Montblanc Classic pens (1960-2010)

Between the years 1960 and 2010 Montblanc produced a range of slim-bodied fountain pens in a new sleek and modern design. To this day they still write beautifully, as you’d expect from a Montblanc pen, and are available relatively cheaply, compared to modern Montblancs. Not a lot seems to have been written about them though so this is my attempt to collate what I can discover. Most information has been found online but a few sites have been particularly helpful and I have listed these below in a references section.

Apart from the rare silver or gold models most of the ones you’ll find on auction sites are plastic bodied and the filling systems are either piston or cartridge/converter so they are very simple and clean to use. The nibs are either solid gold (14k/18k) or gold-plated steel and they are very smooth to write with – especially the 1960s pens, which tend to also be quite soft and springy, with some interesting grinds.

One thing to remember is that Montblanc themselves don’t do their fans a lot of favours really because they are not very good at making information available about their past products. The Montblanc website exists to market the brand and focuses almost entirely on their current catalogue and so I have had to piece this information together from various specialist/collector web pages and books. 

History of this product range

In response to the growing popularity of slimmer pens and in a push to reduce the complexity of their manufacturing processes, in the late 1950s Montblanc decided to modernise and move away from pens like the black cigar-shaped models that they were so famous for. The new pens would be highly modular and by sharing the same components they would cut the number of parts they had to make and stock by a third. The new range was called the “Classic Series” and the resin parts would all be made with their relatively new (1955) injection moulding process. At the same time many of the popular older models, like the 144 & 146, were discontinued, which must have been a very brave step to take. 

The new pens featured gold-plated or rolled gold trim, black cap finials and the white star logo at both ends. Much of the range had 14k or 18k solid gold nibs and the bodies were made from Montblanc’s trademark “precious resin”. Black was the most popular colour but they were also available in “burgundy red”, “jade green” & “anthracite grey”. Piston filling systems came as standard but cartridge or piston-converter filling systems were available on the 3x models.

It’s hard to describe them properly but these absolutely weren’t “student pens” or an economy product line. Much of the range carried the “Meisterstück” label so these were still premium products, sold to relatively wealthy people. Remember, these pens replaced the 144 an 146 in the Montblanc product range so they were a strategic redesign of the main product line. Of course this radical departure didn’t last long and they brought back the 144 and 146 because they were so popular and actually built up the range of bigger pens, but they still kept the slimline pens for quite a long time. 

These first products went on sale in 1960 and were given a simple 2-digit product code:

  • First digit:
    • 1 for “Meisterstück” range: made from ‘precious resin’ with 18k nibs & 1/15 14k gold-filled trim; lifetime guarantee. These feature the distinctive “Cardinal’s hat” cap band and hooded wing nib.
    • 2 for “Medium” range: made from plastic with 14k nibs & 1/20 14k gold-filled trim; 25-year guarantee. These have 2 cap bands and have the hooded wing nib.
    • 3 for “Economy” range: made from plastic with 14k nibs & 1/30 14k rolled gold plate trim; 10-year guarantee. They started with the “intarsia” nib, which greatly reduced the amount of gold they used in each pen, but in 1967 they went with the hooded wing nibs that had been in use on other models, standardising manufacture and reducing the number of components in the range.
    • 7 as #1 with rolled gold cap
    • 8 as #1 with rolled gold cap & barrel
    • 9 as #1 with 14k gold cap & barrel
  • Second digit:
    • 1 for rare steel nibbed variants (demi-size)
    • 2 for demi-zize
    • 4 for full size
  • Third (optional): 
    • P for cartridge fillers – confusingly, for English speakers, this isn’t P for “piston” but P for “patrone” 
    • D for manifold nibs
    • ST for Steno nibs
    • S for Silvré cap – this seems to just be a brushed chrome cap rather than silver

So this translates to a product line like this:

  • Meisterstück
    • 12/14 (all plastic)
    • 72/74 (rolled gold cap & plastic barrel)
    • 82/84 (rolled gold cap and barrel)
    • 92/94 (14k gold cap & barrel)
  • Medium
    • 22/24 (14k nib with 2 cap bands)
  • Economy:  
    • 32/34 (14k nib with 1 cap band);
    • 31 (with steel nib)
    • 32 S / 34 S (Silvré cap with gold clip & band and a resin body)
    • 31 D (with manifold nib – i.e. an open nib that is very hard for carbon copying)
    • 32 P / 34 P (cartridge filling system)

In 1971 they released a redesigned series with 3-digit product codes, based on the 1960s pens but with a few subtle changes, the most noticable of which was a clip where the clip ring forms the sides of the finial making the cap finial gold-edged and flat-topped. The nib, feed & section were completely redesigned (to type 3 & 4 nibs with no breather hole – see below) and the ink chamber got a narrower opening to match the back of the feed. The demi-size pens were discontinued, making all the pens “full” length, and they also offered far more cartridge/piston-converter filling variants across the range.

