Montblanc proves its weight in gold by using the precious metal to manufacture the nibs of its writing instruments, writes Terence Lim
Like the highest mountain in the Alps that bears the same name, Montblanc sits atop the luxury writing instrument industry. It is at the pinnacle of craftsmanship and innovation, having upheld high manufacturing standards for its writing instruments and pioneering new technology and mechanisms since 1906. To share its passion and expertise with like-minded aficionados, the German marque took part in Homo Faber, an exhibition organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit entity that champions master craftsmanship in the world of design. The showcase in September brought together the finest European savoir faire under one roof at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. Montblanc demonstrated the rare art of gold nib craftsmanship, a skill honed in its Hamburg manufacture for more than a century and continues to be passed down through generations of artisans. On show were the different nibs that it vaunts: the Montblanc Nib, the Bespoke Nib, the Bejewelled Nib, and the brand’s latest addition, the Expression Nib. The Montblanc Nib comes in different sizes, and it takes master artisans 35 steps to assemble each one. The grinding process gives the metal piece its shape—and soul— while the precise assembly of the ink feeder case, the ink feeder and the gold nib ensures smooth ink flow and premium writing quality. In fashion parlance, the Bespoke Nib is akin to haute couture, where every factor that can affect the writing experience is taken into consideration. A special software is used to capture the unique characteristics of one’s handwriting before factors such as writing pressure and angle of inclination are analysed. With the data captured, a Montblanc expert will recommend the exact nib that corresponds with the client’s needs and wants. Those looking for a more exquisite alternative can opt for the Jewellery Nib, which can be customised with precious gemstones and decorated with intricate engravings. At Homo Faber, Montblanc also launched the Expression Nib, its latest and most advanced nib, which is set to debut next summer. It is fully crafted out of gold and is made for more elaborate calligraphy, thanks to its flexible nib, which allows for a variety of writing styles with high-level precision. Montblanc is also known for its superlative quality control standards. Every writing instrument must be tested by hand using different writing angles, pressures and speeds. It even employs an acoustics expert, who listens to the sound each nib makes as it traverses a sheet of paper. Only nibs that don’t scratch or snag the paper will receive the nod. It is no wonder then that Montblanc is the leader of the luxury writing instrument industry. With years of experience and in-depth know-how, it manufactures writing instruments that are a hit with consumers, and looks set to continue writing itself into the luxury annals—with a Montblanc writing instrument, of course.
TIP TOP Every nib is made with tough quality control measures; the Meisterstück Le Petit Prince Solitaire Legrand Fountain Pen features a nib intricately engraved with the story’s titular character, testament to Montblanc’s top-notch craftsmanship