Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

For Those Who Hate Montblanc....why? Just Curious...


  • Please log in to reply
477 replies to this topic

#1 james3paris

james3paris

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 98 posts
  • Location:Vermont, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 19:58

I read some of the comments in this thread and threads and just thought wow. 

 

http://www.fountainp...l-vs-workhorse/

 

So, my questions:

 

Specifically in reference to the 146 and 149 basic versions,

 

1. Is it based off of experience? 

 

2. Is it quality and workmanship?

 

2. Is it price point?  If so, what should the price point be in relation to other comparable fountain pens?

 

or 4. Just opinion with no experience with the pen?



Sponsored Content

#2 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,987 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:34

Ask Mikey!


My Sister's website :  Rose Hill Studios

My Website


#3 Bluey

Bluey

    Somewhere between green and indigo

  • All Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,961 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:36

I read some of the comments in this thread and threads and just thought wow. 

 

http://www.fountainp...l-vs-workhorse/

 

So, my questions:

 

Specifically in reference to the 146 and 149 basic versions,

 

1. Is it based off of experience? 

 

2. Is it quality and workmanship?

 

2. Is it price point?  If so, what should the price point be in relation to other comparable fountain pens?

 

or 4. Just opinion with no experience with the pen?

 

I think hate is a bit strong, but contempt, yes.

 

1) yes, and lots and lots and lots and lots of other's experience too

 

2) yes. For a pen with such a price point there shouldn't even be a hint of the huge number of QC issues that customers experience with their pens.

 

3) around £30-50

 

 

 

Another factor that's worth mentioning is understanding their business situation, which shouldn't surprise anyone that they charge high prices yet have low generally quality. Fountain pens sales are declining in the West and Dunhill must have realised this and started upping their prices(Pelikan and others are going through the same transition) and marketing their pens to target the luxury market.

 

If you're the CEO of a company that''s making pens for a population of people that rarely write with fountain pens and where your main clientèle are people buying them as gifts for graduation or other special occasions, would you honestly want to have any focus on making it a great writer? Of course not. If you were building a cross country vehicle, would you focus on speed? If you were building a sports car, would you focus on suspension? Exactly.

You can give the impression of a good writing experience in the boutiques though by making it as smooth as possible because people will equate smoothness with quality, and that's what happens.

 

 

Montblancs are better suited to collectors and the curious, but for those wanting consistently good writing experience, it's much better to look for brands that make pens for people who still write with them. Or vintage, if you know what you're looking for.


Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.


#4 Nail-Bender

Nail-Bender

    "Allo, daffy English kniggets"

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 560 posts
  • Location:Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:45

Have not touched a my Montblanc in almost a year because I got interested in pointed pen work (flex)

 

The 146 was my first FP & I credit MB with exposing me to them.

 

I have moved on since then but I'll always keep it.

 

If some things weren't overhyped you might not even notice them.



#5 KellyMcJ

KellyMcJ

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,279 posts
  • Location:Eastern Pennsylvania
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 22:25

 

I think hate is a bit strong, but contempt, yes.

 

1) yes, and lots and lots and lots and lots of other's experience too

 

2) yes. For a pen with such a price point there shouldn't even be a hint of the huge number of QC issues that customers experience with their pens.

 

3) around £30-50

 

 

 

Another factor that's worth mentioning is understanding their business situation, which shouldn't surprise anyone that they charge high prices yet have low generally quality. Fountain pens sales are declining in the West and Dunhill must have realised this and started upping their prices(Pelikan and others are going through the same transition) and marketing their pens to target the luxury market.

 

If you're the CEO of a company that''s making pens for a population of people that rarely write with fountain pens and where your main clientèle are people buying them as gifts for graduation or other special occasions, would you honestly want to have any focus on making it a great writer? Of course not. If you were building a cross country vehicle, would you focus on speed? If you were building a sports car, would you focus on suspension? Exactly.

You can give the impression of a good writing experience in the boutiques though by making it as smooth as possible because people will equate smoothness with quality, and that's what happens.

 

 

Montblancs are better suited to collectors and the curious, but for those wanting consistently good writing experience, it's much better to look for brands that make pens for people who still write with them. Or vintage, if you know what you're looking for.

 

From what I can gather, it's mostly this. MB has moved into the "luxury" market and stopped focusing on what a pen is supposed to be, a tool to be used. There's a view, right or wrong, that a MB pen or other product is a "status symbol" to be acquired to showcase one's wealth and status, and not something to actually be used. It seems Cross is also going this way, they make great pens but have slid into the "executive gifts" category as opposed to the "writing instruments" category.