Also, sadly, from here on the nibs were only provided as semi-flexible/firm variants. I’m not sure why customer taste moved from flexible to firm but it seems to have happened across all pen brands as flexible nibs became less and less commonly found. It might be due to firm nibs being slightly easier to write with for users unfamiliar with fountain pens or it might be just due to the common use of ball points which require more pressure. 

In 1979 the whole Classic line was thinned down but popular products like the 221 & 310 were still listed in German catalogues in 1982 & 1987-88. After this they seem to vanish. 

Possibly in the late 1980s or early 1990s (I haven’t found any conclusive evidence yet) they introduced a pen called the “Montblanc Classic” (model number 131?), looking a bit like a 221P because it has a double, thick/thin cap ring (with “Montblanc – Germany – Classic” engraved on the thick band), but the finial is sloped & has a rounded jewel. The push cap has a tapering clip which lacks the ridge on previous models; the nib has a Montblanc star in a circle. Mine also has an interesting false ink window that looks like the thin ink windows on previous pens but the plastic is black and opaque. 

In 1997 they renamed the “Classic” as the “Generation” and made some changes to the design again. Gone is the star on the blind end, replaced with a rounded jewel-like feature that sports a gold ring. The wide cap band was made even wider to incorporate a bigger sized font and in addition to black it was made in an array of bright colours: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple & Turquoise. 

It didn’t last long though and the final model in the slim Classic product line was discontinued in the late 2000s. 


Trim & design differences on known models

Modelcap bandcap typesection tipnib metalnib typefillerink windowblind
12 / 14cardinal’s hatpushwing18k1apistonamber wide1 ring
121cardinal’s hatpushzigzag14k3pistonamber thin1 ring
22 / 24wide + thinpushwing14k1bpistonblue wide
220 / 220P
thinpushzigzag14k3 / 4piston / cartblue thin
221 / 221Pwide + thinpushzigzag14k3piston / cartblue thin
221 transitionalwide + thinpushwing14k1cpistonblue thin
32 / 34widescrewintarsia / wing14k1b / 2pistonblue screw thread
32 S (“Silvré”)widepushintarsia / wing14k1b / 2pistonwide blue
310thinpushcurvedg/p steel3cartblue thin + gold rim
320 / 320Pthinpushcurved14k3 / 4piston / cartblue thin + gold rim
410? / 420thinpushconcaveg/p steel / 14k5?pistonblue thin + gold rim
Classicwide + thinpushcurved14k3cartblack thin + gold trim1 ring
Generationwider + thinpushcurved14k3cartblack thin + gold trim1 ring

More unusual variants

The website is a great resource for seeing all the variants of these pens. It’s actually a jumbled list of pens posted by their owners but if you take the time to read it there are a lot of interesting, rare variants. Most of the following were discovered there but I’m not 100% sure that the designations given by the owners are actually the same as Montblanc would have used. There is also the problem that many models have interchangable caps and other parts, meaning that an owner might inadvertently swap caps OR a seller could put parts together from different broken pens to make one that is complete, but wrong – a chimera. I have put square brackets around variations that I suspect might be chimeras.

