Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Review

149.jpg

I bought my Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 some 11 years ago. To be candid, the motivation behind the purchase had been vanity – plain and simple. Believing (erroneously) that I was an up-and-coming manager, a Montblanc, was to me, an item of necessity. After all, you weren’t quite accepted into the domain of Malaysian ‘manager-dom’ you didn’t have a Montblanc sticking out of your breast pocket. So I forked out my RM690 (mind you, this was in 1996) and took my Montblanc home, smugly assured that my transition into the world of ‘manager-dom’ was finally complete.

In other words, at that point in time, I saw the Montblanc not as a fine writing instrument per se, but more as a badge of honour.

Now that I no longer have any use for badges of honour of any kind, I have re-evaluated my estimation of the Montblanc. It no longer carries the mystique it once had, a mystique bestowed upon it by a highly effective marketing department. Its value to me now simply boils down to its performance as a writing instrument.

First of all, aesthetically, the Meisterstuck 149 is a strikingly beautiful instrument. To say that it is an icon would be an understatement. Its classic torpedo-shape, in most people’s minds, practically define what fine fountain pens should look like. It is not uncommon for someone who is presented with an equally stellar pen from another maker to declare either “That looks just like a Montblanc!” or “That doesn’t look like a Montblanc at all!” Either way, at least in the looks department, it is evident that most people measure other pens against the Meisterstuck.

Dimension and Aesthetics

And even within the stable of Montblanc pens, the Meisterstuck 149 is epitome of things Montblanc. Mention a Montblanc, the first image that pops into most people’s minds will be the Meisterstruck: Not the Boheme, not the Skywalker but the Meisterstuck.

Montblanc’s propaganda states that the body of the pen is made from something they call ‘precious plastic’. Just what this means exactly, escapes me. Personally, I have taken this to mean that it is made from a material that doesn’t lose its lustre and shine even after years of use. I have had my 149 for about 11 years and it still looks as it did when I first took it home. Over the years, it has not lost its shine even in the slightest. Pretty amazing, really.

The 149 is a BIG pen. At the risk of sounding sexist, the 149 is a man-sized pen. Capped, it measures 15 centimetres while posted it measures 16.5 centimetres. The barrel diameter of this pen stands at a whopping 1.4 centimetres. This, of course, is plenty big. So, unless you’re Andre the Giant (my age is showing here), this pen should be big enough for almost anyone. But if you have smallish hands (like me), the 149 may prove to be a handful. But if you subscribe to the thinking that bigger is better, the 149 is right up your alley.

Filling Mechanism and Nib Characteristics

The nib that originally came with my 149 was a medium. It was a two-tone, 18K gold affair that just takes your breath away. The feel of the nib is not at all rigid. However, it is not, strictly speaking, a flex nib either. The nib is reminiscent of nibs found in high-end Pelikans: a small amount of flex can be discerned and enjoyed when using the pen.

But since I subsequently discovered that I used the 149 almost exclusively for signing documents, I had it changed to a broad nib. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Montblanc didn’t charge me for this! It goes without saying that the nib wrote smoothly and faultlessly, producing beautiful bold, wet lines that transforms my signatures into something more visually palatable than what they would be otherwise.

The149 uses piston-type filling system. This provides for clean and simple in filling – just twist the end of the barrel. Regular readers will know that this is my favoured filling system. What else can I say?

The Bottom-line

When talking about the 149, I can’t help but feel like Jeremy Clarkson did when he reviewed the Peugeot 407 (or was it some other Peugeot?) This was what he had to say:

“BREAKDOWN IN STYLE!”

That about sums up my experience with the 149. Early on, for some unknown reason, the clip of my 149 got all tarnished and corroded. OK, Montblanc replaced it. But it took almost three weeks. Then, all sorts of other horrors developed. The biggest problem was the 149’s over-generous inkflow. I like bold, wet lines. But the inflow I got from the 149 got to the point of being ridiculous. The pen laid down such wet lines that the writing bled onto the next page. And this wasn’t entirely the paper’s fault. No matter what paper I wrote on (100 gram paper excepted), the problem persisted. Finally, after several years, I discovered Pelikan 4001 inks. This alleviated the problem and I was a happy camper for a while.

