When listing a pen on an auction site or when selling pens on other platforms, words such as ‘not working’ and ‘broken’ have a tendency to make buyers deeply hesitant. Sometimes though, it is worth the risk. The flip side of course is that it isn’t worth the risk at all and you end up crying over a steaming pile of junk and the money you wasted on it. Luckily the Carbon Fibre Solitaire that came to me from southern Spain was worth the risk even though the seller was honest enough to let me know that the piston mechanism was broken and the pen was not working. It had been well used by its previous owners but one owner had put some rather peculiar ink in it and then allowed it to dry out. Much soaking, flushing and meticulous cleaning (over about three months) got the piston moving and the pen into a working state again. As I said, it had been well used and came with plenty of war wounds. How or when these were acquired I do not know so I can’t really speak for the robustness of the finish on the barrel. Be warned, it's a finger-print magnet as can be seen in these pictures.
The Carbon Fibre looks and feels like the sort of workhorse fountain pen that should sit in with the tools in the toolbox – maybe that is the life this one had at one point. Its broad nib is as smooth as butter, wet and has a nice yet subtle stub aspect. It has a screw cap and is a piston filler (now clean of ink and working nicely). The pen posts securely and the inner, almost waxy cap liner stops any possibility of marking the barrel. The tactile barrel is a high polished steel and although I can’t be certain, from the marks and scratches on this one, I’d presume that it might mark easily if you don’t in some respects baby your pen. The marks aren’t that severe, but you notice them more when it’s in strong sunlight. The cap is steel, layered over with a carbon fibre weave and a clear acrylic. The snow peak is in a black domed top at the tip of the cap. The carbon fibre weave is rather difficult to photograph. My phone camera couldn’t decide if it should focus on the surface of the clear acrylic or on the depth of the fibre weave. In many pictures it appears black, or at least a charcoal grey, but it is actually a somewhat peculiar colour – a sort of deep teal-leaning green. For something so industrial it’s actually very attractive with quite a strong sense of depth.
Posted, the pen has a surprisingly good balance and doesn’t feel overly back weighted. Unposted it still has a good weight and length and I found the pen to be lighter than I thought it would be. The cap weighs 16g, the pen uncapped weighs 26g and capped it weighs 42g. Unposted the pen is 130mm and posted the pen is 158mm and capped the pen is 145mm. It takes two turns to screw and unscrew the cap.
When I picked this up I was looking for a Montblanc with a broad nib that I didn’t have to worry about war wounds with. This pen already having lived seemed like a suitable punt. I wasn’t expecting much of it but it did surprise me in how much I liked it once it was up and running again. It’s a bit of a sober offering from Montblanc despite that high polish; the sort of pen that wouldn’t be out of place in an engineers office. The black plastic grip (with striped ink window) makes it easy to use without the worry of a slippery steel section. To buy one new and have it scratch up easily would be disappointing and I didn’t personally want to go down that route or have such a significant spend. Maybe others who own this can add their own experience of how robust the finish is. It could well be that the previous owners of this one were simply careless. Nevertheless, I think it’s a very attractive pen and if you like the more restrained and sleek look it is a good handling and pleasing writer.
Edited by Uncial, 25 September 2020 - 12:06.