Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ? - Page 14
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  1. #131
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCustard View Post
    I am not really sure the fact that a pen shatters if you drop it is a sign of poor qualify.
    I'd have to say it is, if that sort of thing never happens with pens made by competing brands. And I mean those that compete in the very same price and luxury tier. Shattered high-end luxury writing instruments simply do not happen to any other brand except MB.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

  2. #132
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I'd have to say it is, if that sort of thing never happens with pens made by competing brands. And I mean those that compete in the very same price and luxury tier. Shattered high-end luxury writing instruments simply do not happen to any other brand except MB.
    And running your Ferrari into a wall at 100k usually leaves it as a write off.

    I dont get the point of the argument here. Pens are not made to be dropped. The fact that some brands may survive is incidental.

    As I wrote earlier, I am a banker not a delivery driver, getting signatures at the roadside. If I was a delivery driver I would use a biro.
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  3. #133
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Drops that destroy an MB...especially a 144, which at least was notorious for this...are more often ignored by pens made from more resilient...but less glossy...materials. I heard repeatedly, back in the day, that MB included glass in the blend. The glass gave it the gloss, but it's what also made it brittle. Whether that's still true...or perhaps it's never been true...I don't know, but it was a comment we used to hear reasonably often on the Zoss list.

    Drops happen, even in office or home settings. Pen's sitting on your table...it's under a magazine, you grab the mag, brush the pen...OOPS! A 144 may well crack from a 1 foot drop onto a hard floor. Right now I've got a Peli 150 with a vintage Soennecken nib, and a Pineder with its new resin...both have slipped in a manner like this. No issue.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

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  5. #134
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gangrel View Post
    Drops that destroy an MB...especially a 144, which at least was notorious for this...are more often ignored by pens made from more resilient...but less glossy...materials. I heard repeatedly, back in the day, that MB included glass in the blend. The glass gave it the gloss, but it's what also made it brittle. Whether that's still true...or perhaps it's never been true...I don't know, but it was a comment we used to hear reasonably often on the Zoss list.

    Drops happen, even in office or home settings. Pen's sitting on your table...it's under a magazine, you grab the mag, brush the pen...OOPS! A 144 may well crack from a 1 foot drop onto a hard floor. Right now I've got a Peli 150 with a vintage Soennecken nib, and a Pineder with its new resin...both have slipped in a manner like this. No issue.
    The 144 had its share of design problems, including the plastic thread that secured the body section to the nib section on the early models. This was a real weakness and the plastic thread would sheer if the pen was stressed - sat on in a trouser pocket, or in a jacket pocket and folded over a seat back.

    Montblanc fixed this in later 144s, moving to a brass threaded section.

    The other 144 problem is that the whole pen is quite narrow. This goes against conventional engineering principles - wider is stronger. Forcibly screwing the body section onto the brass nib section thread = “crack” and a split up the body section.

    The wider Montblanc bodies like the 145, 146 and 149 are stronger.

    But the weaknesses of the 144 (which is no longer in production and hasnt been for many years) does not excuse the simple fact that a pen is a fragile delicate instrument, not intended to to be dropped.

    If you pay big money for a MB pen, you should treat it with respect and care.

    I have had Montblancs since 1993. I travelled constantly with them. I have never dropped or broken one. (I have never dropped an cellphone either).

  6. #135
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Listen people, I accept that some of you HATE Montblanc pens, and that the only thing you can really argue is “it breaks if you drop it”.

    I can only suggest that you sell your watch collection and buy a Soviet Army Peoples Collective Yaraslawl Cast Iron special.

    These were built as trench fighting pens, capable of withstanding a 50 megaton blast, hammering nails into log hut walls in Siberia, and writing prose to your wife.

    As an alternative apparently Smith and Wesson make a tactical pen for combat and police work. I must confess in my army days I used a dirt cheap biro.

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    Last edited by CaptainCustard; June 22nd, 2019 at 08:22.
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  7. #136
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    So if a dozen pens can do something where the MB fails, we're not to call out the MB?

    The bigger issue? MB thinks they're FAR more than they are. We're not saying they're bad per se...but they are NOT any better, IMO, than several other top-drawer brands. They're about the only pen maker to push the whole "prestige" or "lifestyle" aspect. They share "Rolex hate" in the sense that they're the layman's answer to "what's a good..." for pens...but IMO Rolex has the technical chops to justify it. In what manner is MB technically better than, say, Pelikan or a higher-end Pilot...generally, those with 10 or 15 size nibs?

