A few years ago I had a friend who always wrote with a 146 and a Starwalker, and drove a BMW Z4. One year, for his birthday, I found the perfect gift: the newly launched Montblanc BMW Blue ink. Except he only ever wrote with black ink. Oh well, nice idea.
Roll on to more recent times, and I decide, finally, to grab a bottle of aforementioned ink myself, ideally without paying the eBay tax. A bit of Googling later, and what’s this? The ink is available for retail price from BMW. Hmmm. Let’s have a browse around. Now what’s this? BMW has a branded version of the 146, grandly named the Montblanc for Meisterstück Platinum Line LeGrand Fountain Pen.
It looks nice: it’s the platinum plated version of the 146, and the only BMW branding seems to be some subtle repeated “7” patterns on the clip. Nothing garish.
I Google to find out more. There’s really very, very little on the internet about this pen. A few regurgitated press releases from the launch with a 7 Series. Precious little in the way of reviews and non-stock photography.
I’m intrigued, not because I’m a BMW fan, but because this seems to be the cheapest way to buy a Montblanc 146. And not just by a few quid — by a sea mile. Sure, you don’t get a choice of nib, but I like the Montblanc medium anyway.
So, since I’ve been curious about trying a 146 for a long time (will I find it a let down after the 149?)… this seemed like a good opportunity to try the waters.
I bought one. And two bottles of the ink.
It was not a particularly smooth process. The BMW site is, put it bluntly, crap. It failed to recognise my address, so I had to order it to a relative’s house (shipping was free). It took payment, then I received an email saying that my order hadn’t actually been accepted yet, and to look out for further communication.
A few days later an email came in saying that my order had actually been accepted, and then radio silence. The next thing I know, a box shows up on my doorstep, no tracking, no signature taken (despite warnings to the contrary in the confirmation email).
Oh well: the pen is in proper Montblanc box, the warranty card is stamped, all the right holograms are all over it. This is the genuine article.
And what a lovely pen!
I won’t rehash a review of one of the most classic pens of all time, but suffice it to say that yes, it’s smaller than the 149 — much more like a Pelikan M800. The nib is smaller, in proportion. The piston filler works great. And the nib is an absolute delight. It’s exactly a medium, just like my 149. It’s exactly wet enough, with exactly the right feedback, and simply perfect alignment and grind under the loupe. I have had four modern Montblancs now, and every one of them has been spot on. Call me a fanboy — I like writing with these pens.
You know the funny thing? I inked it with SBRE Brown, because the BMW ink didn’t turn up at the same time as the pen. I am overdue a review of this favourite brown, and this is my chance.
And the BMW branding? It’s incredibly subtle and handsome, and doesn’t clash at all with the Montblanc branding on the clip. The nib is perfectly standard, as is the box, for that matter.
So this is the cheapest way to get a Montblanc Le Grand. If you can get through the ecommerce experience, you’ve got nothing to worry about.