August 7, 2020
Founded in 1912, Montegrappa was Italy’s first fountain pen factory and has been producing beautiful writing instruments since. Located in the Italian Dolomites, Montegrappa still produces its pens in the same factory, though the variety of offerings has increased and ranges from accessible collections to elaborate works of art that aren’t seen anywhere else. As with the world of watches and timepieces, some wrote off pens as being old fashioned, but to the contrary, there is now a renewed appreciation for these high-quality, handmade instruments that are meant to last longer than a lifetime.
With figures like Ernest Hemingway and Pope Benedict XVI using Montegrappa pens over the years, it’s not difficult to understand the historical prominence of the company. While briefly owned by Richemont, Montegrappa is once again family-owned by the Aquila family who has expanded its market beyond Europe and the United State with a strong presence in Asia, particularly the Middle East.
As with cars, there is a strong cross-appeal between watch enthusiasts and pen enthusiasts. The appreciation of non-digital instruments that are built and finished by trained artisans is a common thread, and Montegrappa has been making pens for as long as some of the best watchmakers out there. Montegrappa produces fountain, rollerball, and ballpoint pens that range from simple and classic to some writing instruments that would more accurately be described as sculptures.
Recently Montegrappa introduced an online configurator that allows for pen customization with your choice of colors, materials, engravings, and personalization options. The Montegrappa configurator is a desktop/mobile tool that allows 360° views of the pen as you customize it, and the price immediately updates as well.
The starting point for the Montegrappa configurator is the ZERO Custom series which can be done with fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint options, and an example of which you can see in the above ZERO Custom Rollerball. Done in a yellow and black resin theme with gun metal and ultra black ruthenium plating with a personalized inscription on the cap. A custom rollerball like this one comes out to € 320 (approximately $360). The ZERO custom option is ideal for someone just getting their feet wet with high-end writing instruments, young professionals, or as a gift for recent grads or students.
A step above the ZERO Custom are the three Extra Custom pens you see here, two done as Rollerballs, and one done as a fountain pen (note ballpoint is not an option in Extra Custom). The red and white ‘Extra Custom’ Rollerball is done with a sterling silver trim matched with red celluloid and Carrara white marble for an aBlogtoWatch color-themed piece. The other Extra Custom pen takes a different approach, with a gold-plated sterling silver trim, carbon fiber barrel, and an African Ebony wood cap. Both of these come in a wooden presentation box with a metal owner’s plaque that can be engraved. The Extra Custom pen in red and black theme would come out to a price of € 1,105( approximately $1,250 USD) and the gold-plated silver trim with carbon fiber would come out to a price of € 1,144 (approximately $1,295 USD).
Fountain pens have long been foundational in Montegrappa’s history, and here you can see an Extra Custom fountain pen. This piece is done with a gold-plated sterling silver trim with a Thuja wood barrel/cap, and Malachite Celluloid finishes. All Montegrappa fountain pens utilize a patented high-precision piston system that supplies ink to an 18k gold nib and ebonite feed. This makes for one of the best performing writing experiences from any fountain pen. As with any Extra Custom piece, this also comes with a wooden presentation box with a metal owner’s plaque that can be engraved. Price for a fountain pen like this one is € 1,505 (approximately $1,700 USD).
The Montegrappa online configurator is a fun and useful tool and is a great way for both seasoned collectors as well as newcomers to create and design their own pens. It’s meant to be played with, so let your imagination run wild and experiment with your own designs. You can access and play with the Montegrappa pen customizer here. The tool updates prices with each change made to the pen, so it is easy to keep track of how each change and design decision factors in. Prices for the Montegrappa Zero Custom begin at € 270 (approximately $305 USD) and prices for the Extra Custom begin at € 790 (approximately $895 USD). You can learn more at montegrappa.com.
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