3 New Pens From Montblanc, Caran d’Ache, And Montegrappa: One Classical, One Magical, And One Sartorial
by Nancy Olson
It’s true that writing by hand has been slowly ticking upward since the COVID-19 epidemic began, in particular letter writing. The notion has been getting a fair amount of press in various publications, and according to Tove Danovich in a recent issue of the NewYorkTimes.com, “Snail mail has taken on fresh resonance in this period of isolation, grief and unrest.”
She says that many of us are increasingly writing postcards and letters to friends and family and find this to be a gratifying stand-in for the closeness we crave.
In my experience, journal writing, too, has been a great way to stay in touch — with oneself, that is. It offers creativity and solitude (if you really need more solitude) that beats passive recreation — like TV — anytime, and all the time in my opinion.
Along with all that, writing is a commensurate uptick in sales of stationery, cards, postage, and, of course, pens. Many of the writing instrument purveyors I’ve spoken to have confirmed this, sharing that their pen sales among all age groups are strong and show no signs of waning. Postcards are a real trend as are more formal note cards, they say.
Here are three newly introduced pens to get you started on a tasteful journey toward a new normal. They offer a broad range of prices, styles and modes, and I’m sure that any, or all, will add unique pleasure to the already-pleasant experience of writing by hand.
The Writers Edition, Montblanc’s annual homage since 1992 to world-renowned authors, is celebrating the work of Victor Marie Hugo this year. Hugo is perhaps best known for his novels Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), and these works lend inspiration for the new 2020 pens.
There are four Gothic-inspired editions within the Victor Hugo Writers Edition collection. Each interprets the author differently, with varying numbers of pens in the respective series: Writers Edition, Limited Edition 1831, Limited Edition 83, and Limited Edition 8. Each fountain pen is fitted with an 18-karat gold nib decorated with an engraving of a gargoyle inspired by those on the Notre-Dame cathedral.
I’ve chosen to show the Writers Edition Victor Hugo Limited Edition 1831, which features a platinum-plated, skeletonized overlay revealing translucent red lacquer beneath it. The numbers 24601 and 9430 are engraved on the cap, which are the prisoner numbers assigned to Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Les Misérables, who was sent to prison for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children.
There are 1,831 fountain pens and 1,831 rollerballs in the edition, a reference to the year Notre-Dame de Paris was first published. The well-known Montblanc emblem on the cap crown is crafted from mother-of-pearl.
For more information, please visit www.montblanc.com/en-us/landingpages/victorhugo.
Quick Facts Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo 1831
Editions: fountain pen and rollerball pen
Cap and barrel: translucent red lacquer with a platinum-plated skeletonized overlay
Nib: 18-karat gold
Limitation: 1,831 pieces of each variation
Price: $4,300 fountain pen; $3,930 rollerball
For more than two decades, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have brought enjoyment to fans of all ages in the famous Harry Potter series of books and movies.
Now Montegrappa celebrates the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the British “wizarding school” central to the book, in a new pen collection. Made for fans of the four student houses — Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Gryffindor — the fountain and rollerball pens in the Harry Potter collection offer unique colors and patterns fit for every person among us looking for a bit of magic (aren’t we all?)
The pens are highly detailed and just weighty enough, thanks to their stainless steel and brass construction. The pocket clips are spring-loaded and decorated with a lion, raven, badger, or serpent respectively above complementary-colored stripes. The gripping sections on the fountain pens and rollerball pens are engraved, while the fountain pen’s steel nib is available in six sizes.
Imagination meets Italian craftsmanship in the masterful creation of what I predict will be a highly collectible series of writing instruments. The Harry Potter series of novels by J. K. Rowling has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide with the books translated into 80 languages. The Harry Potter logo — now known the world over — is evident on each pen.
For more information, please visit www.kenroindustries.com/portfolio/harry-potter-open-edition.
Quick Facts Montegrappa Harry Potter Collection
Editions: fountain pen, rollerball pen, and ballpoint
Cap and barrel: brass and stainless steel
Nib: steel in six sizes
Price: $495 fountain pen; $485 rollerball; $475 ballpoint
Caran d’Ache has built much of its well-earned reputation on vivid color, creating pencils, pastels, markers, paints, and other artist supplies — as well as some very colorful pens — throughout its history.
Its artist supplies are known worldwide for their quality and broad range of colorful options, and its Léman collection of fine writing instruments, named for the lake near Geneva where Caran d’Ache calls home, is nothing if not about color.
British designer Paul Smith’s use of color, too, is well known, often transcribed into intricate patterns and signature stripes. So it was natural that self-professed mutual fans Caran d’Ache and Paul Smith would partner to create — for the third time — a pen collection that is both colorful and design oriented.
This 849 Paul Smith Edition 3 limited series collection borrows Caran d’Ache’s penchant for hexagons and blends it with the designer’s love of lines to create what I think is a very fun pen.
Each ballpoint pen is crafted from aluminum with eight bold stripes on the pen’s body and Paul Smith’s signature in gold. The pen’s slim packaging, which is as cool as the pen, is available in eight shades that correspond to the stripes on the pen: coral pink, damson, orange, peacock blue, petrol blue, pistachio green, racing green, and pink.
For more information, please visit www.carandache.com/us/en/ballpoint-pen/849-paul-smith-ballpoint-pen-with-etui-orange-limited-edition.
Quick Facts Caran d’Ache 849 Paul Smith Edition 3
Limitation: limited series produced only in 2020