After that, the ruddy thing began other sorts of inflow problems, like suddenly going dry even though I had used it only a few hours ago. This can be rather embarrassing at meetings with clients. Everyone is eying your beautiful 149. You finally whip it out to write something only to find out the thing has gone on strike. Nothing is more ridiculous than having a very expensive pen that refuses to write. But I’ll admit that this is not quite as ridiculous as owning a Peugeot that won’t move.

Any other horrors? Well, there are two more, really. Sometimes, when it decides to write, I am often faced with a starting problem: no inkflow for the first few strokes. Call me obsessive compulsive if you must, but I find this problem utterly infuriating. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind so much if it were a Kilometrico. But this thing is a Montblanc!

The final straw came when it started leaking. So I have retired the 149 for now – at least, until I can find someone at the Montblanc boutique who will believe that I am a Montblanc owner and help me in getting the 149 repaired.

21 thoughts on “Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 Review

  1. Montblanc to me is a piece of jewelry that writes, any montblanc! Ha ha.

    Oh wow! You wrote with such passion about your piece of jewelry.

    Long time ago I used to send my pens for repair at Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman at a pen shop, I think tucked somewhere near the Central shoe shop. Now I wish I knew where they’ve moved to, as they did a good job every time and they charged quite reasonable. Sigh!

  2. [ruby]

    I think the shop you are talking about is called KS Gill – and yes, they have moved. But you can still find them along Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman.

    If you are from Chow Kit heading towards Medan Tuanku, they will be on the left-hand side of the road, a few doors down from the junction between Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Sultan Ismail. They are on the same row as Kudu bin Abdul Nasi Kandar (if you know where that is, luv)

  3. Pen? The most expensive Pen I owned (well that’s not true –probably swiped it off someone’s desk) was a LAMY.

    Bro’.. only you can write a totally engrossing review about Pens. What EXACTLY is a man-sized Pen is bro’?

    Ha-ha, Happy New Year and let’s try to dust off the Santa Cruz… Yup that’s my resolution. To dust off the bike. It’s a step. Perhaps next year will get to put some air in them 26 x 2’s…

  4. [matsalo]

    You own a Santa Cruz? Bro, that is one mean machine! I’m green with envy.

    BTW, in the fountain pen fraternity, the LAMY is considered the ‘thinking man’s pen’. I know quite a lot about you already!

    A man-sized pen? Generally, this is a big pen designed to fit (a man’s) bigger hands.

  5. Montblanc Meisterstuck pens are to me the epitome of the Reagan-Thatcher-Gorbachev-Kohl era when all those treaties were signed. The traidion amongst world leaders was to swap Meisterstucks upon signing such documents…

    … (and, most likely, exchange back as soon as the cameras were gone. ha har).

    Yeah I’d love one of those, they look like Mickey Mouse pens to me. Very cute. I’d get it in gold though never platinum.

    Aren’t the shoe-shaped Montblanc ink pots cute… I used to use one to fill my cheap but very good LAMY fountain pen, back in the day…

    … now I write in yucky old ballpoint…

    Hi Gledwood

    They’re nice to have – until something goes wrong with them.

    Yes, aren’t the bottles cute. I kept mine and use it for my Diamine ink now.

    And yes, I think Lamy is a wonderful pen. I also have maybe 10 Lamy Safaris and a Lamy 2000. I can’t have enough of them. I’m not giving the other guy my Lamy even if I get to sign treaties for my country :-)

  6. ps if you’re having ink flow probs like that you ought to send it in for repair… surely those things have lifetime guarantees on them? If they’ve already swapped nibs for you you’ll be on their records even if you cannot find a receipt…

    Hi Gledwood

    I bought it from a dealer who has since closed shop. I tried talking to the Montblanc boutique but they wouldn’t give me the time of day – they insisted on me paying for the repairs. I know they’re supposed to be guaranteed for life but the ppl at the boutique seem to think otherwise – unless I can produce a receipt that I had lost years ago.