 

I don't think Pelikan has reached this status yet by a long shot. They may be a "luxury brand" but no one sees one and assumes you have it to show off your status (at least not in the US), which definitely happens with MB.

That's not to say that they aren't or can't be great writers.

 

Personally MB pens don't really speak to me. I see the appeal of some of them, I just don't find them aesthetically pleasing and for the price, I'd far rather have some other brand. I don't hate them, or have any particular feelings towards them whatsoever, except to say, "not for me". 

 

They do have some gorgeous nibs though and I have to admit that the older ones at least, seem to be incredible workhorses lasting decades of daily use. I don't know about the modern ones. Most of the problems I hear about are from the customer service department (Adventures in Montblanc Nib Exchange could apparently be its own topic), not the pen itself.



#6 Ed_Usinowicz

Ed_Usinowicz

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 22:25

  You want it. You need no further justification.


Edited by Ed_Usinowicz, 28 December 2017 - 22:27.


#7 GoldenNibs

GoldenNibs

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 35 posts
  • Location:Edison
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 22:36

I personally dislike them. Hate? Not so much. Would I ever buy a brand new one or at retail? Absolutely not. The one main reason I dislike Montblanc is their "quality". For something so prestigious they are built out of really flimsy plastic or at least from what I have experienced. Every time I find one on the secondhand market the cap has cracks or chips out of them or the barrel has a huge chunk missing from the back end. This shows that they cant even handle being carried daily without breaking the delicate plastic they are made of. Maybe I am just having bad luck with them. For the price you pay for one you could put towards a really nice writing vintage pen or an alternative to a montblanc. I do enjoy their nibs though. Rest of the pen? Not so much.

#8 RocketRyan

RocketRyan

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 306 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 22:54


2) yes. For a pen with such a price point there shouldn't even be a hint of the huge number of QC issues that customers experience with their pens.

Visconti seem to be worse at this, yet seem to get away with it.
To be honest I have owned 6 mont blanc pens, and they all wrote great. I have owned 2 visconti pens and one is a lemon.
Mont blanc love them or hate them, have made themselves top of the pile brand wise, good business, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another.At least I know it will write.

#9 max dog

max dog

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,228 posts
  • Location:British Columbia
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 22:56

Time for some popcorn.

#10 flipper_gv

flipper_gv

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 600 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:10

Montblanc used to have a lot more QC issues 10 or so years ago. These days they seem pretty solid. I'd compare them to Pelikan, solid but not flawless.



#11 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,563 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:17

When I first came to the com about a decade ago....what ever 'hate' you now think you see, is but a pale shadow of the hate that was.

Everything but the ink bottle was hated....even the ink. The advice to 'noobies' by the haters was buy the ink bottle and toss the ink.

 

I must assume many saw various seeking bosses flaunting their snowflake....that it rolled down hill.

 

So.....being 'noobie' and not understanding shading much....much less the esoteric of murky green ink, had a bottle of the most hated ink in the world....MB Racing Green....in my hand.....I even had a metal flaked MX-5. :unsure:  In believing the BS I was told, and going to throw away the ink....decided to try a 'brown' ink....to me then Sepia was brown; in I'd never tried a brown ink.

I liked it..........by the time I finally got off my dead rear end....Racing Green was no longer available at my B&M.

 

With in months of discontinuance of Racing Green, it became the most beloved of all inks....joining the fabled Parker Pennmann Sapphire as grail inks.

It is my understanding four bottles of MB Racing Green will pay for two years of Harvard, or three of Yale.

 

The Com's Wizards of Ink Mixing, have been trying ever since to clone Racing Green and PP Sapphire, with out success. 

 

 

MB Sepia is not a brown ink...it is one of the two or three sepia directions. I got MB Toffee and was very happy. Irish Green is a very good green-green shading ink.............I seem to have some 10-11 MB inks now. Some I'd not buy again..... :lol: ...some I can't anyway....being LE inks.

Now if you want to hate....MB has some brand new $60-70 LE inks....and I don't even have a whisper of a thought to even think of looking to see if I want some. :wacko: :headsmack: :bunny01:

There are more idiots with more money than good sense.

The price of lots of inks are high....Japanese, Graf von Faber-Castell, so MB has to keep up with the Jones. Yes, I think $22 or more for a bottle of Japanese ink expensive. Here in Germany before Amazon made Japanese inks cheap...they were going for E70 a bottle here.

 

I like the '50-70 semi-flex & maxi-semi-flex stub nibs. I have a MB 234 1/2, a rolled gold 742 and a medium large and better balanced 146 than the later Large 146....in semi&maxi.