  • 3x variants:
    • 30 – a steel-nibbed with a piston filler
    • 31 – a gold-plated steel nibbed version with a piston filler [though I have a pen with a “31” cap that has an intarsia gold nib but this might be due to a cap-swap]
    • 32 P – cartridge filler with intarsia nib and no ink window
    • 32 S Silvré is an odd one because it is such a hybrid – a push fit cap with an ink window from the 22
    • a “wing” nib 32 with an amber coloured screw threaded ink window (jhsd1124013561 article) – this cannot be a chimera because no amber screw threads were made for any other pen.
  • 12x variants:
    • 121 pens seem to have had a version without a blind end gold band and later versions where it is present 
    • 126 – a solid 925 silver striped cap, 18k nib, piston filler version
    • 1246 – a pen with 18k gold nib and gold-filled body & cap (made between 1971 and 1977)
    • 1266 – a solid 925 silver cap & body made from 1971-75
  • 22x variants
    • 221 transitional (wing nib) – for a while it seems that they used the 14k nibs from the 22 on the new format 221. To do this they needed a redesigned feed with a thinner rear extension and a slightly recessed connector to the ink chamber. 
    • 224 – a gold-filled cap version
    • 225 – a matt silver/matt gold cap, 14k nibbed, piston filler version
  • 3xx variants
    • 300 – a full chrome, steel-nibbed, cartridge filler version of the 320
    • 310 – there are variants (more modern?) of the 310 that have flat steel clips and not the gold ones I have seen in Japan. The Japanese pens include soem stickered “310” pens so I know they are genuine.
    • [a “320” with a gold band around the piston blind end]
  • Classic variants
    • I have a Classic that is missing the blind finial/star and it looks exactly like a 320P body would look when the star has dropped out. But either it has lost its star (which would signify an early version perhaps) OR (as I now suspect) the flat blind end with gold ring is actually clipped into this hole.
  • 620 Junior – a steel nibbed pen with brushed steel cap and simple folded clip from 1970-71? There is also a 622 piston filler.

There are complications with identifying some pens because caps can be accidentally switched between different related models of pen. Also, while some models (e.g. 320/320P) has different codes for different filling systems, it seems that others retained the same number (e.g. 32).

Section tip types

When examining these pens you’ll notice a variety of nib/section tips which can help you identify which pen you’ve got. The section tips match corresponding nib+feed units (see below). 

intarsiawing (aka. butterfly)zigzagcurvedconcave
a very narrow v-shaped tipa very deep W-shaped zigzag tipa shallow M-shaped zigzag tipa smoothly convex tipa smoothly concave tip
earlier 32/3412/14, 22/24, later 32/34 and transitional 221121, 220, 221310, 320, Classic, Generation420

Nib & feed types

Knowing the nib+feed unit helps you work out how to dismantle them to clean them. All the nibs featured here are gold (denoted by “585” or “14C” for 14 karat and “750” or “18C” for 18 karat) but this isn’t always visible when inserted into the section. Gold-plated steel nibs are identified by a lack of any 585 or 750 mark and they should also attract a magnet slightly, which the gold ones will not do.

pinched with black housing & rubber o-ring used with wing sections; open ink chamberpinched with clear housing used with wing sections; open ink chamberpinched with clear housing and transitional feedintarsia found on earlier 32/341970s redesign used with zigzag & curved sections; ink chamber on piston pens is hard to accessoval filler found from 1973 onwards*
221 & 320

* between 1970 & 73 a metal tube was used to prevent condensation in the cap, which had been a reported problem on the new pens. This was fixed later using this plastic alternative. Pens with this feed need specialist tools to disassemble.

Nib widths

One of the problems with all Montblanc pens is that there are no markings on the nib to say which width it is. The only indication is the gold sticker on the pen body, which some owners retain but most remove. So, to help a little I’ve put together photos of pens with known nib widths so that it’s possible to distinguish the width of the nib correctly. 

Compiling a comprehensive catlogue will take some time but this is my best effort so far! 

Standard nibs










Speciality nibs


14 (aka.
“ballpoint nib”
copied from here)




A highly modular design

One of the reasons that Montblanc redesigned their product range around these pens back in 1959 was that they needed to be more profitable and they realised that they were making way too many different parts for individual pens. To get around this they created designs that could share basic components with just very small details to distinguish them. This makes them a bit tricky to identify but it also means that parts can be swapped between some models, either by accident or on purpose, which adds to the complexity. I have written a key to the identification of these pens which has separate sections for the caps and the bodies because, while you need both to achieve an accurate identification, we can’t assume that the cap is right for the body. 

These are the standard/common combinations that I have found can be swapped in my collection but there might be some errors and combinations I haven’t tried so do let me know if you see any mistakes. In these tests I’m also only counting when the parts fit together as they should – no forcing!


