Montblanc Pens, Watches, Sunglasses, Jewelry Reviews
Montblanc Fountain Pens
Though established as a manufacturer of simple writing instruments, Montblanc today stands out as one of the most luxurious and upscale brands in the fountain pen industry. “Simplo” models of early 20th century gradually gave way to more and more intricate and refined designs: modern Meisterstuck, Boheme, Starwalker, and limited edition pens incorporate precious metals and gemstones, aged resin, and other materials – all of which essentially render the products a combination of collector's items, jewelry pieces, and writing instruments.
Started as a strictly fountain pain company, Montblanc broadened their assortment with time, first introducing various writing accessories, followed by leather products, jewelry, eyewear and, most recently, timepieces, and even fragrances. In this series of reviews we focus on Montblanc fountain pens, watches, sunglasses, and jewelry.
Besides existing collections, which we discuss later on, Montblanc pens can be divided into four categories: black models, today almost exclusively (except the trims) made from black resin; precious metal items – gold, platinum plated, and/or inlaid with a range of gems, such as citrine, amethyst, diamonds and topaz; and, lacquer coated, featuring red, blue, and other colors. Fourth category – arguably the most valuable to the collector – dispenses with familiar design principles and aesthetic norms, presenting unique, artistic, fascinating patterns: it is the limited editions, the patron of arts, and the writers lines.
Leaving out separate slim vintage variations, and the actresses editions (Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman), Montblanc writing instruments employ the classic cigar shape for the body, and the similarly classic fan-out nib (with some modulations) at its end. Here the brand differs from Waterman, for instance, whose Serenite and Exception collection change this basic framework. Montblanc pens can be recognized by the iconic rounded, six-pointed white star (brand trademark), the three rings on the cap, the central being engraved (Meisterstuck), and various nib engravings (4810 – the mountain's height).
Alongside mentioned materials the company employs mother-of-pearl, anthracite, ceramic, rubber, and other substances – Montblanc take a liberal approach when it comes to aesthetic and high-tech technology, and duly exploit their resources as a luxury brand in that regard.
Nibs, 14K or 18K gold, and rhodium plated (here resembling Waterman), present an intricate engraving; writing systems include fountain pens, rollerballs, ball point pens, and mechanical pencils – of which the former relies on piston filling or ink cartridges. Proprietary inks include Mystery Black, Royal Blue, Burgundy Red, Irish Green, and more.
Watches, Jewelry, Sunwear
Montblanc watches comprise several collections – Star, Timewalker, Profile, Summit, and others – which encase quartz or automatic movements, and divide according to either jewelry, fashion oriented designs (ladies timepieces), or complicated (chronograph, power reserve, GMT) casual/business/traveler type pieces. Timeless, classic design, reminiscent of Girard Perregaux, Breguet, and Ebel.
Jewelry forms a large brand department, offering men's and ladies' items: cuff links, money clips, key rings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. Most of the jewelry contains in one way or another a reference to the brand – a logo, an engravingt, three rings, and similar trademark displays.
Montblanc sunglasses show notable Ray Ban influences, particularly in men's frames, which resemble Aviators, Shooter's, Outdoorsman, Tech, Wayfarer, Clubmaster, and Predator collections. Ladies sunwear (Ibiza, Dakar, Ponzo, Eleuthera, Porto Cervo) reveals elaborate temples (semi-open, filigree alloy), classic bug-eye orbitals, and wraparound frames echoing Italian fashion houses.
Meisterstuck is Montblanc's cornerstone collection, offering dozens of models executed in the three writing systems: fountain pen, rollerball, and ball point pen. Meisterstuck features all the iconic signs – the white star at the cap's crown, the three gold or platinum rings at its end, and engravings on the rhodium plated gold nib. Incorporates precious metals and diamonds.
Boheme alters the cap significantly, shortening it (no rings), and adding a gemstone accent to the clip. This collection is much more ornament friendly, encrusting separate models with a range of gems (amethyst, citrine, topaz), and such exotic materials as sharkskin and stainless steel (!). The tapering section holds a gold, rhodium plated, and engraved nib; available I all four writing systems.
Starwalker takes a turn towards modern, more expressed design, with a nib reminiscent of Pelikan Ductus. The rectangular base of the gold nib contrasts with the globular cap, and especially its spherical top. Starwalker exhibits night-time inspired, dark palettes: grays, shades of black, and dark, deep blue.
Actresses/Etoile: a rare set of collections in that it experiments not only with materials and ornamentation, but with the architecture as well, presenting capricious, imbalanced, and ambitiously elegant (probably more so than any other brand collection) contours appropriate of the eponymous divas.
Limited Editions department constitutes, in a way, the brand's art gallery – unique fountain pens, lavishly and artistically embellished according to a clearly defined theme: a particular writer (writers edition) or historical figure (patron of the arts). Collector's heaven, to many it's the height of what Montblanc have to offer.