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Summer, 2020 Montblanc Event — Limited Editions

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#1 Tom Kellie

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 20:42

fpn_1594408821__montblanc_by_invitation_

 

Montblanc Summer, 2020 Event

 

 

fpn_1594408878__montblanc_the_collection

 

Montblanc — The Collections

 

 

 

Summer, 2020 Montblanc Event

 

 

~ After consulting FPN Montblanc Forum Moderator Kalessin for guidance as to what might be appropriate to post, this small thread is added for all to read.

 

The ongoing Covid-19 public health event has adversely affected Montblanc's marketing plans for major 2020 releases.

 

Prohibitions or severe restrictions on public gatherings in most areas of the globe have resulted in an altered introduction format.

 

 

 

As the situation in southern China, just above the northern border with Hong Kong, has attained a moderately stable equilibrium, Montblanc held a special event yesterday.

 

VIP collectors were invited to visit during assigned time slots. Although no photography was allowed, they were fortunate to see and handle the latest fountain pen creations from Hamburg.

 

While I'm not even remotely in their ilk, Montblanc China graciously offered me the first time slot at 10 am. I accepted, honored to have such a rare opportunity.

 

 

 

With the South China Regional Marketing Director, I was seated in a secluded alcove. Black silk gloves were provided for handling the pieces introduced.

 

Superb graphics mounted on boards explained specific design motif inspiration, which was especially valuable.

 

The pieces shown were those typically never shown on Montblanc international Web sites. They were the Limited Editions of 888 or 88 or 8, depending on the model.

 

As several models have not yet been officially announced on any Montblanc Web site, it's necessary to describe them in an oblique manner, leaving details to their release in the coming months.

 

Others have been officially released, therefore such indirectness isn't necessary. Please pardon the lack of explicit details in certain cases, which I wish might be provided.

 

 

 

First, the Moctezuma LE 888 is very impressive, due to the detailed turquoise lapidary work. The texture is smooth, with only the slightest sense of it consisting of separate pieces.

 

The slender red pen slips out almost as an afterthought. The pen is all about the immense cap with a spear-like clip like few others.

 

The tiny nib size was a surprise…almost smaller than a Classique nib. The Aztec heart motif on the nib was readily discernible when looking through a loupe.

 

It required several tries before I became used to the special technique used to take the small pen out of the cap on all three models shown to me.

 

 

 

 

Second, the Victor Hugo LE 83 and Victor Hugo 8 are similar. The finish and materials of the most limited edition are as expected.

 

The great surprise was the Victor Hugo LE 83.

 

When initially handling it (wearing the black silk gloves provided) I was impressed by the detailing. The superb design graphics on boards educated me as to why certain design choices had been made.

 

Seeing the rose window from Notre Dame on it was a pleasant surprise.

 

What I didn’t realize until the South China Regional Marketing Director showed me, was the nature of the cap.

 

She turned on a light beam in her smartphone, then placed the cap on it.

 

Voilà!

 

The light shines out through blue transparent material through the skeletonized cap.

 

The effect is stunning. Montblanc needs to show that in a video. If they do so, they’ll rapidly sell every one.

 

Not only that, the pen barrel also shows light through blue. It’s elegant and tasteful.  A lovely design which I hadn’t anticipated.

 

 

 

 

Third there was a Dragon model intended for East Asian collectors.

 

One of a series, it is decorated with diamond highlights.

 

The barrel is decorated in lacquer with a tastefully restrained image related to the theme.

 

 

 

 

Fourth, it's no secret that Montblanc will follow-up on 2019's Calligraphy Flex Nib models with something different but comparable.

 

Having handled that model, and written with the nib, it's apparent that the next iteration is likely to be very well received.

 

The Limited Edition pen itself, and the specially crafted nib constitute a tour-de-force.

 

The exquisitely hand decorated pen exceeds in quality of detail nearly any other Montblanc fountain pen I've handled.

 

Having worked in East Asia for decades, I've gradually come to appreciate refined techniques, especially when very well executed.

 

In the case of the pen that I handled, looking through the loupe was ravishing, due to the wealth of detail in tasteful colors.

 

When the cap goes on, the design is lined up with gorgeous precision. The colors are subtle yet eye-catching.

 

 

 

 

 

2020's very special nib has a lovely, simple design on it for the Limited Edition.

 

A regular black 146 travels with the show, enabling invited guests to write with the special nib, which features the same surface motif as last year's Flex Nib.

 

Inked in Mystery Black, it’s effortless to use. To me it seemed much more responsive than 2019’s Flex Nib.

