History of Montblanc
“These aren’t mere objects. They are vessels that are meant to carry our passion out into the world - and blend our story with yours.”
- From the Montblanc Craftsmanship policy
In 1906, a Hamburg banker and a German engineer came together to produce simple pens. They designed a pen with a built-in ink well This was the start of a company that would one day be known throughout the world as ‘Montblanc’'. Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and Claus Johannes Voss took over the company and set it on course toward becoming one of today's most recognizable brands worldwide.
The early 1900s were an exciting time for the fledgling enterprise. In 1908, the company which was called Simplo Filler Pen Co. at the time launched the highly successful Rouge et Noir and the now iconic brand name Montblanc’ was trademarked in 1910.
A symbol that towers above the rest
The instantly-recognisable “Snowcap” emblem is a representation of the snow-covered peak of the Mont Blanc (Europe’s highest mountain), symbolising the brand’s commitment to the highest quality and finest European craftsmanship. The peak is 4810 metres above sea level, and this number is a recurring motif in many of Montblanc’s products.
Montblanc in the Modern World
The brand has remained at the top of its game by incorporating the latest technologies and focusing on quality and great design. The brand pairs its technical expertise with stories and inspiring people and events to create collections that are a testament to human ingenuity and Montblanc’s ability to create products that inspire generations. While Montblanc is best known for its superbly crafted fountain, ballpoint and rollerball pens, they are also known for their fine leather accessories including wallets, belts and bags. Their belts and cufflinks are often linked to their fine writing instrument collections, producing beautiful accessories for any occasion.
The collections and models can be a bit confusing to decipher at first glance so we’ve created a brief guide to help:
Montblanc has 3 fountain pen models – Classique, LeGrand and 149. Classique (also known as 145) is the most petite of the lot and uses a cartridge-converter filling system. Unlike the other two models which have threaded caps, it has a snap-on cap. The LeGrand or the 146 is a larger model which uses a piston filling mechanism. The 149 is the largest of the three and has a piston filling mechanism and a threaded cap.
The brand has remained a leader with new and exciting collections that stay true to its roots while looking towards the future. Some of our favourite collections include:
The StarWalker collection's new design celebrates the immense emotion, described by all space travellers, of seeing our blue planet floating in the vast expanse of space. The unique StarWalker emblem technology features a blue translucent dome beneath the Montblanc emblem, reminiscent of the Earth emerging above the lunar horizon.
Both an art and history lesson, with almost a hundred years’ worth of stories to tell, it is safe to say that Meisterstück made Montblanc what it is today. Montblanc’s flagship line ‘Meisterstück’ means masterpiece in German and it more than lives up to the name. First introduced in 1924, Meisterstück has legions of devotees and it is arguably the most famous and desired writing instrument in the world. The gold and black Meisterstück 149 is the classic Montblanc pen. Its iconic design hasn’t changed since 1952 because frankly why would anyone mess with perfection?
This collection was created in collaboration with (RED), a non-profit organisation founded by Bono (lead singer of U2) and Bobby Shriver (nephew of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy). The organization partners with iconic brands to raise money to fight HIV / AIDS in Africa through the Global Fund. The bold red colour is a striking departure from the usually sober Montblanc palette. The instruments are made from a red precious resin, handpicked by the famed industrial designer Marc Newsom himself.
Making a Montblanc
The company has been in operation for over 100 years and is still as committed to quality as it was back then. The creation of a single Montblanc writing instrument involves many steps including metal-working, electro-plating, injection-moulding, nib manufacture. All the steps from the initial technical drawing to the final hand assembly require great care and precision, which becomes evident when you hold the final product in your hand. Creating Montblanc fountain pens is alabour of lovewith each pen requiring more than 100 steps and the nib alone involving 35 steps. The iridium tipped nibs are made of 14k or 18k gold and every single one is hand tested to ensure they are of Montblanc quality.
Montblanc Pen Prices
A brand like Montblanc can command high prices because of its reputation and the quality implicit in every product. It is common knowledge that all Montblanc products including their rollerball pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, wallets and belts are exquisitely crafted from the highest quality material. However, the secret of their longevity and success is their attention to detail. Everything from a Montblanc wallet or journal to a special edition fountain pen benefits from this.
Their fine writing instruments and leather goods are very much in demand across generations, making them wonderful gifts for important occasions. Montblanc pen prices in India are comparable with their international counterparts and depending on the model can be pretty steep.
The Montblanc pen price is due to a combination of factors. This premium brand works with master-craftsmen and internationally acclaimed designers. Unlike most companies, Montblanc still makes its own nibs. Many of their fountain pen nibs are made of gold inlaid with metals like ruthenium or rhodium. The nibs are often “tipped” with metals from the platinum family. This makes the nib resistant to abrasion.
The most expensive Montblanc pen ever made is the Montblanc Mystery Masterpiece. Created to celebrate Montblanc’s 100-year anniversary, the pen was the result of a partnership with the famous French luxury jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels. The Montblanc pen was the most expensive fountain pen in the world at the time of its launch.
With only 9 pieces made and an eye watering price tag of $730,000, it may be out of reach for most but there are several other models and special editions that merit a review.
