Practical Penmanship: Fountain Pens

Hi friends welcome back to another episode on practical penmanship in this week’s video we’re going to be giving you 5 reasons why you should switch over to a fountain pen stay tuned so as I’d said today I’m giving you five reasons why if you haven’t already you should be switching over to a fountain pen so let’s get right into it number one mindfulness most people who have never held a fountain pen before treat it as if it were a relic they’re very intimidated by the fountain pen and this creates a mindful response as a visual artist I love an artwork that forces its audience to interact with it in a certain way and a fountain pen does just that you see you have to write with the hood of the fountain pen nib facing upward otherwise you might not even create a line and so this forces newbies to really slow down when it comes to using a fountain pen and when it comes to practicing penmanship and this is a good thing because practical penmanship requires mindfulness reason number two they’re long lasting potentially sustainable and eco-friendly so a fountain pen can truly last a lifetime and beyond if taken care of they’re refillable and if you take your ink from a glass bottle it’s very eco-friendly no plastic cartridges or plastic pens to throw away when it’s done just refill it and they’re also made from long lasting materials whether that be a high grade acrylic or a celluloid or perhaps a steel or even the infamous lava-rock acrylic combo found in the Homo Sapien so if you want a pen that’s going to last you forever it’s got to be a fountain pen reason number three self-expression there are so many different unique fountain pens out there that you are bound to find one that fits your vibe from the understated Lamy to the elegant Delta and when you begin to consider the nib to ink combo there are just infinite variations that can definitely express something about your individual style I mean the combinations are boundless maybe not boundless so function and style in one package now that’s practical reason number four fountain pens are simply a joy to write with when I first started using fountain pens it brought a whole new level of fun to my handwriting practice there is just so much personality packed into each fountain pen that’s made and to be honest collecting them can be quite addicting so do be wise with your investments if you decide to take the plunge but a good fountain pen can really elevate your writing experience and last but not least reason number five a legacy by embracing fountain pens you become part of a long history and tradition and it is also an opportunity for you to begin a tradition and leave a legacy within your own family if you’re looking for the perfect heirloom and maybe I’m a bit too young to be thinking about this but if you are the fountain pen is definitely a good option and who knows you may inspire descendants of your own family in centuries time to take up a fountain pen and hand write once again so friends that’s all I have for you today.

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Is It Worth It? Montblanc Meisterst├╝ck 149 146 144 Fountain Pens, Ballpoint & Mont Blanc Rollerballs

Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In our second installment of is it worth it? Today, we’ll discuss Montblanc pens, fountain pens, and rollerballs. If you haven’t already seen the first installment of is it worth it? About Burberry trench coats, you can check it out here. Now today, is all about Montblanc pens and we not only discuss the difference about a pen type such as fountain pen, rollerball, & ballpoint pen but also limited editions Star Walker and the Meisterstuck Edition. After all, Montblanc today is a status symbol; it is a recognizable luxury brand and so we ask, is it worth your money or not? When I was a teenager, I started collecting fountain pens, particularly Montblanc fountain pens.

At one point in time, I had over a hundred of them in my collection. Although they are mostly vintage, I learned a lot about the brand, the history, the materials, the nibs, and everything that goes into making a fountain pen. Over time, I lost interest in collecting and I sold most of them off, however, I kept a few of them simply because I really liked them and there were timeless pieces that were really worth it to me. So what’s so special of these pens and why did I decide to keep those? First of all, it is a timeless and classic design. It has a torpedo shape and it was first introduced to the market in 1951. I also like it a lot because it’s the biggest pen in the Montblanc fountain pen range, and it’s very thick with about 13 millimeters at the grip. I find it’s a great fountain pen to take notes and especially for signatures because you can untwist it with just one rotation and quickly sign it, and if you have a nib with a certain width, you get a really characteristic look that is very hard to fake or copy.

In combination with a green ink that I use with my fountain pens, it becomes very difficult to imitate my signature. Because the fountain is so big, it often doesn’t fit in regular cases. So if you look for one, make sure it fits and test it before you buy. I really like the 149 for its large gold nib. Montblanc has excellent nibs that have the right amount of springiness without being too boring, very comfortable to write, and because they’re made out of gold, they will easily adapt to your hand and to your writing and they will remain like that for years to come. Why do I have three fountain pens of exactly the same model, you might wonder? It’s because of the nib width. I have a vintage model from the 50s which an EF nib which stands for extra fine and it has a very different look than a broad nib which is what I usually use to write and take notes on an everyday basis; and that is even slimmer than a very wide O3B nib which means it’s three times as broad as a regular one, and it’s just a very wide look and I use it only for signatures.

