Gilded Age

Mont­blanc proves its weight in gold by us­ing the pre­cious metal to man­u­fac­ture the nibs of its writ­ing in­stru­ments, writes Ter­ence Lim

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE -

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

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