Sunday, April 3, 2011

Montblanc Dostoevsky Review, Writers Edition 1997

I have purchased this through a flagship boutique that seems to have a good inventory of past WE. The advantage of purchasing through them is that not only do I get to have a sealed box but the price is somewhat reasonable and in some cases cheaper than most online dealers. This was not a planned purchase, at least not immediate but being such a fast moving product, I know I could not wait. So, I walked home with a new and sealed box of Dostoevsky, one of the most unique and I must say tastefully done WE.

I’m impressed with the packaging for this pen. This is my first WE from the 90s. This is the letter set, where a copy of the author’s letter is included in the packaging that resemble a book, and within it, the standard book-like box which contains the pen. It seems like the letter was written during one of his most important works to a friend.

The straight barrel and simple ornamentation etched on the resin, clips and inlays gives it a uniform pattern throughout the pen. I just love the simplicity of it, and I feel it is perhaps one of the most elegantly done WE, not too much and just the right amount of details without trying too hard to make it special. A simple execution in design and yet it delivers exceptional results. The pattern repeats itself along the barrel and along the golden inlays giving it a consistent look throughout. The nib has a modified pattern, different from the rest but yet derives from the same geometrical basis. The golden clip tapers towards the end and ends with a sapphire stone color inlay, which blends well with the rest of the dark resin. The design of WE Dostoevsky is a subtle beauty and it somewhat grows into you. Very elegant indeed.

This is an all resin pen, similar to most MB resin pens but one can feel it is a notch better than the standard range. Though light, it fees solid and firm in its construction, perhaps it has thicker resins. There are no loose ends, and all the joints or inlays are smooth. The golden pattern on the inlays are crisp and sharp. This pen was designed and built with love.

Very similar and feel in terms of size as the 146, but without the cap on, writing block and the barrel is slightly longer, making this writing without being posted more comfortable. The light construction makes this a comfortable pen use for a long period of time. Overall a very comfortable pen to grip, and can easily be used as an everyday pen.

The standard MB piston pen. The mechanism is smooth and work as well as expected. This is one of the WE that actually has an ink window (yeay!). It is almost a clear window with a bit of blue tint, complementing the sapphire stone color on the clip. At the moment, I’ve filled it up with Burgundy Red and it’s a joy to see the red ink through the window. 

The ink flow is very good and wet with decent feedback that gives you a feel of the grain of the paper. There is some skipping every now and then but that is reducing after a few rounds of flushing and constant uses. Optimal angle is somewhat narrow but once you get into that sweet spot, it just flows. It is rather stiff for an 18k. Here are some writing samples….

VALUE 8/10
As mentioned earlier, I have purchased this through one of the flagship store which offers a great selection of new and past WE. For something that is new, unopened, a special letter set and about 13 years old, I think I paid a rather good deal, considering some of the prices eBay.

This has started me on the hunt of older WE. Dostoevsky was never on my list, until I laid eyes on it, and started to appreciate the simpler and more elegant designs of WEs. In my opinion, the Dostoevsky is a good value and interesting WE, a testament that good taste comes in simple statement and elegance.

Montblanc Jules Verne Review, Writers Edition 2003

It has been one of the most exciting week for me. I’ve been tracking an EMS for my WE Jules Verne for the past few days before its arrival and it came sooner than I thought. I was lucky enough to be able to obtain a new and unopened piece through an ebay seller from Taiwan. His response time was fast and delivery was prompt. Its like Christmas in March . Let’s dive into it shall we?

