The past couple of months have been a bit crazy which has lead to posts being a little more sparse than usual. We welcomed a new addition to the family as well as bought and moved into another home, so those two things as well as keeping the Dudek Modern Goods shop open in the meantime has spread my days pretty thin. Things are getting more settled, so expect things to be a bit more consistent.
Earlier this year I received a pen that we've heard quite a bit about, the Montblanc M fountain pen designed by Marc Newson. There was quite a buzz when this pen was first announced as it has a few unique features that Montblanc has never done like having the emblem on a "plateau" of the side of the pen as well as a magnetic cap.
Now, to be clear I am not a Montblanc aficionado by any means. Only within the last year or so had I acquired my first and the M is my second. Due to the pricepoint on these pens I have a hesitancy to purchase them because there is always a debate of "what you're paying for". I knew that over time I would eventually purchase one or two, but I don't foresee it being a consistent thing.
I got the pen from Appelboom of the Netherlands (also a sponsor of The Clicky Post) and the package came promptly and well packaged. Their shop has a wide variety of pens by most of our favorite brands, so definitely take some time to check through their selection. If you live in the states and purchase through Appelboom, 21% is automatically removed from the price due to VAT (which we don't pay), which can often make pricing extremely reasonable.
As expected, the pen comes in a pretty swanky Montblanc box which upholds the presentation that the pricepoint would demand. If ever you receive a Montblanc as a gift they definitely fulfill on the experience I think.
The M only comes in a black, "precious" resin that is buffed to a piano gloss finish. Most Montblanc pens are adorned with gold or platinum rings to add some "bling", but the M is a sleeker, more minimalist style with the clip being the only part that stands out. I would wager that there are some people that love this and others that completely hate it. Perhaps there is a perception of what a Montblanc pen "should" be or has traditionally been, and this pen stands to apply a shift within the brand to branch out.
Personally, I enjoy the design and its simplicity. Its a bit understated, maybe even a bit boring, but is still unique.
I've only owned a couple of magnetic pens outside of the Ti2 Techliner and the M's unique cap has taken a little getting used to. To its credit it has never popped off in my shirt pocket or when I've carried it in a bag, but there is always that nagging feeling that it might? The way the magnet(s) is positioned within the cap forces the clip to face the plateau. This is actually pretty neat and it performs this task perfectly. I like things that line up when they are supposed to.
The clip itself is also quite simple being comprised of a rounded hoop shape which also has no adornments or embellishments. The design fits the pen, but part of me wishes it was a solid, flat piece of metal all the way up. Or maybe it could have been ion plated black like the Sailor 1911 Black Luster... Oddly enough, on this pen they did some darker metal accents on the section and nib, so it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility. A black metallic clip would've been pretty awesome.
When you remove the cap (which does not post) you find the section is a darker grey, gunmetal type of finish which is almost completely covered with machined grooves. These grooves act as texture while holding the pen and aren't sharp to the touch. Just behind the grooves are a couple of additional lines and the engraving "MONTBLANC" several times wrapped around the section.
The section is heavy and, in my opinion, makes the pen a bit unbalanced. You can feel the tip of the pen weighing down while holding it as the inability to post the cap coupled with an all resin barrel makes for a light tail end. It isn't unusably heavy by any means, but compared to the the platinum 146 Meisterstück which is extremely comfortable even when posted it is very unbalanced.
There is a considerable drop and edge where the section meets the barrel. My grip is of the traditional "triangle" sorts so it isn't much of a bother, but my thumb does rest a bit on that ledge.
Filling the pen you are limited to using the Montblanc ink cartridges (or other international shorts) as a standard converter doesn't fit. There are likely other, shorter converters that may fit, but I have yet to try any.
The nib is actually quite small, again, comparing to the Meisterstück, and is very simple or even plain. That being said, I believe this pen shares the same nib and feed as the StarWalker series which is one of the edgier designs within the Montblanc lineup, but is still quite popular.
The nib is rhodium-coated 14k gold and has a two-tone effect due to a ruthenium-coated inlay that has been placed over the tines. The nib also contains the initials "MN" for Marc Newson, the designer. Whilst I can appreciate the addition of his initials as the designer, I do feel it took a relatively unexciting nib and made it a bit less attractive. Sorry Marc....
One thing I cannot complain about has been the performance of the nib. It is flawless and exactly how I would expect a pen of this price range to perform. It is a wet and generous medium that I would rate more on the glassy side. While writing I know the nib is on the page, but there is no dryness and has just the slightest feedback. Other than some occasional slow starting when I've allowed it to sit for a week or so without writing, the nib hasn't skipped once. It really is a pleasure to write with and flows at about the perfect rate for my preference.
The nib is also a bit on the stiff side and doesn't have much of a softness or flex to it.
So, have I completely confused you about my opinions on this pen? I've been saying I enjoy the design even though it is a bit boring and that the writing experience is top notch even though it is a bit unbalanced... Luckily, my place is not to tell you whether to buy this pen or not, but just to share my opinions and experience. I'm personally glad to have the M in my pen collection as it is a bit unique and I've enjoyed carrying it when I do. It likely wont be one of my go-to pens I can't leave un-inked, but I know it will be one I fill from time to time. I don't know; maybe at some point every pen lover needs at least one Montblanc? I'm indifferent about that.