Jump to content

Montblanc 149 Calligraphy Nib: A Personal View For Those Still On The Fence



fpupulin

Recommended Posts

Barry Gabay

fpupulin,

 

Thank you, as always, for your remarkable handwriting skills. Thanks too for your objective and comprehensive review of the new 149 flex. Yours is a serious, enjoyable, & informative explanation, very much appreciated.

 

Stay healthy,

Barry

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 69
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • fpupulin

    17

  • TheDutchGuy

    8

  • Tasmith

    5

  • neverforget

    3

Please excuse the drool. Your writing is inspiring.

 

 

Oh my gosh, more masterfully written Italian, be still my heart : ((

 

 

I could look at your calligraphy and photography all day! :)

 

 

fpupulin,

 

Thank you, as always, for your remarkable handwriting skills. Thanks too for your objective and comprehensive review of the new 149 flex. Yours is a serious, enjoyable, & informative explanation, very much appreciated.

 

Stay healthy,

Barry

 

 

Dear friends, thank you for your kindly words. I hope you are safe, at home, enjoying your pens.

 

Barry: is your new 149 Platinum rewarding you? I have never seen one in the flesh, but in the pics it looks a terrific pen, and the inverted-three-toned nib, with just that bit of yellow gold, is truly spectacular!

 

The flex nib of my Calligraphy is a joy to use, and no doubts it confers something of a vintage character to anything you write. When I look at my pen on the paper, with its un-contemporary curves and the flat body, it reminds me that it was born in 1954: a truly vintage object. In line with this vintage flavor, I spent some time of my Saturday to shoot it "vintage": with a somewhat harsh light coming from a basement small window, on a "historical" black and white film (Ilford Pan F), with my vintage Hasselblad 500C/M, built in 1975!

 

 

fpn_1585418033__o_con_gesto_ampio_callig

 

For those who are interested in photography: as I do not have neither a small window nor a basement, I made up a quite simple set with a lateral window and a few panels to reflect and to partially block the light:

 

 

fpn_1585491419__img-0013.jpg

Stay healthy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here I have compared eight of my extra-fine nibs. I confess I have two more, but they are mounted on pens that I have not yet inked and for this reason they have not been included in the test.

All the pens were used with a light hand. They use different inks, and this may have somehow influenced the comparison.
I don't have any Japanese xxf trait that I could insert in the comparative test.
The paper is Amatruda's cotton wool from Amalfi, perfect for this type of test: it does not spread, it does not leak, it shows what is there and nothing more.
fpn_1585962168__eight_extra-fine_nibs.jp
[the pens, which are useless to understand the test, are only there to be admired ...]
Ranking: of my extra-fine nibs the one that leaves the broadest line is a Montblanc nib mounted on a Meisterstück 149 from 1991 (two-tone). It is a slightly flexible, non-rigid nib, used with Edelstein Onyx ink.
The extra-fine of an Omas Grand Paragon follows, year 2013; very sweet, stiff nib. Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris.
Then, with grossly the same width, the extra-fine of the Montegrappa Extra 1930, a two-tone probably from 2005 (with Edestein Smoky Quartz ink), and the tri-tone of Montblanc Hemingway (Rohrer & Klingner Sepia ink), a nib number 9 from 1992. They are two pleasant and very different nibs. The Montegrappa is stiffer, but also the most "exact" nib I have; that of the Hemingway is softer and more "creative".
The extra-fine of the Parker Duofold Centennial (here in the orange livery) is a gradation difficult to find and is very thin. It is a frankly stiff nib. I used it with the Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris.
The two Omas Gentlemen follow, in the black and in the gray pearl celluloids. I can't say which of the two is more extra-fine, but they are two different nibs. The black Gentlemen mounts an Extra nib, with heart vent-hole, very flexible. It is inked with Parker Quink Black. The Grigioperla has a slightly less flexible Extra-Lucens nib, with house-shaped vent hole. Here it uses a Diamine Gray ink. These Omas are two fantastic calligraphy nibs, a little more difficult to use for current writing, because they are really pointed.
The extra-fine line champion of my group turned out to be the nib of the Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Calligraphy. Here I used it with Montblanc Black Permanent ink. It is a valuable nib, which even when it can leave a very fine line, does not "jib" on the paper and allows you to write easily even with current handwriting. What the vintage Omas nibs get with a very sharp tip, the rounder nib of the Calligraphy gets by narrowing the ink flow when the prongs are close and the hand does not exert pressure.
Link to post
Share on other sites
TheDutchGuy
...of my extra-fine nibs the one that leaves the broadest line is a Montblanc nib mounted on a Meisterstück 149 from 1991 (two-tone). It is a slightly flexible, non-rigid nib...

