I take back all my prejudices about Montblanc. I just spent a very pleasant half hour chatting to the staff in the DFW airport boutique. I got to handle a 149 (want one), M (like a super-upgraded Safari with magnets), and ogle a 1912 and Rouge et Noir.
Contrary to my prejudices, they were happy for me to handle the pens, were curious about mine (I showed my 3776, 823 and Homosapiens) and were knowledgeable about the history of the brand and design, and honest about their buyers and the popularity of different models.
A 149 may or may not be in my future, but I’m very happy I stopped by at a boutique and came to my own conclusions instead of letting my prejudices win out!