Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Montblanc Brothers

Looking at the two fountain pens side by side on my desk, the only noticeable difference is in the caps. The older pen has a black cap with gold clip and three gold bands; the cap on the other pen is 925 sterling silver, with a pin striped finish and an individual serial number on the gold pocket clip band. The three gold bands at the base of the cap are the same, and the engraving is the same. The nibs are different only in that the silver capped pen has a nib with a rhodium inlay. Otherwise, both are the same 18k gold nib showing the famous “4810” mark indicating the height in meters of Mount Blanc.

The older fountain pen is a Montblanc Meisterstück 146, which I have owned for about twenty-five years. The silver capped pen beside it is a Meisterstück Doué Sterling Silver fountain pen that I am cleaning and evaluating for a friend.

Apart from the obvious difference in the two caps—black precious resin and sterling silver—there is a big difference in the two nibs as well. Both are the same M size and both 18k. The difference is in the flexibility and smoothness. Despite being a more expensive pen, the Doué nib is practically unused and has none of the worn, settled glide and flow of the older 146. Little surprise over this, since the Doué has spent most of its life resting on a velvet pad in a glass showcase, never inked, never even once dipped into a bottle of ink. In my experience a nib only gets better with use. My friend enjoys looking rather than writing, and there lies the drag.

But the Doué is a beautiful fountain pen, is it not?

A note about the Montblanc 146…

If you are interested in the definitive review of this classic Montblanc fountain pen, see what Lady Dandelion has to say in her thorough and superb review.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America