In Germany a Meisterstuck is a kind of final-year project for a young craftsman, marking (if good enough) his or her transition from apprentice to master.
As such, it is an extravagane title for something as simple as a pen, yet the Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149 has cleverly managed to fulfill the prophecy of its name to become not only Mont Blanc’s most successful product, but for more than eighty years now, a powerful global icon representing luxury, tradition, culture and power. Each pen is individually crafted rather than mass-produced, and can be specially tailored to the user’s desires with various point sizes and ranges of flexibility in the nib. The pen itself is 148 mm (5.8 in) long by 16 mm (0.63 in) in diameter – a sleek torpedo of polished black resin circled with bands of gold. A white star on the tip of the cap represents the snow cap and the six glacial bvalleys of Mont Blanc. The height of the mountain in meters, 4810, is inscribed amongst decorative swirls on the pen’s 18 carat hand-ground gold nib, each one hand-tested by individual craftsmen. The name of the pen is also etched into the widest gold-plated band of the three iconic gold rings found on the cap. People say the Meisterstuck 149 is the epitome of elegance, with its heavy shiny black resin barrel highlighted by the gold rings and clip. Its fans talk of the warmth and individuality of the pen, the way its flexible nib, with platinum inlay, adapts to the owner’s writing style like a pair of leather shoes. The company was founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1906 under the much less evocative name, Simplo Filler Pen Company. The name Mont Blanc was registered in 1911, although it was not until 1924 that the company bagan producing particular lines of pens and the Meisterstuck 149 was issued. The pen has changed little over the years – a specially developed resin has replaced the original celluloid and ballpoint models and a highlighter pen has even been introduced, but functionally and aesthetically the design has endured, making it a true legend.