The name 149 wasn’t just made up but back in the day, Montblanc had a system where one denoted the masterpiece which was the highest category of fountain pen you could get for them, they also had a second grade, and a third tier, however, they’ve discontinued those today. The four piston filler mechanism which meant you didn’t use cartridges but a lever that you would twist at the back. It’s the same today, you don’t use cartridges, you simply hold the nib into an inkwell and then turn the back knob. 9 is a nib size and a scale from one being the smallest and nine being the largest.

A larger nib has more flexibility, a nicer springiness, and in general, when it comes to fountain pens, larger nibs are Better. Something all Montblanc pens had since almost the beginning is the hexagonal white shape on top of a black background. It’s supposed to resemble the snow on top of the Montblanc mountain in France which is the highest mountain, and they chose it because supposedly they wanted to represent the high quality and Montblanc pen was supposed to be the best in class. As you might notice, all Montblanc nibs have 4810 on it which is actually the height in meters of the Montblanc mountain. Now if you like the design of the my Meisterstuck 149 but you have smaller hands, I suggest to look into the 146 which means it has a smaller nib but also a smaller body; or if you have very small hands or if you’re a woman with likewise pretty small hands, maybe a 144 is right for you. Originally, you could find the 149 only in a yellow gold plating on a clip and on the bands. Today, you can also find it in platinum or rose-gold.

The nib design has changed over time, sometimes it’s 14-karat gold, sometimes 18 karat, sometimes it has yellow gold, white gold, and yellow gold sometimes, it’s just yellow gold at the tip and then all platinum, or white gold. In any case, it always has an iridium tip which is a very hard material that keeps your nib from wearing without sacrificing on the comfort of writing with it. Even though the name Montblanc sounds like French, the company is in fact German which was founded in Hamburg. Is the Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Meisterstuck fountain pen worth its money? When I bought the Meisterstuck 149 10 to 15 years ago, I paid about a quarter of what I would have to pay today. So to me, that’s a great investment even though if you consider inflation. Also, the Montblanc 149 is a very recognizable writing instrument, it’s used by several heads of states around the club to sign certain things, it is made of a resin these days which is very scratch resistant and nice to the touch.

So if you have large hands and you like a classic design that stands the test of time that will have a value that increases over time even though you use the pen, then it’s definitely worth it. When I started collecting fountain pens, the retail price for 149 was about $400, today, it’s 935. If you don’t want to shell that much money but still want to go with that kind of a pen, you can go to the used market, there are lots of 149 available but there are also lots of fakes out there so rather than just going to ebay and buying any random pen, I suggest you go with a trusted seller for used fountain pens that nobody is selling that has a reputation to uphold because then you get a better pen.

It also pays to look at the details such as the clip and look at the original, see how it’s made. The originals are finished very well, they are plated very heavily, so it won’t just come up and rub off, and they always have a laser imprinted serial number which cheaper versions oftentimes don’t. Now when you buy a fountain pen it’s important to remember that it needs to be written in and when you write in your fountain pen, it becomes better over time. Now if you hand it over to someone else to write it with, it will change the characteristic and will take quite a bit of time to rewrite it into your hand again, therefore, a fountain pen should only be written by you and if you buy a used pen, bear in mind that it has to be written in and it will take some time. So at the end of the day, is the 149 worth it? I think, yes, absolutely! If you have the money and if you can afford it.

