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Why Montblanc?

pelikan montblanc visconti sailor pilot expensive overpriced

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167 replies to this topic

#1 FoszFay

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:09

Everyone who has been on this site for the past week would've seen a certain topic on overpriced pens.

Many comments (including my own) involved discussion of the Montblanc 149 (and 146). I could argue both for an against Montblanc's 'prestigious', or high prices.

Why does everyone instantly bring up MB when talking about expensive pens? And pens costing more than they should?

I can think of more than 5 other pens (and I don't know that many makes/models) that are, IMO, priced more 'ridiculously' than the 146 and 149. Is it just because everyone knows of MB, and it is the most expensive pen THEY know of, even though there are many more that barely any people know of?

If you think the 146 and 149 are overpriced, what do you actually think they are worth, and what would you be happy paying for them new?

Tom.

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#2 david6

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:24

If you think the 146 and 149 are overpriced, what do you actually think they are worth, and what would you be happy paying for them new?
Tom.


Yes, they are expensive but they sell well so as far as I am concerned they are priced at a level the buyer is willing to pay. What would I be willing to pay for a 149 or 146 new? If I really wanted one I would save up and buy it regardless.

#3 BrandonA

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 06:50

Can I suggest you use the forum's search function as you'll find the answer to this question. It's been discussed many times and every time you get two completely different groups of people with vastly differing opinions making biased opinions.
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#4 LamyOne

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 07:48

Hello Tom,

 

Well, I'm not sure what to say, I will probably never own a Mont Blanc because I cannot see myself spending $800 and up for one pen.  However, like David said, they must be priced right for their millieu - because they do sell well and their still around.

 

I do know they have excellent service; a friend of mine, a few years ago, dropped his 149 (or 146, I cannot recall) on a tile floor at his office and it shattered like a light bulb.  He sent the bag of pieces and shards to MB and they sent him a new pen!  There aren't very many companies that will do that.

 

Best regards,

 

Chris


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#5 laserlight

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 09:46

Why does everyone instantly bring up MB when talking about expensive pens?

 

For expensive pens, I would not instantly bring up MB. I would instantly bring up Nakaya, because I happen to be lemming for a Nakaya (or three), but the ones that I want are currently beyond my rational spending power. So, to me Nakaya is expensive, but not overpriced since I am willing to pay the asking price when I have the money.

 

If you think the 146 and 149 are overpriced, what do you actually think they are worth, and what would you be happy paying for them new?

 

I am not interested in MB, so to me they are overpriced. I would be happy paying for them at prices sufficiently lower than market price (at least 20% discount or more? I'm not sure) in order to sell them soon after at a profit, if I judge that I am likely to find a buyer. So, in this sense of "what price I am willing to pay if there's no profit to be made", these MB pens are worthless to me, but of course being fountain pens, they have an intrinsic worth due to utility, quality of construction, etc, but I am afraid that I am unable to put a figure to this.



#6 PabloAU

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:02

MB is the tall poppy, and attracts attention for all sorts of reasons. I think the reason they draw ire from some is for what they represent rather than what they are. They target a certain segment of the market with a certain image at a certain price point, and it works for them. There are other brands that target other people, and portray different images, and at different price points.

 

As for me, I buy what I like at a price I can afford, and balance quality (as perceived by me) against quantity. What I like won't be what you like. I do own a few pens in the MB price range. So far MB haven't managed to part me from my money. Someday they may.

 

"Overpriced" is in the eye of the beholder.



#7 shawndp

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:21

I think the whole MB "thing" has a lot to do with the brand recognition among people who are not pen afficinados. A lot of people don't know there are $1000 + Graf von FC or Caran d'Ache pens but have likely seen the $800+ price-tag on a MB. To me the Meisterstuck line is like the Mercedes S-class of pens - more heads of companies / countries / organizations go S-class than Jaguar /BMW / Lexuxs. Are there better vehicles out there - yes, but the name / logo argument always wins. If you see MB being called out it is because everyone knows MB - and I imagine there are more than a few MB owners who are secretly smug in the assumption that the higher price of admission to the party.



#8 Christi0469

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 13:19

And there are people who buy Montblanc pens just to look affluent and important. Though I doubt the msny of MB fans here are of the ilk the brand perception (posers, wannabees) spills over onto those who just genuinely enjoy the pens.

I personally feel that MB pens are too expensive for what they offer, but the world would he a pretty boring place if we all liked the same things.

#9 Elyptic

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 13:37

I've used a couple MB pens, and they have been wornderful to write with. They are, not doubt, good pens. Are there better pens out there? I think it all depends on what people want / need. I have yet to have the desire to save up my money to purchase one, so for me, they are not yet worth the price of admission.

It's also important to remember that you will always pay more for long standing brands with a reputation of excellence. This happens with many things other than pens as well. If you had a pen with the exact same characteristics as a particular MB (think pretty much same exact pen in every respect), but made by an unknown company, it would cost less. However, over time, if this unknown company continued to produce equal quality merchandise and used judicious marketing to make themselves known, their prices would continue to rise up to that in the realm of MB and other high end manufacturers. It's just the natural progression of things.

