A Review Of My Modest Montblanc Pen Collection
To the degree that it’s foolish to spend an inordinate amount of money on a pen, it’s pure idiocy for myself in particular. I have a dyslexic related learning disability which dramatically impacts my penmanship. No amount of money I spend on a pen will ever improve my handwriting. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that I genuinely like and appreciate nice pens, and have really grown to appreciate Montblanc pens in particular. So I thought I’d break out my camera and take some photos – all of which were taken with the Canon 5D Mark II, and my Canon 100mm macro. Just click on the photos to see larger versions.
If I were a true pen aficionado, I would have fountain pens – and I do own one (non-Montblanc) which I never use. But true pen pen people write with fountain pens the way true watch people prefer mechanical watches. Pen people scoff at ball point pens the way watch people poo-poo quartz watches as well. So I guess I’m more of a watch guy then a pen guy in that regard because my first ball point pen was the Montblanc Meisterstuck ballpoint pen:
The Montblanc “Meisterstuck” (German for “masterpiece”) is in many regards their flag ship line with broadest appeal to the average consumer and pen enthusiasts alike. I think I’ve had this pen for about four years now, and it’s been a great one – my favorite in many regards. It’s black resin body is easy to hold, very attractive, and looks great with the platinum plated accents on the pen, as well as the white snow cap emblem. It’s fairly slender – that combined with the resin body construction makes it a very light pen, so it’s easy to put in a dress shirt pocket. To write with it, you simply pull it out, give it a twist at the mid-point, and the ballpoint end comes out:
I purchased this pen for about $100.00 on eBay which was an absolute steal. It currently retails for $370.00, but can be pretty easily had for under $300.00 from my Montblanc authorized dealers. I purchased a second Montblanc Meisterstuck ballpoint for my wife (burgundy with yellow gold accents) as a gift when she successfully attained an important professional certification – she very much appreciated the gift.
It didn’t take long for me to begin to want another Montblanc – something a little more sophisticated than the ballpoint model I owned. Rollerball pens are intended to be a nice middle ground between ballpoints and fountain pens – the liquid ink they use is intended to give the look and feel of fountain pen writing. I didn’t think I was a good candidate to use a fountain pen, but the rollerball pen seemed like an attractive option. At the time, Montblanc had a new, cool looking pen called (aptly enough) the Cool Blue Pen which I ordered from an authorized source:
The Cool Blue Pen (honest to goodness, that’s the model name) comes from the Montblanc Starwalker line – notable for it’s larger size, and the “floating” Montblanc snow cap emblem which is in the top of the pen’s cap. The body of the Cool Blue Pen is a shimmery, iridescent blue which is quite captivating – no unlike the dial on my favorite watch, the Rolex Submariner 16613.
This pen has a LOT of platinum plated metal in it. If you look in the first photo above, you’ll see the bottom portion of the pen is all metal. If you remove the cap you’ll see the bottom portion has a great deal of metal too. And the clip on the pen cap is quite large and of solid metal construction. Large pen. Lots of metal. Yep, this is one seriously heavy pen. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but with the Cool Blue Pen, there’s no need to make such distinctions as the self-defense possibilities of this pen are many. It’s also a very pricey pen with a current retail price of $460.00.
I have to say that I like looking at the pen more than actually writing with it, which can at times be inconvenient. Firstly, due to it’s weight, it tends to sag forward in dress shirt pocket. Not a huge concern, but not a factor in the “plus” column either. The other problem I have with using this pen really isn’t a problem – I’m just too spoiled by quick, twist-open and twist-close Meisterstuck ballpoint. Let’s say I’m trying to make a deposit at the ATM – I’ve got my wallet in my hand, the check to deposit, the envelope, and my ATM card. Now I have to unscrew the cap of the Cool Blue Pen, screw it back on the back of the pen – tough to do when your hands are full and you’re in a hurry. Nitpicking aside, the pen is flat-out gorgeous – I love it. And it’s designed to accept both rollerball and “fineliner” (a very fine felt tip) refill cartridges, so it’s very versatile. I really like the detail engraved into the writing end of the pen.
My wife never quite warmed up to my Cool Blue Pen (go figure) but she did really like the Starwalker design, and sort of hinted around at wanting one for herself. And despite my occasional annoyances with fiddling around with the pen cap, I had to agree that the Starwalker design was extremely bold as compared to the more conservative Meisterstuck ballpoint I owned. So when the next appropriate gift giving occasion arose (she recently was offered a new position with one of the best employers in our city – a Herculean feat in this economy) I congratulated her with the Starwalker Rollerball in black resin. Once it arrived, and I had the opportunity to play with it, I ordered a second one for myself:
The basic shape and functionality of the black resin Starwalker is much the same as the Starwalker Cool Blue Pen. In fact, many of the parts are interchangeable between the two.
The main difference is that the black resin Star Walker has much less metal than the Cool Blue Pen – notice the bottom of the black resin model compared to the black resin one, and notice difference in the writing end:
Most of Mont Blanc’s stock photos of their models fail to adequately capture their beauty, in my honest opinion – I was always luke warm on the detail in the writing end of the black resin Star Walkers when I saw photos. But I quite like the real McCoy much better. The black resin Starwalker is not only lighter as a result of less metal, it’s cheaper too with a retail price of $350.00. Sometimes the more formal, conservative look of the black resin Starwalker is preferable to the almost electric-neon “look at me!!!” qualities of the Cool Blue Pen. And I still use my Meisterstuck model quite often – particularly when I travel and want to have the convenience of the quick, easy to use ballpoint.
So there you have it – my modest little Montblanc pen collection. Let me know what you think of the photos. Now if only my handwriting were better…
I’ve also done some video reviews of the above pens:
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.