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The French Writers


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Ipsilon

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 18:25

Bonjour to all FPN members,

My search for the four Montblanc French writers LE has finally ended today: I just received the fourth pen, and thought I would write a brief review for these four exceptionally beautiful pens.

Why the French Writers? Well... mainly because french is my mother language. But also because I was attracted by the fact that these four pens are extremely different in character, shape, style, color and nib. Not only do they offer striking different "visual" experiences, but also different "writing" experiences, ranging from the heavy Verne to the light Proust, the fat nib of the Dumas to the more slender Voltaire.

Before I launch myself into aesthetic considerations, a bit of statistics (the four pens have M nibs):

Voltaire:
Made in 1995
07793/20000
Yellow gold 18K nib
Length capped: 15,0cm
Length uncapped: 12,9cm
Length posted: 16,7cm
Barrel: 8mm

Alexandre Dumas:
Made in 1996
07334/20000
Two tone gold 18K nib
Length capped: 13,5cm
Length uncapped: 12,5cm
Length posted: 16,0cm
Barrel: 15mm

Marcel Proust:
Made in 1999
12135/21000
Two tone gold 18K nib
Length capped: 13,5cm
Length uncapped: 11,9cm
Length posted: 14,8cm
Barrel: 13mm

Jules Verne:
Made in 2003
11683/18500
White gold 18K nib
Length capped: 14,2cm
Length uncapped: 12,8cm
Length posted: 17,0cm
Barrel: 13mm

And now to the pens:

 Full body 1.jpg

The visual experience:
As can be seen on the picture above, and as stated in the introduction of this post, the four pens are extremely different in looks. The most striking of the four, as far as I am concerned, is the Jules Verne. The blue of the barrel and cap is so bright and brilliant that it does remind you of the ocean and the sky. It also has a "technical" look to it, which goes very well with the necessity to have highly reliable apparatus and machines to survive under water (20,000 Leagues under the Sea). The Voltaire has an almost austere look to it, which makes it a very "formal" pen (a friend told me it looks like a "widow's" pen, or a pen to use when you are mourning someone!). The cap is very beautifully decorated with gold plated silver.
I think I have read everything Dumas has written. And this pen is very much him. It is exquisite, like his writing! The barrel is made of what looks like icy marble, framed with gold. The base of the cap is decorated with golden quills, and the clip has the shape of a sword (The Three Musketeers). The most enigmatic pen, to me, is the Marcel Proust. Of the four, it is the first I bought, as I was attracted by the silver barrel (I prefer silver over gold, to be honest...). It is the only one with the signature of the writer on the barrel, the other three having it on the cap, next to the clip.

Caps 1.jpg

The two older pens (Voltaire and Proust) bear the old Montblanc "logo" (the words MONT-BLANC, with a little mountain between the dash and the B: on the barrel for the Voltaire, and on the clip for the Proust), whereas the newer pens do not have Montblanc written anywhere, and only bear the white Montblanc star at the top of the cap. The platinum plated Verne and silver Proust are more to my taste, but I cannot deny that the Voltaire and Dumas are beautiful pens.

The writing experience:
Not only are the pens very different, but so are the nibs. I very much like the fact that I find myself with one yellow gold nib (Voltaire), one white gold nib (Verne), one yellow gold nib with white decorations (Dumas) and one white gold nib with yellow decorations (Proust).
The nibs are all decorated with something that reminds you of the writer:

Voltaire: engravings reminiscent of the age of Voltaire (taken from the Montblanc site)
Proust: hour-glass
Dumas: fleur-de-lys
Verne: diver's helmet

Nibs and caps 1.jpg

As stated in the introduction, the four nibs are M (my favorite size), but they are not all equal. The Dumas nib is much bigger than the three others, as can be seen in the picture above, whereas the Voltaire, Proust and Verne have more or less the same size. The four nibs write beautifully well, and are excellent writers, although I am more attracted to the larger Dumas, also because I found the nib to be more generous (wet) than the three others (as a left handed writer, generous pens always have my preference as I spend more time "pushing" on the nib than "pulling"). Being very wet has its inconvenience for an above-the-line lefty like me: I very often dirty my hand and smear the ink, and have to be careful to cover my writing with a piece of paper if I do not want to ruin everything! But the writing experience is much more satisfactory.
I find the Voltaire and the Verne to be similar writers: good ink flow without being too wet. The Proust, on the other hand, is once again the most "enigmatic": it is the least "generous", and the thinnest of the Ms. It can be an excellent writer on certain types of paper, but becomes frustratingly uneven on other types. I am not sure if it is a problem with the nib, or if it was just "made like that".

