It all started on a very warm summer's day in July of 2016. I was working out of Shanghai at that time, and was going to a mall close by to meet a friend for lunch. It so happened that there was a promotion by Montblanc of their heritage rouge et noir line right on the main atrium on the ground floor of the mall which I completely chanced into. While waiting for my friend, I was browsing around their exhibits and lo and behold, spotted the famous, or rather infamous Axel, Montblanc's resident nib guru. I recognized him by face because Tom K at that time shared his experience getting a bespoke nib.
At that time, he was about to finish his one on one sessions which you had to sign up for, and was preparing to head to the airport. I started to just chat with him about various MB nibs and expressed my dream of one day owning their calligraphy nib. He proceeded to invite me to sit down and chat. I started to pull out my notebook and when I showed him some of my writings, he immediately started to show me some of the nibs he could make. Long story short, I ended up with not one, but 2 bespoke nibs that day. One calligraphy nib, and one italic nib.
I have seen and tried both the signature nib and calligraphy nib before when Montblanc first rolled out this service. That was at my local boutique in NYC with no guidance from a nib expert about a couple year back. It was super fun to use these nibs, but the bar of entry was high. Not just with the price, but also the process. They had to test you!!! I have always entertained the idea of getting one of these mythical nibs, but the idea of putting a deposit of such a HUGE sum of money sight unseen was not very reassuring. However, this time, with the ability to work with Axel in person, and his guidance, I decided to bite the bullet and commit. I went for the calligraphy nib, and I have to say it was a very good choice. The wait however, was not fun. When I finally got said pens in hand, it's February 2017.
The calligraphy nib is nothing short of amazing. There is nothing in my 150+ collection of pens that come even close to it's width and special abilities. The closest I have is the 2.4 Pilot Parallel. It's actually even wider than the 2.4 as Axel called it 3.0 width. Unlike a lot of other very wide fountain pen calligraphy nibs, this nib does not have starting or starvation issues. It writes immediately when you touch the nib to paper. The other very special thing about the nib is it can still work when you lift the nib and write with the corner for thinner flourishes. This unique ability is something other VERY wide fountain pen nibs can't do. That's because this nib has extra channels cut into the corners of the nib that deliver ink to the entire width of the writing surface. Because this is a bespoke nib, I had an option to engrave my name to the nib. I find the idea of a nib with my name so strange because I have always intend to use this pen as a functional tool. I never wanted to get it as a significant occasion pen, which I guess most people do. So I decided to engrave the function purpose of the nib onto the side. Montblanc found this VERY unusual and asked many times whether the words I chose was correct:)
I did say I had another nib made. Which was an italic. Perhaps I was caught up in the moment, and thought it might be very special to also get a Montblanc italic nib. On hindsight, it's definitely not as special as this calligraphy nib. In fact other pen makers make italic nibs that are much better without the high price and wait. If I were to do it again, I would only get calligraphy nib. Definitely stratospheric in price, but recommended wholeheartedly!