So why do MB pens come up in discussions so much? They have successfully marketed themselves in a manner that suggests top quality merchandise and they have delivered on this promise well enough to have a good reputation. Nothing wrong with that!

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#10 HamFist

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 13:57

After comparing MB146 and Pelikan M800 side by side I dont understand the price difference. 

MB plastic pen parts come off the same machine as the one that makes disposable plastic cutlery while Pelikan is actually "manufactured".



#11 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 14:08

I have now some 4 MB's. out of 50+ pens.

 

The first was part of a lot at a live auction, and I was so 'noobie' I never even heard of that standard sized MB (234 1/2 Deluxe semi-flex KOB) . The nib was semi-flex...a plus point....but them dammed MB lovers were going to drive up the price of the 400nn I wanted. Did.

It was a pen that had to grow on me...a flat topped MB and I had no idea in the world of a prewar 139 or those.

For the longest time that MB and 400nn were my #1&2 pens.....now my top 5 is ten pens.

Looking back I got a hell of a deal. @€ 170 for the two fountain pens, and etui and two '50's Pelikan BP&MP. Was going to sell the BP&MP, didn't.

When I won the bid though it was :angry: dammed dealers going to sell that 'ugly' MB for money. I'd planned to sell it too....then :headsmack:. ya can't sell your #1 pen.

 

My Virgina Woolf, was so pretty, I noticed it at 7 yards in the display case. My wife was buying... :unsure:  I got it on sale for 1/3 off. Didn't buy any pens or inks for a full year. That was by far the most expensive pen I ever bought....might well stay that way. €450. Used I can get that price....NOS the original €750...the old new price , but I buy a pen to write with.

 

So I needed a MB '50's 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex nib....Any 2xx in that flex stage would have done. I was after the grand '50's MB nibs. The very pretty springy Woolf nib was ok, but not a top of the line nib...for some one who likes a tad of flex in a nib.

At the live auction....ok a rolled gold pen like the standard sized 742 is a bit more bling than is me. But that dealer at the live auction had no interest at all for the nib. He wouldn't let me steal it....so I didn't let him steal it either. The price was fair....if one is not buying to sell. @ €160

 

Friday, I got to the live auction much too early. Twiddled my thumbs, There was a 146 sitting at my max €150 as start bid....but if I averaged the low starting Dupont....it would be ok.

No one bid against me for the 146...which was not a grail pen of mine. Did want it some....but was not going to get in a bidding war for it.

The woman sitting next to me; Mrs. Murphy had not bid on anything, until the next pen; my Dupont came up. So much for averaging.

 

My 146 could be from '70-80's, it has a very nice springy regular flex nib. A bit wet writing...but I have a number of semi-flex and 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex pens that are wet writers due to ease of flex. Yes, I'm satisfied with the 146.

:angry: :gaah: :wallbash: Another black and gold pen...swore years ago...no more black and gold....and every other one seems to be black and gold. :headsmack:

 

There is no marking anywhere on how wide the nib is...eyeball nib to nib tip, looked like an F, wrote like a M.

 

In B&W TV days when I grew up back when a 146 would have been a medium-large pen, was more intersting to me.  The 146 became Large I beleive in @1970, being from the time of Standard and Medium-large pens....find all Large pens....Large.

It's going to take me a bit of time to get use to the Large pen.

If you are into Large pens....it's light for being Large.

 

At @ 26g it is lighter than my Woolf with @ 30g. @ because they are inked and not measured dry. For being a Large pen it is 'light'.

 

 

Why a MB? Why a Pelikan?

Both are good well made pens, used is where to look, in they should be in good working condition.

New both brands are over priced.

Vintage offers better nibs than today at fair prices. One need not buy only the 146-9, in MB had some real good 2xx pens and even some 3xx pens with good semi-flex nibs.

The folks here can lead you.

 

I tend to stay away from spade nibs, in I don't see many folks....could well be because I'm not here in MB sub section much....saying :thumbup: my semi-flex spade nib.

I do have a couple in other brands. Both surprised me.

But I in my ignorance fear spade nibs to be nails.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 24 September 2014 - 15:06.

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.

 

 

 


#12 arcadeflow

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 14:57

I believe it is pretty clear that Montblanc is not only a fine writing instruments company, but a fashion/status symbol one. I would never buy anything from them for that reason, I feel uncomfortable with this kind of brand. That does not mean I am against pens that cost thousands of dollars. They can be made with such care that justify high costs, or use expensive materials like solid gold and diamonds and thus they are also pieces of jewelry or artsmanship made by masters. But I don't believe that is the case of Montblanc, its price is all about exclusivity and status.



#13 Blatherscribe

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 15:15

Can I suggest you use the forum's search function as you'll find the answer to this question. It's been discussed many times and every time you get two completely different groups of people with vastly differing opinions making biased opinions.