Sealed box, pristine and untouched within, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to obtain this piece. It’s a standard packaging for any WE, comes with the unwritten and unstamped warranty document. So, after few minutes going through the package, finally got to the pen. The soft cushioned holder for the pen is more secured and firm. This is handy just in case one gets too exciting , pops open the book-like box too hard and having the precious writing instrument plunging to the ground.
DESIGN 8.5/10
This is perhaps one of the more popular and sort after WE in the market, and I have been contacting few boutiques and even the ones that are directly in linked with Hamburg has no stock of this anymore. Seeing it in person, I can see why. The guilloche pattern looks magnificent below the clear lacquer coupled with the platinum plated ends and cap edges and clip. It seems like most photograph shows it almost in marine blue tone, but in reality, it has a strong tint of purple on it, and a lot more colours/tone that the human eye can see and cameras and computer monitors could not duplicate. The curve edges of the cap and the piston knob gives a smooth and maritime theme to it, as the pen is mainly based on his fictional writing. The nib, beautifully carved with the diving helmet motive, providing much of the visual interests. Without doubt, in my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful pens ever made.
The relatively heavier feel of the pen compared to other MB resin-type pen gives it a solid and confident feel. All the parts and joints are flawlessly assembled, joints are smooth and it feels like it can take all the underwater pressure like the Nautilus itself, and torpedo though deep waters. When capped, it has no loose joints, and firmly seal the pen. One can feel there is more metal in this pen than many other. There tend to be more condensation here, perhaps due to the metal parts.
Again, the weight is good, almost as heavy as the Shaw, given all the metal being used here. Writing it un-posted seems to be best as the cap may add to much weight and affects its balance.
One of the smoothest nib I have used, after the Mark Twain. It has a little of flex to it, and the flow is wet and consistent. One thing I do notice is the very weight of the pen seems to add a bit of pressure to the nib when writing, coupled with the silky smooth nib, giving it a different writing experience. I’m using Royal Blue at the moment and it’s and absolute bliss!
This is a standard MB piston filler, can’t find fault in it and it works flawlessly. There’s no ink window here though, as I would love to see my blue ink flowing from it! The piston knob detached nicely from the rest of the barrel with ornate pattern rings at the edges. Just love those details.
VALUE 7/10
This is to date the most expensive pen I have paid. I feel is rather worth it for a new and untouched pen of such beauty.

I seldom purchased anything online without knowing exactly how it feels or looks like in person and the one and only time I have laid eyes on this was through a glass case during and exhitbition at the local mall last month. This is one of the WE that any serious collector should have in their must have list.

Comparison nib with the 146 and 149

Comparison in size with the 146 and 149

Comparison between WE Mark Twain and WE Jules Verne design for the barrel shares the similar concept of using water and waves , one which uses etched resin and the other guilloche with lacquer.

Montblanc F.Scott Fitzgerald Review, Writers Edition 2002

Earlier on, during the start of my craze of FP, I've listed a platinum 146 in my wishlist of pens(it is still there, btw). However, due to my obsession with the Writers Edition recently, I have collected a handful of good deal WE fountain pens and seem to have put the idea of getting the 146 on hold. My latest haul, the F.Scott Fitzgerald has reminded me again of the 146. That is mainly because they have much in common. I compared the 2 in the MB boutique, where I purchased the F. Scott Fitzgerald, and true enough the F. Scott Fitzgerald is based on the platfrom of the 146. Similar nib dimension and apart from all the diffrences in cosmetic , the F. Scott Fitzgerald is shorter, and has no ink windows. Holding and writing with the F. Scott Fitzgerald has a strong Meisterstuck feel to it, in terms of weight, dimension and quality of writing. I won't dare to conclude that the F. Scott Fitzgerald is a substitute for the 146, but lets just say I won't be craving for the 146, at least for now...

Appearance and Design 8/10
Classic almost Meisterstuck like shape and proportion, the F. Scott Fitzgerald is based on the 1920 art deco era, from the silver rings and 2 colour barrel to the art-deco pattern on the nib. I have a thing for dwi-tone nib colours and this is one of my favourite in the WE line. The clip and rings are made of 925 sterling silver and there are some oxidation after being more than 8 years on the shelf. I could even tell there's a fingerprint that has been there for a long time from the oxidation marks. I used a bit of hot water, baking soda and salt with some cotton buds to clean it, and brings out the shine again (though there are some visible abrasive marks under the reading light).
The real aesthetic here is really the mother of pearl resin on the barrel, making it unique and gives the extra depth of pattern. One can't help but rotating the pen to see how the pattern goes around the barrel. The creamy white multi depth pattern gives it al almost 3D feel to the texture. Here are some closeup, I tried my best to capture the pattern.

