maker of fine writing instrument
s. Right now, it is the
that most people associate with fountain pen
s, though it is
also held in low esteem
by pen lovers.
The company started in Hamburg in 1909, though it was not known as
"Mont Blanc" at the time. Instead, it was known as the Simplo Filler
Company, initially selling products manufactured in the United
States. By the twenties, they were making their own pens.
Mont Blanc pens come in a variety of styles, including a series of
limited editions named after a variety of authors. However, the
archetype of their line is the Meisterstuck. Big and cigar like,
it is what is seen in the pockets of many around the world. Mont
Blancs are identified by the white, six-pointed start on top of their
pens (to represent the slopes of the mountain namesake), called
a "snowflake" by collectors. On the fountain pens, the number "4810"
is on the nib, representing Mont Blanc's height in meters. Mont
Blancs all have serial numbers, which is how one can distinguish the
real pen from a fake.
Mont Blanc have become something of a status symbol. Want a good
pen? Go get a Mont Blanc. Among collectors, this has made current
Mont Blancs a joke (though vintage ones are held in higher
regard). Part of this is due the fact that people don't consider other
fine pens. Part of it is also due to poor customer support. Further,
the resin used to make the barrels has a reputation for being
brittle. I personally know someone whose pen broke after a drop that
should have, at worst, scratched the pen.
Mont Blanc has ventured into other areas of luxury consumer goods
(watches, wallets, etc.). This may also explain some of ill will Mont
It is generally felt that Mont Blanc is on the bad side of a customer
service cycle that occurs not only in the pen world, but in other
areas as well. A company produces a good product with customer
service. It becomes very popular for that reason. Unfortunately, they
are not able to hold on to the service and quality that made them