"I think ONE of them is yours..." my wife quickly point to the boxes, as the salesperson was about to leave us and determine to dig the shelves again, "it seems to have your name written on the sticky note". True enough, not only my name was misspelled on the note, but it seems like whoever that put those boxes together with my reservation note, was kind enough to include 2 choices of nibs M and F for me to choose. Splendid. Good thing my wife has a good eye there, the agony of waiting any longer was unbearable. Perhaps the experience of driving through a sandstorm earlier on from Abu Dhabi to Dubai has made our senses sharper and more alert, and me a bit edgier.
On the way into the boutique I was already mesmerized by an exhibition by Mont Blanc and Magrudy's Bookshop to honour all the great writers, by displaying the fantastic Writers Edition writing instruments along with the respective literature of those authors. This was done just outside the boutique and it was great to see some of these pieces that I may never lay eyes on, especially the older ones. (Here a separate posting covering the exhibition. http://www.fountainp...ers-exhibition/)
I walked out from the store with a sense of satisfaction of acquiring this pen after much looking around. It was only recently that I took up interest in the Writers Edition and soon begin to realise that the ones I really like are beginning to dissapear from the marketplace. In the meantime, I shall enjoy my newest acquisition, the Mark Twain.
Lets get on to the pen, shall we?
APPEARANCE AND DESIGN 9/10
I'm sure many of you are aware of the special packaging for the WE series, a box that looks like a book that opens up and revealing the writing instrument within, wrapped in plastic. The concept of the pen revolves around the Mississippi River. The wavy etched pattern on the deep blue resin barrel resembles the waves of the river while the crown on the cap mimics the shape of steamboat chimneys, while the clip resembles the jew's harp. The clip design is both delicate and well detailed and well made. Mark Twain's signature is on the platinum ring right below the clip, very well placed. The wavy sinuous lines adds depth to the already gorgeous deep blue precious resin, and the platinum clip and rings all completes the dimension of this spectacular pen. The deep blue resin has a nice and deep tone to it. It seems to be more opaque compared to the standard Black resin. The ivory colour resin for the MB logo is an eye catcher. The large Mont Blanc emblem has its appeal and the overall design composition is easy on the eye. The platinum plated piston knob seems to create a visual balance for the whole pen, which is suitable for the design.
CONSTRUCTION AND QUALITY 8
The pen felt exceptionally well built and quality control is great. However the resin body would require extra care from cracks and scratches. Most of the contact point of the pen when capped, placed on flat surface would be first be met with either the piston nob, the ring, and the ‘crown’ on the cap or the clip, all made from platinum. Hence minimal contact reduces the chances of scratches. Overall its a well and solidly built pen.
WEIGHT AND DIMENSION 8
I like the weight of the pen and it gives a confidence of a well built pen. One thing for certain, writing with it uncapped is better in terms of balance and weight. Capping it makes it heavier and encumbered. It is safe to say that it’s a well balanced pen (uncapped) and not too huge nor too small for majority of users. The etched wavy lines somewhat makes me want to run my fingers all the time, just like any other well textured pen, makes you wants to always feel it and pick it up. Here's a comparison with the 149.
NIB AND PERFORMANCE 9
Loading it up with MB black and performing all the rituals of filling up is just another experience while appreciating the details and texture of this pen. The nib is engraved with 2 fathoms,tied knots indicating the navigable depth of the Mississippi, simple but elegant. When the nib touches the paper, the whole world just stood still and it glides effortlessly on the paper, producing wet and wonderful lines. Yes, its THAT good. it’s a wet and smoother writer and great for fast writing. It has very minor feedback, almost non existent sometimes when my writing angle is consistent. Mine is a M nib, to fill the gap of MB nibs in my small collection so far. If all MB pens writes this well every time I’ve tested them, I’d be very broke by now. Anyone who loves wet and smooth nibs will love this.
FILLING SYSTEM AND MAINTENANCE 8
Standard MB piston filling system, fills up nicely and works well as expected. There are no windows to see the level of ink but that’s not really a problem for me, I would not want the design to be compromised. I have not cleaned it nor refill it so I can't quite comment in that department. For the exterior, there always seem to have specks of dust getting trapped in the etched lines along the surface of the barrel. The lines are small enough to be subtle but large enough for the dust to fall off. One may have the tendency to use brushes that may be abrasive and may scratch the surface, so exercise care here.
COST AND VALUE 7
This is the latest WE out there and though it is suppose to be more readily available compared to the previous ones. I’ve gotten mine from an official boutique approximately at USD 1k with a good serial number (11333/12000) and great service. I foresee that this is one of the WE that will be quickly taken up and already I had problems locating just the fountain pen. There are some really good deals on previous WE in the MB boutiques here nationwide, between 20-30% off depending on models but this particular one seems to be an exception.
FINAL SCORE 8.168
My first WE fountain pen and I am just thrilled that I have made this choice. I am looking at other WE pens and it’s a race against time to grab them while they are still available out there. The Mark Twain is an ornate and yet tastefully done pen, well balanced, great refill system and most important of all, a fantastic writer. This should be seriously considered by any collectors out there.
The Mark Twain has passed the smoothness test and looks good enough to eat, but will it pass the Ultimate Choco Desert challenge? Stay tune.....
Edited by Sidestreaker, 30 January 2011 - 16:36.