I would argue that the 1960s 18c 149 nibs are some of the very best Montblanc produced at that time and since. It isn't as simple as 14kt is better than 18kt. I have a MB steel alloy nib from the 40s that is one of the best nibs I have ever used.
Doesn't matter. I just restored my mother's 146 (a 1980) which had a gasket and collet problem. It wasn't the nib. Frankly, they're designed (or at least this one was) for a ballpoint writer. Some might say it's the spring in the nib, but I have cheap extra-fine Pilot and Lamy nibs that I need only touch to the paper as a left-handed push-writer and they flow across the page. The 146? Scratchy as hell unless you ballpoint it. Writing like a ballpoint it's lovely but it gives me hand cramps, which is why I switched to fountain pens in the first place.
I much prefer my Parker 75, 45 and 51, Pilot VP, and even a cheap Pilot Metropolitan in a medium nib.
I know I could have the nib tuned, but at those prices, you'd think they'd write out of the box. I demo'd some at an MB boutique and they were overly wet. I told them it wasn't right and asked for a pen from the box. Oddly, it started funnily and I asked them about it.
"It will tune up as you write with it."
In other words - 40 years of my right-handed mum makes her MB not really my pen! :)
2018 Omega Speedmaster Professional (calibre 1861) / 1957 Omega Constellation calendar (calibre 504) / 70's-80's Omega Seamaster De Ville Quartz (calibre 1342) / Orient Star Seeker (40P51) / Citizen Aqualand Duplex (C506) / Orient Journeyman (46K40)/ Seagull 1963 chrono 42mm (ST19) / Stuhrling Canterbury (ST-90050) / Casio AW 300 Yacht Timer / Seiko Ana-Digi (H-556) / Seiko SKX007 (7s26) / Invicta Pro Diver 8928OB (NH35A)
Montblanc does tune their nibs at the factory unlike most other pen manufacturers but that doesn't mean they get it right every time. If it doesn't write properly then you should ask for a different pen or if you already bought it you can 1) send it to MB for a free tune up or 2) have the nib swapped for free.
There are nibs that are rock hard but they still don't write like a ballpoint so I am not sure what you mean.
I like my Mont Blanc pens a lot, but I agree with the comparison to Rolex. Imho, the point of diminishing returns with luxury pens is even lower than with watches. Not that we have to, but it's hard to justify a $300+ pen, or a $10K+ Rolex. You are paying at least 50% for the name and status. Just my opinion.
"I'm done collecting watches...until I see the next one I can't live without."
You are paying market value. The name is worth a lot of money because these are two companies have have worked very hard to build their brand and reputation and the result of that is people want their products. If it is worth it to you or not is an entirely different matter. It is easier to get your money back out of a Rolex than pretty much any other luxury watch and the same is true for Montblanc; this is in large part because of the brand recognition.
One of the he main reasons I love my my Montblanc ballpoint pen(s) is the Montblanc broad refill writes better than any other on the market, bar none.
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