The United States is celebrating several historic milestones in 2019, and Nancy Olson shares these events – which includes both trains and the moon – commemorated by four luxury writing instruments.
About Nancy Olson
I am the resident pen expert for Quill & Pad: I literally put the “quill” in the name. I began my path with a fascination of the lever filler and the nib of my father’s gold-nibbed Sheaffer fountain pen, and though I never dared put ink in it I knew the pen was something special and deeply connected to my family’s history.
From that day forward, my writing has focused on collectible vintage writing instruments, modern pens, visits of major and independent pen manufactories worldwide and a fascination with handmade and hand-finished products as well as the artisans who create them. And then I stumbled on to watches.
Entries by Nancy Olson
Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern personally introduced the latest version of the brand’s successful Twenty-4 collection in Milan: the Twenty-4 Automatic. This is the first mechanical movement in a collection that has until now been powered by quartz and the first to feature a round case. Stern explained that the Twenty-4 Automatic has been five years and 40 prototypes in the making. Nancy Olson learns if it’s all been worthwhile.
The Bartolomeo Ferracina limited edition set of pens is Montegrappa’s way of paying tribute to watchmaker and engineer Bartolomeo Ferracina, who created the bell tower clock in Montegrappa’s own hometown of Bassano del Grappa, Italy.
A pen – like a watch – is a relatively small, mechanical object that adds some punch to the somewhat restrained category of “men’s accessories.” Each provides more than a little intellectual stimulation thanks to the respective brand histories, and they can both provide a generous hit of luxury. What else might they have in common? Or not?
Blancpain regularly peers outside the box of tradition, seeking challenge, inventiveness and even provocativeness in the design of its watches. So it isn’t surprising that the watch brand decided to team up with another provocateur, pen maker Grayson Tighe, to produce a collection of limited edition pens. This is the origin of the Tighe Blancpain pens, starting with Series 1.
Grayson Tighe’s Blue Dragon is a one-of-a-kind fountain pen created for an American collector, who wanted something with a personally meaningful theme. “The client had the idea for the Blue Dragon, and he was specific about the eye and mane color, placement of the pearl on the barrel, and the symbols and details that were important to him,” says Tighe. And what a beauty this turned out to be!
Over the past quarter-century the Hermès Cape Cod collection has experienced the arrival of a number of unique models and variations. Come with us on a journey to see and understand them before joyously wanting to shout, “Happy 25th birthday, Cape Cod!”
The Cross Peerless Fonderie 47 Collector’s Edition rollerball pen follows a limited edition fountain pen. And it, too, transforms an object of disdain into an element of hope, incorporating a bit of blackened steel from a melted-down AK-47 into the design of its cap crown. To further the message, the side of the pen’s cap reveals the unique serial number of the gun that was taken out of circulation and used to embellish the special edition pen. Its price makes it an ideal holiday gift!
The Fabergé Lady Compliquée Peacock got lots of kudos at Baselworld 2015, even winning the prestigious Ladies High-Mech prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève that same year. The Lady Compliquée Peacock Emerald’s tail, embellished with hand-applied green lacquer marking the minutes in the most beautiful way imaginable.
In an insightful move Montblanc chose this year, the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare death (or what the company delicately calls the “anniversary of his life’s achievements”), to honor him with an annual Writers Edition limited edition pen full of symbolism.