 

MB has interesting ideas on nib sizes, especially when it comes to older nibs... My 146 from the early 90s has an older EF nib and that one is an architect nib. EF downstrokes, M sidestrokes, very smooth, perfect flow, a very interesting nib. But it has nothing to do with EF. Why MB decided it was a good idea to label architect nibs as ‘EF’ is beyond me, but they did, for a while.

 

fpn_1585979836__8807ad5c-713c-46b1-9565-

 

Similarly, I’ve got an old 342 from the 50s with an F nib. Or so it says. In reality, it is a very soft narrow stub. One of the nicest nibs I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, but how anyone could call it an F...

Edited by TheDutchGuy
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

MB has interesting ideas on nib sizes, especially when it comes to older nibs... My 146 from the early 90s has an older EF nib and that one is an architect nib. EF downstrokes, M sidestrokes, very smooth, perfect flow, a very interesting nib. But it has nothing to do with EF. Why MB decided it was a good idea to label architect nibs as ‘EF’ is beyond me, but they did, for a while.

 

fpn_1585979836__8807ad5c-713c-46b1-9565-

 

Similarly, I’ve got an old 342 from the 50s with an F nib. Or so it says. In reality, it is a very soft narrow stub. One of the nicest nibs I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, but how anyone could call it an F...

 

 

TheDutchGuy, in our family we have maybe 7–8 EF nibs from "modern" Montblanc 149 and 146, spanning in age from 1977 to 2004, and they all have that "architect" point, which produces an horizontal stroke larger than the vertical one. In a way, they are quite "typically" Montblanc... The nibs of the Eighties are somewhat more responsive and pleasant to use, but the grind is almost the same.

 

The Calligraphy is, among my modern Montblanc pens, the first and only "non-architect" EF in my flock.

Link to post
Share on other sites
TheDutchGuy

Those architects are good nibs, they have their merits. I use mine quite a bit and I enjoy it. The sidestroke is M-verging-on-B, so it has absolutely nothing to do with EF. It would’ve been great if MB had offered the architect separately from a good, true EF.

Link to post
Share on other sites
neverforget

@fpupulin: I continue to drool (as another member put it) over your photos and handwriting. I've had my 149 calligraphy for about two weeks and find it to be such a JOY to use. I've been using it as my daily pen for writing pretty much anything since it produces such a lovely thin line with little pressure.

 

I'd love to hear you comment on your favorite papers to use.

 

One more question, would you share how you developed your handwriting? Was this from childhood/practice as adult?

 

Thank you

Link to post
Share on other sites

@fpupulin: I continue to drool (as another member put it) over your photos and handwriting. I've had my 149 calligraphy for about two weeks and find it to be such a JOY to use. I've been using it as my daily pen for writing pretty much anything since it produces such a lovely thin line with little pressure.

 

I'd love to hear you comment on your favorite papers to use.

 

One more question, would you share how you developed your handwriting? Was this from childhood/practice as adult?

 

Thank you

 

Like you, nickycat, I'm using my 149 Calligraphy for almost anything, and like you I find her a real joy to use.

 

Here I tested it as a drawing pen and, wow, she's spectacular with the line variation that this nib produces:

 

 

fpn_1586205444__montblanc_meisterstck_14

 

 

I do not know if all the Calligraphy nibs are born equal, but I like mine more on a paper with at last a bit of "teeth". In my opinion this improves control of the ink flow. When you exert pressure, the nib of the 149 Calligraphy is wet, and on a very smooth paper this reduced the crispness of the changes thin/bold/thin strokes.

