I’m a bit out of practice at writing reviews, but I felt an impulse to put something to paper about the Montblanc Martele.
I’ve owned this beast of a pen for a few months now, and I realised that I keep wanting to write with it every day, leaving all my other pens to gather dust. That’s unusual for me. And yet chances are you’ve never seen a Martele before, or maybe even heard of one.
Although the Martele has been in Montblanc catalogues for at least a few years, I’ve never seen another one in the flesh, even at pen shows (I’ve never seen another Geometry outside of a boutique either, for that matter). Even leaving aside the price (and more on that later), people don’t seem to go for these all-metal designs very much, and there are few reviews out there.
Which is a shame.
Montblanc’s annual releases get a lot of attention, and rightly so. Just this morning I was perusing pictures of the new Victor Hugo, Elvis Presley, and Little Prince editions — and the “curved nib” calligraphy editions, of which the gradient-shaded Solitaire really appealed.
But it’s often the rest of the standard Montblanc portfolio that charms me the most. The 1912. The Rouge et Noir. The Geometry. And most recently, the Martele.
I guess that makes me a bit of a weirdo. Anyway.
The Martele is 146-sized, very similar to the Geometry in fact, and also very Heavy Metal. The barrel and cap are made from thick hammered silver, which set my heart on fire the first time I came across it.
Let me be really clear: the silver finish is the reason to buy this pen. It is organic, soft and tactile under the fingers, with that waxy yellow sheen that only silver has. And in the light, it scatters shimmering pearls of luster whenever it’s hit by a sunbeam. Literally every time I bring it to work someone comments on how pretty it is.
It’s a great companion for the Geometry, with its cold platinum sheen and regular facets.
I’m a sucker for silver pens. I have another silver-bodied pen, the Pilot Silvern, but it feels cheap next to the Martele. And I enjoy the silver fittings on my Montegrappa Extra and Aurora Pacifico, but the bulk of those pens is still celluloid or acrylic — silver is just the trim. The Martele is the real deal.
So let’s leave the looks behind. How does it function as a pen?
Much like the Geometry, the Martele is a heavy pen, with a smooth metal section. It should be uncomfortable, but it is absolutely not. It nestles nicely in my hand, with the weight keeping it glued in place. It feels less flighty than a normal 146.
It has no ink window, which is a little bit of a pain, but not a dealbreaker for me since I always carry multiple pens. And the ink capacity is decent.
Aside from that, it’s a 146: reliable piston-fill, good cap mechanism, doesn’t dry out, classic proportions, functional clip.
I opted for a fine nib, which writes as expected (in my experience, Montblanc nibs are fairly consistent and lay a medium-wet line). The weight of the pen on such a small contact patch can cause drag, so the Martele benefits from a lubricated ink; mine is loaded with Bungubox 4B, which is a keeper.
I hesitated over the Martele for years, and I only pulled the trigger because I got a solid discount. Even so, it cost me a thousand pounds.
Do I regret it? Not one bit.
I’m looking forward to the silver patinating, and to feeling the gentle undulations of the hammered finish under my fingers for years to come.