Is It Worth It? Mont Blanc Pens

Is It Worth It? – Mont Blanc Pens

Mont Blanc today is a status symbol; it is a recognizable luxury brand and so we ask, is it worth your money or not?

Let us delve into the intricacies and the differences between pen types such as a fountain pen, rollerball, & ballpoint pen, but also limited editions, Star Walker and the Meisterstuck Edition.

 

When I was a teenager, I started collecting fountain pens, particularly Mont Blanc fountain pens. At one point in time, I had over a hundred of them in my collection. Although they are mostly vintage, I learned a lot about the brand, the history, the materials, the nibs, and everything that goes into making a fountain pen. Over time, I lost interest in collecting and I sold most of them off, however, I kept a few of them simply because I really liked them and there were timeless pieces that were really worth it to me.

Putin signed law completing crimea annexation with a Montblanc Meisterstück

Putin signed law completing crimea annexation with a Montblanc Meisterstück

What’s So Special About These Pens?

Timeless & Classic Design

It has a torpedo shape and it was first introduced to the market in 1951. I also like it a lot because it’s the biggest pen in the Mont Blanc fountain pen range, and it’s very thick with about 13 millimeters at the grip. I find it’s a great fountain pen to take notes and especially for signatures because you can untwist it with just one rotation and quickly sign it, and if you have a nib with a certain width, you get a really characteristic look that is very hard to fake or copy. In combination with a green ink that I use with my fountain pens, it becomes very difficult to imitate my signature. Because the fountain is so big, it often doesn’t fit in regular cases. So if you look for one, make sure it fits and test it before you buy.

Large Gold Nib

I really like the 149 for its large gold nib. Mont Blanc has excellent nibs that have the right amount of springiness without being too boring, very comfortable to write, and because they’re made out of gold, they will easily adapt to your hand and to your writing and they will remain like that for years to come.

Why do I have three fountain pens of exactly the same model, you might wonder?

It’s because of the nib width. I have a vintage model from the 50s which an EF nib which stands for extra fine and it has a very different look than a broad nib which is what I usually use to write and take notes on an everyday basis; and that is even slimmer than a very wide O3B nib which means it’s three times as broad as a regular one, and it’s just a very wide look and I use it only for signatures.

The name 149 wasn’t just made up but back in the day, Mont Blanc had a system where one denoted the masterpiece which was the highest category of fountain pen you could get for them, they also had the second grade, and a third tier, however, they’ve discontinued those today.

The four-piston filler mechanism which meant you didn’t use cartridges but a lever that you would twist at the back. It’s the same today, you don’t use cartridges, you simply hold the nib into an inkwell and then turn the back knob. 9 is a nib size and a scale from one being the smallest and nine being the largest. A larger nib has more flexibility, a nicer springiness, and in general, when it comes to fountain pens, larger nibs are better.

Mont Blanc Fountain Pen Nibs

Mont Blanc Fountain Pen Nibs

Something all Mont Blanc pens had since almost the beginning is the hexagonal white shape on top of a black background. It’s supposed to resemble the snow on top of theMont Blanc mountain in France which is the highest mountain, and they chose it because supposedly they wanted to represent high quality and Montblanc pens were supposed to be the best in class. As you might notice, all Mont Blanc nibs have 4810 on it which is actually the height in meters of the Mont Blanc mountain.

Now if you like the design of the Meisterstuck 149 but you have smaller hands, I suggest to look into the 146 which means it has a smaller nib but also a smaller body; or if you have very small hands or if you’re a woman with likewise pretty small hands, maybe a 144 is right for you. Originally, you could find the 149 only in a yellow gold plating on a clip and on the bands. Today, you can also find it in platinum or rose-gold. The nib design has changed over time, sometimes it’s 14-karat gold, sometimes 18 karats, sometimes it has yellow gold, white gold, and yellow gold sometimes, it’s just yellow gold at the tip and then all platinum, or white gold. In any case, it always has an iridium tip which is a very hard material that keeps your nib from wearing without sacrificing on the comfort of writing with it. Even though the name Montblanc sounds like French, the company is, in fact, German which was founded in Hamburg.

