Window Shopping

The great thing about Montblanc boutiques is that none are ever the same, not really. I mean, they all sell MB pens and watches and portfolios and stuff, but there are still subtle differences to distinguish each store.

Such as which LE pens are on display. Inevitably, the latest and greatest models will always be under a spotlight, but depending on local supply and demand, other LEs will be happily playing second fiddle on the side. And like all larger-than-life figures, nothing beats seeing the real thing in the flesh.

Today, for example, I saw my first L’Aubrac. The grenadilla wood looks a lot lighter than the pictures on the MB website—and the pen itself, a lot fatter. On the bright side, this allowed better contrast to show between the different-colored wood grain—very pretty. On the other hand, the texture and colors seemed to overwhelm the silver dots in the cap, which looked as if they were tiny stars drowning in an endless chocolate sky. But to each her own.

There were also two 2013 PoA pens on display—the Ludovico Sfoza/Duke of Milan ones, in both the blue and black editions. Black looked grayer than I expected; blue, less turquoise and darker, like concentrated Sailor Sky High. Pretty pens but also a bit too glossy for my tastes (I’m a maki-e, tree-sap kinda pen gal).

Grace de Monaco seems to be in every MB boutique I see, probably since she’s one of the newer Diva lines—which are, incidentally, quite pretty, slim little things. If only they weren’t cartridge fillers, sigh.

There was a MB 149 in the center back display with a nib that could eat all of mine for breakfast and then some (yes, even my #6 on the Danitrio—what a monster!). There’s a saying about princes born with silver spoons on their tongues—I’d say gold MB nibs would fit as well.

The 2013 WE Balzac was there too, the lighting making its thick gray (dare I say Pelikan-esque?) stripes even thicker than usual. I really liked this pen in the promotional shots until I saw one myself. It had an interesting shape, nice lovely Gothic lettering on the nib (shame my initials aren’t HB), and a cute story for the cap band design (inspired by a walking stick! Aww…).

But sadly, it doesn’t appeal to me in real life. The stripes look too…flat and gray, somehow, and the turquoise stones on the cap too small, and—oh, if only the barrel was semi-transparent so it could do that cool glimmering stained-glass window effect you get with ink windows! I suppose my tastes are too girly for it.

Anyways, the star of the moment was the new 2014 Great Characters Leonardo da Vinci pen. I really like the little wheel on the clip, and the cool see-through wrap-around window atop the cap, and the wing design they have on the nib and barrel. It’s a bit too silver for me (I’m a gold trimmings girl, through an through), but I appreciate style and da Vinci’s got it in spades. Totally steampunk!

You can read about its specifics on the official MB website here, but here are some phone photos of the display itself.

I admit, I took it so I could read the text in the booklet later. I devour descriptions like whoa.


Right, in case it’s blurry, I’ll rewrite the stuff below:

“Leonardo spent almost 30 years investigating the question of how a living creature can propel itself through the air under its own power. In his attempts to reveal the secret, he analysed the aerodynamics of the wings both of birds and bats. He consolidated his findings in many individual drawings and in one general study of bird flight. They are the starting point for the development of his spectacular flying machine–and now also the inspiration for numerous design details of the Limited Edition Leonardo. The engraving on the forepart of the writing instrument shows the study of a wing Leonardo sketched for a flying device on page 74 of one of his most famous notebooks–known today as “Paris Manuscript B”.”


“This page number served as the inspiration for the Limited Edition 74.

The finely engraved depiction of a bat adorning the handcrafted 750 gold nib is based on a drawing from Leonardo’s study of bird flight.”

& the small gray text: “The page number “74”, inscribed by hand in the top right corner, is the reason the drawing became known as “Wing study fol. 74r” in the literature.”

Yeah, window shopping’s pretty fun and this post was pure piffle fluff filler. Just another day in the life of a fountain pen lover.


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