Construction and Quality 7/10
This is a full resin pen, lightweight in construction and again has the similar feel of quality of construction as the Meisterstuck. The parts are well put together where there are silver rings and resin, and the cap screws in firmly into the barrel (somewhat firmer than the 146 that I have compared). However, I did noticed a slight movement and 'click' sound made when rotating the cap at the tip where the emblem is. This due to some slight loose joints between the upper dome part of the cap and the clip ring, which I think can easily be tighten. The clip slides in and out easily but grips my shirt pocket rather well. Overall, it is a finely built pen with no major glitches than may affects its functionality.

Weight and Dimension 8/10
Shorter than the 146 but slightly larger in diameter, it is almost like a shrinked proportion of the 149. Because of the shorter length and its light weight, its more pleasant to write with the cap posted. I feel like I could almost write for hours and the good proportion needs almost no time for me to get used to it. I normally prefer heavier pens and write unposted but with the F. Scott Fitzgerald, I found myself loving a light weight pen and having the cap posted. I think I've discovered another kind of joy in writing with this pen. Again, the feel is rather close to the Meisterstuck.

Nib Performance 9/10
Now, this is where it is really shines. I think it is up there with my Mark Twain. The medium nib that I have glides effortlessly on the paper and is an eagar writer with no skipping or pauses. Not too wet nor too dry and would have less bleed through on some papers. The 18k nib is semi-flex to firm and the lines are consistent and ideal for quick note takings. Writing angle is wide and forgiving, and i find myself focus more on thinking what to write than my writing technique, as how a good pen should be. The nib has the art-deco pattern engraving, paying tribute to the 1920s, the time when F. Scott Fitzgerald thrives. It reminds me of the product design in those times, and other images associated with the swinging 20s. Overall, a great writing nib.

Filling system and Maintenance 8/10
Standard Mont Blanc piston system, smooth and easy and the holds just as much of ink as the 146 (as claimed by the salesperson). I've cleaned and run water through it first to smoothen out the piston knob after all these years on the shelf (it was a bit tight at first). I've only filled it up for the first time, and so far it works well as expected. The surface is smooth and can easily be wiped with a cleaning cloth.

Cost and Value 6/10
This F. Scott Fitzgerald is the most expensive listed pen I see in the market. I would probably not consider at all it if it wasn't for the hefty discount which I got. Considering that this is a 9 year old limited edition pen, it is getting rare after all, and it won't be long before its is fully gone. For that retail price, there's a lot more options out there that may write equally well.

Overall 7.67/10
I must confess that I was still hesitating about this pen until the very moment I walked into the shop. But when I picked it up and noticed that it is special in its own way, with a little more 'jazz' added to it over a Meisterstuck shell, plus the great discount being offer, I thought why not? There's only a handful of WE which I really like and this is one of the most elegantly designed pen of the lot. Along with the William Faulkner, the F. Scott Fitzgerald is already in my rotation of daily use of pens that makes daily writing, a special moment everytime.

Montblanc William Faulkner Review, Writers Edition 2007

“Very well sir, we can give you with the same discount as our other branch,” Molly (not her real name) hangs up the phone with her manager, she stood behind a display desk waiting for my answer after much debate with me on the various discount scale the MB boutiques are offering throughout the nation now.

“I see,” I was trying to contain my excitement and not look like a fool, giving the moment enough pause before I pull the trigger. You must understand, I was savoring the feel of achievement of not only being able to locate this particular writing instrument, but was able to convince the seller to agree to a bargain. Naturally I’m a shy negotiator and not a very good one at that, always making sure my queries for a discount or sale is out of the audible range of the crowd. “I’ll take it”.

Molly’s smile turn wider and heard towards to locked glass cabinet to reach for the William Faulkner.

“What’s the size of the nib may I know?” I just had to ask, even though I already have an idea, just to keep my mouth moving and my drool from falling.

