100 years of Montblanc’s biggest icon: the Meisterstück

100 years of Montblanc’s biggest icon: the Meisterstück

by Robyn Pullen
9 min

We noticed that its been 100 years since Montblanc launched its most iconic creation: the Meisterstück. So we’re having a look back at the past century of Montblanc’s influence, from the creation of its flagship line of pens in 1924 to becoming the prized heirloom tucked away in our dad’s drawers in 2024. 

From fashion to footwear, the different sectors within luxury all have their icons, but few have gained the notoriety and impact that Montblanc has had on pens. Here’s how Montblanc achieved its iconic status since launching its first pen, the Meisterstück, exactly 100 years ago, and why it’s still the best in the game today.

Today, Montblanc is recognised for a variety of things, from its delicately crafted, luxury watches sitting on the wrists of thousands, to its elevated, fine leather travel accessories, designed for taking trips to the mountain in the Alps it shares a name with. But it is – and always has been – best known for its pens.

This year, Montblanc is celebrating one-hundred-years of its most iconic creation, the Meisterstück range, a flagship line of pens so sought after, revered, and collected that it has become a piece of history in its own right. Let’s take a look back at the century Montblanc spent curating its Meisterstück collection into a luxury range of writing instruments used by some of the most powerful people in history. 

1924
The Meisterstück range is invented

In 1924, Simplo Füllfeder-Gesellschaft - soon to be known as Montblanc - launched the range it would become globally recognised for: the Meisterstück collection. The brand’s new range of elevated fountain pens were designed even from the start to be more than simple writing tools, proven by the fact that the name “Meisterstück” itself actually translates from German to “masterpiece” in English.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1934
Montblanc becomes Montblanc

Montblanc became Montblanc in 1934, changing its name from Simplo Füllfeder-Gesellschaft to Montblanc Simplo GmbH when the next generation of leaders took over the brand. During this period, certain symbols of the Meisterstück range began to be more widely recognised, including the number “4810” - the height of the Mont Blanc mountain in metres - which always appears on Montblanc’s pens, alongside two gold rings, which are used to strengthen their caps.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1935 - 1951
The Meisterstück enters era of alteration

Following Montblanc’s name change in 1934, the Meisterstück line entered an era of alteration. It underwent a change in shape, moving from the classic silhouette to new cylindrical silhouette which allowed it to be distinguished from the earlier models of the 1920s. In 1937, we saw several variations of the Meisterstück shape, appearing with one or even three gold rings instead of the classic two (available in silver and gold). The three ringed version was said to be symbolic of the three people who impacted the company in these years and prior: Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and Claus Johannes Voss.

1952 - 1959
The “149” arrives on the scene

In the ‘50s, Montblanc looked to reconstruct the collection’s classic values, continuing to streamline the Meisterstück whilst simultaneously reintroducing its most iconic attributes, like the three rings and the nib. Then, in 1952, the Meisterstück “149” was introduced to the brand’s growing range of luxury writing instruments, and became an immediate classic. This “149” style became so iconic that its silhouette has never been changed, even to this day. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1960s
The Meisterstück undergoes some changes

As Montblanc entered the 1960s, its Meisterstück range underwent another detour in style and silhouette. Across its Meisterstück collection, sleek, modern, ‘jet age’ aesthetics became more popular; however, there was one model that remained unchanged: the timeless “149,” with its unmistakable “cigar” silhouette. The brand also evolved its production methods to modern standards and materials in the ‘60s, tapping into the booming operation of mass production. Making use of this, Montblanc released new models like the “Linie 60,” which was made from injection moulded resin. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1970 - 2000
The Meisterstück in pop culture

But before long, in 1973, Montblanc made the choice to return the Meisterstück to its “cigar” silhouette, reviving the shape beyond the “149” model. As time went on, the edgier Meisterstück designs were seen less and less, as the brand placed its focus on classic, streamlined models, like the “Solitaire” which debuted in the 1980s. Largely due to Montblanc’s focus on simpler, more memorable silhouettes and styles, the Meisterstück range became more recognisable in popular culture. In 1983, the “Solitaire” appeared in James Bond film Octopussy; in 1988 we saw Winona Ryder use a Meisterstück pen to forge Heather’s suicide note in Heathers; and 1999 placed a Meisterstück in the hands of Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The Meisterstück range had become a symbol of class, elevation, wealth, and status. It was an icon.

2009
Montblanc’s Meisterstück celebrates “Great Characters”

A decade later, in 2009, Montblanc launched its “Great Characters” collection, a range of fountain pens in honour of certain people who’ve left their mark on the world. Kicking off the range with its first “Great Characters” drop in 2009 was a Meisterstück fountain pen in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. This was followed by pens celebrating the likes of John F. Kennedy, The Beatles, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Enzo Ferrari, and more. Each pen is themed after the person it's in honour of, with Muhammad Ali’s featuring a golden butterfly, and Enzo Ferrari’s being inscribed with a famous quote he said: “You cannot describe passion, you can only live it.”

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2010s
A move towards luxury leather goods

In the late 2010s, Montblanc took a more audacious approach to its production of leather goods in order to captivate new audiences and re-define what luxury business lifestyle means to the new generation of young professionals. To achieve this, Montblanc collaborated with streetwear brand BAPE and lifestyle brand Maison Kitsuné on two ranges of luggage. At the same time, Montblanc’s Meisterstück range during this period only gained more notoriety as its classic models became vintage pieces, sought after by collectors. In the same year, the  Meisterstück appeared in pop culture again, in Season 3 of the viral TV show Succession, which saw its leading character Logan Roy say, “I’m gonna jam a Montblanc down his f***in’ throat.” It doesn’t get much more iconic than that.

2024
The Meisterstück remains timelessly iconic

After one-hundred-years putting words to paper, Montblanc’s Meisterstück range is as valuable, memorable, and impactful as ever in 2024, and it continues to expand every year. Most recently, the Meisterstück range inspired Montblanc’s lead Artistic Director Marco Tomas in his design for the brand’s MTB 03 In-Ear Headphones, which marked a move from written word to spoken word at Montblanc. Tomas looked to the product details seen on Montblanc’s leather goods collections to pay homage to the Meisterstück in the headphones’ design.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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In 2024, Montblanc’s classic Meisterstück fountain pens are available to purchase for around $1000. Although, it’s worth acknowledging that some of Montblanc’s limited edition fountain pens sell in excess of US $30,000, and high artistry pens for exceedingly more. Montblanc’s Meisterstück range is still considered to be among the most sought after pens in the world, not only because of the collection’s long-standing status and its iconicity within the industry, but also because its pens are simply flawless to write with. 

 

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