 

Playing with the nib for 7 or 8 minutes, the number of types of strokes, from OBB to EF, were impressive.

 

A buyer using such a  nib for several hours would likely find it to be a deft sketching tool, a tool for writing Asian characters, or an unconventional handwriting instrument.

 

 

 

 

Fifth, and finally, I was shown the most extraordinary Montblanc fountain pen that I've ever seen or read about.

 

As it's not yet been officially announced, although it has been discussed in a speculative FPN thread, it's essential to remain frustratingly vague as to specific details.

 

In this case, that's quite a challenge, as the pen in question has dazzling craftsmanship and the single greatest surprise I've ever encountered in any writing instrument.

 

Nonetheless, no spoilers.

 

 

 

 

The Very Limited Edition pen is wholly unlike the two versions based on the same theme which will soon be available in boutiques or from the usual trusted resellers.

 

After leaving the Montblanc Event this morning, I thought to myself that the Hamburg design team must’ve had a great time designing this one-of-a-kind pen.

 

When first shown to me, I was dazzled. The finish, the discreetly placed small gemstones, the sophisticated overall aesthetic balance are as good as it gets.

 

At the outset, the pen seemed like the heaviest fountain pen that I’ve ever picked up. It’s ultra-bulky, or so I thought.

 

But the absolute shocker is the culture-specific design motif on the pen.

 

Those crazy Hamburg gnomes have exactly duplicated, stone for stone, an ancient design from an ornament recovered from a well-preserved tomb.

 

If it were possible, what a joy it would be to describe the semi-precious stones of considerable size which are mounted in an exact facsimile of long ago artistry.

 

It’s a shocker to see and handle. There’s no two ways about it. In a large collection of pens, it would easily stand out above others.

 

Yet while admiring the work through the loupe, I was asking myself where the pen was, as there was no trace of it, aside from a slender clip.

 

HUGE SURPRISE!

 

 

I'm unable to write more, as that would spoil the surprise for all.

 

There's much to say, including my own sense of delight, but it's best left until this model and its companions are released.

 

I was dumbfounded by the overall artistry.

 

The time and care which went into it are a magnificent example of Montblanc’s continuing commitment to high craftsmanship.

 

 

 

Again, please do pardon me for writing in a coy style which leaves more questions than it answers.

 

I respect Montblanc's determination to manage the marketing of their own creations.

 

Please know that in 2020 there are yet lovely wonders to be released from Hamburg.

 

There are inks associated with most of these models, but at the event, the inks had not yet arrived.

 

 

Tom K.



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#2 fpupulin

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 21:12

A great report, Tom, of which I thank you very much.

 

Reading your descriptions, I was positively impressed by the honest surprise that you felt looking at several of the novelties! This ingenuous surprise reflects, in my opinion, the fact that with time one becomes educated at seeing. Looking with attention, with no prejudice, allows to appreciate details in the shape and workmanship of the pens that previously go unnoticed simply because one was not "attracted" by unusual shapes or finishes. It is a maturing process, at least in my case, and I had the impression to discover it also in your approach to the new MB collection during the event that you had the honor and pleasure to be invited to.

 

There are a number of pens that maybe I will never buy, because I can't afford them or because I do not find them compatible with my style, but nonetheless I truly appreciate spending some time to look at their intricate beauty and their refined working techniques.

 

Assisting to an event like the one you reported to this forum is a truly privilege, because is quite rare have the opportunity not only to look up and close such expensive pens but also to have them in the hand! Congratulations, and thank you again.



#3 ljz

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 21:23

the VERY LE of Egyptomania is absolutely breathtaking  :yikes:



#4 Cyrille

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 21:42

Just a photo to illustrate the description of Tom about the Victor Hugo LE83 cap under light. It is very beautiful, the photo is not from mine, just found it on Instagram:

50098573246_696da4bcb2_c.jpg



#5 Toll

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 22:44

Tom, what an honor for you! Thank you for sharing a bit about your observations. Even though I can’t imagine being able or inclined to buy some or any of the pens that you describe, I delight in the creative artistry of the Montblanc team. I always look forward to news about new MB projects and I am grateful you were able to share some tidbits without “spilling the beans,” Thanks again!

#6 Barkingpig

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 00:24

What a gracious gesture to allow us to share your delight of this special occasion!

 

I could just picture the black gloved hands, loupes & telephone provided lighting accents, as each new surprise was revealed.



#7 Croma

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 06:26

Thanks for the journalistic chronicle. Imagination flies.

Best regards.



#8 jagwap

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 07:31

Now I am intrigued by the new nib.  I was assuming that it is not flex, so this variation is down to geometry? Altered by angle to the paper? Sailor has this type, and very interesting.