Mont Blanc 149

Mont Blanc 149

Is The Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149 Fountain Pen Worth Its Money?

When I bought the Meisterstuck 149 10 to 15 years ago, I paid about a quarter of what I would have to pay today. So to me, that’s a great investment even though if you consider inflation. Also, the Mont Blanc 149 is a very recognizable writing instrument, it’s used by several heads of states around the globe to sign certain things, it is made of a resin these days which is very scratch resistant and nice to the touch. So if you have large hands and you like a classic design that stands the test of time that will have a value that increases over time even though you use the pen, then it’s definitely worth it.

When I started collecting fountain pens, the retail price for 149 was about $400, today, it’s 935. If you don’t want to shell that much money but still want to go with that kind of a pen, you can go to the used market, there are lots of 149 available but there are also lots of fakes out there so rather than just going to eBay and buying any random pen, I suggest you go with a trusted seller for used fountain pens that nobody is selling that has a reputation to uphold because then you get a better pen. It also pays to look at the details such as the clip and look at the original, see how it’s made. The originals are finished very well, they are plated very heavily, so it won’t just come up and rub off, and they always have a laser imprinted serial number which cheaper versions oftentimes don’t.

Now when you buy a fountain pen it’s important to remember that it needs to be written in and when you write in your fountain pen, it becomes better over time. Now if you hand it over to someone else to write it with, it will change the characteristic and will take quite a bit of time to rewrite it into your hand again, therefore, a fountain pen should only be written by you and if you buy a used pen, bear in mind that it has to be written in and it will take some time.

So At The End Of The Day, Is The 149 Worth It?

I think, yes, absolutely! If you have the money and if you can afford it. If you want a likewise big quality writing instrument without the cache of it, maybe a Pelikan m-1000 is right for you. In my opinion, the design isn’t as elegant, it usually comes in a dark green barrel, I think you can also get it with a black one, the nib is good, it’s working well, but it definitely lacks the status symbol of the Mont Blanc 149.

Pelikan M Series sizes

Pelikan M Series sizes



If you like a more modern aesthetic on a bigger fountain pen, I suggest you look into the Omas 360. It was recognized by the MoMA in New York, it has an outstanding unique design and such as the design classic, but I still think not as classic and timeless as the 149.

Omas 360

Omas 360

What About Other Mont Blanc pens?

No matter what Mont Blanc item you have, it will always be a recognizable status symbol. If that is too flashy for you, it’s maybe not the right brand for you. Also,  other Mont Blanc models have come and gone over time, but the one concept that has always been in their lineup is the 149.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of ballpoint pens because I associate it with a very cheap pen that doesn’t roll very easily, some very comfortable to write, and it sometimes leaks, and leaves ugly stains inside of your suit pocket. So if you want a mix, I suggest to always go with a rollerball because it uses ink and it has a ball just like a ballpoint pen but it rolls much more smoothly and it’s more comfortable to write.

Personally, I always go with a fountain pen even if I travel by plane because I think the look of my handwriting is just much superior and it has a very different character than if I go with a ballpoint pen where it’s always the same thickness.

MONT BLANC HEMINGWAY WRITERS SERIES FOUNTAIN PEN

MONT BLANC HEMINGWAY WRITERS SERIES FOUNTAIN PEN

My personal preferences aside, if you look at the value development of ballpoint pens and rollerballs, the fountain pen is always higher and appreciates more, therefore, I think the rollerball and ballpoints are not as worth it unless you really hate a fountain pen or you travel by plane a lot.

For collecting purposes, the regular Meisterstuck series is not limited by any means and therefore, you only have a certain degree of appreciation over time, however, if you go with limited editions from Mont Blanc, you can look at those as an investment just like maybe art, musical instruments, or stocks.

