Montegrappa Privilege Pen: Forget Something Old, Something New; Here’s Something Discontinued
by Martin Green
I wonder how many manufacturers are aware of the impact their products can have on people who are in a very early stage of collecting or becoming interested in a product category.
One of the first times that I walked into high-end pen store P.W. Akkerman in The Hague – one of the few shops of its kind to survive – there was a Montegrappa Privilege on display that made a lasting impression on me.
At the time I was fresh out of high school and not in the position to buy such a precious pen, but it never entirely left my mind.
Fast forward to today
While this pen always lingered in my mind, Montegrappa had discontinued it by the time that I was in a position to spend that kind of money on a writing instrument. My quest for the perfect pen was by then already underway (see The Quest For My Ultimate Fountain Pen Part 1: The All-Over-The-Place Period), and while I never really forgot about this Montegrappa, we never really crossed paths again.
Its octagon-shaped cap and barrel are crafted in sterling silver, while a more precious version crafted in gold also exists. It was also available in a fully polished edition, one that features a guilloché pattern of alternating straight and wavy lines – as well as several limited editions with even more, and different, finishes.
However, the one I wanted had the Greek key motif that also features on Montegrappa’s nibs. Years went by before this pen turned up again for me, and at that by a stroke of pure luck – or as I prefer to think of it: destiny. I finally found one new in the box, exactly the one I had been looking for.
Wanting a Montegrappa Privilege is one thing, finding one is another
Getting the Montegrappa Privilege came of course at the risk of it not living up to the expectations I had built up over such a long time. It had been two decades since I first saw the pen, and I had never written with it or even held it in my hands.
Over the years I gradually got to know Montegrappa as a pen manufacturer and knew that its quality did not easily disappoint.
Holding the pen for the first time, I was pleased with its weight. The sterling silver gives it a nice heft and offers a beautiful contrast to the blue resin components. The Greek key motif decorations make the pen look older then it is; for me this is a key element to its appeal together with the octagon shape of the cap and barrel.
The finish is meticulous, and everything fits tightly, which is not always the case with Italian pen manufacturers. The eye for detail in relation to quality is also exemplary.
The front unit holding the nib and ink converter screws into the barrel, while the top of the barrel is resin. I know many brands that would simply put a plastic insert in the barrel in place of the metal part to screw in, but Montegrappa actually makes a metal sleeve that is attached inside the barrel – which means the user screws metal into metal, which not only closes better and is more durable but also feels much better.
The same goes for the cap, where resin screws into a resin portion of the barrel. Why not metal, you might ask? There is usually quite a bit of friction on the cap of a (fountain) pen as they are kept them in pockets, bags, or pen cases. Resin on resin provides a much tighter fit than metal on metal. It is a small detail, but one that counts!
The same attention to detail has also been applied to the clip, which follows the Montegrappa tradition of fitting it with a little ball so that it runs easily down fabric should you decide to keep it in your pocket.
The nib is all that matters . . . and the rest, of course
Even the best-looking, best-made fountain pen can become worthless if the nib is not up to par.
Montegrappa also has a reputation to uphold in this matter, and the nib does not disappoint at all. Crafted from 18-karat gold, it is actually on the small side.
It provides a smooth writing experience with a touch of flex in the nib, which, by the way, gives a lot of feedback. It puts down a nice wet line without draining the converter too fast. It is one of those pens that you just want to keep on writing with – or find a couple of excuses to write more with.
But it is not only the nib that deserves the credit when it comes to the writing experience. The pen is perfectly balanced and offers a nice grip section. The cap can be posted on the back for those who prefer a slightly heavier/longer pen when writing.
Of course, the Montegrappa Privilege also looks quite stunning, if not almost distracting, when writing! So I can conclude that this pen was definitely worth waiting two decades for!
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Also published on Medium.