ST Dupont entered the luxury pen market in 1972. Their first design was the Classique, a very slim, pretty conventional pen of the period. It was executed using the finest materials available and with ST Duponts typical attention to detail at all levels.
Here is an example of a typical Classique pen.
The next series was the Gatsby. With the Gatsby ST Dupont addressed some of the limitations found in the Classique. It is still a slim pen as was popular at the time, but because the section (the part that holds the nib) is internal, the feel of the pen is much better. It looks slim but feels stout.
About 1989 ST Dupont introduced what would become their flagship pen until the introduction of the Olympio series. It was called Montparnasse.
The Montparnasse was a departure for them and the only pen they have offered that has a screw on threaded cap. Like the earlier models the attention to detail is perfect.
With the Montparnasse we see another increase in the girth of the pen, it has a body slightly wider than the Gatsby, and like the Gatsby, the section is internal and you hold the body itself when writing.
Capped, the Montparnasse is almost exactly the same length as the later Fidelio, but when posted it is slightly longer.
Since the section is internal, just as with the Gatsby, ST Dupont needed a way to remove the section to fill the converter or replace the ink cartridge without the owner getting ink all over his fingers. With the Gatsby they solved that problem by allowing the owner to twist the cap to remove the section, but the screw type cap on the Montparnasse required a different solution.
Fortunately ST Dupont had a solution in house, the same method they used with their lighters.
At the base of the body you find a swing out handle that unscrews the section from the body.
It is a complicated system but as expected, works smoothly, reliably and effortlessly.
Like most ST Dupont pens it has a solid brass body so it is a fairly heavy pen. Balance though, as expected, is perfect and I can write for hours without fatigue or pain in my hands. The nib as with all ST Dupont pens is gold, in this case 18K gold in a wrap around design.
The Montparnasse was offered in two styles.
The basic model had either heavy gold or silver plating on a brass body with Guilloche work or in a solid color Chinese Lacquer finish.
The upscale model was the Chairman, and there ST Dupont played with the combination of intricate Guilloche work covered by many layers of translucent Chinese Lacquer. The combination of the facets in the Guilloche and the layers of lacquer means that light constantly reflects differently so that the appearance is always changing. The lacquer also warms to the hand and adds a wonderful tactile experience when used.
The Chairman arrived in a really simple white box, certainly no hint of what was inside.
Inside I found a wood grained plastic box.
When opened it displayed the pen nestled into a fitted recess and simply a plaque saying Chairman.
Of all my ST Dupont pens, the Montparnasse has to be one of my favorites. The size is comfortable, the pen has a commanding presence without being imposing, like all ST Dupont pens they write smoothly, effortlessly, consistently, without any hesitation.
Edited by jar, 14 January 2010 - 18:21.