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Montblanc Boheme Review


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56 replies to this topic

#1 ImolaS3

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 21:39

Hi

Well, despite my recent promise to myself not to buy another pen this year after recently getting my lovely 149 and (finally) my grail pen (waterman Serenite).

But....

I needed wanted a fountain pen for my pocket as I don't like ball point pens and the only 'pocket pen' I have is the Space Pen. I looked at a vanishing point as that draws the nib inside ready for carrying and there is less chance of ink ending up on the pocket as happens when the cap comes off a pen in your pocket. However, the clip being next to the nib is just plain silly and there is no way i could put up with such lunacy :)
As the cap is prone to fall off a pen in ones pockets, i decided to use my small (when capped) Pilot M90 in a small material pouch and that worked pretty well until I was in John lewis the other day......

I saw a MB Boheme a short while back in a local high-end pen shop and had a small play. The nib is retractable into the pen and it comes with a small top that screws on and the clip is in the right place!!!
£415 though? Not after the two recent purchases.

Well, in John Lewis is was reduced to just over half price! Yep, there was no hesitation :)

In summary of what is to come, this pen is perfect for what i want, an extremely high quality pen that won't stain my pockets and is very sort and unobtrusive, yet when posted is a nice size to use with a good, comfortable width.


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Nib wound back in by twisting the rear section (easier when the pen is posted).
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Nib partially extended - because I can :)
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Rather gorgeous, smooth and silky 14K medium nib.
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The pen ready to use, posted and nib fully extended.
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This pen will only accept cartridges, no option for a converter due to its short length. The end snaps open on a hinge to reveal the top of the cartridge and then one rotates the end cap a little more to screw the cartridge out ready to be easily removed.
Rather pleasantly, the pen takes standard cartridges and I happen to have quite a few Diamine and Private Reserve cartridges lying in a drawer and the pen is currently filled with Private Reserve Avocado.
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So, the size. Here it is lying next to my Pelikan M400 for comparison
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Around the same length when Pelikan unposted and MB posted.
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Even at the price I paid, it is an expensive pen and I am not about to carry it in my jeans pocket without some protection against accidental knocking against anything else in there (keys, money, phone - I only carry a phone in a leather case in the same pocket 99% of the time).
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So, in summary there is really nothing I can fault on this pen (it is a Montblanc after all, so very good quality and a little pricey) for the use I have in mind it is perfect.


Better than vanishing point? In my opinion, they don't even come close (if the VP had a cap and the clip at the right end though.... :) )
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#2 shl

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 21:46

one would think it's a better pen at three times the price

#3 fountainpenlady

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 22:34

one would think it's a better pen at three times the price


Just a small caution and maybe the issue has been resolved over the years, there used to be a time that the retractable feature allowed the pen to easily retract while writing since it was so smooth and loved to glide. It may only be for left handed as I am one and I actually had this issue when I had one of the original ones w/o stone. Therefore, I purchased the teenage Boheme which was not retractable. In any case, it is still a beautiful instrument in my opinion. Nice review and enjoy!!

Also, just my opinion, you pay for the MontBlanc history, name and reputation and that is why it may be as if you are paying more for the privilege of owning it. I think it is quite a personal decision and one that only the individual can decide whether all are worth the price. Personally, I liked, when young, the idea of pulling out a snow capped mountain instrument that meant quality in my mind and perhaps others. I was young :ltcapd:

Edited by fountainpenlady, 09 May 2011 - 22:38.

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#4 StyloBug33

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 23:11

Very nice review, thank you. I have a Boheme that looks a lot like that but it does not have a retractible nib. I really enjoy mine and believe the quality was worth the cost. I am hoping to get a MB 146 at some point in the not-too-distant future.
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#5 Guest_Subvet642_*

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 12:56

Thanks for the review. I have this pen, it was my first MB and it was the one that pushed me down the slope. I got mine some years ago and they must have fixed the retracting problem; mine works just fine.

#6 Koyote

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 13:41

I don't understand: what is the benefit of a retractable nib if you have to first remove a cap?

#7 Guest_Subvet642_*

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 13:50

I don't understand: what is the benefit of a retractable nib if you have to first remove a cap?



Well, first I suppose, is the "cool" factor, but with the retractable nib and short cap you have a very small pen that "expands" for use. Also, should the cap come off in your pocket, the nib won't contact the pocket fabric and wick ink all over your pocket.

#8 nicholasyeo

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 15:07

I also found the retracting a problem. And The cap was finnicky and
could damage my nib if someone tried to turn on the knob. And,
there was only cartridges. The size is perfect, though. And the nibs
are of course, satisfyingly larger than the VP. But for price point,
I think VP is still miles ahead in terms of capless engineering.

Edited by nicholasyeo, 10 May 2011 - 15:09.


#9 breaker

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 16:36

nice review and pics
thanks!
Cogito ergo sum

#10 ImolaS3

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 20:01

I don't understand: what is the benefit of a retractable nib if you have to first remove a cap?


Caps often come off pens (snap or crew caps) when they are stored in a pocket and then the nib bleeds into the pocket (I did say this in the review). With a retracted nib, the top coming off is not a problem
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#11 ImolaS3

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 20:08

. But for price point,I think VP is still miles ahead in terms of capless engineering.


Depends how much you pay :) I would not pay the full £415 asking price for this pen, but am over the moon with the price I paid for mine.