  • 2-digit pens cannot swap between demi & full size so only these are swappable:
    • 12 x 22 (and metal capped variants) with the window colour being the only difference
    • 14 x 24 (and metal capped variants) with the window colour being the only difference
    • 32 intarsia x 32 wing/butterfly because it’s just a nib variant
  • 3-digit pens:
    • 121 x 221 x 310 x 320 are all interchangable with only the window colour on the 121 being a clue. The 220 is an awkward swap & is the wrong colour anyway. I feel like this is one of the commonest hybrids so watch out for a 121 Cardinal’s hat cap with a body that lacks the blind end gold ring.  
  • Classic is only swappable awkwardly – it has to be forced to fit

Nib units:

  • 12 x 22 x 32 (wing/butterfly) share the same nib+feed and so can be swapped
  • 14 x 24 x 34 (wing/butterfly) share the same nib+feed and so can be swapped
  • 121 x 221 x 220 x 310 x 320 (not the oval type-4 hole) all share the same zizag section/nib unit but of course the nibs themselves can be different metals

Bodies (filler and ink chamber x section) – I suspect all are swappable within their size:

  • 12 x 22 x 32 intarsia x 32 wing/butterfly 
  • 14 x 24 x 34 intarsia x 34 wing/butterfly 
  • 121 x 221 x 220 x 310 x 320 can all swap sections with bodies

Ink windows:

  • 12 x 22, 14 x 24 can be swapped – windows are different between sizes
  • 32/34 have different sized, screw-threaded ink windows so cannot be swapped with anything
  • 121 x 221 x 220 x 310 x 320 are all swappable but the 121 window is amber, not blue/grey

I was surprised to find that the nib+feed units in the 1960s were different between the demi and full size pens. I would have expected that they would standardise them but they chose not to. This means they made very slightly different gold nibs between the sizes too, which must have been costly. Even the ink windows were different enough to mean that they were made specific to the size. You can see why they finally dropped the demi-size pens, to make room in the range for later models like the Carrera & 622 etc. 

The 32 S “Silvré” is also an odd one that I haven’t had a chance to check but it is such a hybrid that it is likely to share parts with several models. This is because they really wanted to make a steel-capped 32 intarsia but they didn’t want the complexity of making a screw thread inside the cap so they went with push fit and took the ink window from the slightly up-market 22. But I’m not sure what this did to the section & body dimensions.

The “Classic” also looks like a slightly modified 221P/320P but it seems to be different enough that it cannot swap parts. The “Generation” looks even more different so I expect that it shares no parts with previous models except perhaps the nib units? 

How to buy

You can buy these pens second hand on most auction sites but I’ve found the best bargains on Yahoo Auctions Japan, bought via an agent like ZenMarket. It’s very easy but there are always a few things to watch out for to make sure you don’t make a mistake:

  • Check that both Montblanc stars are present – one on the cap and one at the blind end. If the advert doesn’t show you the blind end then you’re taking a risk. Spare stars are pretty much impossible to find for sale and usually come from other canibalised pens. Pens with metal caps often lose the cap star too. 
  • Look very hard at the section/grip and avoid anything with hairline cracks or any asymmetry. The section is very fragile and often cracks and, while you might be able to bond a small hairline crack, you might find that the crack has spread and the section falls apart when you dismantle it. 
  • Obviously, a damaged nib is a bad sign as this will ruin a lovely writing experience. It is possible for an expert nib meister to fix a nib but these pens are very common so just pass and get one that has a perfect nib. 
  • Avoid any broken pistons but expect that you’ll come across pens that look fine but will have a broken piston anyway – it’s part of the game. The pens themselves are cheap but you always find duds that you have to strip for spare parts. 
  • Look for cracks in the cap – especially at the base of the clip. These can be bonded with the right glue but they are fiddly to fix and never really look invisible. 
  • Don’t pay too much for them unless they are in excellent (as new) condition and in a box, or with gold/silver cap and barrel. My average price (in 2023/24) for a normal black 1*, 2* or 3* series with some scratches and not boxes was £30-£40, shipped to the UK, including taxes & duty.

Restoration – personal experiences

I usually buy cheap second-hand pens that have probably been stored unused in drawers for years and then I clean them up to get them back to working condition. I don’t tend to do full restoration though, like fixing broken pistons, because that’s beyond my skills at the moment. 

You can see some lovely photos of dismantled pens on the jhsd1124013561 article

As a general point, when you soak these pen parts I usually use warm/tepid water because vintage pens can be damaged by higher temperatures but I’ve carried out some tests (on the cap of a 320) and can confirm that it was completely unaffected when submerged in boiling water but a clear section of plastic was made cloudy, so use with caution! I would still just use warm water as you don’t want to shatter plastic parts with metal pieces inside them – differential expansion with such extreme heat might be risky. 