 

Or, you can read them as differing rather than biased.  It is entirely possible for a person to like or dislike a thing for reasons which are valid to that person, even if the conclusion is not one's own.

 

I understand both sides.  I used to have a Montblanc ballpoint that my grandfather gave me.  I adored that pen (this was before I learned to love fountain pens).  I carried it with me nearly every day from age 14 into my mid-twenties.  This means I also know all about the downside of MB.  Little things, like the refills only writing smoothly about 2/3 of the time, or the "precious resin" being so fragile that removing the pen from my pocket created a divot and crack where the end of the clip clicked against the body of the pen.  And when I dropped the pen, and it fell only about two feet to a table, the impact knocked it out of alignment so that the ballpoint never again extended properly, and the pen never again wrote quite as well as it used to.  And when I took it to a Montblanc store to try to get it repaired, they refused, because the store manager thought it might be counterfeit.  Given that my grandfather bought it from the Montblanc store in Hamburg, I can only assume that the store manager thought I didn't look the part of a Montblanc owner, and refused service on that basis (I was twenty years old and decidedly not wealthy).  And, finally, I removed the pen from my pocket once too often, and when the clip clicked against the barrel, that little crack split the whole length of that segment of the pen.

 

It was a beautiful pen.  For a time, it was a joy to write with it.  I still wish I had that pen.  I still miss it.  I would never buy another Montblanc.

 

Sometimes, both sorts of opinion are valid.  And that's why Montblanc can be so polarizing around here.



#14 Alex2014

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 15:20

I do not know. Maybe the fashion. I have a M149, but I prefer M800. 



#15 rwilsonedn

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 15:29

Djehuty puts it beautifully. I had a similar experience, but different in specifics, with a 146. The pen was built for show, not for use, and MB refused to stand behind it.

Once you have had a terrible experience with a pen you wanted to love, it is hard to buy back into the mystique.

ron



#16 aussielondon

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 17:22

This can be seen in the same light as why would someone want a Ro-lex watch when there are perfectly fantastic watches that are finely made from other brands at much lower prices... it's essentially the same issue.

 

The answer is that yes a Mont-blanc as like Ro-lex will hold it's value or even appreciate in price (like some Ferrari motorcars can also) but to get into that you need to have the money to start with, and then justify that you can afford the purchase.

Essentially at the level of Mont-blanc, Ro-lex and Ferrari all these are luxury brands so you pay alot for the prestige of the name.

 

It's up to you if you want to buy a luxury brand or just a brand that is still as good but does not have the prestige brand name.



#17 Polanova

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 17:44

I believe it is pretty clear that Montblanc is not only a fine writing instruments company, but a fashion/status symbol one.

 

I believe that nails it!

Montblanc is the ONLY pen company known to almost EVERYBODY (at least as a producer of luxury goods).

Because of this status it is disliked by many people (NOT because of the pens themselves so much as to what they symbolize).

 

Because of that reason alone I would personally not buy a MB pen, because I don`t like MB`s image***.

I WOULD like to buy an Omas pen at some time (because I really like some of their designs), if budget allows (or my conscience).

They`re also a kind of luxury pen producers, but really, who has heard of Omas? No one!

 

That being said, I`m just about to reanimate my 50ies Montblanc 342. It`s a very nice pen and those who are curious about owning a MB: It`s one of the very few vintage MB`s you can get for under a 100 $! So get one instead of wasting your money on another TWSBI  :P

 

PS: I REALLY don`t have the slightest thing against MB users!! A friend of mine bought a MB writers Ed. pen for a 1000 Euros a few years ago & is happy with it (and I`m happy for him)  :)

 

PS II: Of course they`re overpriced! The MB 1912 is a safety pen for 1000$. For that money you can get two vintage NOS Waterman Safeties.

But a lot of pens are overpriced (especially if you only care about the pen & not about it`s LE status), cheaper & more expensive ones alike.

Any NEW pen is TOTALLY overpriced compared to vintage one`s (from the consumer`s standpoint)

 

***I actually kind of do like the MB149 (maybe, after all, at some point a vintage one? My uncle`s MB146 didn`t impress me much, though)


Edited by Polanova, 25 September 2014 - 17:39.


#18 Montblanc owner and lover

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 17:51

Isn't it like the 200th thread on this subject?


A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too... Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F. Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

#19 Polanova

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 17:53

Isn't it like the 200th thread on this subject?

 

Really? I thought there were more!

(you have to see it from a sociological/psychological standpoint)



#20 Koyote

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 18:22

You can beat the daylights out of a MB and, as long as the nib is okay, the company will rebuild it for a small fee - no matter how long you've owned it, whether you were the first owner, etc.

 

If I had the money, and still had several decades left in my career (and a child who might appreciate a nice FP), I think a MB would be a rather smart purchase.

 

Oh, and I've heard that they write nicely, too.







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