One of the benefits of buying a new Montblanc is that you have six weeks to take advantage of Montblanc’s nib exchange service. This facility is not just there in case you change your mind about the nib you ordered in the first place; it also enables you to choose from the full range of nib sizes, most of which aren’t available ‘off the shelf’ at retail (generally it’s fine or medium only).
The service is completely free — you just walk in to a boutique and they’ll send the pen off to Hamburg. A few weeks later (the theory goes), you get your pen back, with a brand new nib installed.
I’ve used Pelikan’s nib exchange feature in the past, via Stone Marketing, the UK distributor. It cost me a tenner and I did it by post. But I’ve never used Montblanc’s service via the boutique, and there are precious few details out there about how it actually works in practice.
I recently received a Petit Prince LeGrand and a Geometry LeGrand, both with a medium nib out of the factory. Now, don’t get me wrong — I really enjoy Montblanc’s medium nibs. But I have five of them now. So I thought it was time to get some variety. And I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my experiences, too.
So: the drop-off. I walked into the Royal Exchange boutique and was greeted by Maria, a sales ambassador. I said I wanted a nib exchange on a couple of pens, and she immediately fetched the padded tray and white gloves to handle them for me, along with some carbon-copy paper forms to fill out.
I’d brought along the stamped booklet for each pen, which showed the serial number and date of purchase. This was all the proof I needed to get the nib exchange at zero cost. I’d accidentally left both pens inked, but Maria reassured me it was no problem and that they’d be cleaned properly.
Maria started filling out the forms, and asked me if I knew which nibs I wanted to swap for. She offered the full set of nibs for me to try out, but I’d already thought it through: the heavyweight Geometry was destined for a double broad; the Petit Prince I would bless with an EF, hoping it’s as good as the one on my Rouge et Noir. I was pleased that the full range of nib sizes were available, despite the special edition nibs (the Geometry is 18k, for example, compared to the usual LeGrand’s 14k).
It was quaint to have paper forms to fill out, one for each pen, but they were quick and easy to complete, and left me plenty of time to chat pens with Maria — I had the opportunity to handle the switchblade James Dean before it headed back to Hamburg.
I didn’t feel rushed at all, but lunch beckoned, so I left with a bottle of the Rebel Red ink and a smile.
I’m due to get the pens back in four weeks, and I’ll follow up on this post then. But for now, I’m very impressed with how easy the process has been. The staff in the boutique knew the product range and the process inside-out, my pens and I were treated with respect at every step, and (since I had the warranty card with me) I had no hoops to jump through.
For now, I can recommend this service completely.