Romancing the pen

Published November 12, 2020, 5:43 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Montblanc enjoys a fine tradition of crafting and designing the most beautiful writing instruments. And you may well scoff, and first claim it’s a case of ‘a pen is a pen’, and function is all that matters. Plus, you may add that in this digital age, how many opportunities are still out there in our everyday life to actually pick up and make use of a Fountain Pen or a Ballpoint Pen. And perhaps that really is the point, the ‘raison d’etre’ for a Montblanc continuing to exist, and enjoying such impassioned patronage.

The Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Victor Hugo Ballpoint Pen & the Fountain Pen – highlights of the four editions.

To say a Montblanc is just a pen would be akin to saying a Ferrari is just a car. One cursory glance at any Montblanc product will make that very clear. As for our being in the digital age, it’s precisely why Montblanc takes such pain in creating unique writing instruments. More than just a pen, it’s an esteemed collectible, a lifetime companion – born from bold design ideas and the expert craftsmanship that are found in the skills of the Montblanc Maison’s artisans. Today, the Montblanc Emblem has become a seal of performance, of quality, and an expression of sophistication.

I love books, reading novels, so their Montblanc Writers Edition have always held a special place in my heart. The Editions celebrate literary giants, and the new Limited Edition honors Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who is considered one of the greatest French Romantic writers. A novelist, a poet, a dramatist, and illustrator; he’s famous for his style of imaginative realism, fusing realistic elements and social commentary, with fantasy and/or symbolism.

I’ll just mention two of his novels, Les Misérables and Norte-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), and immediately the nods of assent & recognition from all over the world will follow. These two works have inspired the Montblanc Ateliers to come up with four different editions that bring to life the works of Victor Hugo.

Montblanc ‘Victor Hugo’ Leather & Steel Bracelet & Steel Cufflinks.

From the imposing stained glass windows and Gothic architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral, to the unforgettable character of Jean Valjean of Le Miz, to paying homage to the author via references to Hauteville House, Hugo’s beautiful home in Guernsey; the writing instruments weave elements of Hugo’s life and legacy into these unique writing instruments, and leather goods and accessories – from pen cases, to bracelets and cufflinks.

The ones that got me truly admiring the Montblanc workmanship on these fine pens include:

  • A cap inspired by the gothic architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  • A face behind the clip, inspired by an original drawing of Jean Valjean by Gustave Brion.
  • A solid gold rhodium-coated nib that’s adorned with an engraving of the gargoyles from the Cathedral (my absolute favorite!)
  • A barrel decorated with a pattern reminiscent of the wooden panels found in Hugo’s oak gallery in Hauteville House.

The images here will highlight all of what I found so alluring with these four editions, each edition making its own distinct statement. Just as Hugo’s deep passion for social justice can be found in his works; if there is any justice in the world, you’ll be hoping and praying that you’ll be owning one of these pens by the year’s end.

This may just be the most Misérable, Hunchbacked pen you never knew you needed in your life!