Forgive me, but this is my first review on here. I got this pen last Christmas, so this is not unboxing, but I still have the unboxing pictures(somewhat). Some of the pictures aren't clear; sorry, I am using my phone(8.1 megapixels). All photos are my own, taken by me on my phone. Here 'goes!
It was Christmas morning; I had been interested in high-end pens for a few years, but had only been writing with ballpoints. Then about a month earlier, in November, I purchased my first fountain pen, a Cross Aventura - not to expensive, for everyday writing. Immediately, I knew I wanted a REALLY nice fountain pen - and I had my eyes on Montblanc for sometime already. After going to the closest Montblanc Boutique, I decided upon the Chopin because it was a classic, timeless, elegant design, as are all the Meisterstück pens, also he is my favorite composer of all time, and thirdly because, being my first major fp, I didn't want my dad to have too much sticker shock! I was originally looking the 144 Classique(be aware that Montblanc now calls the 145 Chopin the Classique), but I was informed that it is no longer in production. Also, when I asked to see the "144", I became aware that many of the sales staff aren't even aware of the numbering system(odd, a high schooer knows more about your pens more than sales staff that work for them).
So now back to Christmas morning - I had saved the best for last in terms of opening. The box(es) were very elegantly wrapped with matte black Montblanc giftwrapping. The Chopin comes in a nicer "presentation/special edition" box than many "standard" pens do in the regular small Montblanc box. The Chopin box is cardboard but maybe triple/quadruple the volume of the standard box I was just referring to; it is showing wear and tear on the corners, though; it is not a durable box at all. My Chopin is on the older side; newer ones come with a cardboard box sleeve also, with a picture of Lang Lang playing.
The bottom half of the box has a depression to put the pen in, with the signature of Maestro Chopin's signature on the surface. On the top/lid of the box, there is a CD with recordings of the first and second piano concerto's of Chopin (which I have never listened to:pieces or CD) played by Montblanc's Philharmonia of the Nations. I don't believe they are very popular pieces. The newer Chopin comes with a different CD - recordings of Lang Lang playing some Chopin(not sure what pieces). Under the depression for the CD, there is another depression in the box in which the service guide/warranty is stored.
Appearance & Design (9/10):
The 145 is still the timeless cigar-shaped Meisterstück design, but in a smaller scale; it is not as ostentatious as the 149, but more quite, contemporary, and discreet - only expensive for the ones who need to know. Being the 145, it fits right between the 144 and 146 - but it is leaning toward the 146, honestly. The 145 is noticeably wider than the 144, nor is it much shorter than the 146. One reason that I originally wanted the 144 is because it had an extra gold plated "band" at the base of the pen, which neither the 145 or 146 have. I like that the 145 has also a threaded cap, which the 144 has a slip-on cap. Also note that the 145's 3 gold cap bands are in the same proportional positioning a they are on the 146/149 with the bottom band starting a few mm above the base/bottom of the cap; unlike those pens, the 144's bottom band started at the very bottom/base of the cap, resulting in that bottom band to be thicker than the typical thin bottom and top band of gold. The middle cap band does not state the model number, "No. 145," unlike the 146 and 149, which do have their respective model numbers also on the middle cap band. The clip cap band has a very clean/crisp/precision engraving of the serial number and "Germany." There is an another gold band directly positioned under the threads on the barrel.
I am sure you all know enough by now, but this pen is made of Montblanc's "precious" resin. They say it is scratch resistant, which is only true to some extent. When the cap is posted, the inner threads or something leave scratch marks or the like on the end of the barrel. They aren't major scratches, but they are nearly plainly visible to the human eye. Otherwise, scratches are nearly unnoticable to the glance of the human eye, unless you are in the right light and are actually looking for the scratches. I forgot to mention that this is the gold plated model on the black(not burgundy) resin. I have noticed, though, that there is a slight mark under and between the "M" and "E" in Meisterstück on the middle and bottom gold cap bands; is not noticeable to the eye unless your are truly scouring the surface in the right light.
Another thing to mention is that the newer 145's still have brass/gold where you stick a cartridge or converter in, but it does not go up as high as on mine, i.e. less of it. I have compared it to the newer one, that's how I know. Not necessarily a bad thing(I like mine better, though).
Construction & Quality (8/10):
I believe the pen is built well, but not exceptional. It "feels" fragile, very fragile, I guess because it is so light. I can assure you it is still a very solid pen, but I have my concerns: You are telling me on a $500+ pen, you can't put on the snow cap with one of the tips in line with the clip? That I find ridiculous; I think that Pelikan lines up their emblems on pens with the clip. I was also influenced to say it feels fragile because when you screw on/off the barrel to get to the inside, it sometimes/rarely feels that the brass threads on the inside are "scratching" if that I the right word to use. I believe the problem leading to this is another thing: I noticed that on the inside of the pen, where you put your cartridge or converter into(as well as the gold on my Montblanc converter), the gold or brass had semi-transparent smudges/spots on it. I brought it in to the Montblanc boutique and my friend there, the manager, said it looks like the impurities of the gold are coming out. I don't know if that is true or not, but I think she said she used to work in jewelry.
