Key to the identification of Montblanc Classic pens (1960-2010)

Identifying exactly which slimline pen you have can be quite tricky, with the numerous small changes and subtly different models available from 1959 to 2008. Entomologists like myself rely a lot on binary keys  to work through an identification logically, taking parts of the specimen in turn and drawing conclusions that take you one way or another. So, this is a draft key that I have roughed out to help sort them out and, because caps & bodies can be swapped by mistake, I have developed a key for the caps seperate to the bodies. 

Key to caps

  1. Finial design
    1. Finial completely enclosed within a metal ring which forms the base of the clip
      1. Cap with wavey cap band = 121
      2. Cap with 2 cap bands = 221
      3. Cap with 1 cap band = 220/310/320
    2. Finial not completely enclosed
      1. Finial sloped relative to the clip ring
        1. Widest cap band with “Classic” written on it = Classic
        2. Widest cap band with “Generation” written on it = Generation
      2. Finial not sloped 
        1. Cap with wavey cap band = 12/14
        2. Cap with 2 cap bands = 22/24
        3. Cap with 1 cap band = 32/34

Demi or Full size (2-digit pens only)

  1. Cap length
    1. 6.2cm = Demi size
    2. 6.3cm = Full size 

Key to pen bodies

  1. Ink window
    1. Ink window wide (~5mm)
      1. Window colour amber & nib 18k gold (visible when removed from the section) = 12/14
      2. Window colour blue & nib 14k gold (visible when removed from the section) = 22/24
    2. Ink window narrow (~2mm) 
      1. Window colour amber = 121
      2. Window colour blue  
        1. Nib with a smoothly curving section end
          1. Section end convex = 310/320/Classic/Generation
            1. Blind end with star and no gold ring = 310/320 
              1. Nib gold-plated steel = 310
              2. Nib 14k gold = 320
            2. Blind end flat with gold ring = Classic
            3. Blind end rounded with gold ring = Generation
          2. Section end concave = 420
        2. Nib with sharp-pointed zigzag (M-shaped) section end that barely covers the nib:
          1. Body texture matt = 220
          2. Body texture glossy = 221
        3. Nib with more deeply incised wing/butterfly (W-shaped) section end that covers half of the nib = 221 transitional
    3. Ink window threaded = 32/34

Demi or Full size (only needed on 2-digit pens)

  1. Pen length without cap
    1. 11.7cm = Demi size
    2. 12.3cm = Full size 

Considerations & weaknesses

Some sections of the key result in multiple choices but this is inevitable because some models have identical caps or bodies. Both cap & body taken together should give reliable results though. 

One other consideration that might break the key is early 3?? series pens, prior to the 1974 revamp of the feed & nib, as I’m not sure what they look like at the moment. I’m also unaware when they brought in the oval feed hole but this is likely to be a later development that might be useful. 

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