Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ? - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rivarama View Post
    I think that it is difficult to say Montblanc is like Rolex as that is really too high a praise for MB which does not make pens of the same quality as they did in the past. Rolex on the other hand continually improves their products. You could say the brands are similar in brand recognition but that is really it.
    That is a fair point. Montblanc is no longer just a pen maker. It has become a luxury fashion brand that makes everything from cufflinks to briefcases. I guess it's only natural that the quality of its pens will go down since pen is not its main focus anymore.

  2. #42
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    That is a fair point. Montblanc is no longer just a pen maker. It has become a luxury fashion brand that makes everything from cufflinks to briefcases. I guess it's only natural that the quality of its pens will go down since pen is not its main focus anymore.
    I would argue that the quality was going down before they started making other luxury goods and I would also point out that MB has a dedicated factory in Italy for leather goods and two dedicated production sites in Switzerland (Le Locle and Villeret) for making it's watches, meanwhile its pens are still produced in Hamburg. Each product category is made by a dedicated factory and shouldn't really be a reason for MB making cheaper pens. I am not saying MB doesn't make good pens, either, they are one of the best produced today.

  3. #43
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rivarama View Post
    Each product category is made by a dedicated factory and shouldn't really be a reason for MB making cheaper pens.
    No but where the product fits into the company's overall strategy will dictate the allocation of resources dedicated to that product. Quality writing instrument business is a niche business in an increasingly shrinking market. Pens are in a product life cycle where it's more about cost optimizing. I doubt Montblanc is concerned about making quality improvements.

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  5. #44
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    There may be several reasons for the quality decline. Market conditions...18k nibs are required, and it's trickier to do a flexible 18k. Buyer changes...the market doesn't want flexible, they want reliable. Virtually ALL modern nibs are less interesting.

    The comparison between MB and Rolex also relates to market share and market position. Both are perceived, to the casual observer, as THE top products, and the exemplar of Quality Product. Whether true or not. Whether better or worse than 50-60 years ago. That's a detail only relevant to the FPIS.
    And it is also said, "go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say no and yes."
    -- Frodo, to Gildor

  6. #45
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    No but where the product fits into the company's overall strategy will dictate the allocation of resources dedicated to that product. Quality writing instrument business is a niche business in an increasingly shrinking market. Pens are in a product life cycle where it's more about cost optimizing. I doubt Montblanc is concerned about making quality improvements.
    Montblanc is much larger and has much more resources now than at any time previously, with that said I should not speculate on the internal happenings at Montblanc because I have no information to go on.

    As for the fountain pen market in general I can say that their quality is good enough. They don't need to use a fancy telescopic filling system and their nibs are good enough.

  7. #46
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rivarama View Post
    As for the fountain pen market in general I can say that their quality is good enough. They don't need to use a fancy telescopic filling system and their nibs are good enough.
    Montblanc probably thinks the same - that their pens are good enough. No reason to devote additional resources to improve quality, feel, material, technology, etc. of their pens. Like you, I am not saying Montblanc pens are terrible at all. I also think Montblanc pens are pretty good. Pens are a mature product. Montblanc should and seems to be maximizing the revenue while maintaining the "good enough" quality with its pens.

  8. #47
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    While I never owned or used a MB fountain pen I have been using a MB LaGrand ballpoint for years. I wouldn’t say it’s the best but I’ve been very pleased with the writing quality as well as the fit and finish.
    Last edited by Jade330i; February 4th, 2018 at 07:54.
    "The nice thing about being a pessimist is that either you are always being proven right or you are pleasantly surprised!" George F. Will

  9. #48
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RNHC View Post
    Montblanc probably thinks the same - that their pens are good enough. No reason to devote additional resources to improve quality, feel, material, technology, etc. of their pens. Like you, I am not saying Montblanc pens are terrible at all. I also think Montblanc pens are pretty good. Pens are a mature product. Montblanc should and seems to be maximizing the revenue while maintaining the "good enough" quality with its pens.
    What do you want them to improve? And how? As you note, the market's mature. The ONLY major improvements in the last 100 years have been in feeds...huge...and better filling systems. But what else is there? We're not talking anything complex here. The massive advantage vintage pens have, is in flex and semi-flex nibs. Nibs that allowed writing to be much more expressive. BUT...

    --they're harder to write with...especially wet-noodle, very flexible nibs. Yes, I have a few.

    --it is VERY hard to write *quickly* with a flexible nib.

    --railroading is much more of a problem

    --durability is an issue...excessive pressure can lead to a sprung nib. Longer term, flex nibs suffer a higher rate of cracking.

    --PEOPLE DON'T WANT THEM. Not for the most part. They're a highly specialized segment...and absolutely separate from the business executive or management type, which is the MB target audience. If I want modern flex, I'll go Omas celluloids. I think they've got some true-flex nibs back into their lineup. If not, then I send it to Mottishaw. Or at a lower price point, Namiki Falcon (I have 4).



    The big problem I have with MB is their restrictive distribution and *insanely* snobbish attitude. MSRP for a 149 is comparable to a Pelikan 1000, and I'm pretty sure they're very similar in size. LeGrand is comparable to a Pelikan 800. I *believe* they're similar size...could be wrong. The LeGrand might be closer to a 600. But MB pushes their elitist status, and actively opposes discounting. And THAT also means you won't see many titanium nibs, or flexible steel nibs. They can be done...likely better than a flexible gold one...but they have no cachet.

    I've stopped suggesting anything European, tho, *unless* you're going for something like this:



    The 800 Grand Place. The first version was 600-sized, in the Cities series. Got one. Gorgeous. Great writer too. But here...or a Nakaya urushi, or a maki-e...you are paying for the visual statement. If the intent is to focus on being a writer first, Europe does not offer anything to match Japan. LOVE my Pilot Custom Heritage 92's as writers. Love my Falcons as expressive writers. My Custom 912 for a larger pen.
    And it is also said, "go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say no and yes."
    -- Frodo, to Gildor

  10. #49
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    If practicality is your aim then I don't think a fountain pen is ever the right choice because of the added maintenance the messier ink. There are very good flexible nibs that are easy to write with and reliable. The metal alloy used today for gold nibs is different than it was 70 years ago. I don't know if materials have changed or the process of forging, stamping, rolling has changed. I do have a flexible stainless steel nib 234 from Montblanc and it is definitely inferior to a gold nib. OMAS made ones during the same period and almost none of those have survived because of their poor quality. That said if you are going to have a rock hard gold nib there isn't much advantage over steel other than corrosion resistance.

    Montblanc is a very good company and if I want a new pen I much rather buy a Montblanc than a Pelikan. I was traveling through Europe and bought a MB Solitaire 146 fountain pen for 50% at an airport in Poland. Then in Berlin I went to the MB boutique and asked them to swap the M nib for an OM nib and they were able to do it for me over night. No chance of that sort of service with a Pelikan.

    I do like older Pelikan pens though.

  11. #50
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    Re: Are Mont Blanc pens everything people say they are ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gangrel View Post
    What do you want them to improve? And how?
    I like them fine. I think you took a phrase out of context which may have confused you. Unless your question was rhetorical, in which case, I am confused and you should ignore this response.

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