 

At the time I bought that bottle of Sepia...E12.00....which was put in cobweb corner for a few years...I got wise and went on German Ebay and got one for E19.00 plus postage.

There were other MB inks that new formulations don't satisfy those lucky to have the original inks.

 

MB piston pens clean out clean out very fast. I can match that by taking the nib off a Pelikan squirting the insides clean, and putting a cut to fit baby bulb syringe on the loose nib and feed.

 

I don't care for the regular flex '70-80's nibs more than any other nice regular flex.....and prefer the semi-flex to the modern 'Springy' nib....good tine bend but only 2X tine spread.

 

Vintage MB has very good nibs......................modern is butter smooth...if that counts.

I don't expect QC problems to be more than Pelikan..........the cost of repair ...Stage 1....E60, Stage 2 E80. (one has to be exact in explaining the probmen to be graded stage 1 or 2.).....which is a lot less than I'd heard for out of warranted pens...here on the com.


What is the true face of Alec Guinness?

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.


#12 Inkling13

Inkling13

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,154 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:20

Time for some popcorn.

This gonna be gud!



#13 Bluey

Bluey

    Somewhere between green and indigo

  • All Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,961 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:20

 

From what I can gather, it's mostly this. MB has moved into the "luxury" market and stopped focusing on what a pen is supposed to be, a tool to be used. There's a view, right or wrong, that a MB pen or other product is a "status symbol" to be acquired to showcase one's wealth and status, and not something to actually be used. It seems Cross is also going this way, they make great pens but have slid into the "executive gifts" category as opposed to the "writing instruments" category.

 

I don't think Pelikan has reached this status yet by a long shot. They may be a "luxury brand" but no one sees one and assumes you have it to show off your status (at least not in the US), which definitely happens with MB.

That's not to say that they aren't or can't be great writers.

 

To clarify.

It doesn't mean that every MB that people get will be a steaming pile of doodah, but there will be a more of a focus on putting lipstick on the pig than producing a golden fleece. Some people in the consumerist society like lipstick on anything.

 

Pelikan, of course, haven't yet reached there(maybe they never will), but as mentioned, that's where they are aiming for. With falling unit sales in their key markets, Pelikan and others have no other option other than to increase prices and make a beeline for the luxury market. They already have a successful role model to emulate: Montblanc.


Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.


#14 Inkling13

Inkling13

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,154 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:45

I think some of this hate may stem from hate/disdain for the popular/consumerist. Like Rolex draws snubs from those who consider themselves watch snobs, MB is a lightning rod for the same reasons. While they may not be the best mechanical, most complex, best in class equipment, they have built themselves into a brand recognizable to even those outside of their fanatical followers. You see the Coke's color red, without even seeing Coca-Cola, and you associate it with Coke. You see the cyclops lens of a Rolex, and you instantly know it's a Rolex. You see the white star and cigar silhouette. Comparing Rolex to MB, they are iconic, in ways that Pelikan, Lamy, and the others can only dream of. Non-watch people can spot a Rolex, non-pen people can spot a MB. Maybe they don't make what others can say is the best. But the brand is their product, and the best in terms of recognition anywhere around. Maybe that's why that's why, that while it's viewed as the best by the plebians and commoners, it may not be performance or price wise the best. But that's a story for another day. 



#15 flipper_gv

flipper_gv

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 600 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:48

To clarify.

It doesn't mean that every MB that people get will be a steaming pile of doodah, but there will be a more of a focus on putting lipstick on the pig than producing a golden fleece. Some people in the consumerist society like lipstick on anything.

 

Pelikan, of course, haven't yet reached there(maybe they never will), but as mentioned, that's where they are aiming for. With falling unit sales in their key markets, Pelikan and others have no other option other than to increase prices and make a beeline for the luxury market. They already have a successful role model to emulate: Montblanc.

 

Is there even one brand out there that tries to make the best fountain pen (as in the best writing tool) as money can buy?

To me it's a definitive NO. Every brand ends up focusing on the lipstick as you put it since the fountain pen market is by definition in this age a luxury market.



#16 Bluey

Bluey

    Somewhere between green and indigo

  • All Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,961 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:15

 

Is there even one brand out there that tries to make the best fountain pen (as in the best writing tool) as money can buy?

To me it's a definitive NO. Every brand ends up focusing on the lipstick as you put it since the fountain pen market is by definition in this age a luxury market.

It depends what you're looking for. I don't think there is any pen, any car, any PC, any mobile phone, any whatever that can be everything to everyone. It's about knowing where your market is and what best suits that market.