If you want a likewise big quality writing instrument without the cache of it, may be a Pelikan m-1000 is right for you. In my opinion, the design isn’t as elegant, it usually comes in a dark green barrel, I think you can also get it with a black one, the nib is good, it’s working well, but it definitely lacks the status symbol of the Montblanc 149. If you like a more modern aesthetic on a bigger fountain pen, I suggest you look into the Omas 360. It was recognized by the MoMA in New York, it has an outstanding unique design and such as the design classic, but I still think not as classic and timeless as the 149. Alright, now that you know the 149 is worth it, what about other Montblanc pens? No matter what Montblanc item you have, it will always be a recognizable status symbol. If that is too flashy for you, it’s maybe not the right brand for you. Also, other Montblanc models have come and gone over time, but the one concept that has always been in their lineup is the 149.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of ballpoint pens because I associate it with a very cheap pen that doesn’t roll very easily, some very comfortable to write, and it sometimes leaks, and leaves ugly stains inside of your suit pocket. So if you want a mix, I suggest to always go with a rollerball because it uses ink and it has a ball just like a ballpoint pen but it’s rolls much more smoothly and it’s more comfortable to write. Personally, I always go with a fountain pen even if I travel by plane because I think the look of my handwriting is just much superior and it has a very different character than if I go with a ballpoint pen where it’s always the same thickness.

My personal preferences aside, if you look at the value development of ballpoint pens and rollerballs, the fountain pen is always higher and appreciates more, therefore, I think the rollerball and ball points are not as worth it unless you really hate a fountain pen or you travel by plane a lot. For collecting purposes, the regular Meisterstuck series is not limited by any means and therefore, you only have a certain degree of appreciation over time, however, if you go with limited editions from Montblanc, you can look at those as an investment just like maybe art, musical instruments, or stocks. Today, Montblanc has lots of different limited editions; some are very high-priced, others are very low priced, but if you look at some of the very early editions such as the 1992 Ernest Hemingway pen, which was part of the writers edition and it was based on the 149 but it looked more like its predecessor the 139, it had a coral orange barrel with dark brown elements and today, if you want an unused version, you have to pay anywhere between three-three and a half to four thousand dollars.

At the time when it was launched, it cost just 10% of that and during that same time span, maybe the regular fountain pen only doubled, tripled, or quadrupled in price so investing in those limited editions is definitely worth it over time if you know what you’re doing. Also if you look at pens as an investment, you must never write them and just leave them in the original box with original papers and just keep them in the safe. Now personally, I don’t like it very much. I like to use the quality items I own. Also, Montblanc also produces very small limited editions, sometimes made with solid gold and those are very expensive when you buy them but amongst collectors, usually the prices go up quite a bit. So what about other pens like let’s say the star Walker series? it’s a more modern pen, it’s a more streamlined design, it oftentimes speaks to younger people with a more clean aesthetic or people who like mid-century modern stuff.

Personally, I’m not too fond of the design and I think it will go out of style in 10 or 20 years. we had other Montblanc series and they ran out of favor. now for collectors that can be a nice thing because they’re not around anymore and that’s the price goes up, on the other hand, it can also mean there’s just not a demand for it and so people don’t like it anymore. At the end of the day, when it comes to a pen, you always want to have a really wonderful nib that highlights your character of your handwriting because that what makes it unique and special.

With the one more star Walker series I think you’re even more likely to get a fake product a used market so pay very close attention to where you buy, otherwise, you pay several hundred dollars for something that is worth nothing. For today’s video I chose to wear a classic stroller suit ensemble with a twist. I chose a black jacket because the Montblanc 149 is also black. I combined it with a black and white houndstooth pair of slacks and typically this is a combination that is very formal and the equivalent for day wear for a tuxedo. now because I thought that would be too formal I decided to combine it with a light blue shirt rather than with a white shirt and I went with a wool challis tie in orange turquoise and olive gray I picked up the tones of orange and green and blue in my silk pocket square which is contrasting and texture to the tie and both of them are from Fort Belvedere you can find them in our shop here. I picked up the green elements in a pocket square and the tie and chose a dark olive green pair of Derby shoes it’s a very unusual color mints were yet it’s still dark and it goes with a color scheme of my outfit my socks are charcoal gray which is the mix of white and black of my pants and therefore it goes quite well together it has little clocks on it in red white and black and so it picks up the color in my pants for my cufflinks I wanted to go with some gold cufflinks that match the gold parts of the fountain pen so I opted for a classic Monkey Fist knot cuff link from Fort Belvedere again you can find in our shop here my ring is a yellow gold citrine ring that works again following my cuff links with my pocket square my tie and fountain pen my jacket is single breasted with two buttons and a peak lapel without any flaps and without any side bands because again it’s part of a relatively formal stroller suit however with my colorful accessories I really toned it down and I made it a very business appropriate outfit that is not too stiff

As found on Youtube