Montblanc’s two new limited-edition writing instrument collections – High Artistry A Journey On The Orient Express and Meisterstück Around the World in 80 Days – in their own way, explore the thrill and excitement of travel.
Montblanc High Artistry – A Journey On The Orient Express
Montblanc’s High Artistry series push the limits of technical expertise and creativity of its artisans to transform what is nominally a functional object into an exceptional work of art. The Journey On The Orient Express collection, as the name suggests, captures the glamour and sumptuous living on the opulent train, which has been enchanting travellers since 1883. The collection presents seven limited-edition designs, including two one-of-a-kind pieces.
The first of the bespoke pens is the Limited Edition 1 Papillon. This pen’s oval-shaped silhouette emulates the oval form of the Orient Express cars. Its centrepiece is an intricate butterfly made of plique-à-jour enamel. It is a tribute to the spy Robert Baden-Powell, who posed as a naturalist and encoded secret information into butterfly drawings. Resting behind a windowed door, the butterfly unfolds its full wingspan when the door is opened.
The entire solid gold fountain pen is covered with diamonds and individual-cut rubies. This includes the gold clip, which features a special snap mechanism that opens the cap. The train’s route is traced in diamonds, rubies and blue sapphires, with the steam engine engraving set with a ruby.
The cap’s Gare de Lyon roof grid is made of solid gold, decorated with diamonds and crowned with a ruby. The entire cap top functions as a hinged door. Inside is a miniature mechanical watch with a fluorescent butterfly motif on the dial. Turning a small wheel by hand activates and deactivates the filling mechanism in the solid gold cone, which is decorated with engravings, diamonds and rubies, as well as white chalcedony.
The second one-off piece is the Limited Edition 1 with Case. Made from solid gold, it brings to life the interior marquetry decorations of the train with pavé diamonds set in floral, Art Deco-inspired patterns on the cap and barrel. As with the earlier example, the train’s route is traced in diamonds, rubies and blue sapphires on the hand-engraved solid gold forepart.
The diamond-studded grid decorating the cap top evokes the ironwork of the roof of the Gare de Lyon station in Paris. A blue sapphire crowns the elegant cap top design, while the handcrafted gold nib bears an engraving of a steam engine set with a brilliant-cut diamond. The pen’s wooden traveller case is inlaid with handcrafted ornamental wood marquetry in the style found on the original Orient Express. Beside an inkwell, it features a functioning mechanical watch, equipped with the Minerva 62.00 movement.
The Limited Edition 5 expresses the elegant style of the early 20th century with an abstract pattern made of solid gold and hand-carved red chalcedony stone. This design pays tribute to Mata Hari, one of Orient Express’ frequent travellers, through a window in the barrel which opens to reveal a delicate miniature painting of this famous dancer.
The cap is composed of gold, diamonds and red chalcedony. The cap top opens to reveal a miniature mechanical watch with a beautifully designed enamel dial. The rounded shape of the cap top, made of white chalcedony stone is crowned with a Montblanc diamond. The gold nib features an engraving of a magnifying glass and fingerprint. The train’s route, engraved on the gold cone, is surrounded with diamonds and crowned by white chalcedony.
The Limited Edition 10 is a tribute to Agatha Christie and her 1934 crime novel Murder on the Orient Express. The cap and barrel are crafted from stained sycamore wood, and decorated with gold-leaf and crystal flower inlays. The cap top, in white chalcedony, is inlaid with the Montblanc emblem in solid gold, and outlined with brilliant cut diamonds. The cap top opens to reveal a “broken” miniature clock with a white enamel dial. The time is frozen at “01:15,” the time of the murder.
The cap top ring is set with 12 stones, for the number of stabbings, while the bi-colour gold nib is embossed with a dagger. The forepart is engraved with the floorplan of the crime scene cabin, while the cabin’s number “2” appears on the gold cone, which is decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds and inlays made from white chalcedony. The gold “hidden” clip, recessed into the cap, features a hand-engraved serpent body set with brilliant cut diamonds. Its head has two rubies as eyes.
The other three designs pay tribute to the aesthetics and mechanics of the train itself. The Limited Edition 83 pays homage to the original smoke-engulfed locomotive of the Orient Express. Made from structured black lacquer, the design of the cap and barrel is based on the iron machinery of a steam engine.
The Limited Edition 333 and Limited Edition 1883 recall the aesthetics of the train’s luxurious cars. The Limited Edition 333 replicates the midnight blue, ivory and gold livery of the cars’ exterior with translucent blue lacquer and gold. Meanwhile, the cap and barrel of the Limited Edition 1883 – the year in which the train undertook its first voyage – are made of midnight blue precious resin, along with ivory and gold highlights.
Montblanc Meisterstück – Around the World in 80 Days
Montblanc’s latest Meisterstück Around The World in 80 Days collection is the second edition in the series and starts where the last edition ended, in Bombay. It recalls Phileas Fogg and Passepartout’s extraordinary passage through India, China and their arrival in Yokohama, Japan.
The writing instruments, therefore, feature designs reminiscent of these cultures, such as the Indian paisley pattern, the Chinese Qing Emperor’s five coins, and a Japanese traditional wave pattern. The cartouche that adorns the cap depicts Kiouni, the elephant that carries the adventurers through the jungle.
Other details include the number ’80’ on the cap top, which marks the journey from start to finish, while the number ’25’ on the back of the cap marks the days it took to travel from Bombay to Yokohama. A reference to the card game that set the adventure in motion, the clip is embellished with a red lacquered diamond card suit. The cone features a pattern inspired by Princess Aouda’s jewellery.
The burnt wood effect on the Solitaire Edition and Limited Edition represents the princess being saved from a fire ritual by Mr Fogg. The hot air balloon engraving on the nib is a homage to the author Jules Verne and his first-ever adventure novel Five Weeks in a Balloon. Engravings of ’20/10′ and ’14/11′ alongside it mark Fogg’s departure from Bombay on the 20th of October, and from Yokohama on the 14th of November.
This collection includes four designs. The Resin LeGrand & Classique design features a cap and barrel made of anthracite-coloured precious resin, and enhanced with gold-coated fittings. The Doué Classique design has a metal barrel covered in a degraded anthracite lacquer, and a gold-coated cap. The Solitaire LeGrand design’s cap and barrel are made of wood with a burnt colour effect. The cap of all three designs features engraved Indian, Chinese and Japanese good luck patterns. They also feature an engraved elephant cartouche.
The Limited Edition 811, the cream of the collection, has a cap made of sterling silver with a vintage finish, and the Asian good luck patterns. It features a solid gold-casted elephant in the jungle cartouche. Made of ebony wood with an engraved pattern, the barrel is decorated with a solid gold inlay inspired by the five coins of the Qing Dynasty.
Its Sterling silver clip is set with a red lacquered diamond card suit, while the solid gold nib, engraved with a Princess Aouda-inspired jewellery design, is set with a 1.5mm ruby. A mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem crowns the writing instrument.