The limited-edition Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pen from Montblanc’s Writers Edition series is dedicated to one of the most renowned crime novelists and creator of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Made from blue-grey precious resin, the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Limited Edition model evokes the sinister, foggy atmosphere of London, where Sherlock Holmes usually solves his cases. The cap and barrel are decorated with a plaid pattern in reference to Holmes' coat, as well as parts of a historic London city map. The initials, ‘JB’, beneath the PVD-coated, magnifying glass-shaped clip are a tribute to Joseph Bell, the very real man behind the Sherlock Holmes character. The cap ring features Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s signature. The pen is crowned with the Montblanc emblem in precious resin.
Commemorating one of the most revered figures of modern history, this special edition John F. Kennedy fountain pen makes symbolic references to the life of J.F. Kennedy via subtle design details. The blue, precious resin refers to both Kennedy’s time in the U.S. Navy and his famous Ivy League style. His initials “JFK” are engraved on the platinum-coated clip, and the three platinum-coated cap rings represent Kennedy’s three brothers. In a tribute to the national hopes and dreams embodied by Kennedy’s pet project, the Apollo space program, the handcrafted 585 gold nib is engraved with the lunar module that landed on the moon in 1969. The special edition is crowned by the Montblanc emblem in precious resin and features a solid 14-carat gold nib.
When it was developed in 1906, the ‘Rouge et Noir’ fountain pen was considered an outstanding technical achievement, ensuring simple operation without the need for dipping the nib into an inkwell. The Heritage Collection Rouge et Noir celebrates the pioneering spirit of Montblanc. Reinterpreting the legendary writing instrument, it features a longer, slimmer silhouette and craftsmanship refined over generations, with coral-coloured lacquer on the barrel and a marble-optic cap. The latter is reminiscent of a writing instrument from the 1920's by Montblanc. The Serpent clip comes in a vintage look with matching fittings. The clip is made by a stamping and winding process in a special alloy metal, and is aged by a galvanic and stripping process.
Another excellent special edition pen is an homage to Walt Disney. The name Walt Disney is forever bound to the art of film animation and American movie history. Born in 1901 in Chicago, Walter Elias Disney became one of the most influential and revered film producers of his time, thanks to his pioneering spirit and inventive ability. The overall shape of the writing instrument is inspired by the legendary Monorail system, while the colours are a reference to the original poster from “Steamboat Willy” (1920) which depicts Mickey Mouse. The cap and barrel in matte black, precious resin feature several hidden Mickeys and the Walt Disney’s signature can be found on the cap top. A significant moment of his early career is commemorated as a set of coordinates engraved on the cone. They give the position of the garage belonging to Walt Disney's uncle, where Walt Disney and his brother constructed a camera stand.
Montblanc ballpoint pens and rollerballs tend to be cheaper than their fountain pen counterparts. The Montblanc StarWalker Black and Platinum Ballpoint pen is a reasonably priced option for someone who loves the collection but finds the price of the fountain pen a little out of reach. The Montblanc ballpoint pen is crafted with black precious resin and platinum-coated fittings and it displays the collection’s signature feature - the unique StarWalker emblem.
The PIX collection is also a good starting point for those interested in owning a Montblanc. Inspired by the Bauhaus architectural movement and named after the historical PIX trademark, this collection of writing instruments offers a puristic design and a high simplicity of use. The main tenant of the style is form follows function and this philosophy is reflected in every one of the instruments in the range. Featuring Montblanc ballpoints and rollerballs that offer an excellent writing experience, the collection is not as expensive as most of the other collections.
Countering the counterfeits
The counterfeit industry in India has crossed Rs 40,000 crore (Financialexpress.com, 11 Jan 2021) and is expected to keep growing. This menace affects both retail customers and companies alike. Fraudsters and unauthorised dealers are increasingly tech savvy and their websites and offerings are sophisticated enough to fool all but the most discerning.
There are many who would say Montblanc wrote the history of fountain pens, all would agree that the brand continues to create some of the best writing implements today. Montblanc wallets, belts, watches and fine writing instruments all hold a certain cache and command a befitting price. Premium brands like this are often favoured by fraudsters and unauthorised dealers because they produce high value items with a strong and positive brand recall. It is tempting to purchase such products at discounted prices but there is always a hidden cost, and it can be very steep.
In addition to receiving an inferior quality product with no warranty protection, by purchasing a fake Montblanc ballpoint pen or any other product, one contributes to the black market. If the Montblanc is bought as a gift you should be particularly careful to buy only from authorised dealers because otherwise your own credibility can be diminished.
The best place to buy Montblanc
William Penn is proud to be an authorised Montblanc retailer, carrying authentic Montblanc products. When William Penn was first established in 2002, we were the first multi-brand retailer to offer fine writing instruments to consumers in India and one of the brands we simply knew we had to have was Montblanc. Each product we carry comes with Montblanc’s certificate of authenticity and warranty duly sealed, numbered and stamped. We offer an element of customisation on certain Montblanc products, and you can engrave certain models with your name, a date or initials.
We carry more than just fine writing instruments from the brand. You can visit our website and our retails stores to view our extensive range ofMontblancbelts, wallets, refills and inks.