1997 Writers Edition
First, I would like to refer to Richard Binder's original review of the Montblanc Dostoevsky, which I have gone back to
many a time in deciding whether to purchase my pen. The purpose of my review is to offer additional photos and some
supplementary comments. I hope you will find these useful and interesting.
I received my Dostoevsky new and sealed. I am not sure whether this is a standard edition or something special, but the box
was labeled as a "set" rather than just a pen, because it came in a large, fancy presentation box with a copy of a letter written
by the author. The regular WE box containing the pen itself, was inside of this larger box. The presentation is tastefully
executed, and extracting the pen feels as if you are opening a book inside of a book.
Looks and Design
The one thing I must express about this pen, is the strong sense of mood it evokes, which I feel to be extremely appropriate
given the writing style of the author for whom the pen is named. All the design elements come together just right, to bring
about a sense of a delicate, evasive, moody and dark sort of glamour -- which I feel to be very 19th Century Russian. This
quality is what I think makes the pen truly special.
The Dostoevsky is a classic straight-sided domed-top, the design based on the early Montblanc fountain pens up to the late
1930s. In case you have not been exposed to my ramblings on this subject yet, I absolutely adore pens of this shape, and
already own the MB Schiller WE, as well as the 100 Year Pen, which share this look.
The resin barrel of the pen is engraved with an attractive design resembling a sort of stylised "xoxo" pattern. The chasing is
a pleasure to look at and to run your fingers across. It is also surprisingly delicate and intricately executed. In addition to
being beautiful, the chasing evokes a glamourised style of Russian folk-craft that was popular in provincial home decor in
the 19th and early 20th century Russian upper class.
Clip and Trim
The stylised engraving continues along the gold clip and trim of the pen, including the double cap rings and the ring that
separates the barrel from the piston knob.
Prior to deciding that I wanted the Dostoevsky, I was choosing between it and the Wilde. (For those interested, this thread
offers some helpful comments and interesting facts about both pens.) My main concern about the Dostoevsky, was that the
blue jewel on the clip would look out of place and disrupt the harmony of the pen. Several people replied, that although this
may seem to be the case from looking at stock photos, in reality the jewel is unobtrusive, and the pen looks harmonious. I
wanted very much for this to be the case, but worried about it until the moment I opened the packaging.
Happily, I report that the blue jewel at the end of the clip (a synthetic sapphire) indeed fits the overall design extremely well.
The round stone is cut in such a way, that it stays quite dark unless light falls directly upon it, at which point it lights up a
deep royal blue. This design element suggests at once the moodiness and the debaucherous glitz of a disenchanted nobility
that fills the pages of Dostoevsky's work. I like it. I find my photos to be representative of the way the jewel comes across
in real life.
Hurray! The MB designers have smiled upon me and endowed the Dostoevsky with the lovely vintage-style, curved section
that I so love because of my low grip.
The ink window is an absolutely gorgeous, subtle shade of slate blue -- one of my favourite colours. It interacts well with the
darker and more saturated shade of the blue jewel on the clip, contributing to the overall mood of the design.
As on all WEs, the Doestoevsky is fitted with a 146 sized nib, that has been specially decorated -- in this case with an
elaborate pattern evocative of Russian folk art that echoes the style of the chasing and the trim. The nib on my pen is a
Medium. It writes exceptionally smoothly and required no adjustments out of the (sealed) box. I would say it is on the
narrow side of Medium and has a stubbish quality to it.
Lovely, smooth piston filler that functions perfectly despite the 12 years it has spent in the box after its manufacture.
Cost and Value
I believe the MSRP for a new Dostoevsky is in the $800s or $900s? My pen was bought at a discount during a sale from an
official retailer. It was a great sale, but still, of course, the pen was not cheap. I have seen used ones on the FPN
marketplacego for $450-600s, depending on condition.
Even after having studied many photographs and having read several owners' descriptions of the Dostoevsky, I did not
anticipate the extent of its dramatic presence. The design elements fit together perfectly to evoke the world created by the
writer in his novels, plays and stories. The references to various aspects of Russian culture and art are subtle and well-placed.
And amidst my aesthetic praise, I have almost neglected to mention that the pen is extremely comfortable to write with,
having immediately become a rival to my favourite MB, the Schiller WE. I refer you again to Richard Binder's review, which
outlines the wonders of this pen's construction and hits upon all the practical points that have not been discussed here.
Edited by QM2, 20 April 2009 - 13:19.