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MontBlanc 146 LeGrand


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12 replies to this topic

#1 chuancao

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 01:23

I recently bought a brand new MontBlanc 146 Le Grand. Yes, I have read many bashing reviews and comments about MB. But the price of this MB was "reasonable" and I thought I'd give it a try. Pics include comparison pics of my Visconti Opera Club fine and Aurora 88 C/C small version Fine.

First impressions

Compared to the Visconti box, MB's box seems a lot more plain looking. It is much smaller, and bears the simple Mont Blanc logo outside. The box inside is also quite ordinary looking.



Appearance and Finish

This is the gold trimmed version. I am not a big fan of yellow gold, but the store did not have the platinum version. My wife told me that this "yellow" was not as intense as some of the other 22K plated yellow, hence not as "tacky" looking. In fact, it looks a bit elegant. So I went ahead and got this one.

I was very curious about all this "precious resin" that MB boasts on using. Well, I admit that this "precious resin" is indeed different from the resin on my Aurora pens (and I have two of them). This is not to discredit Aurora because Aurora's resin also looks silky smooth and screams "look at me." But with this MB, there is this ruby red effect if you hold the pen close to tungsten lighting. This can be verified if you stick your nib half way inside the cap. You will see the red reflected upon the rhodium plated nib, which is vaguely remniscent of an Autumn sunset.

Filling System

Being my first piston fountain pen, I don't have a Pelikan to compare to. I would say that it's quite good (albeit slightly tight). On my second fill, I think I was able to get a full fill, since when I turned the pen upside down and looked through the ink window, nothing was transparent (save the ruby red which I referred to above).

Nib and flow

I will probably have to update this because I do'nt think I am ready for a final verdict. But I will say this. When I first got it, I filled the pen with Visconti black (which did have converter ink flow issues on my Opera Club Visconti), it had occassional skips, especially if it's a long continuous line. The next night, I switched to Aurora blue, a great flowing ink, and immediately the problem improved. There were still very occasional skips. I called up MB, and they told me to give it two weeks to break in and they said that they get calls like that quite often. The representative asked me to give it a bit time and to write often w/ the pen. That night, I noticed that skipping was next to nil. And since it was a big nib, I noticed that some of the skipping might have been caused by the angle of my pen holding. This kinda make sense because the iridium tip is a lot bigger than the ones on my Aurora 88 small and the Visconti Opera Club. THe tips on Aurora and Visconti are so small (like a rollerball) so that whichever way you turn it will pretty much write. The MB is less "circular" and will not give perfect contact. So right now, as long as I hold the pen the right way, there is no skipping.

In terms of smoothness - I think Visconti is smoother than this MB. My Le Grand is definitely quite smooth, but the Visconti is buttery smooth. I would bet that if you didn't have my Opera Club to compare the MB would probably also be considered buttery smooth.

Another observation which you can find in my posts in the MontBlanc forum is that I noticed that the feed is slightly offcenter to the left. A few ppl here have commented that this is also true w/ some of their fountain pens and if it doesn't affect writing, I shouldn't have to worry. In addition, I saw that one part of the iridium tip seems slightly larger than the other. MB representatives told me that because MB nibs are hand-crafted, there's no way to get machine precision.

Finally, as briefly mentioned above, be advised that MB fine nibs are really medium on other brands. I have tried to show that in the pic below. For more comparison go to "How Wide Does it Get" thread in the MB forum where I have more pictures. http://www.fountainp...showtopic=54198
http://www.fountainp...showtopic=54359


Hope you find this helpful!

Feel free to add comments or ask questions.

here's a writing sample.

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Edited by chuancao, 24 February 2008 - 02:43.


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#2 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 07:41

good job wink.gif I tried to write with a modern 146 with a duo tone nib it was very different from writing with my older 146s. I own two 146 one from 1965 with an extra flexible medium oblique nib and a 1986 semi flexible extra fine nib. My older 146s have both a monotone nib, one has a 14k585 nib and the other a 18k750 nib. They are among my best writers and equal easily my omases or any sailor 1911
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#3 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 14:36

Nice review. I feel the same way about the gold plating on the pen. Pictures make it look a lot worse than it actually is in person.

