Montblanc, the iconic maker of luxury writing instruments, is expanding its reach into the audio world with its first set of wireless earbuds. The MTB 03 are small and stylish, with active noise cancellation (ANC) and a design that incorporates the company’s instantly recognizable glossy black finish and rounded star motifs. They’re available starting July 1 at all Montblanc boutiques and Montblanc.com, for 345 British pounds (about $438).
The MTB 03 benefit from the expertise of Axel Grell, the man behind the development of many of Sennheiser’s headphones and earbuds. Montblanc says that Grell was responsible for creating the MTB 03’s sound signature. This is a consistent pattern for Montblanc, which partnered with Audeze’s founder, Alex Rosson when it began its audio journey with the MTB 01 wireless ANC headphones, which launched in 2020.
Grell was given some potent material to work with. The MTB 03 feature 7mm beryllium drivers, support for Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive hi-res Bluetooth codec, and the ability to customize the sound using Mimi’s sound personalization software. Grell is apparently a fan of these adaptive audio systems — he partnered with SoundID (a similar technology) when he created his own line of wireless earbuds.
Speaking to this personalization aspect in a press release, Montblanc’s director of new technologies, Dr. Felix Obschonka said, “Headphones have become such an essential part of our daily endeavors and digital routines, we wanted to create a high-performance solution that used premium materials to ensure a subtle yet elegant statement of quality, with a design that was uniquely Montblanc. Just as everyone’s handwriting is different, so is everyone’s hearing, requiring the level of customization that Montblanc Sound Signature can offer for an optimal experience.”
The MTB 03 are rated IPX4 for water resistance and the included aluminum charging case can recharge wirelessly or via USB-C. Battery life looks like it might be disappointing — Montblanc claims you’ll get five to six hours of playtime per charge in the earbuds, but only a total of 18 hours of use since the case only contains two full recharges. Still, a quick charge of 15 minutes will buy you a claimed 100 minutes of extra playtime, so perhaps that won’t be a deal-breaker.
The earbuds have wear sensors for music auto-pause and the onboard touch controls (as well as EQ and other settings) can be configured using a companion app that will be available for both iOS and Android.
At $438, the MTB 03 might just be the most expensive set of wireless earbuds to date, eclipsing even Bang & Olufsen’s $399 Beoplay EX. If we get a review model in for testing, we’ll let you know if their sound and ANC are enough to justify their sky-high price, or whether it’s all about the exclusivity of the Montblanc brand.