 

Really, there are a lot of papers on which the nib works great. The drawing in the photo above was made on cotton paper, an Italian paper made in Amalfi by the Amatruda mills, called charta bambagina. It is an "absolute dry" paper, so much so that the nib frequently railroads on this medium.

 

For a general use, my preferred is the laid paper by Fabriano called Ingres, 80 g/m. You may find it in notepads as well as in loose sheets and leaves, in four or five different colors, each one spectacular. The most simple way to enjoy it, for me, is buying the Fabriano Artists notebooks. They exist in both rectangular and "Quadrato" (my preferred) formats, and in various sizes.They are not cheap, but are neither expensive. The Quadrato, in both sizes, is made up with 4 different Ingres colors. Perfect.

 

Here I am making exercises on a Fabriano Quadrato Artist notebook.

 

fpn_1586206153__montblanc_meisterstck_14

 

The light green leaf is also Fabriano Ingres, and it really shows the line variation of which this nib is capable!

 

I was educated, long time ago, at writing with a fountain pen, and writing in an ordered and legible form was simply mandatory at school. I wrote with fountain pens all my life. Calligraphy is more of a quite recent love, maybe of the last ten years or so.

 

I took no courses, but I have a lot of books on calligraphy, some better than others, and I spend maybe half an hour daily at desk playing with my pens and calligraphing. Practice is essential, as well as calm. A coffee helps a lot... The Internet is a prodigious source of information and inspiration to learn calligraphy styles.

Edited by fpupulin
Link to post
Share on other sites
SchaumburgSwan

 

(...)

Practice is essential, as well as calm. A coffee helps a lot...

 

Hi fpupulin,

 

coffee - really?

Anyway I enjoy Your posts a lot, especially the photography and penmanship!

 

Many thanks and best wishes

Jens

.....................................................................................................

https://www.flickr.com/photos/136145166@N02/albums

Link to post
Share on other sites
neverforget

 

I do not know if all the Calligraphy nibs are born equal, but I like mine more on a paper with at last a bit of "teeth". In my opinion this improves control of the ink flow. When you exert pressure, the nib of the 149 Calligraphy is wet, and on a very smooth paper this reduced the crispness of the changes thin/bold/thin strokes.

Really, there are a lot of papers on which the nib works great. The drawing in the photo above was made on cotton paper, an Italian paper made in Amalfi by the Amatruda mills, called charta bambagina. It is an "absolute dry" paper, so much so that the nib frequently railroads on this medium.

For a general use, my preferred is the laid paper by Fabriano called Ingres, 80 g/m. You may find it in notepads as well as in loose sheets and leaves, in four or five different colors, each one spectacular. The most simple way to enjoy it, for me, is buying the Fabriano Artists notebooks. They exist in both rectangular and "Quadrato" (my preferred) formats, and in various sizes.They are not cheap, but are neither expensive. The Quadrato, in both sizes, is made up with 4 different Ingres colors. Perfect.

 

Thank you fpupulin very much for these suggestions, I was not familiar with Fabriano paper and I will most definitely try them.

 

 

 

I was educated, long time ago, at writing with a fountain pen, and writing in an ordered and legible form was simply mandatory at school. I wrote with fountain pens all my life. Calligraphy is more of a quite recent love, maybe of the last ten years or so.

I took no courses, but I have a lot of books on calligraphy, some better than others, and I spend maybe half an hour daily at desk playing with my pens and calligraphing. Practice is essential, as well as calm. A coffee helps a lot... The Internet is a prodigious source of information and inspiration to learn calligraphy styles.

 

Your photos have been very inspirational, and thank you again for sharing with us.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my! That is one stunning nib. And you have stunning control in your writing. I love what that nib is capable of achieving. Unfortunately, my handwriting is much heavier and I've yet to master a flex nib with it. So, that means I can, thankfully, save my pennies.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
TheDutchGuy

Well, I’m still on the fence...

 

...on the one hand, Montblanc has made many people very, very happy with this pen and that’s no small feat. A pen that gives joy is a pen worth having. I’ve seen very few comments about the high cost of this pen, so apparently it’s considered to offer good value for money. And it seems to be usable as a daily writer as well as for calligraphy, which is important to me.