If you're wanting the best writers(which is what pens are primarily designed to do, traditionally), please see my last paragraph in the first post.


Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.


#17 Uncial

Uncial

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,031 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:21

I will personally dispose of all your rubbish Montblanc pens. You can send them to me by post and I will ensure that this terrible scourge of junk is carefully removed from eBay rotation, ensuring that no further members of the public be exposed to such terrible disappointment. Sadly I am not accepting the current Beatles offering. You will just have to risk taking that one to your nearest waste deposit unit yourself.

#18 pararis

pararis

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 147 posts

Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:25

I don't care enough about MB to generate any "hate." That would give them far more power than they deserve. But I do resent the ugliness of their consumerism.

Regardless the product, when a company positions themselves pretentiously it does not appeal to me. I have no respect for people attracted to a company that forces customers to buy only at their consecrated "boutique" stores or a few blessed online retailers, that bullies the industry to refer to their quite ordinary plastic as "precious resin" and uses questionable tactics to muscle out any sort of negative media representation. Whether their products are good or bad is irrelevant to me. I'd never support the image they are peddling.

Such pretense can deeply affect people who attach self-worth to such consumer items. One public figure in this business has banned me from his social media after I referred to a mediocre and severely overpriced MB unit as a toy for the idle rich or some such thing. Bit of an overreaction I think.

Personally, I'm attracted to the Japanese aesthetic. I respect people who dedicate themselves to excellence and who are quietly relentless about producing the best possible products from both a functional as well as a form perspective. One Pilot Custom 823 is worth more than the whole MB empire to me.



#19 zaddick

zaddick

    BROADside Ambassador

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,376 posts
  • Location:SF Bay Area
  • Flag:

Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:54

These types of topics can be entertaining to read. The passion displayed is often impressive. Careful reading of word choice often tells me things about the poster I find more interesting than their opinions on the topic. As I like to say when I am in my "country lawyer" persona: You can't tell people what they know ain't so. The heart don't got ears.

Edited by zaddick, 29 December 2017 - 06:01.


#20 inkstainedruth

inkstainedruth

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,403 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:54

I don't care enough about MB to generate any "hate." That would give them far more power than they deserve. But I do resent the ugliness of their consumerism.

Regardless the product, when a company positions themselves pretentiously it does not appeal to me. I have no respect for people attracted to a company that forces customers to buy only at their consecrated "boutique" stores or a few blessed online retailers, that bullies the industry to refer to their quite ordinary plastic as "precious resin" and uses questionable tactics to muscle out any sort of negative media representation. Whether their products are good or bad is irrelevant to me. I'd never support the image they are peddling.

Such pretense can deeply affect people who attach self-worth to such consumer items. One public figure in this business has banned me from his social media after I referred to a mediocre and severely overpriced MB unit as a toy for the idle rich or some such thing. Bit of an overreaction I think.

Personally, I'm attracted to the Japanese aesthetic. I respect people who dedicate themselves to excellence and who are quietly relentless about producing the best possible products from both a functional as well as a form perspective. One Pilot Custom 823 is worth more than the whole MB empire to me.

 

Except for the last paragraph (mostly because I don't know enough about Japanese pens, especially the higher end ones), this echoes my sentiments very well.

I have seen exactly one (count 'em, one) Montblanc pen I could see myself wanting to own.  It was a vintage one from the 1930s in a lapis blue celluloid (?), and it had a four figure (!) price on eBay. :o  'Nuff said....  If I'm gonna (ever) pay that much money for a pen, it's going to be a Pelikan or a vintage Parker (aka, "I'll see your oversized MB 149 and raise you my user grade Plum Demi Parker 51 Aero, and laugh all the way to the bank: monetarily, esthetically, ergonomically, and in usage...."). :P 

I like a couple of their inks -- Lavender Purple is very nice, and I'm glad I picked up a bottle of the Leo Tolstoy LE ink last year.  And I'm keeping an open mind about the Beatles LE ink, until I actually see what it looks like in person.  But the rest?  Meh.  Toffee Brown is too red for my taste, and Midnight Blue just didn't wow me enough either in color or behavior to want a full bottle of it.  The others just don't interest me enough to pay for the "designer label" charges.  And the whole idea behind the UNICEF ink campaign I found rather abhorrent -- to say "Oh, we're going to donate up to X amount to UNICEF (and then that "donation" is clearly coming from the marked up price.  :angry: 

So, for all those people defending their "splat" pens, whatever floats your boat.  But I'm still going to refer to it as a "splat" pen -- and probably to your face; get over it....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."






Sponsored Content




|