  • Cleaning the nib and feed:
    • Nib types 1-3:
      • Unscrew the section in front of the ink window – it should be finger-tight but it sometimes needs a bit of a soak in warm water first to loosen any ink and if your grip isn’t strong then try using some rubber inner-tube or rubber carper-grip materials.
        • Later pens (Classic/Generation) were glued with some rubbery Montblanc sealant which can make the job harder but warm water should help a lot. “Generation” pens have a metal threaded connector which makes the job fairly easy and you can use section pliers/grips here but I would never use them on any fragile plastic parts. I have frequently given up with some “Classic” pens and just flushed them through with warm water, using a bulb syringe. They are fairly new pens so the ink tends to flush out easily.
      • At this point check the tip of the section for any hairline cracks in the plastic. This is very common and should influence how you proceed. If you see any cracks then avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner and just soak the assembly in warm water. If not then the ultrasonic can be used to jiggle the ink out and free-up the different pieces so that they can be seperated. You’ll eventually need to stabilise any cracks – see ‘broken sections’ below.
      • On all nib types 1-3 you’ll just be able to push the whole unit back into the section but if it doesn’t move then don’t force it – just soak some more in warm/hot water.
      • Inside you’ll see any of the nib types I’ve shown above
        • Types 1a, 1b & 2 can be dismantled a bit more by using the stem of a cut cotton bud to push the feed forwards and out of the plastic holder. This will release the gold nib at the same time.
        • Type 1c has a very narrow projection on the back of the feed which makes me nervous so I haven’t tried to push these out. If you feel brave then I would try to push either side of the projection but you usually need to use quite a lot of force so I wouldn’t risk it.
        • Type 3 can just be left assembled and they usually clean up perfectly well without more disassembly. 
    • Nib type 4 (with the oval hole):
      • I haven’t found a way to remove them and have been advised by Stefan Wallrafen that it needs specialist tools, which is a great pity because it makes it the only pen in the series that can’t be dismantled to clean the feed and there are no commercially available tools. All you can do is to clean externally or push water through from the back, using a bulb-syringe, to flush the feed. 
  • Broken sections:
    • These are incredibly difficult to fix because whatever you do needs to be 100% ink-tight and must not leak in any way. The tips of the sections are most prone to cracking and they often break into tiny pieces so the best way to approach them is to try to stabilise them early on. 
    • To fix cracks this fine you need to use a specialist penetrative crack glue – something like Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure. You might also be able to use a very thin plastic glue like Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, but I haven’t used it yet. 
    • Whichever cement you choose you need to remove the nib and feed first if you can, because penetrative cements will get into every crack – and nibs & feeds have a lot of important cracks in them!
  • Cleaning & lubricating the ink chamber on piston fillers: 
    • You should always soak the ink chamber before trying to move the pistons – ink gathers around the piston and putting undue force into the piston can break the worm screw or strip its threads. I’m pretty sure that this is the root cause of all the broken pistons out there.  
    • I often fill the chamber with warm water using a syringe and then put it into an ultrasonic cleaner to loosen any dry ink. Time invested in soaking will prevent problems later. 
    • 1960s pens with wide feeds: 
      • You can easily flush these out with a syringe and then go in with cotton buds to remove any dried-on ink.
      • I sometimes use a little Simachrome polish on the end of a cotton bud to polish the inside of the ink chamber and this works really well to remove dried on ink. 
      • You can lubricate these easily with some silicone grease on the end of a cotton bud
    • 1970s pens with narrow feeds: 
      • You’ll have to use a syringe with a blunted needle to inject water and then expel the water using the syringe or the piston. 
      • You have to find a very thin tool, like a blunted syringe, to introduce the silicone grease a tiny bit at a time. This isn’t easy but it’s all we can do if you don’t want to remove the whole piston unit – and you really don’t want to remove the whole piston unit unless you absolutely have to. 
  • Weaknesses in the cap:
    • A stiff cap can often be due to nothing more than a build-up of ink & dirt. I start by soaking & washing out the cap carefully and drying it, then doign the same to the section. Then, if it is still a bit stiff, use some Simachrome polish to make it very smooth. It’s very important for the capping action to keep the contact surfaces very smooth and clean. 
    • You’ll sometimes see cracking in the caps at the base of the clip. This is a known weakness and is very hard to fix completely. I tend to put a drop of very liquid superglue (cyanoacrylate) on the crack and then let that soak in and harden before using a sandbaper stripe to polish away any excess. A specific glue for acetates might be better but I haven’t found one yet that is liquid enough to penetrate the tiny cracks. 
    • Rarely you’ll see vertical stress cracks on the cap itself and those I treat the same at the clip cracks, with superglue. You do have to make sure that the cap and the pen are clean though otherwise recapping the pen will just open the cracks up again. On some pens I’ve found that the cracks are so subtle that they hardly need any work. 
  • Problems with the ink window: 
    • The ink window on 1* and 2* pens is made from a detachable plastic ring which can sometimes break. This isn’t a problem with 1* pens but can be pretty fatal with 2* models. On the 2* pens this ring is very thin and there is a wavy wire spring that sits just inside a small lip and creates a little clip that the cap clicks into. This constant tension provided by the spring means that you need to have a very strong bond on any break. I’m currently looking into acetate cements but haven’t tried them yet. 
  • Broken pistons: 
    • While the clear connector sections are screw fit into the body, the piston mechanism is a push/friction fit so it should just need soaking, some gentle heat and then pulling out. I’ve also heard that you can wind the piston right the way up and then push it out from inside but I’ve tried a few though and have never managed to budge them even 1mm. 
    • Broken worm-screws are usually fatal as it’s impossible to glue the parts together and achieve a bond that’s strong enough to withstand the forces of moving the piston. Kevin Prime though has told me that the 2* series use the standard MontBlanc worm screws which are available from the States. I’ll update if I can confirm that. 
    • One of the best ways to prevent a broken piston is to keep it well lubricated with silicone grease (see above). 
  • Missing blind-end star: 
    • This is an extremely common and annoying problem because there isn’t an easy source for the missing stars and they seemed to work themselves lose over time. I expect they were a fairly loose push-fit and I suspect that it might be possible to 3D-print new ones but I haven’t found anyone with suitable equipment. In reality the best fix is to replace the barrel from a donor pen.

