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Icons of the Exchange: Montblanc

Why Montblanc's iconic 149 Meisterstück Fountain Pen has stood the test of time

In the same way that a Rolls-Royce isn’t just a car, a Montblanc is so much more than just a pen. This is not the humble biro that lives in the back of the drawer or gets chewed on absentmindedly when writing down a shopping list. A Montblanc fountain pen is a writing instrument of exquisite craftsmanship, something which draws admiring glances when it is unveiled during a meeting. It is a joy to handle and a treasured item passed down through generations as an heirloom.

The name Montblanc has been synonymous with luxurious writing instruments for well over a century. The company was founded in Germany in 1906 by Berlin designer August Eberstein and Hamburg-based banker Alfred Nehemias. Initially the company specialised in simple-to-use fountain pens, but it wasn’t long before a trio of new owners – Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and, later, Claus Johannes Voss – took the company in a more luxurious direction.

Montblanc, which is still based in Hamburg to this day, may be a world-leader and the most famous name in the business when it comes to pens, but the company has vastly expanded its range of luxury goods over the years to include leather accessories, jewellery, timepieces and even headphones and smartwatches.

The Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen's intricately engraved 18k gold and rhodium-coated nib The Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen's intricately engraved 18k gold and rhodium-coated nib

As for its pens, there are countless collections and limited-editions to satisfy every taste, but the one style that endures as something of a style icon is the Meisterstück 149 Fountain Pen. From the German word for ‘masterpiece’, the Meisterstück was introduced in 1924 and helped launch the company to international renown. With its trademark black resin body, cap, and intricately engraved 18k gold and rhodium-coated nib, the Meisterstück 149 is quintessentially Montblanc.

Since 1929, all Meisterstück nibs have been engraved with the number 4810, representing the height in metres of Mont Blanc. Every pen bearing the Montblanc name is still meticulously crafted to exacting standards. Just like a luxury car, the pen’s individual components go through different specialist departments such as metal-working, electroplating and injection-moulding before being assembled by hand. Every Montblanc user knows that the end result isn’t just a useful object but a work of art in itself.

Every Montblanc pen is meticulously crafted to exacting standards Every Montblanc pen is meticulously crafted to exacting standards

‘An icon of writing culture, the Meisterstück 149 is at the heart of everything the maison does,’ explained Zaim Kamal, creative director at Montblanc. ‘It represents the perfect fusion of functionality and style. With its timeless design, it has become somewhat of a cultural icon, yet at the same time, the sensorial experience of the Meisterstück makes it a joy to use. More than just a tool, it’s a true companion any time and anywhere your inspiration takes you.’

The Montblanc Meisterstück 149 Fountain Pen starts from £695; montblanc


The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. Our Icons of the Exchange series pays homage to the exceptional array of retailers that call The Royal Exchange home, with a look at the heritage, design and craftsmanship of products that epitomise the essence and excellence of our celebrated brands.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Royal Exchange during 2021, for a considered shopping experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange and keep an eye on our 450 Years site, journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about its past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year ahead.