How do they feel in my hand while I write?
I have used the four pen while writing letters and have had a good time with the four of them. If I must criticize, I will say that 1) the Jules Verne is too heavy, 2) the Alexandre Dumas is too "fat" (for my small hands), 3) the Marcel Proust is too uneven (inkwise) and 4) the Voltaire is too plain to look at (uncapped). :P
The Voltaire, by the way, is the only one of the four to have an ink window, so you can see when it is time to refill. The three others are blind, and you must guess!

Et voilà! I have not performed a thorough evaluation, and you may feel frustrated that I have not given enough details, but I just wanted to give some of my personal (and subjective) impressions on these four fabulous pens. I hope you enjoyed!

Cheers!

Y

Edited by Ipsilon, 09 December 2011 - 20:03.

<b>In my hands</b>: Waterman, MontBlanc, Stipula, Visconti, Graf von Faber-Castell, Pelikan, Delta, Aurora, Omas, S.T.Dupont, Montegrappa, OnLine, Parker, Pilot, Favero, and... <i>a few goose feather quills</i>.

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#2 Black-Ink

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 18:49

Gorgeous! What more can I say?

#3 inkyleftie

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 20:24

Beautiful pens! And all so very different.

#4 jandrese

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 16:14

Wonderful, congrats on completing your quest. I prefer the Verne and then the Proust as far as looks go. Right now I have a Schiller and a Faulkner, the latter of which is a simply outstanding writer. I'd love to find a Verne. Enjoy!

#5 kaisede

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 16:45

Thanks for the review... I never thought of grouping the WE by the countries the writers come from.
Right now I am missing Proust to complete the package for French writers.

#6 Sidestreaker

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 17:11

Wonderfully written and thank you for the review. I enjoyed it and the comparison done between them. I hope to one day own another one of the French Writers edition pen.
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#7 breaker

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 17:37

nice review and pics!
thanks!
Cogito ergo sum

#8 Skeet

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:12

Nice collection.
IF YOU FREE YOUR MIND...YOUR PEN WILL FOLLOW
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#9 Ipsilon

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 21:29

Thanks to all for the kind words.

I will now have to find a new excuse to buy other Montblanc pens.... :hmm1: The French patron of the arts maybe?... although I have a certain liking for the von Humboldt, who is german. Not easy to find though!! Anybody has one for sale? ;)

Y
<b>In my hands</b>: Waterman, MontBlanc, Stipula, Visconti, Graf von Faber-Castell, Pelikan, Delta, Aurora, Omas, S.T.Dupont, Montegrappa, OnLine, Parker, Pilot, Favero, and... <i>a few goose feather quills</i>.

#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 21:42

congrats on your nice MB collection :thumbup:
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#11 Roar

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 23:58

Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and impressions of a divine collection! Out of curiosity, which one arrived last? Hope to hear more about your 4-some down the road... Congratulations.

#12 Inked

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 02:44

Magnifique!

Inked

#13 Ipsilon

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 18:49

Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and impressions of a divine collection! Out of curiosity, which one arrived last? Hope to hear more about your 4-some down the road... Congratulations.


In order of acquisition:

Marcel Proust
Jules Verne
Alexandre Dumas
Voltaire

So Voltaire was the last one. I have been writing with it for a while now, and although I find it a bit "plain" (as far as look is concerned), it is an excellent writer. Of the four, the pen that gives me the highest satisfaction when I write is the Dumas!

Y

Edited by Ipsilon, 14 December 2011 - 18:50.

<b>In my hands</b>: Waterman, MontBlanc, Stipula, Visconti, Graf von Faber-Castell, Pelikan, Delta, Aurora, Omas, S.T.Dupont, Montegrappa, OnLine, Parker, Pilot, Favero, and... <i>a few goose feather quills</i>.

#14 kahhoewan

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 00:28

Marcel Proust is so nice. I'd get one if I didn't promise myself I was done buying pens. ahah

#15 fpupulin

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 04:09

Thank you for the very interesting and differently approached review. I really enjoyed it. One tends to collect pens which are similar between them, following a "model", but through your review you reminded that the secret of life is diversity. I do not own one, but I consider the Dumas one of the most beautiful pens, not only for his generous nib. Thanks again.

#16 Tom Kellie

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 06:48

~ The scale of the Dumas nib is very well demonstrated in the comparison image.

 

I've been looking for such a photo for more than one year.

 

It's very nice to find it here.

 

Tom K.



#17 MomoShinChan

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:09

Really nice review, I also like the Jules Verne but the Dumas is very close second!








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