How to buy your first fountain pen

Watches & Jewellery

October 13, 2015 | BY Calvin Chong

From finding the perfect pen nibs to body materials, Montblanc shares with us a first-timer's guide to buying luxury writing instruments.

(Global Brand Ambassador of Montblanc, Hugh Jackman)

With the increasing dependency on technology in this day and age, many often ask this question, "Why do people write with pen and paper at all today?"

While we do agree that we can do most writing tasks via smartphones and tablets, there is a certain allure to handwritten notes – especially when it is using a fountain pen.

Here, world renowned luxury writing instrument maker Montblanc shares with us some essential shopping tips on picking your first luxury writing instrument.


Different types of writing instruments

The first thing you need to know is there are many different types of luxury writing instruments in the market nowadays. Some of the more popular styles include fountain pen, rollerball, ballpoint and fine liner.

The highest range and most exquisite range is the fountain pen, which is what we will be focusing on. Also, to complement the rise of tech gadgets, Montblanc has launched the Screenwriter pen, which is made to be used on a smartphone or tablet's screen.

Finding your perfect pen nib

Above everything else, the pen nib is the most important criteria when selecting your fountain pen. Like the pen itself, there are many types of nibs available to cater to different handwriting, depending on pressure, angle and speed of your writing.

For example, Montblanc has 8 different nibs but if you are not sure on what to get, it's always good to ask the sales associate to let you try all the different nibs. The great thing about Montblanc nibs is that they are all hand-crafted by experts in solid gold for a perfect writing experience.

The body material

From precious metals to stones and silk, a writing instrument can be made with various combination of materials, but for a first-timer, it is always best to stick with the classic and most durable precious resin body.

Of course, other materials are great too, depending on your preference on weight and texture of the writing instrument.

Recommended collections by Montblanc


Like many writing instruments maker, Montblanc has a great range of fountain pen designs for your choosing. For first-timers, the Montblanc Meisterstück (left) is the recommended design for its iconic black body and sleek design.

For those who prefer more stylish and contemporary looks, the Starwalker (centre) is a great option, while the lipstick-inspired Bohème (right) is favoured for its size and portability.

Going bespoke with your writing

If nothing ticks your fancy in the boutiques, why not go for bespoke instruments? At Montblanc, you can have nibs custom made to you based on your writing style. This service is available in selected outlets, where a machine is used to detect the way you write and calculate the perfect dimensions for your nib. 

Of course, the body and design can be customised too. In 2011, German comedian Mario Barth created a custom microphone-shaped Montblanc pen to celebrate his world record of biggest comedy audience.

Writing with a fountain pen

There have been many claims that fountain pens are hard to write with, but that is not entirely true. While it does require a little bit of practice, writing with a fountain pen is essentially similar to normal pens.

The main difference is that now you write more consciously and carefully because the pen uses ink cartridges, which require a little more control.

The two types of ink

On the topic of ink, there are two major types sold in the market now (no, it is not a dip and write like what you see in the movies). The first is a pump system, which requires you to bring along a bottle of ink. This method uses a syringe concept where you pump and vacuum ink into the body before using it.

The other is a cartridge system, similar to ones used in normal pens. This is a more convenient method as you won't need to carry an extra bottle of ink with you at all times.

Fun fact: The Wall Street 'Power Pen'

Did you know that there is a tradition in Wall Street where budding stockbrokers will buy an Armani suit and a Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen with their first salary.

Therefore, every important contract or agreement that happens in Wall Street have to be signed with the Meisterstück 149. After all, what's better to celebrate the success of a deal than with a beautiful signature signed with a marvellous pen.


(Photos: Montblanc)

More writing instruments: 10 interesting facts to know about the Montblanc Meisterstück