    If you want something to impress your doctor or lawyer buds...you go MB. If you want a writer? MB is *one* choice, but there are MANY others.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

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  8. #137
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I'd have to say it is, if that sort of thing never happens with pens made by competing brands. And I mean those that compete in the very same price and luxury tier. Shattered high-end luxury writing instruments simply do not happen to any other brand except MB.
    Gotta say that statement is simply nonsense. There have been lots of really poorly made pens over the years and once you have enough experience you realize that MB products are nearer the median than the extremes.
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  9. #138
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    Using less/thinner resin in the construction of their pens, doesn't make them more scratch resistant. Not at all. A little bit lighter than the competition? Sure. But it's not as though you're walking around with mini lead pipes from the competition in your pocket. No, unfortunately this is a cost cutting measure from MB. Use less material, save more money.
    Sorry I meant the material seems to trade off shatter resistance for scratch resistance. The thinness is more about the weight. I can certainly see why some people see that as a less than ideal design decision, but it seems to work well for a lot of people. A little weight is noticeable if you're writing for hours at a time. I did slightly prefer my 149 to my M1000 for long writing sessions because it was just a little lighter and a little thicker (which was more comfortable for my hand). There's no way that they made the resin thinner as a cost cutting measure, though. Look at the 149 nib next to the M1000 nib; the 149 one is unusually thick and requires significantly more gold to make than the M1000 one. If they were cutting corners it would make more sense to cut down on the very expensive gold material used rather than the inexpensive resin. Also I could be wrong about this, but I believe pens in this price bracket are turned from blanks? Making the walls thinner would be more expensive in that case due to the additional machining time and care required. I don't see any flashing (indicating it came straight from a mold) on my 149 like I see on some Japanese pens, so it must have had at least some lathe work.

    For what it's worth, I keep my pens in a leather case when I'm not using them. That seems to be enough protection to avoid breakage the times I have dropped a pen.
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  10. #139
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gangrel View Post
    They share "Rolex hate" in the sense that they're the layman's answer to "what's a good..." for pens...but IMO Rolex has the technical chops to justify it. In what manner is MB technically better than, say, Pelikan or a higher-end Pilot...generally, those with 10 or 15 size nibs?
    If you're talking "technically better," you've got that backwards. Montblancs are a little more than comparable products, but in the same ballpark. Rolexes, on the other hand, are technically inferior to competitors like the Casio F91W that offer more features and better accuracy for a price a few orders of magnitude less. High end pens and watches are both luxury products that you can't really apply a cost benefit analysis to, but if anything watches are a far more extreme example.

    Since you asked, though:

    -MB nibs tend to be thicker and have larger iridium tips than comparable pens. Gold and iridium are expensive.
    -MB nibs are made in-house, which is more expensive to do than to outsource it like many other companies do.
    -The components on a MB are very solid. Compare the operation of the filling mechanism on a MB piston to a Pilot Custom 823, for instance.
    -The finish on MB's is impeccable. They don't have any mold lines or uneven transitions often seen on other pens. The threads are also smoother than most.
    -MB is supported by a worldwide network of boutiques that makes service easy and accessible.
    -MB resale value is higher than competitors due to recognition generated through marketing.
    -It would be hard to argue that there's a design out there as iconic as the Meisterstuck. You do pay for good design.

    Most pen companies have something that they do really well; MB is no exception. Likewise, each company has areas they don't do as well in. I don't see a lot of people claiming that Pelikan, Sailor, Pilot, etc are junk because of the one thing they don't do as well, though.
    CaptainCustard and Commisar like this.

  11. #140
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post
    If you're talking "technically better," you've got that backwards. Montblancs are a little more than comparable products, but in the same ballpark. Rolexes, on the other hand, are technically inferior to competitors like the Casio F91W that offer more features and better accuracy for a price a few orders of magnitude less. High end pens and watches are both luxury products that you can't really apply a cost benefit analysis to, but if anything watches are a far more extreme example.

    Since you asked, though:

    -MB nibs tend to be thicker and have larger iridium tips than comparable pens. Gold and iridium are expensive.
    -MB nibs are made in-house, which is more expensive to do than to outsource it like many other companies do.
    -The components on a MB are very solid. Compare the operation of the filling mechanism on a MB piston to a Pilot Custom 823, for instance.
    -The finish on MB's is impeccable. They don't have any mold lines or uneven transitions often seen on other pens. The threads are also smoother than most.
    -MB is supported by a worldwide network of boutiques that makes service easy and accessible.
    -MB resale value is higher than competitors due to recognition generated through marketing.
    -It would be hard to argue that there's a design out there as iconic as the Meisterstuck. You do pay for good design.

    Most pen companies have something that they do really well; MB is no exception. Likewise, each company has areas they don't do as well in. I don't see a lot of people claiming that Pelikan, Sailor, Pilot, etc are junk because of the one thing they don't do as well, though.
    --A Rolex and an F91 are not the same class of product, even if they share the same core function. That's like comparing a melamine dinner plate to a Royal Doulton.
    --How much gold is in a nib? Saw a post from FPN that noted most nibs run around a gram...and nibs are 14 or 18k. Tipping is similar. Granted, iridium is also extremely expensive but how much is there in the tip? You also have to be careful with sizes to ensure a valid comparison...clearly, a 149, Peli 1000, or Pilot #15 is gonna be larger, heavier, and therefore more expensive than a Pilot #5 or MB 144.
    --Sailor, Platinum, and Pilot-Namiki all make their nibs in-house. I believe Pelikan does as well. But this point feels much like the in-house vs. ebauche watch debate. There's nothing inherently wrong with buying the nib from a separate supplier, if the nib's good. Nakaya's an example, altho their roots are in Platinum anyway.
    --The torpedo design is iconic to MB? Sheaffer developed the basic shape with the Balance in the 1920's or so.
    Commisar likes this.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

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