The Montblanc, to the ordinary pen lover, is near synonymous with the 149 Meisterstück – black, larger-than-life, with a filling system that reflects the unending quest for perfection, nibs that define penmanship, with the snow-capped peak of the Montblanc mnemonic capping it all. It will not be an exaggeration to say that to innumerable fountain pen fanatics, it is the ultimate fantasy – a legacy that is as elegant as it is timeless.
It is a real pity though, for by its sheer stature, the 149 and its siblings reflects the attention away from many Montblanc offerings that deserve much more devotion- and love – from pen lovers like us. These pens don’t even get to “demand” the kind of affection that they can rightfully seek, leave alone even making the transition out from the shadow of the colossus. A real pity, for they are not only full-blooded Montblancs, stuff that dreams are made of, but are also functionally as close to perfection as possible, their six-pointed, rounded, snow-cap logos nonchalantly declaring the arrival of the ones wielding them for eons at an end.
Henry Ford, had once famously said “a customer can have a car painted any colour he wants as long as it’s black”. The Montblanc too, seems to follow a similar line of reasoning and the argument in favour of black, has been a compelling one. Yet, just like there are many pen lovers who want to break out from the restricting confines of black, manufacturers too are keen to provide them with options and Montblanc is no exception. The company has offered lines that are vibrantly colourful, apart from incorporating design elements that are nothing short of revolutionary, when compared to their core offerings. The Montblanc Generation is a case in point.
The Montblanc Generation had appeared on the star-studded night, blazing a trail of glory in the 1990’s. And representative of the times it was, for the ‘90s were the multiculturism years, when the Grunge, Rave and Hip-hop ruled; when cable television and the internet were redefining life and living as it were. Gene therapy, Cloning, Neo-liberalism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, consolidation of economic powers – exiting the times, they were. And the Montblanc Generation had appeared, ready to lead the faithful to nirvana. Some experts opine that the Montblanc generation was too flamboyant an offering from a traditionally refined company, even going to the extent of denouncing it as a break from the past, raising a discreet eyebrow at the exotic colours like the purple, orange, turquoise and green; but what the hell? The times had demanded no less, I guess.
The Montblanc Generation is surprisingly sleek in its getup and, sans all accoutrements that the makers could have adorned it with, but didn’t, it is in its sheer simplicity, arresting. Mine, a standard black resin-platinum piece, appears a shade smaller than its Montblanc siblings, is less girthy around the middle: the barrel and the cap being smooth and uncluttered, except for a simple cap band. The pocket clip is no-fuss-functional and slim in keeping with the overall getup of the pen. The top of the cap has the black disc and the trademark white star inside a platinum band. Elegance, personified.
The real touch that sets this Masterpiece apart (some say, like all Montblanc do, one way or the other) is in the closing mechanism of the cap. The closure is ensured by three springy “tabs” that seal the cap securely in place. However, that does not take away even an iota of love that I have for the nib, which is characteristic of Montblanc and transports one straight to the zenith of writing pleasure. This, not taking into consideration the special affinity that many among us have for inlaid nibs in general and Montblanc models with inset or inlaid nibs like this Montblanc Generation in particular. Add to it the fact that the pen is light on the hand, designed to balance so perfectly that it becomes an extension of the hand, from which flows, effortlessly, one’s thoughts, taking shape for eternity to savor. By the way, this sports a simple cartridge or converter filling system, which in no way hinders either the perennial flow of the ink, or impedes upon the writing pleasure.
A very close, childhood friend had bought this particular Montblanc Generation for his personal use. “To let the world, know without being loud” as he put it, a piece that had been his constant companion screaming his arrival for many decades, before he decided to call it quits and pursue his other interests. “I think I will give my companion the break that it deserves, for you aren’t going anywhere in any case” he said as he gifted his treasured possession, replete with the wink. No, I don’t need a star to announce my arrival. They don’t make the Montblanc Generation either. I guess, we will enjoy the time wrap.