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Montblanc 342g

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5 replies to this topic

#1 jde



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Posted 29 August 2010 - 16:05

I have long wanted to try a vintage Montblanc and the 342g seemed like a good entry-level fountain pen. I read a lot about the MB 342 here on FPN. It always seems to get praise but also is noted as being too small for most people. I bought this pen from Gary Lehrer (gopens.com) and it arrived promptly in Gary's usual sturdy packaging. Gary listed this pen as a 1951 model with a medium nib with flex.

Appearance & Design (9): This is a basic black pen with a conservative, simple design. The blue ink window gives this pen a little colorful flair. The first models of the 342 have an outline star on the cap instead of the white star logo. The outline was one of the reasons I chose this model. Being an economy model MB, the nib is understated with basic informative imprints: Montblanc 14C 585. The piston knob holds both the model number and the nib size: 3-42.G and KF.
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Construction and Quality (9):
There is nothing flimsy about this pen. It's acrylic with a clean blue ink window.

Weight and Dimensions (9): This pen is for those of us who like/need small, lightweight pens. The pen is similar in size to a 1950's Pelikan 400. The pen weighs 14 grams capped and un-inked. After inking the pen weighs 16 grams. Capped, the pen is 4 7/8" long. Unposted the pen is 4 ¼" nib to barrel end. If you must post it, the pen is 5 5/8" long.
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Nib and Performance (9): The flexible nib is quite manageable for someone like me who is still unsure of flex. What I didn't know until I saw the nib was that it was a KF, Kugel Fine or ball-point nib. It's meant to write smoothly at various angles. I suppose it does… all I know it is a smooth, nice writer. Good, consistent ink-flow. However, when I first inked the pen no ink flowed at all. Then I remembered what eric47 suggests about vintage ebonite feeds needing some time to saturate. Knowing the pen had sat ununused for a very long time, I soaked the nib a bit, inked it up and laid it on its side overnight. It's been writing without any issue ever since. [Update: Gary suggests that dipping this pen in ink would have been enough to saturate the feed and that perhaps there was an air pocket that needed to work its way out. While there is no definitive answer, the good news is it has been performing perfectly since the initial balking.]
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Filling System and Maintenance (9):
Piston-filling pen. Very easy to fill. Good ink capacity in a small pen. Similar to the 1950's Pelikan 400.

Cost and Value (9): I spent $150 for the pen from a trusted pen seller with a year's warranty. That was a reasonable price to me. Depending on where you look, you can find these pens for less or for much more. You takes your chances, folks. :happyberet:

Conclusion (9): The 342g is a great little vintage pen. It will serve its intended purpose: as a daily writer and for those times a discreet, basic black pen is desired when out in the world. Highly recommended!

Inked with Montblanc Bordeaux:
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Edited by jde, 29 August 2010 - 22:22.

...writing only requires focus, and something to write on. —John August
...and a pen that's comfortable in the hand.—moi

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#2 777


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Posted 29 August 2010 - 18:29

Nice review! Thank you!

I've begun to take an interest in vintage flex nibs so this might someday become an option.


Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.

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#3 ethernautrix


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Posted 29 August 2010 - 20:23

Aw, that is a sweet lil' MB, Julie!

Ever since I've been using my Nakayas the most (but not exclusively), my comfort zone has shifted back to the smaller pens. Which means looking at the smaller pens I used to ignore and now I'm all *raises an eyebrow, thinks, "Oh really? Hm...*

But I've reinforced the Nakaya Shield, so I'm able to resist some similar MBs offered in the Marketplace despite your persuasive review (and the details of those other pens). AAAARGH! PENS! Why are they so beguiling?!


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#4 piembi



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Posted 29 August 2010 - 21:22

Thanks for this nice review. The little 342 is worth it!

I have one with a M nib and another one with an OB nib. Both are some of my best nibs and I can highly recommend the 342 if one is looking for a nice entry level vintage MB.

#5 handwriter


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Posted 29 August 2010 - 22:15

Great review, loved it, and it seems a great pen, glad to hear you're having fun with it, those flex nibs are reeeeeally fun aren't they.
A recent thread asks why buying vintage, I think a pen like this one is a good answer.
I though several times of buying this model or a close one (344...) from Gary, but always something Soennecken got in the way.
I'm a user, baby. We love what we do not possess. Plato, probably about pens.

#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 20:54

I have a 234 1/2 Deluxe (52-55 only)a bit more off the 139 line in it's cap, than yours; which is more off the 146 line.
Mine is a KOB...and it is semi-flex.
I have a Geha 790 KM, which I like a lot too, in semi-flex.

From the writing, I believe yours could be semi-flex also.

I'm probably going to stick my foot in my mouth, but I don't know how much experience you have with flexible nibs or semi-flex nibs. You did not say.

If you do not have to worry about railroad tracks, it's semi-flex. If you have to worry about railroad tracks it's flexible.

I imagine you have to press "a bit" to get the tines to spread that much as you wrote. I do for semi-flex.
With F-1 flexible or maxi-semi-flex, you hardly have to press at all, but all you get is @ semi-flex spread.
Do you have any other flexible nibs? Or Semi-flex nibs?

I'd had about 18 pens with "semi-flex" nibs...two of them turned out to be F-1 flexible, or maxi-semi-flex. It had taken me a bit of time to realize exactly what I had. I'm some times slow off the starting blocks.

After I knew the difference between semi-flex and F-1. I laid my hands on two more F-1 nibs; knowing exactly what they were when I pressed them to my thumbnail.
As with a semi-flex to a regular nib, the flex of the tines is easier and the spread of the tines is deeper in the slit. Flexible flexes more and easy and the spread of the tines is deeper in the slit than a semi-flex.

Knowing what an F1 was like I knew immediately the broken pen in my hand had an F-2. I bought the nib knowing what I had.

If you have a flexible nib fine. Do go to www.richardspens.com/ , some one wrote an article for him, on how easy it is to spring a flexible nib.

In the '50s I read the MB nibs were the same, in the 1xx, 2xx and 3xx.
The 234 1/2 KOB is my favorite pen.

I post. I write forefinger up, and it nestles deep in the web of my thumb.

I wonder why everyone calls the Over sized pens ... normal and the normal pens small.
Posted my 234 1/2 is not a small pen at all, it is as large as a posted 400NN, which was the largest pen of the Pelikan line of the time.
The 146 of the '50's was a smaller pen than today. The 149 was considered a Big Pen.
The 234 1/2 is the same size as an Esterbrook DJ, which was a normal sized pen of it's day...not a small pen.

Ah, Ha...it's only a small pen to those who do not post it...

Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 03 September 2010 - 20:58.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




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