 

Did you handle the solitaire version? The limited information on the internet suggests it is quite the beauty.



#9 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:02

Now I am intrigued by the new nib.  I was assuming that it is not flex, so this variation is down to geometry? Altered by angle to the paper? Sailor has this type, and very interesting.

 

Did you handle the solitaire version? The limited information on the internet suggests it is quite the beauty.

 

~ jagwap:

 

Within the constraints kindly suggested by Moderator Kalessin, I'll do my best to answer your reasonable questions.

 

Much of your conjecture is spot-on. It's of a higher order of craftsmanship than what Sailor (and others) have offered.

 

Perhaps this might be noted: This will almost certainly be perceived by most experienced users as a remarkably versatile nib.

 

It has been designed to be used in a variety of positions, including upside-down, as was demonstrated for me and explained on the board provided.

 

After two minutes of gentle experimentation, I was able to write EEF lines and a BBB line.

 

I write with Montblanc fountain pens of those dimensions, so the stroke sizes are familiar to me.

 

This is entirely dissimilar from 2019's Calligraphy Flex nib, based on alternative physical design principles, as you've astutely noted.

 

Please do forgive me for not directly answering, as I've pledged not to do so.

 

On this occasion I did not handle the vibrant Solitaire version. In candor, I have handled that pen in another setting. Your assessment of it's beauty is certainly right.

 

This nib is likely to be a game-changer for many in ways that the 2019 Calligraphy Flex Nib was not.

 

Its ease of use and compatibility with creative impulses are sure to charm others as much as it did me.

 

Tom K.



#10 eciton

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:46

Tom, just one question on that special nib, if you could help me sleep at night:

 

Are we talking bent-nib (fude) or something more like a reversible architect / Sailor Concord?

 

If you can point one way or the other you will help me decide whether to start saving!


Anthony

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#11 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:47

A great report, Tom, of which I thank you very much.

 

Reading your descriptions, I was positively impressed by the honest surprise that you felt looking at several of the novelties! This ingenuous surprise reflects, in my opinion, the fact that with time one becomes educated at seeing. Looking with attention, with no prejudice, allows to appreciate details in the shape and workmanship of the pens that previously go unnoticed simply because one was not "attracted" by unusual shapes or finishes. It is a maturing process, at least in my case, and I had the impression to discover it also in your approach to the new MB collection during the event that you had the honor and pleasure to be invited to.

 

There are a number of pens that maybe I will never buy, because I can't afford them or because I do not find them compatible with my style, but nonetheless I truly appreciate spending some time to look at their intricate beauty and their refined working techniques.

 

Assisting to an event like the one you reported to this forum is a truly privilege, because is quite rare have the opportunity not only to look up and close such expensive pens but also to have them in the hand! Congratulations, and thank you again.

 

~ fpupulin:

 

Thank you for your especially thoughtful comments.

 

I thought of you when I was at the event.

 

The successor nib of the 2019 Calligraphy Flex Nib may well be of interest to one as gifted as you are.

 

The privilege of handling such works of art and high craftsmanship was moving to the soul.

 

One aspect that stood out was the superb use of semi-precious gemstones as decorative elements.

 

Tom K.



#12 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:50

the VERY LE of Egyptomania is absolutely breathtaking  :yikes:

 

~ ljz:

 

While I've pledged to make no direct comment about those models which Montblanc has not yet publicly presented, perhaps the following might be written.

 

There could be no disagreement with what you've eloquently commented above.

 

In fact, it may be understatement!

 

Thank you for your comment.

 

Tom K.



#13 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:55

Just a photo to illustrate the description of Tom about the Victor Hugo LE83 cap under light. It is very beautiful, the photo is not from mine, just found it on Instagram:

 

~ Cyrille:

 

It's very kind of you to add that image to illustrate that lovely model. Merci beaucoup!

 

I have no access to Instagram, therefore have never seen such images.

 

When I saw and handled the Victor Hugo LE83, the subtle working of the skeletonized design was striking.

 

In the darkened alcove where the models were presented to me. the smartphone light shining up was more vividly blue than in the image you kindly shared.

 

It's a Limited Edition which is sure to find a strong international market, as such rare beauty is always in style.

 

Tom K.



#14 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:56

Tom, what an honor for you! Thank you for sharing a bit about your observations. Even though I can’t imagine being able or inclined to buy some or any of the pens that you describe, I delight in the creative artistry of the Montblanc team. I always look forward to news about new MB projects and I am grateful you were able to share some tidbits without “spilling the beans,” Thanks again!

 

~ Toll:

 

You were on my mind at times while I was at the event.