My top tip is to always save broken pens and if you can pick up cheap pens for parts then do so. A high proportion of problems are not fixable (shattered sections, snapped worm screws, cracked ink windows etc) so it’s important to save any broken pens and break them down into parts that you can canibalise for other pens. I would recommend always keeping the parts in distinct well-labelled packets and not jumbled up, because although the parts look similar they are often not interchangable between models. 

How much did they sell for? 

Vintage pens with their seemingly cheap list prices are quite misleading because if we allow for inflation the true value emerges. Far from being cheap pens we often find that they were actually selling for similar prices to modern day high-quality pens. The following chart was taken from a 1969 North American Montblanc catalogue:

model list price 1969 USD in 2024 UKP in 2024
12 $23.50 $197.49 £156.73
14 $27.50 $231.10 £183.40
22 $16.50 $138.66 £110.04
24 $19.00 $159.67 £126.71
32 $11.00 $92.44 £73.37
34 $13.50 $113.45 £90.03
94 $178.00 $1,495.86 £1,186.96
149 $33.00 $275.82 £218.61

So we can see that the cheapest of the economy pens (#32) in 1969 sold for £90, which was half a week’s salary for the average US worker then and equivalent to a very good entry level pen now. The top Meisterstück product (#14) cost double that and would have been similar to a modern Lamy 2000. The most expensive slimline pen in the range in 1969 (#94) with 18k gold cap, barrel & nib was equivalent to over 8 weeks salary for an average household and equivalent now to a higher-end modern Montblanc or Pelikan pen. 

An interesting example though is the 149 “Diplomat”, which is a model that has transcended the ages and has been in production since 1952. In 1969 it was the equivalent of £219 but the cheapest model now, at the time of writing, on the CultPens website is £855!! So we can’t just rely on inflation calculators because companies make choices to pitch the price of their products regardless of their base value.

You can buy second hand pens from between £120 and £180 for anything in the basic ranges on a site like eBay but in Japan they sell regularly for about £20-£60 depending on the model and condition. My average price has been about £30-£35, shipped and tax paid for pens with a few scratches and not boxed.


Just judging from second hand sales the most popular products in both the 2-digit and 3-digit ranges were the cheapest – the 32 intarsia and 320P in black. Next came the 22 & 221 with 12 and 121 being fairly rare in circulation. Black was the most popular colour by far but the next most popular colour was burgundy, then green with grey being the least popular.

The Classic & Generation models seem not to have been very popular – probably seen as too basic/cheap to be worth the brand premium. Customers by then were maybe buying Montblanc for their higher end products.