Today, Mont Blanc has lots of different limited editions; some are very high-priced, others are very low priced, but if you look at some of the very early editions such as the 1992 Ernest Hemingway pen, which was part of the writers edition and it was based on the 149 but it looked more like its predecessor the 139, it had a coral orange barrel with dark brown elements and today, if you want an unused version, you have to pay anywhere between three-three and a half to four thousand dollars.

At the time when it was launched, it cost just 10% of that and during that same time span, maybe the regular fountain pen only doubled, tripled, or quadrupled in price so investing in those limited editions is definitely worth it over time if you know what you’re doing. Also if you look at pens as an investment, you must never write them and just leave them in the original box with original papers and just keep them in the safe.

Now personally, I don’t like it very much. I like to use the quality items I own. Also, Montblanc also produces very small limited editions, sometimes made with solid gold and those are very expensive when you buy them but amongst collectors, usually the prices go up quite a bit.

The Starwalker Series

It’s a more modern pen, it’s a more streamlined design, it oftentimes speaks to younger people with a cleaner aesthetic or people who like mid-century modern stuff. Personally, I’m not too fond of the design and I think it will go out of style in 10 or 20 years. We had other Mont Blanc series and they ran out of favor. Now for collectors, that can be a nice thing because they’re not around anymore and that’s the price goes up, on the other hand, it can also mean there’s just not a demand for it and so people don’t like it anymore.

At the end of the day, when it comes to a pen, you always want to have a really wonderful nib that highlights your character of your handwriting because that what makes it unique and special. With the Star Walker series, I think you’re even more likely to get a fake product a used market so pay very close attention to where you buy, otherwise, you pay several hundred dollars for something that is worth nothing.

We’d like to hear from you! Let us know what other items you want to be reviewed by the Gentleman’s Gazette. Drop in your comments below!

Summary
Is It Worth It? - Montblanc Meisterstuck Pen
Article Name
Is It Worth It? - Montblanc Meisterstuck Pen
Description
Find out if Mont Blanc Pens are for you; an in-depth review of their most iconic fountain pens.
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Publisher
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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29 replies
  1. Andrew Gregg says:

    Greetings,

    These pens last forever! My wife gave me one for Valentine’s Day in 1993, and it remains a favorite. Another one arrived as a gift around ten years ago, and that Montblanc is a pleasure to use.

    Maybe it is the heft and circumference that appeal to me; I still use the fat, primary pencils.

    Colleagues used to laugh until they borrowed one. Then, I frequently heard, “Hey, where do you get the fat, little kid pencils?”

    Very informative article!

    Andrew Gregg,
    Vancouver, WA

    Reply
  2. David K says:

    I have yet to own a Mont Blanc pen (perhaps, someday), but like Raphael, I am a tremendous proponent of fountain pens in general, and have about half a dozen. I work for a high-tech company, but I use them on a daily basis for my note taking. The flow of the ink makes the writing a substantially different experience than using ballpoint pen and I prefer it. When using a ballpoint pen, I press down so hard on the paper, you can plainly feel the ridges from the other side. Using a fountain pen eases my pressure and is much kinder to my hand for longer writing sessions.

    Two recommendations: If you are sick of your handwriting, as I was, you can transform it within a couple of weeks into a beautiful European italic hand which will get you compliments often (I can attest to this) by using “Fix it… Write” found here: https://www.bfhhandwriting.com/fixitwrite.php.

    And, if you’re looking for really good quality, but inexpensive fountain pens, you really can’t beat Birmingham Pens: https://www.birminghampens.com

    Happy writing!

    –David

    Reply
  3. Martin Eymer says:

    Dear Raphael,
    Thank you very much for that great video on Montblanc pens. I would like to add that it might be such a pleasure to see you with your favourite pens because you’ve f o u n d the ones that match your style and personality best. Is this possibly what distinguishes a gentleman from any uninformed consumer of high-class products? For me, vintage Wahl Eversharp pens such as the iconic Coronet or Doric are even more desirable.