 

I felt certain that you'd especially appreciate the magnificent artistry on display.

 

Thank you so much for your generous comment above.

 

Tom K.



#15 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:58

What a gracious gesture to allow us to share your delight of this special occasion!

 

I could just picture the black gloved hands, loupes & telephone provided lighting accents, as each new surprise was revealed.

 

~ Barkingpig:

 

Your lovely comment above makes my day!

 

Thank you so much for sharing my joy in Montblanc's sublime craftsmanship.

 

Tom K.



#16 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:00

Thanks for the journalistic chronicle. Imagination flies.

Best regards.

 

~ Croma:

 

I'm grateful for your generous comment.

 

It's clear that Hamburg's designers have loosed their imaginations to achieve unexpected heights.

 

Tom K.



#17 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:12

Tom, just one question on that special nib, if you could help me sleep at night:

 

Are we talking bent-nib (fude) or something more like a reversible architect / Sailor Concord?

 

If you can point one way or the other you will help me decide whether to start saving!

 

~ eciton:

 

While slicing vegetables for the evening meal, your question stirred in my thoughts. Thank you for asking.

 

I've pledged to both Montblanc and to Fountain Pen Network that I won't directly reveal design particulars of those models yet to be officially presented by Montblanc.

 

I'll take a leap and suggest that you and others might set aside a fund.

 

Recalling the blizzard of comments about 2019's Calligraphy Flex Nib, my hunch is that the nib to be presented later in 2020 will spark greater demand.

 

That's not due to the marketing name, as the Calligraphy Flex Nib initially stirred considerable interest.

 

Rather, it'll likely be due to word of mouth about performance.

 

I've worked in East Asia for nearly half of my life, therefore a wealth of specialized nibs have crossed my writing desk.

 

What might be noted is that this nib is intentionally generalist, rather than narrowly specialist.

 

Something of a hybrid, it superficially matches one of the nibs you mentioned, yet in use is more versatile than examples with which I've written over here.

 

Without pushing the point, it might be added that the model most likely to be acquired will have an eye-catching appearance like nothing else.

 

While it's not my place to presume to advise...I'd save.

 

Tom K.


Edited by Tom Kellie, 11 July 2020 - 10:13.


#18 iancorben

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 11:10

Fascinating, thank you for shining a small spotlight ( actually a literal one too) into an otherwise dark world at the moment. Great to see a little bit of near normality, or at least getting back towards it!

 

Thanks for sharing your event with us.


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#19 jagwap

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 12:05

 
~ jagwap:
 

Within the constraints kindly suggested by Moderator Kalessin, I'll do my best to answer your reasonable questions.

 

Much of your conjecture is spot-on. It's of a higher order of craftsmanship than what Sailor (and others) have offered.

 

Perhaps this might be noted: This will almost certainly be perceived by most experienced users as a remarkably versatile nib.

 

It has been designed to be used in a variety of positions, including upside-down, as was demonstrated for me and explained on the board provided.

 

After two minutes of gentle experimentation, I was able to write EEF lines and a BBB line.

 

I write with Montblanc fountain pens of those dimensions, so the stroke sizes are familiar to me.

 

This is entirely dissimilar from 2019's Calligraphy Flex nib, based on alternative physical design principles, as you've astutely noted.

 

Please do forgive me for not directly answering, as I've pledged not to do so.

 

On this occasion I did not handle the vibrant Solitaire version. In candor, I have handled that pen in another setting. Your assessment of it's beauty is certainly right.

 

This nib is likely to be a game-changer for many in ways that the 2019 Calligraphy Flex Nib was not.

 

Its ease of use and compatibility with creative impulses are sure to charm others as much as it did me.

 

Tom K.


Many thanks. That answers enough, without giving away too much. I had a similar time around the corner in Shenzhen in a sister brand IWC. I understand the restrictions.

I an really enjoying the 149 flex, and getting almost acceptable results given practise. It has (perhaps temporarily) supplanted my 1914 heritage as my favourite nib, which is no mean feat. The next nib may not need the size 9 nib to be special, so the solitaire is going to stay on my radar.

#20 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 14:19

Fascinating, thank you for shining a small spotlight ( actually a literal one too) into an otherwise dark world at the moment. Great to see a little bit of near normality, or at least getting back towards it!

 

Thanks for sharing your event with us.

 

~ iancorben:

 

Montblanc's 2020 offerings are a most welcome highlight.

 

I'm pleased to know that this somewhat opaque report was nonetheless satisfying.

 

There will be much to anticipate from Hamburg's workshops within the the coming months.

 

Tom K.







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