Modern world history embodied in fine writing instruments
The pen that wrote Nobel prize winning books. The pen that symbolized the transfer of power in Russia. The pen that is the preferred writing instrument of achievers, from Formula 1 champions to movie stars to footballers to the Pope. The pen that has participated in, and been witness to, history in the making for over a century.
Yes, there is much to recommend the Montegrappa as the pen to adorn your escritoire. Yet, talk to the brand’s CEO, Guisseppe Aquila. and he will immediately delve into the nuanced qualitative distinctions which set the Montegrappa apart as a writing instrument that indubitably deserves a class of its own.
“The passion for pen manufacturing and giving the best to the connoisseurs of writing instruments has been the driving force for the Aquila family that goads Montegrappa to use only best of materials and the best of craftsmen to handle the complex process from ideation to development to deciding about the manufacturing process to use to prototype to final execution of the designs for the pens and other products,” he says. He goes on to add that the Montegrappa pen is made of exclusive materials such as precious resin, ebonite, and precious metals like sterling silver, solid gold, diamond and platinum. Montegrappa is also one of the very few pen manufacturers in the world who have mastered the art of using celluloid to make pens. Celluloid, which is extracted from cotton fiber, is mixed with color pigments and mother of pearl and conditioned for more than 18 months before it is suitable for use.
Guisseppe says that exclusive manufacturing techniques are another differentiator for Montegrappa as each design calls for
specific materials and techniques. In the case of the limited edition pens, for example, hand etching, die casting, low relief engraving, hot enameling… and other such methods are put to use, both traditional and tech enabled. As he puts it, “At Montegrappa, tradition and innovation co-exist.” What this means is that while state of the art software is used to create 3D designs and prototypes are made using 3D printing, the actual manufacturing of the limited edition pens is by hand. An example is the Q1 pen. This is the only fountain pen in the world that has multiple color ink barrels inside – a technology patented by Montegrappa.
All of this is why, Montegrappa is the most revered brand among the world’s calligraphers, fastidious collectors, and lovers of objets d’art, especially for its limited edition pens that commemorate events, locales, and individuals. Among the subjects embodied in Montegrappa writing instruments have been the America’s Cup, the town of St Moritz, La Fenice Opera House in Venice, and St Andrews Golf Course among others.
Montegrappa has recently introduced an ‘Icons’ series that pays tribute to cultural giants of its first century, such as Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Ayrton Senna, Pele, Elvis Presley, Quincy Jones, Paulo Coelho, Frank Sinatra and many more across different fields. The latest in this series is the Genio
Creativo Kahlil Gibran pen, which pays homage to the Lebanese American poet and philosopher. In honour of the year of his birth, the Kahlil Gibran limited edition consists of 1883 examples each of fountain pens, roller balls and ball point pens. Each series of pens will be numbered 1/1883 to 1883/1883. The pens are to be auctioned to raise funds through Smile Foundation.
The core range of Montegrappa pens includes the very popular Nero Uno, Espressione, Emblema, Miya, Extra 1930, Privilege Deco and Memoria. Then of course you have the Dragon series which was launched in 1995. This was the pen that then Russian President Boris Yeltsin handed over to Vladimir Putin, when he symbolically handed over power to him.
The Dragon holds an important place in Montegrappa’s history. 1912, the year the brand came into being was also when the last Chinese
ruling dynasty, Qing, ceased to exist. The dragon was the dynasty’s symbol. Consequently, the brand celebrated its hundredth anniversary year by launching a limited edition Centennial Dragon series in 2012. This has exactly a 100 pens – 33 in rose gold, 33 in yellow gold, 33 in white gold and one called the Ultimate Centennial Dragon, which is is made of 300 gm of solid gold, and studded with diamonds, rubies and a pearl. Priced at a whopping $ 1 million, this Ultimate Centennial Dragon pen offers buyers a VIP factory tour by a member of the Aquila family, followed by lunch or dinner with members of the board including F1 racing driver, Jean Alesi, first class air fare from any destination to Venice international airport and transfer to Bassano del Grappa, as well as two nights in a luxury hotel in Bassano del Grappa or Asolo and three nights in Venice. Montegrappa’s Bespoke pens are perhaps the best testimony to the brand’s uncanny ability to constantly rise above itself. As Guiseppe Aquila says, “Bespoke is easy to define, but challenging to realise. A dictionary will state the definition as, simply, ‘made to order.’ The challenge is in offering an authentic and genuinely bespoke service, understanding precisely what the client desires, and creating the object to match the exact specifications. At Montegrappa, we enjoy over 100 years’ experience in the use of artisan skills. We have never known a period without offering hand-finished objects for discerning customers. We have assembled
the finest engravers in Europe to translate your desires into images in precious metal. We match each design to a pen that will complement and showcase the engraving, the client selecting from a broad palette of colours in our range of celluloid barrels. In doing so, we create a pen that represents the client’s passion, possessing the same personality as the person who carries it. It is, literally, like no other on earth.”
Montegrappa writing instruments have been used by a galaxy of illustrious personalities - writers Ernest Hemingway, Paulo Coelho, and John Dos Passos, Italian leaders Victor Emmanuel
III and Benito Mussolini, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, former Italian President, Silvio Berlusconi, His Holiness John Paul II, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, His Majesty Sultan Hassan al Bolkiah of Brunei, Antonio Banderas, Al Pacino, Bill Cosby, Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Stirling Moss, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, Naomi Campbell, Jean Alesi, Sylvester Stallone and countless others. If all this has got you wanting to add your name to the list, now it is easy to do so. Montegrappa has opened two monobrand stores in India: at DLF Emporio, Delhi and at Palladium, Mumbai.
And while you are picking up the pen of your choice, you may also care to pair it with some other finely crafted accessories. Yes, Montegrappa also manufactures cufflinks, watches, leather accessories& leather bags, to give you a well rounded way to make a personality statement.