It would impossible to browse a fountain pen related website and not see the word Montblanc appear multiple times. There’s very good reasons for this and to give you a brief introduction, here’s why the snow capped peak logo is renowned worldwide.
The origins of Montblanc date back to 1906, when a German banker and an engineer, decided to launch a new writing instrument. With the company being taken over a short while later, this then saw the beginnings of the brand that we know today. Still known as the Simplo Filler Pen Co, the company took it’s first steps to establish the now renowned built-in ink well design, which we now know as their patented ‘piston filling mechanism’.
In 1909 the name Montblanc was first coined and their famous ‘Rouge et Noir’ pen appeared on the market. A year later the brand was officially registered and in 1913 the snow capped peak logo became a constant presence on their pens.
1924 will be for many Montblanc collectors one of the most important years in their history…why? One word, Meisterstück (or Masterpiece) – with its distinctive black barrel and cap, beautifully complemented by gold trim, these pens deservedly hold their place in writing history.
By the end of the 1920’s, Montblanc was established globally and was the pen maker of choice for those looking for something a little more prestigious. 1929 is remembered because for the very first time, the famous 4810 (the height of the Montblanc mountain) appeared, firmly stamped in to the golden nib on each pen. It remains to this day.
The next 20 years saw growing acclaim for their products and an international reputation as the finest writing instrument manufacturer in the world. With manufacturing facilities destroyed during the second world war quickly rebuilt, the 1950’s was in many collectors minds the golden era for Montblanc pens.
1952 saw the launch of the ‘149’, which is, some 60 years later, still the first thing that many fountain pen collectors think of when asked which pen they consider to be ‘the one’. The 149’s from 1952 until the very beginning of the 60’s are prized as being the ultimate expression of this model, with their celluloid construction and ingenious telescopic piston filling system. The nibs on these early models are a joy to write with in every conceivable way and this period also stands out as being the only time that the two outer cap bands on the 149 were made from sterling silver, rather than gold plated, as they have been since the early 60’s onwards.
The following years saw rapid expansion, with other pen ranges introduced to capture the imagination of those who were looking for their first foray into fountain pen use.
From the 1980’s onwards, Montblanc used the famous ‘art of writing’ strapline for their pens and offerings such as the solitaire (metal cap and on occasions metal barrel) and dark red ‘Bordeaux’ versions were added to the Meisterstück lineup. With the Bordeaux versions only available for a short time, these are now highly prized.
If 1924 stood out for the launch of the Meisterstück, then 1992 will always be remembered as the year that the now famous Writers Limited Edition and Patron of Arts Limited Edition pens were first introduced. Lorenzo di Medici was chosen to be the subject of the Patron of Arts offering and Ernest Hemingway the Writers Edition. With its distinctive coral hued barrel and a dark brown resin cap, the Hemingway has now achieved legendary status amongst collectors and often trades hands for in excess of £1,750.00. Subsequent Writers Editions have included Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Mann – with the 2015 version paying tribute to the Russian realist author Leo Tolstoy.
The Patron of Arts pens are produced to honour those figures from recent and historical times, that have made a significant contribution to culture or the arts – J.P. Morgan, Gaius Maecenas, Elizabeth I and Sir Henry Tate are just a few examples… with the 2015 pen honouring the legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.
Lavish presentation boxes accompany both the POA and Writers Edition series, with the POA occasionally featuring the snow cap logo made with mother of pearl. Writers Editions tend to be limited to approximately 16,000 (varying each year) of each type of writing instrument and the POA pens being available as either 4810 or 888 pieces worldwide (two versions are produced). Here at izods we have access to virtually all POA and Writers Edition pens, so please get in touch if you have specific requirements.
With it’s success reaching new heights, Montblanc launched the ‘Boheme’ range in 2000, with it’s most distinctive feature being a nib that was fully retractable (on most models). Aimed squarely at those customers who wanted to enjoy the heritage and prestige of the brand but in a more contemporary way.
Only some three years later in 2003, Montblanc introduced the Starwalker range of writing instruments – with fountain pen, ball point, roller ball and fineliner versions available. The Starwalker is for many people their first introduction to Montblanc and is offered in an ever growing array of finishes and styles, including platinum, rose gold and pvd coated trim. The Coolblue version, only offered a few years, is shown below.
This one page simply isn’t long enough to convey the multitude of models, versions, special and limited editions available. Although for many the 149 embodies all that is Montblanc, there are those that will argue that it was the pre-world war two 139 that should sit atop the Montblanc hall of fame. Countless others will argue for another model entirely!
But here at izods, we’ll help you decide exactly which Montblanc pen fits your style, requirements and budget. The pleasure is in choosing which one!