Having compared a VP to the MB, I cannot agree with you, the VP is not even close in terms of engineering (I am a degree qualified engineer with nearly 30 years engineering design experience :) )


No issues with the retraction so far and hopefully no one will turn the knob with the cap on mine!! (definitely don't let people use my MBs)
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#12 MikeF

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 00:13

The retractable nib's advantage is to make the pen shorter. The nib has to be fully retracted for the cap to be screwed. BTW, things are nicely arranged so that when you unscrew the posted cap the nib retracts in sequence.

I gave one of these to an aunt of mine and she really loves it.

#13 BillLS

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 01:49

Don't worry about turning the knob with the cap on. If you look closely you will find that there is a flat spot on the front of the feed under the nib. There is a flat-ended spike inside the cap. If you try to extend the nib with the cap on, the flat spot on the feed will stop against the spike before the nib hits anything. Montblanc engineering is thorough.

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#14 ImolaS3

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 16:05

Don't worry about turning the knob with the cap on. If you look closely you will find that there is a flat spot on the front of the feed under the nib. There is a flat-ended spike inside the cap. If you try to extend the nib with the cap on, the flat spot on the feed will stop against the spike before the nib hits anything. Montblanc engineering is thorough.


Cool, hadn't noticed that :)
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#15 Malcy

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 23:11

An interesting pen, I hadn't realised that they were that small. I use a Kaweco Sport if I want a very small trouser pocket pen.

I have to say though that carrying a pen in my pocket over many years, I have never had a cap come off.
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#16 fabrimedeiros

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 23:46

I also found the retracting a problem. And The cap was finnicky and
could damage my nib if someone tried to turn on the knob. [...]



No, the cap cannot damage the nib, cause there is a system into the cap to avoid it.

#17 Morrighan

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 00:11

I bought the earliest Boheme - the Rogue et Noir - that met a sad, pointless and ultimately mysterious end and soon replaced it with the same model reviewed here (synthetic sapphire stone). I was originally attracted to it because I had a theoretical romance with "real" safety pens, and because the Boheme was just so ... cool. Yes, I was sucked in for the geek factor, and (sort of) dealt with my aversion to cartridge-only pens. The Boheme also helped me overlook the fact that I just hate black pens. So yeah, I use it - sometimes, such as when it's November or I am obliged to attend a funeral - despite the fact that it is cartridge-only and black.*

The surprise in use is just how heavy it is (no I don't know how many grams it weighs). For just a little critter, it's a surprisingly weighty little beastie. It sits well in my hand and is very comfortable to write with, despite its mass. In fact, it's very enjoyable to write with.

So we'll start off with two in the plus column for the Boheme.

Living with it: ease of maintenance is among the things that prevents me from using it more frequently. It's just one big hassle to flush. I settled on cutting off the end of a long cartridge. Then I fit a rubber ear syringe on the back of the cartridge and flush. This is just wrong. Nobody should need a Rube Goldberg mechanism to flush their pen before putting it up. Oh, and there are (were?) special Montblanc cleaning cartridges that sell for a hefty sum, and the instructions state that they are not for re-use. Fat chance at that price.

Repair history: Like its long lost brother the Rogue et Noir, my Boheme was mildly cursed. The propelling mechanism froze. I do not know why it froze but it made the Boheme uniquely useless. I was obliged to send it to Santa's Workshop, and I want to tell you Santa don't work for free. Montblanc probably figures if you can afford one of their pieces, you won't mind the bill they present when your Montblanc falters.

That makes two in the minus column, so I'll call it even.

My summary: I really like my Boheme, within limits. As a writer, it really shines. Oh yes, I really do enjoy using mine when I do, it's quite comfortable to use. A sort of guilty pleasure, like tearing into Swiss chocolate.

Second thoughts: I own a few modern pens that cost considerably less, write as well or better than the Boheme, and aren't high maintenance.

Final thoughts: With some marks in both the plus and minus columns, for me, it's still a keeper.



* My aversion to black pens also means I hold an aversion to black ink. "Never, never, never, never, never!" to quote from King Lear.

EDIT: for content and clarity.

Edited by Trebster, 12 May 2011 - 00:26.


#18 greencobra

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 02:27

Very nice review. I love the mechanics of these pens. I had Bry round me up a full size Boheme 2 years ago, absolutely a great pen, no doubt.
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#19 andybiotic

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 03:16

I have a MB Noir et Noir (black jewel and black barrel) It is the predecessor of Boheme for a few months it was out untill they got sued for the name which was already patented somewhere else, they had to recall all Noir et Noir and replace the barrel ring to have it inscribed "Boheme" before releasing it again. It is essentially the same pen as the boheme just with different inscriptions on the ring and there is no section ring.

Just like the Boheme, it is a beautiful pen and I just LOVE, and at the same time HATE, the retractable nib! I love it for its WOW factor and elegance, I hate it because it is horrible to clean! You can't get anything in the barrel wet or the turning mechanism will rust! So DON'T soak the pen!

Incidentally, how DO you clean it??

All in all I think it is a great pen, really underappreciated by many...

Edited by andybiotic, 01 June 2011 - 03:24.

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#20 ImolaS3

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:45



Incidentally, how DO you clean it??

All in all I think it is a great pen, really underappreciated by many...


Only cleaned it once so far as all subsequent cartridges are PR Avocado. I just flushed it under the tap like any other pen.
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