“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Every year, since 1992, Montblanc has been releasing a limited edition pen to celebrate the great writer's of the world of literature as part of its Writers Edition fountain pens (and also sets). Of all pens developed on a theme I find these to be the most successful in terms of producing beautiful pens. There are a few of them I don't like very much, but overall they display great design and pleasing aesthetic qualities. In 2002 the F Scott Fitzgerald was released in 18,500 units. The design aesthetic leans heavily on the Art Deco style of the 1920's. The pen is a piston filler, based on the 146 but having notable differences.
Being based on the 146, this pen is not as large as its monstrous father, the 149. Unposted it feels a little short to my hand, but I tend to use large pens. It does post securely and when posted the balance feels perfect to me. The cap is a bulbous shape, heavily tapered to the tip with silver bands inlaid in black resin, deceasing in size running down its length. The cap also bears the signature of the author in question. The cap also bears the pen number, which on some pens can be in quite a bright colour. I find it quite unpleasant and the digital appearance of the number detracts from the look of the pen in my opinion. The clip also echoes the Art Deco design principles in a geometric tapering style. The top of the cap bears the unmistakable snow peak and in this case it is slightly off white in keeping with the faux vintage appearance of the pen.
The central section of the body is in a mother of pearl effect that has a deep feeling with visible 'shavings'. It is very effective and very beautiful. It has silver rings at either end and a black resin grip and black resin piston nob that is very tapered to the tip. The piston mechanism works smoothly and well and the pen appears to hold a good amount of ink. There is no ink window. Some may find the cap threads (it is a screw on cap) a little poorly placed and while they are not at all sharp, if you have a high sensitivity in your fingertips, it may irritate as they are placed exactly at the point where you grip the pen. The pen has a handsome girth, even at the grip, so if you have a preference for thin grips then this is something to think about if considering a purchase of this pen.
The nib proved a slight problem to photograph so I apologise for the poor picture quality. Hopefully you can see just enough to note that the nib is two-tone and engraved with an urban skyline Art Deco design. It is a very beautiful nib and writes like a dream; silky smooth with the tiniest hint of feedback and nicely wet. The nib on this pen is a medium, 18K gold nib and the engraving reminds me of wall relief designs seen in the 1920's in dance halls and theatres. If I was to be hyper critical I do occasionally look at it and think it is just a little small in relation to the rest of the pen, but perhaps the size is in keeping with the 'vintage; appearance.
The slightly spidery hand is the result of a very strong coffee and a demonically possessed kitten threatening to demolish pen, book, lamp and camera all in one fell swoop. I have tried to be as objective as possible about this pen but it is one of my grails and I pen I hankered after for some time. To some it is the ugly duckling of the Writers Edition, but I love its fat and squat appearance and the Art Deco styling and the beautiful nib. It hasn't been un-inked since I bought it. In terms of the Writers Edition this pen tends to sell for a little less than a lot of the others and does appear for sale in various places with reasonable frequency, but do be aware there are quite a number of fakes, some of them quite convincing.
I would recommend this pen; I find it very beautiful (although I do understand that the Art Deco styling may not be everyone's taste) and it is a great pleasure to write with. It has a lovely balance when posted (not so much unposted) and a decent weight in the hand without feeling over weighted. If I were to point to any flaws it would be the pen number engraving on the cap and the small nib. I hope that I have covered everything, but do feel free to ask any questions and I will, as far as possible, try to answer. I won't grade it as this pen is one of my grails and my gushing would likely weight a score to the top end.