    Raphael, as a true fountain pen lover, do you think you could do a video together with Syd Saperstein, who has an enormous collection of beautiful vintage pens and loved the Wahl brand so much that he brought it back to life after decades? I would just love to see you both talking about pens and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
    Thanks again and keep up your wonderful work,
    Martin

    Reply
    • Pietro Del Buono says:

      The very fact that someone as lowly and intrisically inelegant as Putin has used the pen publically to sign a deprecable and illegal act as the annexation of Crimea, is suffcient reason for me not to purchase or own a Montblanc.

      Reply
  4. Peter says:

    I had lots of MB and sold most of them or gave them away and kept only some truly special pens. If you are into fountain pens you will find many companies that produce equally great or even more interesting pens regarding material, filling system, writing characteristics etc. Their regular pens as such aren’t that much better than Sailor, Nakaya, Pilot,… but I’ll grant them at least two things: consistent quality and being the greatest marketing experts.

    Reply
  5. Dr. Mungg says:

    Mont Blanc fountain pens have never been state of the art, they are just expensive. My medium fountain pen looses ink since decades and has been sent in for repair several times but nothing improved. Writing on an 80 g/m2 paper the ink goes strait through the paper and you can read your letter on the back side of the sheet. Most of the time your fingers are stained with ink after writing and the responsible sales office states again and again the pen is in perfect condition. Well, if this is the standard, I can’t advise anybody to invest so much money for prestige that doesn’t work in its basic function properly.

    Reply
  6. Al R says:

    I have a circa 1977 vintage MB149. Bought pre-owned. For the very reason of it’s girth/comfort in writing. (When I used it) It’s nice to know, that it has “appreciated” in value! The idea of using green ink, is pretty cool!! I favor the blue-black ink. Enjoyed the info. Thank you!…

    Reply
  7. Don M Small says:

    I have several has hundred fountain pens but only a few are my favorite like my Meisterstuck. I must note that I have always found th smaller ballpoint and roller balls from M.B. to actually be very easy to crack or break from a short fall. Be careful and cap at desk level and discourage sharing with friends, a good pen is a personal item. I would encourage someone interested in getting a decent pen without jumping in at the Mont Blanc or Omas price level. Look at classic Parker pens like the 51 or classic Shaffer pens from this 30 and 40’s such as the Balance pens that they also remade so well in the 1990’s. You can still find a flexible gold nib pen for less than $150.00 such as a Parker Sonnet. It is never too late to learn the joy of writing or receiving a hand written note with a classic fountain pen. Thank you for all you do to help Gentleman expand their knowledge and class. The answer to the question you pose is…Yes it is worth it. Acquire a family heirloom you will be proud to pass on.

    Reply
  8. David Crymes says:

    I have several of the fountain pens which I have used for many years on a daily basis. Great for writing at work and also great for gifts of distinction to mark special occasions. Also, their service of the pens and the special inks which MB makes can be a lifesaver in documentation before legal proceedings……73s

    Reply
  9. JOHN BROWNING says:

    Would have to agree with most of the above: the pens leak, the branding is bizarre and purchasers have more affection for a pencil.
    I made the mistake of buying a pair of MontBlanc spectacles. When they broke, I sent them to the MB Service center in London under warranty. Four months later I got an eMail from Germany (!?) saying I needed to take them back, and then I should send them to to a local Service Center.
    MB Australia informed me they couldn’t repair spectacles, and I would need to contact a mob called Marcolin in Hong Kong. Eight months later and Marcolin are not replying to my messages.
    -No apology, no help, no useful information
    I get better service than this in my local Supermarket

    Reply
  10. Chris says:

    For the “lesser” models, Montblanc 146 vs. Pelican M800, I would always go with the Pelikan. It’s rock solid, ink flow is better, the Pelikan doesn’t dry up even with weeks and weeks of non-use, and it feels more substantial. (Personal impression–owning and using both, but the Pelikan much more.)

