Saturday, October 6, 2012

The broadest nib - vintage Montblanc 149

Personal Best of, Part 4

This pen has been a rather recent addition. It's Montblanc's flagship pen, the Meisterstück No. 149, also called "the cigar" - the reason is evident when you look at the pen. This particular specimen must have been made at the beginning of the 1980s - Montblanc changed details about these every few years so they're fairly easy to date. They had different shapes and materials of feeds, piston threads and, of course, nibs, where there are variations as well in the alloy (you can find 14k, 14c, 18k, 18c, it makes your head spin) as in the plating of the nib surfaces. Modern 149s nibs are tri-color which means the nib is mostly yellow gold with a small rhodium plated strip around the center. This one is quite the opposite, mainly rhodium plating with some narrow yellow gold area around the edge (I think I like this one more). On the following picture the yellow gold looks very orange which is a kind of tarnishing because the pen obviously had never been used. I polished the nib gently with a paper tissue and now the yellow gold is somewhat brighter again.

Fountain Pen Network is a great resource for finding out how old your pen is and a lot of other interesting stuff.

80s Montblanc Meisterstück 149 with its original box

Not only the pens themselves but also their boxes have changed a lot over time. The today's 149 box is very posh, huge with a satin lining and containing a black ink bottle. The 80s presentation was far more modest.

Among Friends: the 149 on a Meisterstück leather notebook cover.

I had to hunt a pen like this one for a while because of its nib - most 149s around seem to have fine or medium nibs. I can't really see any reason for this since, hey, this is the signature pen, right, and would you really want to sit behind your huge "boss" writing desk and sign your letters with your huge "boss" pen which has a really tiny tip? I wouldn't think so but well, most people would obviously disagree.

This 149 is different, its nib is as fat and bold as the pen itself. I think it's an oblique triple broad (O3B) though I can't be 100% sure since the pen didn't come with any papers stating the nib size. Montblanc doesn't stamp the size on its nibs so there's always some guesswork involved. In any case and as you can see, this is some nib and a smooth, luscious, wet writer with lots of line variation. Its boldness just blew me away at the beginning but I got used to it quickly. It's no use for something like a postcard of course, but lovely for letters or a journal.

Some nib? Some nib indeed!

The little writing sample is done on a sheet from a cute little notepad which came with a Montegrappa pen and is printed "flying thoughts". I wouldn't really know what to use it for so it's sitting on my desk, but it's kind of neat anyway.

a bit of writing and a lot of fingerprints

Nibs it has easily outshone in terms of broadness: Pelikan O3B and IB, Nakaya/Platinum Music nibs, Montblanc OBB,

I am very sure that in its dreams that pen stands all alone on a dimly lit stage and swings its feather boa, singing "... and what I am needs no excuses!"

1 comment:

  1. Finally! I have found something on the nib I have on my 146. I purchased the pen in the mid/late eighties when I worked in NYC. I must have made the purchase on one of my trips to Paris where I would go anytime I could afford to get on a plane. The 18C nib (I have learned) was made for the French market. My pen went basically unused for ages and I have just recently fallen in love with it again. Gorgeous pen and this nib is beautiful for signatures, although I write in green ink, not red. Glad I found your post.

    Cheers, Bill