Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report

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Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report

Post by werner » March 27th, 2010, 8:43 am

Thema: Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report
Autor: Thomas Baier

Today I have found the time to once again post an experiential report in the plenum. Here it comes:
Is the great masterpiece worth its salt?

>>> How I came to my pen 149:
In the late 70's, in my old school days, I watched a customer standing at the cash register smiling from one ear to the other while holding an antique-looking black fountain pen in his hands. Back then I thought, why would somebody buy such an ugly-looking pen…years later I realized that it was a Montblanc 149. It was sold buy Montblanc as an exclusive model and had survived all the Design faux pas of the company.

I bought my 149 at the "Smoker's Shop" in Miami in 1996. To that time I already had a 149, which I really enjoyed using – even though it leaked a lot during the winter seasons. Back then my opinion towards Montblanc pens was of rather critical nature and so you may excuse me: I was urgently looking for a great masterpiece.

The price was suitable, back then it had cost 610 DM, if I remember right. I paid about 480 DM. It has been a rather irregular companion to me ever since: It is quite large, very imposing and unfortunately has the "Rolex effect", more than any other fountain pen I know and that I do not like so much. It draws too much attention!

>>> History:
As many of you know, the series 149 replaced the almost cylindrical 139 in 1952 and internally it was also known as the D-model (Diplomat-Size). The new plastic factories (Plexiglas = high grade resin) mainly were developed by Montblanc. Unlike with the smaller pens, the feared cracks never appeared with the generously dimensioned D-model. The moderate changes in design, nib material and nib characteristics are topics I would like to only mention in short. My 149 unfortunately already has the 18 karat nib and the smaller platinum inlay, which does not cover the entire inside of the nib anymore, but only a rim.

>>> Design, Mechanics and nibs:
The design is unique. Even if the Americans had already discovered the streamline shape 20 years earlier (Shaeffer Balance), there are only few connoisseurs who have no use for the combination black and gold. It surely also is absolutely perfect, concerning the imposing nib. The cap closes well (newer models have a softer sealing, e. g. pens from Pelikan), the ink does not dry out so fast, the ink capacity is impressive. But: The filling capacity does not reach those of even much smaller pens, in comparison: approx. 1.5 ml fit in the pen, more fits in a Pelikan 400 NN and a Montblanc 14. Filling works in regular terms, writing abilities are soft and problem-free over the years.

>>> Leakage Ability:
The worst about the pen is its leakage abilities. In the past years, the ink feed had been improved, but still Montblancs tend to leak after a strong changes in temperature, e.g. in airplanes, etc. The gripping section dirties quickly and incalculably, particularly during temperature fluctuations between inside and outside temperatures. So does my 149. Here, the Pelikans and the "Americans" Parker, Waterman and Shaeffer are much more reliable. However, maybe the problem is meanwhile solved? At least, so I have read of before….

>>> Writing Characteristics:
The nib of the 149 is not only visually something special; it also runs very smooth despite its little amount of flexibility. It runs even smoother than the 146 nib. The ink feed of my M-sized nib is very strong, even and much better than any other smaller model I know. Unfortunately really flexible nibs are no where to be found (not even on pens of competitors) and the good old slanted nib I miss as well, such as the no. 14/12. Such pens are offered by e. g. Parker as the Duofold or by Sheaffer. All in all, most of the masterpiece nibs have a round cut, which makes them less problematic in handling them, especially for the unpracticed, however, they do not have the toughness of old Montblanc nibs. Whoever does not know what I mean should try in comparison the old masterpieces, the 250 series, old Watermen or old Pelikans. The ink flow and the writing characteristics are very good, the D-model is especially suitable as a signature pen, as…

>>> ... the handling: a good one, despite its size. The balance-feeling is good without the cap, the cap doesn't hold on the barrel very well.

>>> The Manufacturing:
Perfect, the Plexiglas used by Montblanc is very durable and feels – please forgive – almost as good as celluloid, but is more resistant to surface damage. The golden plating is great, even after many years. The clip sits tightly and kept all its good qualities.

>>> Bottom Line:
The 149 rightly is one of the highlights and the king of all fountain pens. The typical disadvantages have to be accepted: the limited warranty periods, the service which is in desperate need of improvement, the leaking problem. It has the charm of a quality tool with forgivable deficits. With the 149, you have surely found a high-quality companion with a strong character.

I hope you enjoyed my report.
Thomas Baier

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Joined: September 23rd, 2012, 3:14 am
Location: Ajax, ON Canada

Re: Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report

Post by Leftieoverwriter » September 23rd, 2012, 3:30 am

Excellent Review. :ugeek:
I use a RIM Playbook and a Fountain Pen ....Friends call me "Mags"

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Joined: December 23rd, 2015, 11:05 am

Re: Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report

Post by girmsons » December 23rd, 2015, 11:05 am

Knowledge at your fingertips

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Joined: December 14th, 2018, 7:46 am

Re: Montblanc No. 149 – An experiential report

Post by Noprarath » December 14th, 2018, 8:38 am

This article is very good. I like to read a lot.

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