Montblanc 145, F nib
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib
Montblanc 149, F nib
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib
Montblanc Solitaire Silver Barley BP
Montblanc Rouge et Noir Coral, M nib


#4 chuancao

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 15:41

Thanks. I want to add that with the Aurora blue, because of the fast flowing ink the lines are a bit too thick on certain papers. I am now trying to get a new ink which has good flows AND doesn't lay down too thick of a line. A bit of a challenge. If you've got suggestions, feel free to let me know!

#5 Empacherguy

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 16:00

I'd have to agree with the bit about holding these pens "just so." Mine I got last year for Xmas; excited, "oooo cool!" the whole thing. But when I filled it up and gave the original one a whirl, it was just plain infuriating - and this with the best-flowing ink I know, Aurora Black. Took it to MB in San Francisco: they swapped it out right there, so kudos for that. However! the new one was only marginally better. I've tried almost every ink in my collection (including MB Black) and yes, the pen is really sensitive. One little bit off angle and it'll skip like mad - especially on downstrokes.

As for the look, I love it. The size is nice for my hand too. But I also must wonder how they get away with such finicky performance for that price.

#6 chuancao

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 16:10

QUOTE(Empacherguy @ Feb 26 2008, 11:00 AM)  
I'd have to agree with the bit about holding these pens "just so." Mine I got last year for Xmas; excited, "oooo cool!" the whole thing. But when I filled it up and gave the original one a whirl, it was just plain infuriating - and this with the best-flowing ink I know, Aurora Black. Took it to MB in San Francisco: they swapped it out right there, so kudos for that. However! the new one was only marginally better. I've tried almost every ink in my collection (including MB Black) and yes, the pen is really sensitive. One little bit off angle and it'll skip like mad - especially on downstrokes.

As for the look, I love it. The size is nice for my hand too. But I also must wonder how they get away with such finicky performance for that price.


Right. The "sensitivity" has improved. Also I probably won't go through the hassel of changing pens/nib etc as chances are the replacement might be worse!

Overall, as long as I hold the pen at its sweetspot, it will write beautifully. This is unfortunately caused by that large iridium tip! Had they made the tip like Visconti or Aurora nibs (small and round, not "angular") I don't think this would ever happen.

As with everything there is a plus side to every downside - now that I hold this pen at a certain angle, I write slower and more neatly. Some of my words even look like it's coming from an italic nib!

#7 chuancao

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 12:34

Update:

All of a sudden last night... as I was filling up ink, the piston got really really tight, so tihgt that it almost seemed impossible to twist any further. I might go and see if oter pens are like that and if not, try for an exchange. this is upsetting.

#8 Ghost Plane

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 12:44

Opened a bottle of Visconti Black that came with one of my pens - immediately got skipping from a Visconti that never skipped before. So their ink is definitely problematic.

Never noticed a problem with my MB 149 pen being persnickity about how it was held. Does have an italic effect tho' in the B. Try J Herbin inks if you have any on hand. I have to decant to a deeper well to fill that long nib, but then I'm used to doing it for my Visconti. The MB really likes the Herbin inks I've tried so far.

I'm with you on the Visconti nibs setting the standard. My 149 feels the same as my Visconti, so I'm happy, but wouldn't go out of my way to get another one when I get the same writing performace for waaaaaaaaaay less money.

Edited for pre coffee spelling errors.

Edited by Ghost Plane, 27 February 2008 - 12:45.


#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 06:58

Waterman inks are one of the best inks for MB, they don't make the MB overflowing and don't solidify with time. Also what I noted is despite I haven't used my MBs for weeks when I write with them again they start immediately. A friend of mine uses pelikan x4001 in black, he said that it was very good ink too for his MBs.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#10 Woliaj

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 13:19

you have all three pens that i currently want :(
If only money didn't exist, and pens grew on trees...

#11 colincarter

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:25

i like the 146's so much more than the 149's which are far too thick

#12 rogerico

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 18:38

Nice review. I bought my MB 146 20 years ago and I wrote with it for fourteen years, until I bought my first non MB fountain pen. Then I found out that a FP shouldn't necessarily leak. I've never used a MB again. I think that this problem has been solved and recent MB dont't leak, but mine is impossible!

Edited by rogerico, 31 March 2011 - 18:39.

Roger

#13 IKWarren

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 15:44

Nice review. I really like the size and weight of the 146. Does anyone else think the nib looks smaller because of the two-tone plating? It seems like an optical illusion to me because when I compare it to other similar size nibs they end up being the same size. Odd.






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