 

...on the other hand, if I force myself to be rational, Pablo at FP Nibs offers a truly excellent #6 flex nib and feed (as others here have testified) that you can fit in a pen of your choice and the total cost of pen and nib would be a fraction of the price of this MB 149.

 

I’ll probably need to decide soon as supply might be running out. Sigh...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I’m still on the fence...

 

...on the one hand, Montblanc has made many people very, very happy with this pen and that’s no small feat. A pen that gives joy is a pen worth having. I’ve seen very few comments about the high cost of this pen, so apparently it’s considered to offer good value for money. And it seems to be usable as a daily writer as well as for calligraphy, which is important to me.

 

...on the other hand, if I force myself to be rational, Pablo at FP Nibs offers a truly excellent #6 flex nib and feed (as others here have testified) that you can fit in a pen of your choice and the total cost of pen and nib would be a fraction of the price of this MB 149.

 

I’ll probably need to decide soon as supply might be running out. Sigh...

 

If you are having trouble deciding, perhaps my own experience with a different pen may be of use:

 

In 2013, Pelikan made a ‘limited edition’ of their M800 - in a finish they called ‘Brown Tortoiseshell’.

They were about £100 above the price of a normal M800 new here - a pen that is, for me, eye-wateringly-expensive to begin with - and they didn’t have a fancy nib or anything, just a pretty body.

I couldn’t justify the expense of buying one, so I didn’t.

 

1) I have been kicking myself about it ever since;

 

2) Have a look at the prices they go for now :doh: :crybaby:

 

So; if you can afford to buy one, I advise you to get the 149. From what you wrote above, I expect that it will most probably go up in value after the end of this year (& will at the very least hold its value) if you ever decide to sell it on.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

mini-postcard-exc.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I’m still on the fence...

 

[...]

 

I’ll probably need to decide soon as supply might be running out. Sigh...

 

 

Dear TheDutchGuy, I tried explaining my rational in pro of this pen (well, of this nib, as the pen is nothing more and nothing less than a traditional Meisterstück 149), but I have to admit that I am in love with Calligraphy (now at the fifth ink full in six weeks) so my opinion could be also emotionally driven.

 

As to the calligraphic capability of the nib, I hope you had a chance to watch a short video re-posted by max dog into another topic (
): it is simply and plainly unbelievable. Even though I could never attain such a skilled penmanship, it is good to know that is not a fault of my pen...
I just want to confirm that, as a daily writer, she’s easier (I am not saying better) than my beloved, vintage flexy nibs by Omas, which require more control. The Calligraphy is less pointed, less scratchy if not properly aligned, and so it is much more forgiving on the paper for everyday writing.
And I want to confirm also my opinion that the tag price for such a pen is still immorally high, notwithstanding the joy it provides. Was it not for the zero interests financing that was available for my buying, I would probably be still on the fence...
Link to post
Share on other sites
TheDutchGuy

Thank you both for sharing your considerations. My local brick & mortar is expecting a shipment 4 to 6 weeks from now and I’ll be notified when it arrives. I’ll make the final decision then.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the usefulness of the discussion, I though to include a composite photo of the Calligraphy nib, together with a composite of a 149 extra-fine nib for comparison.

 

fpn_1588455511__montblanc_meisterstck_14

fpn_1588455042__montblanc_meisterstck_14

 

You will probably note the EF nib (this is from 1978) is thinner, at the tip, than the Calligraphy nib, however it lays down a consistently broader line than the Calligraphy. In the next pic of the two nibs side by side, you may appreciate that the slit of the Calligraphy nib is much narrower toward the tip, with the two tines pushed very much against each other. As discusses previously, this design reduces the ink flow and allow the very fine line of which this nib is capable. As the tines of the Calligraphy spread out with the softest pressure, the flow increase and a much broader line can be traced, with a behavior typical of a flexible nib.

 

fpn_1588454797__montblanc_meisterstck_14

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
TheDutchGuy

Wonderful photography! Those photos make me want to write. But alas, I’m having issues at the moment and can barely write a grocery list :(.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful photography! Those photos make me want to write. But alas, I’m having issues at the moment and can barely write a grocery list :(.

 

 

I hope that it is nothing too much serious, my friend. Let we know as soon as you will recover.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Announcements







×
×
  • Create New...