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May 28, 2024

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Montblanc’s Meisterstück celebrates 100 years of design evolution

2024 marks a commendable century of Montblanc’s Meisterstück, an iconic writing instrument. The first Meisterstück was introduced in 1924 when Montblanc still went by its first name, Simplo. Some customers began to request a writing instrument for “Sunday-use” – one that would be special, offering a finer experience not meant for everyday use. Coincidentally, craftsmen who had spent years honing their savoir-faire were already developing their personal projects and creating one-of-a-kind writing instruments for themselves. Because they exhibited highly advanced craftsmanship, these creations were known as Meisterstück, meaning “masterpiece” in German. This fateful coincidence gave rise to the first Meisterstück collection that quickly rose to the status of a cultural icon, one that is still synonymous with Montblanc to this very day. So iconic was the Meisterstück that although its name was first translated in various markets, soon these translated names were dropped completely and the German Meisterstück became its given name in every market it appeared in.

The years 1924 to 1935 marked the early beginnings of the Meisterstück range. Right from the start, the number “4810” – referring to the height of the Mont Blanc mountain in meters – has been intrinsically tied to the Meisterstück. Another characteristic introduced during this time was the use of gold colour, with two gold rings added to the cap in 1928, not simply as a decorative element, but to strengthen the cap and reduce the risk of cracks.

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From 1935 to 1951, the Meisterstück underwent a time of differentiation. The next generation of leaders took over responsibilities, and new products and innovations were introduced. The cylindrical shape, single broad cap ring, bold clip designs, and two-tone nib ensured the new range could be distinguished from earlier models.

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The period between 1949 and 1959 marked the birth of the Meisterstück icon. A new streamlined look was introduced, along with novelties like the first Doué models and the softer ‘Wing nib’.

From 1960 onwards, Montblanc continued evolving its production methods, embracing more efficient technologies. The “Linie 60” models were made from injection molded resin, featuring a sleek, modern aesthetic, except for the timeless 149 model. In the early 1970s, Montblanc revived the 1950s’ “cigar-shaped” Meisterstück beyond the 149 model. The classic, streamlined models grew, and in the 1980s, the Solitaire made its debut.

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Since then, the Meisterstück’s silhouette has been adapted and reimagined in various writing modes, been skeletonized, and even become the canvas for celebrated collaborations. But despite the many variations, this timeless writing instrument has retained its core design codes and continues inspiring as a symbol of writing culture.

Some of the most distinguishable characteristics of this writing icon include its “cigar” form, Montblanc emblem on the cap top, a nib handcrafted of valuable Au 585/14K or Au 750/18K gold featuring an engraving of ‘4810’ and usually showing a sophisticated two-tone design thanks to a rhodium-coated inlay, and three gold rings on the cap, representing Lausen, Voss, and Dziambor – the three individuals who had the greatest influence in shaping the company in its early years.

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Every Meisterstück writing instrument is a work of art steeped in history. A century after its first introduction in 1924, the Meisterstück is still the most recognizable writing instrument Montblanc has produced. Among all the different styles of writing instruments created at Montblanc, the Meisterstück has a special place in the hearts of the craftspeople and designers who work with it every day, preserving its tradition through excellence in craftsmanship. The Meisterstück has the power to continue inspiring across Montblanc’s product lines, its recognizable design codes now forming part of the Maison’s DNA.

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While leather goods have been part of Montblanc’s portfolio since 1926, the iconic writing instrument’s impact on the Maison’s leather design continues to be palpable today. Named after the writing instrument itself, the Meisterstück Collection’s brilliant black leather reflects the visual impact of the Meisterstück’s precious resin. The fountain pen’s nib shape gives inspiration to many of the leather pieces’ design details. The aim was to bring the design of the Meisterstück Collection even closer to Montblanc’s iconic symbol of timeless luxury – the Meisterstück writing instrument.

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The signature aesthetics of the Meisterstück have also inspired the development of Montblanc’s latest wearable technologies, the MTB 03 In-Ear Headphones. The headphones feature a deep black lightweight resin reminiscent of the surface of the celebrated writing instrument, as well as the white Montblanc emblem that crowns it. The headphones also showcase a subtle chrome ring, a reference to the rings that can be observed on the cap of the Meisterstück.

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As Montblanc commemorates a century of its iconic Meisterstück, it’s not merely celebrating a writing instrument but a legacy of craftsmanship, innovation, and elegance. From its humble beginnings in 1924 to its enduring presence in the modern world, the Meisterstück stands as a testament to Montblanc’s commitment ability to evolve while staying true to its heritage. As we look back on a hundred years of the Meisterstück, we also look forward with anticipation, knowing that its legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

Zara Flavia Dmello

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