    I guess that’s life.

    Thanks for visiting

  7. I have two Mont Blanc 149 and a lot of other famous companies pens. I have bad practice with Mont Blanc pens, there are always problems with first line drawing. I have many old, different condition other companies pens and these write just at the first touch of paper even if were not used for weeks. For me Mont Blanc is good for looking but not for writing. You pay with your credit card, cheque and trying sign ticket with your Mont Blanc which does not want write, after few second the seller gives you cheap ballpen to finish transaction. It is not funny :-)).

    pilarz

    I had that same problem with both my 149 and 146. Yes, sir! Pens that do not start are not funny – neither are the ones with skipping problems. Unfortunately, my experience with MB is not very pleasant.

    But they are good looking pens. Thanks for visiting.

  8. I also loved my montblanc until it started leaking, basically it’s dead now, and people at montblanc in paris where less than helpful, nearly rude. I had the clear feeling that they are only interested by buyers of new pens.

    Of course i’m not going to buy any other one after this experience of falling from eden to hell.

  9. The fountain pen leaked from the very first day! Bought at an airport and couldn’t find the till receipt. Mont Blanc wouldn’t give me the time of day and did not respond to a polite letter, with the visa receipt enclosed. £280 down the drain. Don’t buy their fountain pens, their ball point pens are OK, but hugely over-priced and you are really paying for the brand and because your junior colleague has a far superior Waterman, which costs less!

    • Did you make sure you refilled it properly/ Don’t force the refill magazine down to forcefully otherwise it will make the cartridge pop (pressurized ink magazine) and result in a leak.

      • Thanks for the tip, Mathmaster. But I never use a cartridge. I alwas use the piston filler. Somehow the nib just doesn’t regulate the inkflow as well as it should

  10. I am about to purchase this pen, not because I saw Eva Green from Casino Royale show up in a Mont Blanc (French) “Signature for Good” ad but rather, a sophisticated pen for a sophisticated person like me. It proves to be like a badge with its “Frozen Animation” Mont Blanc Diamond Emblem on top of the lid. Very good pen to use and I have seen people do video reviews for it on youtube and writes pretty think.

  11. I too gave into temptation for the Mont Blanc 149 and an ST Dupont fountain pen. I am sad that our modern paper does not really accomodate one who wishes to use bottle ink to write with. In future we can probable click on a mouse icon that will resemble our favorite pen and watch it write script on the screen. Oh sorry, script is not being taught in school anymore, it will be a course in university in the anthropology department. Oh well.

  12. get a Sailor Fountain Pen – one of the most reliable nibs especially those made by Nobuyoshi Nagahara ie Naginata Togi specialty nibs especially the Cobra, Eagle, Cross or Emperor nibs. They are by far the best writers in the pen-dom world, are cheaper than the hugely overrated overpriced but beautiful iconic Montblancs. They do not have the crow’s white shit on the cap top emblematic of Montblanc’s but are priced better and are better more reliable writers. My Sailor Cobra nib is the smoothest most reliable fountain pen in my large collection and the Montblancs that i owned are far inferior writers

  13. Man-sized pen!
    It just happens that today, my father gave me his MB 149 that he has had since the 80s.. And I happen to be his daugther :) so does that mean that ladies do not use them?

  14. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll send this article to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thank you for
    sharing!

  15. Hi Everyone!
    My MB149 which I had used for signing letters, official documents, cheques since the nineties finally failed me today!
    Just this morning,I found It was completely dried up and it could not write at all– even though I cleaned and filled it up less than a month ago.
    So I decided to refill it up again with fresh ink. But then I found that I had a hard time unscrewing the piston screw end (which never happened before till today). Eventually it did loosen up, so I decided to flush and clean the dried-up pen with some warm water before refilling.
    Lo and behold, it was then that I found that the MB149 was showing a LEAK from the piston filler screw end! Now I am wondering whether I have unloosened some component part/s at this end when I earlier tried to unscrew the stucked piston cap.
    Has anyone ever encountered such a similar leakage from the BACK END of this famous/infamous pen?

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