I already spoke of the resin above, but the resin barrel(unscrewable section) has some brass(I assume) on the inside. I cannot resist rubbing the smooth resin surface though! - will talk of the nib quality in the nib section.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10):
I am sure you can find all the facts and figures elsewhere, but I will provide lenghts:
Capped ≈ 5.5 in
Unposted ≈ 4.75 in
Posted ≈ 6 in
For me, the Chopin is just the right size, a universal/standard size - just like the original 144 of the '50's - the standard size. As I said earlier, it is slightly shorter, thinner, and lighter than the 146. It's lightness, though, makes it feel fragile. Actually, it is much larger than my Bohème, but the Bohème is certainly heavier than my Chopin.
Size Comparison - My Chopin and Bohème:
Size Comparison - My Chopin to Solitaire Sterling Silver Pinstripe 144 and 146:
Left to Right: Solitaire Sterling Silver 144, Solitaire Sterling Silver 146, My 145
Nib & Performance (9/10):
Ah, the fun stuff begins... I absolutely adore line variation(probably more flexible nib type than italic type variation) so I wanted something that would give me some. At the time, I had only been into fountain pens for a month or so and had just found out about flex nibs as well as oblique nibs. I went into the boutique asking for a flexible right oblique; I soon found out that MB does not make a flexible nib or right oblique nib anymore; and I also found out that right oblique was not actually for right handed people. Actually, the saleswoman who was working with me, who is now my friend and pen pal, advised an oblique nib for my lust of line variation(which I know know is not the true purpose of an oblique nib).
After testing an M, OM, OB, and OBB nib(but oddly enough I forgot to test the BB), I decided upon the OBB. I must advice that the test paper at MB boutiques is awful and does not give a true line if you use high quality paper(Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc.). It does give a true line if you use low quality paper! Obliques are for people who tilt their pens or hold them at an angle. I do so half-and-half; but when I use the OBB on the Chopin, I do not tilt very much. For the style of line variation I like, One must have a broader nib and hold the pen at an angle - which having a left oblique nib helps in that then a straight nib.
Handwriting Sample 1:
The nib is a MB size 4 nib and is 14K gold with rhodium plating. It is pleasantly on the springy soft side, but not too springy. It is smooth is the sweet spot, but just a little toothy smooth otherwise. The other complaint is that it seems that the writing surface was not completely evenly ground. This is unnoticeable when writing, its so minor. It's hard to say if it is on the dry or wet side because it varies with ink. I have noticed that with all my MB inks, it is wet. With J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir, the in comes out wet, but then looks on the dry side once dry. My 145 produces beautiful line variation on my G. Lalo Vergé de France (textured) paper.
Handwriting Sample 2:
Filling System & Maintenance (9/10):
Not much to say, "versatile" C/C filler. Mostly easy to clean, but I do know that some ink residue will stay in the beginning of the MB converter even after washing out the pen with multiple flushes of water. Though it would be really nice if it was a piston filler!
Cost & Value (8/10)
W/O tax, MSRP on this December 2010 was $475. Tax was over $30 on this. Final full cost with $16 ink bottle with tax was $541.42. I think for the money I could have gotten an M800 new or a used M1000 w/ piston filer from Pelikan or a Graf von Faber-Castell, it sound like they are brands with a level of quality one tier above MB, especially with nib smoothness, MB is still marketed as a super luxury company, and I still see it so in my eyes. The value is in the eyes of the beholder and I still love my Chopin. The sales staff told me that my pen might go up in value because MB might discontinue the 145 Chopin soon - I don't know if that is true and really don't care about depreciation.
I recently just got my Bohème for my birthday, and in the process, was told that there was a price mark up in the spring, but I don't know if the 145 MSRP was affected and, if so, by how much. But i bought from a MB boutique, if you didn't already figure that out.
In the end, I love this pen, the line variation it gives, and its personality. It is still a solidly built pen, but the OBB nib is way too broad to use daily on cheap school paper. It is a smooth pleasure to use on good paper though. Beginning with this, I have truly become one of the Montblanc family, as they stated in my pen pal's birthday card to me! A great relationship with many at the "local" boutique. Another said why don't I have key (to the store) already. I always stay many hours there, a lot making conversation. I plan to keep this, and all my pens, forever in the future. Enjoy...
It seems that only the links, not the pictures are showing up, sorry. Could somebody show me how to post pictures?
Montblanc_Chopin_1 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_2 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_7 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_6 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_3 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_4 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_Size_Comparison_2 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_Size_Comparison_1 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_5 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_Writing_Sample_1 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Montblanc_Chopin_Writing_Sample_2 by Mr.MontblancBMWChopin, on Flickr
Edited by watch_art, 12 August 2011 - 18:33.