“It’s a fine nib, sir” Molly passed the pen to me while reaching for the box and opening drawers, producing the warranty cards and receipt books, getting ready to package the only display piece left of this writing instrument perhaps within the radius of 500miles. I inspected the piece, cold to the touch for the first time and feeling the nice weight of metal and resin. I noticed that the pen has been touched before, perhaps by previous potential buyers or it has been moved about by the staff without the use of gloves, and has not been wiped frequent enough to bring out the shine within. It’s ok, daddy’s here now….


I’ve not always been interested in a pen than has more than one dominating material. Before this, I could only look at black resin or lacquer and perhaps one or two pen which could be tastefully done celluloid. Now, I’m growing into marble texture resin/lacquer or precious metal pens. William Faulkner seems to be successful in using multiple materials and creates a great combination of platinum fittings and cast resin.
The scored line surface on the platinum surface gives a grip to the pen, not too rough, while the resin ends on the cap and piston knob is a pleasure to look at up close. A fine metallic sheen on the greenish/brownish marble-like resin can be seen when light is shined on and it is just pleasing to watch. The dome Mont Blanc emblem on the cap, reminiscence of a classic design touch, with its ivory color just adds the exquisite touch to it. The simple clip design looks elegant and simple, suggesting that one should carry this regularly and not always kept in the study.


The pen feels like it can take on a daily activity and can be used as an everyday pen. The simple and elegant design along with the used of multiple materials such as platinum plate and resin, gives it elegance and the simple aesthetic which looks straightforward and functional gives it a feel of robustness. All the rings and joints between different materials are well constructed, without any trace of misalignment as far as the naked eyes can see and even the resin quality seems to be of a higher grade (I do not know much about the chemistry behind it, but it sure feels good). I feel I can take it out with me all day and not being too worried about it.


Personally I feel like the pen is neither too big nor too small and well balanced. Just like my first WE, I enjoy writing it without being capped and a lot of the weight is on the cap. It is smaller than the 149 and my WE Mark Twain. I took it to work today and doesn’t seem to be too heavy to be placed on my pocket, and the shorter length is just right for my shirt pocket, touching the end at the right length. Shorter than a 149, and perhaps closer to a 146.


The only one available is with a fine nib, which I was actually looking forward to . My plans is to have at least one F nib in my small WE collection. However, as I began to start writing, the F nib is rather thick for what it is. It is almost as thick, if not the same thickness, as my medium nib Mark Twain. Not that I am complaining but my expectation was to have a fine nib and hope that it would to behave like one. Nonetheless, the nib works flawlessly with some minor to medium feedback, which I rather like in a pen like this. A well grinded nib such as this that flows effortlessly with some mild feedback gives it a character. I love the Caran d’Ache M nib that has the similar quality and this pen is highly likely to be in my regular rotation. Also it is worthy to mention the beautifully crafted image of an aircraft on the nib reflects his love for flying machines, one of the few duo-tone nibs of the WE collection. This is one of the most beautiful nibs in the collection, in my opinion.


Yet another trusty MB piston system. The piston knob is a resin part (which I really like) and split from the body separated by a platinum ring, revealing the brass screw component. There is no way to tell how much is in the barrel but one can feel the difference in weight after it has been filled. Filling was easy and I could only look forward to adventure when this bird is all fueled up.


I bought this during a promotion by Mont Blanc that gives an exceptional 30% discount on almost all of the WE series. That gives me tremendous value and be able to stretch my budget to more pens. This is a new pen, straight from the display box, and knowing that it is a limited edition , that kind of bargain is hard to beat.


There are only a handful of the WE that I’m interested in and William Faulkner is one of them. I am particularly fond of straight barrels and large dome or flat emblems on the caps and William Faulkner fits the description. I have acquired both the Mark Twain and this in a short span of time and though MT proves to be a bliss of a writing instrument, I find myself more drawn to the WF as a more regular pen. Its not too flashy, exceptionally well built, writes great and full of character.