perfect blend of tradition and innovation.
What are the leading collections of the brand?
The iconic “NeroUno” and the traditional “Extra 1930” in our classic collections, and obviously, our limited editions, the ‘stars’ of our brand. Particularly noteworthy among our most recent creations are the ‘Ernest Hemingway’ and ‘Pirates’ collections.
Many famous people have chosen the creations of Montegrappa. Can you tell us about any special partnerships?
Over 105 years of its history, Montegrappa has established relationships with illustrious people from all over the world. We have produced pens for popes, kings, queens, heads of state, singers, actors and celebrities. I will never forget my meeting with His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 2000, following the signing of an agreement with the Vatican, or my legendary encounter with boxing champion Mohammed Ali in 2010. Other notable endorsements include those of Sylvester Stallone, Paulo Coelho, Quincy Jones, and dozens of others…
Any sneak previews regarding upcoming projects?
Our projects, though oriented in multiple different directions, are all distinguished by one common denominator: pure passion, an emotion for which we Italians are renowned! I am particularly excited about our collaboration with UEFA Champions League, which, in addition to pens, also includes a fabulous collection of vintage-style leather goods and bags, inspired by the footballs of the ‘50s. Our brand ambassador for this collection is the legendary Carlo Ancelotti.
What type of experience awaits customers visiting your Milanese boutique?
A full immersion into the Montegrappa world. Having a chance to actually see and touch products that are not only hard to find elsewhere but are now gathered under the same roof. Another plus is that while visiting the store, customers will be given an opportunity to admire our fantastic accessories, which include leather goods, watches, cufflinks, perfumes, ties, pocket squares and lots more besides.
What type of service do you offer at your stores? For example, can you customize products to suit individual customer tastes/requirements?
We offer multiple customization options, from the simple engraving of names or initials to the creation of made-to-measure items, including our highly exclusive ‘Extra Bespoke’. This collection offers the customer the option of choosing the colour of the celluloid used to make the individual components of the pen and to customize the barrel (either in silver or solid gold) with an image of choice (usually obtained from a photo or an illustration provided by the customer). This image will be designed by hand on paper, shown to the customer for approval, and finally engraved with a burin on the body of the pen by one of our expert craftsmen. Customers can also choose to personalize their packaging. The result is always a unique and personal object.
via Borgospesso – corner of via Rossari
M3 (yellow line) Montenapoleone