The box comes in the shape of a book, which is nothing new for a typical Writer’s Edition pen, but a refreshing change for someone like me who has yet to own any W.E. My first impression of the cover design was that it very much resembled a printed circuit board from the way the black lines run on the dark blue background.
Some stats from Montblanc
12,000 fountain pens
15,000 ballpoint pens
3,000 sets comprising fountain pen, ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil
Appearance & Design
I like the lustrous glow of rich black the pen emits. It mesmerizes and draws you into a maze of rich black and platinum. The pen has an avant garde design, with it’s barrel coated with precious black & rich lacquer while at the same time segmented by an array of multi-layered platinum Inlays. The theme of this design is inspired by the age of artistic creativity in which Thomas Mann lived: the Art Deco era. Lacquer, especially Chinese lacquer & Urushi, had always been the forte of S.T. Dupont and well known Japanese pen manufacturers such as Namiki & Danitrio. Using lacquer as the theme of the 2009 W.E is an excellent idea, since it’s a highly resistant, strong and beautiful material to work with. The lacquer work is flawless, since the lacquer blended perfectly with the platinum inlays. The onyx-coloured zircon set above the teardrop on the platinum clip simply adds more depth to the polished black and platinum facet of the pen.
Comparison with S.T. Dupont XL Olympio Chinese Lacquer with Palladium Trim
There is no discernible difference between the lacquer work of both the Thomas Mann and the S.T. Dupont XL Olympio. Both pens’ lacquer coatings share the same characteristics – deep, rich and black sheen that can only come from the Rhus Vernicifera lacquer, and feels great in hand.
The pen’s cap is dome shaped, which is similar to Montblanc safety fillers dating from post World War 1 era. The cap bears a close resemblance of the Dickens W.E’s cap as well. The Montblanc emblem is Ivory colored, which gives the pen a nice vintage touch.
One thing that I have always admired about German and Japanese manufacturers in general is their absolute, tenacious dedication to Six Sigma i.e quality as well as precision. With this Thomas Mann W.E, there is no exception. When I screw/unscrew the pen, there is no wobbling or tightness at all, the tolerance between the cap’s and barrel’s screw thread is minimal. Just the kind of German precision to expect from Montblanc. The spring loaded pen cap screws on firmly, and an extra twist is required to screw the cap fully. When the cap is fully screwed on, the platinum inlays on the barrel are precisely aligned with the similar inlays on the cap. This sounds simple, but it’s a feat that can only achieved by solid quality control, which is found very lacking in certain well established manufacturers of Italian origin.
Weight & Dimensions
Comparison with Montblanc UNICEF Signature for Good Meisterstück 146 Le Grand
The Thomas Mann’s cap clearly has a thicker girth than the UNICEF Le Grand, while the Le Grand is slightly longer at 146 mm due to it’s torpedo design as opposed to the Thomas Mann flat bottom.
Nib & Performance
The nib is a rhodium-plated 18 K gold Broad, which blends very well with the black and platinum facet of the pen. The “Buddenbrooks” house is delicately engraved on the nib’s surface.
The nib starts putting ink right from the get go without skipping and is glass smooth. It writes with stubbish qualities, which are synonymous with the Broad and Oblique Broad nibs of the Montblanc Meisterstück 149. Only one word can aptly sum up the writing experience – BLISS.
A writing sample of the broad nib as follows:
Coincidentally, my Broad and Ghost Plane’s Broad comes with serial numbers close to the tail end of 12,000, and based on initial sampling i.e PenTieRun’s and goodguy’s Fines are numbered 5xxx & 6xxx, I am speculating that Montblanc is allocating the serial numbers based on the Thomas Mann nib size.
For those who are interested, please read on for an introduction of the history of “Buddenbrooks” house.
The Buddenbrooks House at Mengstrasse 4, opposite St. Mary’s Church, has a chequered history: The house was built by Johann Michael Croll, a merchant from
In the night before Palm Sunday 1942 RAF bombardments destroyed more than a fifth of the historic Old Town of Lübeck. Of the Buddenbrook House only the façade and the vaulted cellar remained. In 1954 a bank purchased the destroyed property and erected a new building behind the old façade, opening a branch there in 1957.
In 1991 the Buddenbrooks House, made famous by Thomas Mann’s novel, was returned to the possession of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, with the assistance of the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Schleswig-Holstein. A modern Heinrich and Thomas Mann Centre was erected behind the original façade, to become the perfect place for an animated debate about the life and works of the two brothers. A permanent exhibition on the ground floor gives visitors insights into the relationship between these two men and between them and Lübeck, their home town. Temporary exhibitions, conferences, film and video shows, as well as readings take place on the first floor and in the vault. A research area with a library and computer centre is under construction and is intended to provide practical support for anyone interested in Heinrich and Thomas Mann.
This pen uses the piston filler, which is a plus since it can hold a more decent capacity of ink compared to CC fillers.
Cost, Value & Conclusion
This is an excellent pen with an avant garde design, solid build and quality workmanship, but it comes with a hefty price tag too. Iconic? Perhaps. It would be interesting to observe how the lacquer will age with time, since lacquer is a living material. This pen will make a great addition to any collector’s prized collection, especially collectors who are interested in Chinese lacquer or Urushi based fountain pens.