Unanswered questions

  1. Did some 221 have wing sections?  Seems very unlikely as it would mix 2-digit and 3-sigit parts.
  2. There seem to be 2 types of 310 – the first one that looks like a 320P but with a gold-plated steel nib; and the second (featured in Collectible Stars) which seems later and has a flat chrome clip. I have seen stickered examples of the first variant so they have been confirmed. 
  3. Did the Classic always have a blind end with a gold ring and flat star or can it have a body like the 320P with a recessed star? 
  4. When did the “Classic” model appear? 
  5. When did the “Generation” appear and when did it get phased out?
  6. Were product lines changed at different times in different regions? 
  7. Were the cartridge versions much cheaper than the equivalent piston filling versions?

My collection

Model number & colourEFFMBOB(special)
12 Black1+x
121 Black11?
121P Black1
14 Black1?
22 Black2?1
210P Black1
220 Matt Grey1?1
220SP Matt Grey1
221 Black1
221 Bordeaux Red1?
221 wing nib? Bordeaux Red1?
221P Black2
221P Bordeaux1?
227 Black w gold cap 1?
24 Black1?
24 Anthracite Grey1
31 intarsia Black 1
32 wing Black21
32 intarsia Black1+1?
32 intarsia Bordeaux Red11/B?
32 intarsia Anthracite Grey1
34 intarsia Black1
34 intarsia Bordeaux Red11
310P Black2
320 Black11
320 Bordeaux Red1?
320P Black1
622 Junior2
Classic Black1+1?1+1?
Classic Bordeaux Red?
Generation BlueFM
Generation GreenF
Generation RedF
* Montblanc only used the “P” designator for cartridge/converter filling variants where that model also had a piston filling variant but here I have used it on all cartridge/converter models for clarity. [“x” denotes a broken pen]

Catalogue data

The following descriptions have been taken from Montblanc catalogues from the 1960s to 2000s so they provide some nice confirmation of when certain models were being sold and what their quoted specification was. One thing to remember though is that they often just feature either new products or specific items from the range, not the entire product range. This makes them interesting for research but not comprehensive so I expect there were many variants that didn’t get illustrated:

