Given the four-figure sums one might pay for a Montblanc fountain pen, a set of all-leather, metal-finish, noise-cancelling, Bluetooth wireless over-ear headphones for £525 ($595), may seem a bargain by comparison.
The new Montblanc MB01 over-ears are the Hamburg-based firm's first foray into headphone manufacture, and on aesthetics at least, they don't disappoint.
There's the traditional six-pointed star on the side of the all-leather headband and three opulent-looking colourways to choose from: black leather with chrome finishes, brown leather with gold finishes and light grey leather with polished metal finishes. Even the supplied cables (USB-C charger and 3.5mm headphone jack) come branded with the Montblanc six-pointed star.
And they fold up, too. Montblanc has added Google Assistant capabilities to the headphones, along with voice-activated device controls and commands. Most physical controls are on a metal band on the right earcup, including the dedicated Google Assistant button, noise-cancelling settings (there are three: 'live mode' for boosting outside sounds, 'off' and 'on') volume, power and initial Bluetooth pairing. The face of the right earcup features a larger ‘play/pause’ button, too.
The Montblanc MB01s use Bluetooth 5.0 and are capable up to aptX HD standard – so hi-res audio files from your chosen streaming service or NAS device are all supported.
Sound comes from the two 40mm neodymium drivers, and the battery should be good for roughly 20 hours of playback time. You can apparently squeeze three hours of playback from just a ten-minute charge, too.
There's also a proximity sensor, so the MB01s should automatically stop/start playing when you put them on or off.
Is there anything the Montblancs can't do? Well, there’s no app support, so no scope for altering EQ levels – making them lose a feature compared to the less-expensive but still premium Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, but an app is apparently in the works and slated for an April release.
Those big angled earcups (somewhat similar in design to our Award-winning Sony WH-1000XM3) do look worthy of further investigation...