Elegance with a purpose. Since 2004, the Montblanc UNICEF has been a top selling pen for those with relatively deep pockets who care about those in need with shallow pockets. Since the two partnered, they’ve raised over 10 million dollars for UNICEF. The latest addition to this series is the 2017 Montblanc pen collection titled “The Gift of Writing.” It took its inspiration from the first characters that children learn from scripts around the globe. The scripts are Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Hindi — which is also the most common in the world.
Each pen sold between April 1 2018 and 31 March 2018 will increase the amount donated to UNICEF, helping more children access quality primary education. The pens come in four different models. As a common denominator, all designs are inspired by the Rosetta stone — the stele that helped further archaeologists’ understanding of the Egyptian alphabet, and ultimately the Egyptian civilization. You can see this design echoed in each piece in a unique way.
Also common for all these is that the cap top holds a blue sapphire. But unlike previous models, these are trimmed in platinum and not gold. The quartet consists of the following:
Pens and Features
The Meisterstück Doué has a modern, yet classic feel to it. The polished resin barrel and platinum-coated fittings, contrasted by an engraved metal cap, give the pen a clean look. The nib is, as with all Montblanc designs, handcrafted. It’s an Au 750 rhodium-coated piece that flows smoothly over paper.
Weight: 32.9 g.
The LeGrand has a solid black resin barrel. The cap is ornamented with an engraving of the first character learned by children around the world. It’s is similar in size to the classic 146, but it feels slightly larger — possibly due to the metal casing. The pen’s Au 585 solid gold nib completes this elegant writing instrument.
Weight: 26.3 grams.
The barrel and cap of this pen are crafted in a blue lacquer. Engraved on the pen are the characters mentioned above. It’s the heaviest pen in the series, and has a very hefty hand-feel. The nib is an Au 750 bi-color solid gold nib with a rhodium-coated inlay.
Weight: 62.3 grams.
The149 Solitaire Skeleton, an updated version of the original 1952 flagship pen, is the most unique pen of the collection. The cap and barrel are made of a blue resin that reflects UNICEF’s signature color. Encasing that is a platinum coated, hand polished tube that circles the pen to create three-dimensional calligraphy. The nib is an Au 750 of white gold that carries the same six characters as the previous pens. It’s the second heaviest pen in the series and provides a robust hand-feel.
Weight: 49.0 gram
The ‘Gift of Writing’ UNICEF series is a beautiful collection overall. It has four different models, which caters to various preferences of design and size. As for performance, all pens do well with the classic nib. The feed keeps up with careless chicken scratches and provides a smooth trail of ink. And since the nibs contain gold, they provide a light, but palpable, flexibility.
Furthermore, all pens are compatible with a range of Montblanc ink and nibs, including Rollerballs and Ballpoints, meeting the demands of various writing styles.
You’re unlikely to go wrong with either of these, frankly. And while each pen might not appeal to everyone, the designs span from classic to exotic to cater to various tastes.
There are some minor downsides, like the lack of a proper ink window. But the main downside for many is the price. With a hefty price tag on the low end, prices are steep.
Can you find better pens for the price? Definitely. But it’s a matter of personal taste. There are beautifully crafted designs in the series, and the 2017 series is as unique as any.
If you want a solid piece, any of these will do. It comes down to your preferences, and the best thing is, of course, to try them to get a feel for the weight and size. And while you can certainly find more affordable pens, no doubt these are top quality instruments.