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REVIEW: Montblanc Dostoevsky


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34 replies to this topic

#1 QM2

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:49



MONTBLANC DOSTOEVSKY
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.

Packaging

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

Mood
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.

Form
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.

Chasing
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.



Jewel
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.



Section
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.

Ink Window
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.



Nib
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.

Filling Mechanism
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.

Conclusions

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.


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#2 goodguy

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:51

Ah you naughty girl,trying to soduce me to buy it too ha ?

This is one of 5 WE I still need to get.
Great review which makes my longing for another WE pen ever harder (dont have the cash at the moment crybaby.gif ).
Respect to all

#3 QM2

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:01

QUOTE (goodguy @ Apr 20 2009, 03:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ah you naughty girl,trying to soduce me to buy it too ha ?

This is one of 5 WE I still need to get.
Great review which makes my longing for another WE pen ever harder (dont have the cash at the moment crybaby.gif ).


Oh very funny coming form someone who has nearly all the WEs, including all of the most valuable ones! : ))

#4 susibilia

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:09

Ugh, I wish I could afford this pen. Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite writer (I dressed up as Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment for Halloween this year, odd, as I am a non-Russian girl), but there's no way I could ever afford it. I think my parents would throw me out of the house too if I spent that much on a pen.

#5 BerneseMtDogEatsArco

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:20

QM2, I always look forward to your excellent reviews. I especially appreciate your emphasis on the mood and emotion of the pen. I find that the pens often sway how my words phrase themselves on the paper.
I'll take an Aurora, please. Aurora black.

#6 AKAGodSent

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:24

QUOTE (susibilia @ Apr 19 2009, 10:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ugh, I wish I could afford this pen. Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite writer (I dressed up as Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment for Halloween this year, odd, as I am a non-Russian girl), but there's no way I could ever afford it. I think my parents would throw me out of the house too if I spent that much on a pen.



That's OK, Russians will accept you for who you are, as long as you like their authors smile.gif. Dostoevsky is one of my favorites as well, at least more interesting than Tolstoy.

Great review, aside from the Cervantes this is the second pen from the WE series that I'd like to own.
“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Voltaire
"'The French Soldier,' pronounced Rostopchin, 'has to be incited to battle by high-sounding phrases; the German must have it logically proved to him that it is more dangerous to run away than to advance; but the Russian soldier has to be held back, and urged to go slowly!'" War and Peace

#7 goodguy

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:45

QUOTE (QM2 @ Apr 20 2009, 03:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh very funny coming form someone who has nearly all the WEs, including all of the most valuable ones! : ))

But yet I still dont have it and cant afford it right now headsmack.gif
Respect to all

#8 kaisede

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:03

nice review

#9 ampatb

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:08

QM2,

Thanks for writing a wonderful review about a pen I both love and use on a regular basis. Sometimes I sit in my office and wonder why I accumulated a collection of over 60 beautiful and sometimes expensive pens. Then I read your review, pulled out my MB Dostoevsky, Conway Stewart - Duro Heritage, and Parker Greenwich Meridian 2000 SE and know exactly how it all happened.
Great pictures as usual.

AMP


#10 Brian

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:47

Nice review and great photos too. I am glad you like your pen. What kind of point did you get? From here it looks like you are getting some nice line variation. Its also interesting to see a woman with long nails writing. Do they ever get in the way? Sorry if this all sounds stupid since I would be ignorant about the nails.

Best regards

#11 Nikolaos

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 07:55

Nice review! It is a very nice indeed. I sold mine last month but that is just due to the fact that MBs are not the focus of my collection

Enjoy it !

Nikolaos


#12 girlieg33k

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 08:31

Congrats on your Dostoevsky! This is one of my favourite MB WEs, along with the Schiller. Thank you for adding another review on a great writer (author and pen).
Talking about fountain pens is like dancing about architecture.

#13 goodguy

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:53

Oh sorry forgot to compliment you on your picture taking ability.
Wow very nice,I see you took some pointers from Bryant,I still have a long way to go to learn how to control my camera but I am working on it.
Respect to all

#14 QM2

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 12:53

QUOTE (Brian @ Apr 20 2009, 06:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What kind of point did you get? From here it looks like you are getting some nice line variation. Its also interesting to see a woman with long nails writing. Do they ever get in the way? Sorry if this all sounds stupid since I would be ignorant about the nails.


It is a Medium nib that runs on the narrow side and has some stubbish qualities. Eventually, I will most likely custom-italicise it, but can't let go of it just yet to send it out!

Yes, I have long nails, I know it looks weird : ) They grow very quickly, so even when I trim them, what you see in the photo happens by the end of the week. They do not get in the way of writing or holding the pen. In general, the ability to function with long nails depends on the anatomy of one's fingers. Some people have small, round nail beds, making long nails difficult to grow, wield, and maintain. Others (like me) have rectangular and elongated nail beds, making long nails more natural and easier to use.


#15 Michael R.

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 17:45

QM2.

Thank you very much for the nice pictures of your new pen and the interesting review.

The Dostoevsky truly is a beautiful pen.

Cheers

Michael



#16 dandelion

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 21:14

Thanks for a well written review and great pics - I like your pen photos!
*****the dandelion blog is right here*****
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#17 rfranca

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 00:32

QUOTE (susibilia @ Apr 20 2009, 02:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ugh, I wish I could afford this pen. Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite writer (I dressed up as Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment for Halloween this year, odd, as I am a non-Russian girl), but there's no way I could ever afford it. I think my parents would throw me out of the house too if I spent that much on a pen.

save a dollar a day, that's kind of what I'm doing

#18 QM2

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:40

QUOTE (rfranca @ Apr 21 2009, 02:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (susibilia @ Apr 20 2009, 02:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ugh, I wish I could afford this pen. Fyodor Dostoevsky is my favorite writer (I dressed up as Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment for Halloween this year, odd, as I am a non-Russian girl), but there's no way I could ever afford it. I think my parents would throw me out of the house too if I spent that much on a pen.

save a dollar a day, that's kind of what I'm doing


Save a dollar a day, fill all your free time with consulting projects, and stop buying shoes & clothing : ) It works!

#19 chibimie

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 03:51

Thanks for a nice, refreshing 'offcenter' review of a beautiful pen.

It was my very first expensive fountain pen, and its purchase a few years back was what led me to FPN. Like you, I like the slate-blue/grey ink window, and most everything else about it (I had the nib made into a cursive-italic by John Mottishaw). The only thing I don't care for is the underside of the nib, which could look better in my opinion.

Chibimie

#20 shrinknib

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 13:38

QM2
Thank you for a lovely review which is enhanced by the excellent photos.
I was thinking William Faulkner WE but now you have confused me!
But confused in a good way.
I hope you enjoy your Dostoyevsky for many healthy years

Jeremy
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