In my last post I teased some of the new Montblanc pens being launched this year. I thought I’d fill in a little detail for you.
The great characters release is Walt Disney. All ‘tiers’ are 146 size, and frankly they’re not what I expected. The base tier is rhodium and black, with quite a lot of metal; there are minor accents of red and yellow. As well as Walt’s signature, there’s a moulded Mickey on the barrel. The fancier version — around 3000 euros — will be in an edition of 1901 and has all the usual extra treatments like stonework, lacquer and multiple finishes (ruthenium, rhodium), but also has a Mickey Mouse hologram on the barrel. I’m not a fan.
Le Petit Prince
The Petit Prince release is much more impressive. The various different tiers — Solitaire, LeGrand, Classique — are coming in at about the same price as the blue Prince pens, but this time they’re in a rhodium and brown colour scheme with a wavy pattern to it that reminds me of sand dunes. They look nice, and are coming in April!
The Writer’s Edition is Rudyard Kipling. I was kinda hoping for a Bob Dylan. If I was being uncharitable, I’d say this looks like a Montegrappa Game of Thrones — the base version is in jungle green and there’s an enormous wolf head on the clip. It’s probably nicer looking in real life, and it’ll be available in July. The fancier version in an edition of 1895 has lots of skeleton overlay in champagne gold.
The Patron of Art is Hadrian. It is a chunky pen that reminds me a bit of Homer, although in 146 size. The edition of 4810 is made of basalt (!) and gold and ruthenium trim. The fancier edition of 888 has a marble barrel and inlaid solid gold. Coming in April.
Also new is the Calligraphy range, which includes a Maki-e Solitaire at 35,000 euros (start saving, it’s coming in September), and an edition of the 149 with a flex nib — 890 euros, also in September. I think a lot of people in the real world will be excited about this, and a lot of people on FPN will grumble and say that everyone should just look for a mid-1970s 149 with a ski-slope ebonite feed or that you should buy a 1940s Geha German school pen from eBay for 36 pence that does demi-semi-super-mega-wet-noodle-flex… Christ, I hate that place sometimes. Rant over.
There’s more, but those are the big ones.
In my opinion, this is a pretty weak year. The Patron of Arts series is always out of reach of the ‘regular’ Montblanc buyer, so I’ll skip over Hadrian. Same for the 10k+ fancy finishes on the 149.
Kipling just looks a bit… ungraceful for a Montblanc, in both its guises. Heavy clip, lots of metal, that sort of thing. If you liked JFK and Antoine, you may like this.
The Disney one really surprised me. I was hoping for something fun and bold, like the Beatles edition — but it’s bullet-ended, lots of metal, dark colours. It doesn’t have a Disney palette at all (and I say that as a dad who watches a LOT of Disney). But I bet it will sell truckloads to baby boomers.
The Petit Prince is growing on me. I think the brown barrel will sit nicely next to the current midnight blue in a pen case, and as this capsule range grows out it’s nice to see it cohering.
The 149 with flex nib made me laugh. I can completely see why Montblanc is launching one — flex is a mature trend in the market now, from Aurora to Pilot to Conklin. And many reviewers have commented how modern Montblanc nibs are hard, even compared to older Montblanc nibs. I personally would consider buying one. But Montblanc risks either underwhelming levels of flex, or lots of returns and expensive repairs. I hope it trains all its boutique staff well!