    Reply
  11. Andreas says:

    I own several MB, my favourite was given to me as a gift by my father in 1985 for graduation, also i got one 149 he get as a gift by his father around 1960. I then bought one for my wife for her adjuration as judge in 2010 and what should i say, the quality went down in equal to the price went up. MB is still a fine pen, but as a lot of history brands, like Burberry, Barbour, Hunter or even LV, when it become a lifestyle brand and status symbol, you can be sure that the quantity increases and the quality become poor. But, Montblanc is excellent in marketing, so you can purchase leather goods, watches, sunglasses and much more from a manufacturer for pens. It’s like buying a car from Airbus or a phone from Kitchen Aid. They are famous in their field and optimize their profit with After Shave. I think, today MB is more a collectors brand with hundreds of very expensive “special collectors items” like the Grace Kelly or Greta Garbo, which is fine but not really usable in daily duty.

    Finally, i returned the 146 for my wife, bought a used one from the 80s in NOS condition for less than half the price and she got an affordable, usable high quality pen. I will never going to buy an new MB, it’s not worth the price anymore. But, i agreee, the old ones are outstanding and an timeless style icon.

    Reply
  12. Mike says:

    Pelikan and Lamy have been the standard for reliable workhorse fountain pens. Although I’m happy with my Visconti Piston filler. It flows reasonably well even with heavily pigmented ink like Noodlers. Much of the premium of MB is to subsidize the marketing. It’s become a a status symbol like Mercedes etc.. However, there are superior products out there.

    Reply
    • ANDRES ROBERTO ACEVEDO SOLERA says:

      I AGREE WITH YOU. I OWN 3 MONT BLANCS, 2 MEISTERSTUCKS AND 1 STARWALKER, AND I CAN´T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON ANOTHER, MAYBE A MODEL M. NOW, LAMY EMPORIUM IS JUST AS GOOD AS MONT BLANC AND THE LAMY 2000 IS A MASTER PIECE. BUT THERE’S ALSO VISCONTI AND MONTEGRAPPA TO COMPLICATE MATTERS WORSE. TAKE YOUR PICK!!!!

      Reply
  13. Simon says:

    They actually called a range of their luxury pens “StarWalker”? Like “Luke StarWalker”?

    If someone had told me that Montblanc had a pen called “StarWalker” I would have found it difficult to belive – surely they are mistaken. Bic yes, Montblanc, no way.

    Sounds pretty tacky to me.

    Reply
  14. Simon says:

    Ha – I just realised that the Star Wars name is SKYWalker, not STARWalker. Idiot!

    Anyway, the name still sounds cheap to me.

    Reply
  15. Patrick says:

    I have always been very fond of my Waterman fountain pens. The gold nibs are wonderful to write with and I usually use a blue ink for my signature as the ink color will indicate an original versus a photocopy.

    Reply
  16. James de Saxton says:

    Splendid topic! Also a longtime fountain pen appreciator. I must respectfully disagree on MB quality, though and, in my experience, they do not stand behind the product, and the repairs are quite absurdly expensive. That said, my EDC pen, as I live in an extremely dry climate, is a Meisterstruck rollerball with another manufacturer’s wide cartridge, as the MB cartridges are absolute rubbish. Their fountain pen ink is not to my liking either, but the bottles are superb, and I dump them and refill with Diamine.
    The Waterman Phileas was a superb entry level pen with a spring clip, and I had gifted many over the years.
    Favorite pens: Namiki Vanishing Point thin flex; Limited edition Aurora Optima italic (which I rarely carry as its value has become extraordinary); Danitrio stainless medium which is so robust it might be a weapon; Shaeffer PFM signature stub, and yes, that bloody Meisterstruck rollerball, I am ashamed to say.
    Just last night, my 13 year old daughter had misplaced a converter, so I showed her how to make a longer lasting one with a pen sack and an old cartridge.
    I suppose that makes us both geeks.
    Cheers!

    Reply
  17. Henry ADAMS says:

    Nice pens but beware. On mine, the top sometimes unscrews. I have got ink on my jacket twice from this. I now carry it in a leather container with the ballpoint. I feel that, if it’s screwed up too lightly, it will crack the top.

    Reply

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