Montblanc Flexes With The New Meisterstück Calligraphy Solitaire Burgundy
by Nancy Olson
A fountain pen’s nib is the source of its magic. Yes, there are many beautiful pens out there but without a great nib a pretty pen is just a pretty pen. A good pen point can literally transform an ordinary writing experience into a memorable melding of mind and hand – and maybe even soul, depending upon the day and my mood.
In the realm of luxury, Montblanc’s new Meisterstück Calligraphy Solitaire Burgundy Lacquer is a desirable pen by any measure and its attributes are further augmented by its 18-karat gold flexible nib. This pen is part of Montblanc’s Meisterstück Great Masters Calligraphy Collection, whose nibs are designed to recapture the writing experience offered by the company’s pens from the 1950s and earlier when more flexible nibs reigned.
A flexible nib promises a writing experience like no other with writing line variation dependent on the pressure exerted.
Press down and the tines of the nib (the two sections of a nib created by the “slit,” which terminates at the breather hole) slightly spread apart, making a thicker stroke of ink. Ease up and the tines spring back together for a thinner line. The result is a flourishing script as beautiful as it is satisfying to create.
At one time, as distant relatives of the quill pen, most fountain pen nibs were flexible. But as the ballpoint made its foray into “pendom,” people became accustomed to a firmer point that could withstand greater pressure than the sometimes-delicate flexible nib could handle. So, in general, companies responded with firmer nibs.
Flexible nibs continue to be sought after by artists and those who just like their inimitable responsiveness. They are most often found on vintage pens (pre-1950). But with the rise in interest in lettering art, particularly calligraphy, companies have been answering the call with new flexible nib options at varying price points, depending on the material used to create them.
It is no surprise that Montblanc would be one such company since it has been promoting the art of beautiful writing since its inception in 1906. The word calligraphy, with its origins in Greek, means “beautiful writing” (kallos and graphe).
Meisterstück Calligraphy Solitaire Burgundy
I’ve seen Montblanc’s nib manufacturing process firsthand, and it is quite incredible – from the initial preparation of the gold to the final quality control checks, with lots going on in between. Like Montblanc’s other nibs, this flexible example is hand-sculpted by the company’s artisans at the Hamburg atelier. Each takes about 35 discrete steps.
The body of the Meisterstück Calligraphy Solitaire Burgundy Lacquer is remarkable, too. It features an interesting shaded décor employing a new lacquering technique transforming the brushed metal with gradient color. The translucent burgundy shade is complemented by champagne gold fittings, and the champagne gold-coated 18-karat nib has special engravings indicative of its flexible status.
The pen also comes as a fountain pen with a standard nib or as a rollerball pen.
The choice of a fountain pen nib is a very individual thing (I generally like an 18-karat gold fine point). When I was a newbie collector, I was advised by some old timers to discover what kind of nib I liked and by all means never lend a pen. Over time, they said, a fountain pen becomes precisely one’s own, with gold point wear being just one of the many ways a pen carries its history. Another’s hand – pressure, writing angle, and even choice of paper – could potentially disrupt the natural evolution and uniqueness of my nib.
I’ve loosened up over the years, allowing myself a broader (and richer) experience by experimenting with a variety of nib sizes, shapes, materials, and flex. I’ve found something to like in each. And I’ve even lent a fountain pen here and there in pursuit of conviviality over singularity. I have to call that personal growth.
For more information, please visit www.montblanc.com.
Quick Facts Montblanc Meisterstück Calligraphy Solitaire Burgundy
Editions: fountain pen with flexible nib; fountain pen with standard nib; rollerball
Cap and barrel: burgundy lacquer with gradient effect; champagne gold fittings
Nib: champagne gold-coated 18-karat gold
Price: $1,860 (FP flexible nib); $1,745 (FP standard nib); $1,515 (RB)