  • 1969 Koh-I-Noor, US & Canadian catalogue: [at this time the only cigar-shaped pen was the 149 “Diplomat”]
    • “No. 24 fountain pen, no. 22 (demi-size) fountain pen … reliable and technically perfect with 14 karat gold point and 1/20 14 karat gold filled trim.” (25 year guarantee)
    • “No. 34 fountain pen, no. 32 (demi-size) fountain pen … beautifully designed with 14 karat gold point and 1/30 14 karat rolled gold plate” (10 year guarantee)
    • “Montblanc fountain pens … are also available in the colors bordeaux-red, jade-green, anthracite-grey.
    • Point selection chart:
      • 32: flexible (EF, F, M, B); rigid (Accounts, Shorthand)
      • 34: flexible (EF, F, M, B)
      • 22: flexible (EF, F, M, B, BB), rigid (EF)
      • 24: flexible (EF, F, M, B, BB), rigid (EF, F, M, B, BB); oblique rigid (OF, OM, OB, OBB) special order only
      • 12: flexible (EF, F, M, B, BB), rigid (EF, F, M)
      • 14: flexible (EF, F, M, B, BB), rigid (EF, F, M, B, BB); oblique rigid (OF, OM, OB, OBB, O3B) special order only
      • 7*, 8* & 9* have the same points as 12/14
  • 1975 Koh-I-Noor, US & Canadian catalogue:
    • 121: “Fountain pen with 18 kt. gold nib, 18 kt. twice heavy gold electro-plated fittings (double processed)” (lifetime guarantee)
    • 1246: “Fountain pen with 18 kt. gold nib, 18 kt. twice heavy gold electro-plated cap & barrel (double processed).” (lifetime guarantee)
    • 1266 “Fountain pen with 18 kt. gold nib rhodium plated , sterling silver cap & barrel rhodium plated.” (lifetime guarantee)
    • 220: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold nib, 18 kt. twice heavy electro-plated fittings (double processed).” (lifetime guarantee)
    • 221: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold point and 1/20 14 kt. rolled-gold plate trim” (25 year guarantee)
    • 225: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold nib, silver & rhodium plated cap.”
    • 227 : “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold nib, 18 kt. twice heavy gold electro-plated cap (double processed).”
    • 320: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold point & 1/20 14 kt. rolled gold plate trim” (10 year guarantee)
  • 1978 German catalogue (courtesy of Stefan Wallrafen):
    • In the page for the “Classic” line there is a photo of what looks like a black 221 but might be the first example of the pens marked as “Classic” with the double cap band. Selling price was DM 52.
  • 1979 Koh-I-Noor, US & Canadian catalogue: [strangely, the 146 & 149 are listed under the Noblesse series, which must be a mistake]
    • 221P: “Montblanc cartridge fountain pen, high-gloss finish, 1/20 14kt. rolled gold plate trim. 14 kt. gold nib.” (Masterpiece Series)
    • 320P: “Montblanc cartridge fountain pen, high-gloss finish, 1/20 14kt. rolled gold plate trim. 14 kt. gold nib.” (Masterpiece Series)
    • 310S: Montblanc cartridge fountain pen, high-gloss finish. Refined steel nib.” (Economy Series) [this seems to have the “S” designation because it features silver-coloured (steel) fittings]
  • 1982 Koh-I-Noor, US & Canadian catalogue: [the “Masterpiece Series” designation is now restricted to 144, 146 & 149 “Diplomat”; all of our models appear under the “Classic Series” category] 
    • 221P: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold nib. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system.”
    • 310: “Fountain pen with gold-plated refined steel nib. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system.”
    • 320P: “Fountain pen with 14 kt. gold nib. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system.” [confusingly there is no picture in the catalogue for this product and the description matches the 221P so I expect that the 221P had a higher specification of gold trim.] 
    • 2229: “Fountain pen with triple-process chasing. Refined-steel nib and gold-plated clip. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system.”
    • 222: “Fountain pen with chased metal cap. Refined-steel nib and gold-plated clip. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system.”
  • 1982 German dealer catalogue: [again, the “Masterpiece Series” designation is now restricted to 144, 146 & 149 “Diplomat”; all of our models appear under the “Classic” category]
    • 221: “Fountain pen. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system. Nib 14 kt gold. Nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB, OBB”
    • 310: “Fountain pen. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system. Nib gold-plated. Nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB”
    • 2229: “Fountain pen. Triple-process chasing. Refined-steel nib and gold-plated clip. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system. Nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB, OBB”
    • 222: “Fountain pen. Chased metal cap. Refined-steel nib and gold-plated clip. Cartridge or piston-converter filling system. Nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB, OBB”
    • 422: “Fountain pen. Matt chrome cap, stainless steel nib, Nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB” [this seems to just be an updated copy of the 420]
  • 1987/88 German dealer catalogue: 
    • 221: “Fountain pen with piston-converter or cartridge filling system, hand-finished 14 kt gold wing nib, nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB, OBB”
    • 310: “Fountain pen with piston-converter or cartridge filling system, gold-plated stainless steel wing nib, nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB”
  • 1993 UK price list: [this just lists a page for “Classic” pens]
    • 131: “14ct gold nib. Detachable piston-converter or cartridge filling system. Available in the following nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OM, OB and OBB. £85 RRP”  [could this be the pens that are embossed with “Classic”?]
  • 1997 Montblanc Generation & Noblesse Oblige German advertising materials (courtesy of Stefan Wallrafen):
    • Shows a red Generation fountain pen with 2 Generation ballpoints. “The fountain pen with 14k gold nib, available in 6 nib sizes – here in Bordeaux”. No price list or product code included.
  • 1997 German pricelist:
    • 13102: “215 DM”
  • 1998/99 German pricelist:
    • 13102: “225 DM”
  • 2000 German pricelist:
    • Generation (13102): “234,70 DM / 120 Euros”
  • 2001 German dealer’s catalogue: [in the “Generation de Montblanc” section]
    • M131* fountain pen: “Body: Noble Resin with white star inlay. Fittings: gold-plated rings with embossed lettering, gold-plated clip. Piston-converter filling system (ink cartridges can be used optionally), hand-finished 14 kt gold nib, nib widths: EF, F, M, B, OB, BB” [colours are listed as: *01 Blue, *02 Red, *03 Green, *05 Yellow, *06 Orange, *07 Purple, *08 Turquoise]
  • 2007/8 dealer catalogue: [in the “Generation de Montblanc – Corporate Gifts Business only” section] there is a picture of a black Generation pen but I can’t see if they were also listed earlier in the book for retail sales. I have only seen a photo in an eBay auction.  


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