Monte Rosa 042g – a collectable like no other.
The Montblanc, particularly the ones with their black resin bodies, gold nibs and trademark white crest resembling the snow-capped peak of the mountain it represents on the finial is much more than a mere fountain pen – it is a status symbol, a silent scream that announces arrivals, a key that opens doors. But for serious collectors, the Montblanc means a lot more – a lot more than the sheer pleasure of writing with one; a lot more than the divine feeling of owning one; a lot more than knowing that each piece is a symbol of man’s eternal quest for perfection, a piece that is resplendent with the finer nuances of the times they represent.
Before 1977 when the company changed hands and its production and business orientation were realigned, the Montblanc used to make pens for a wide variety of segments, as opposed to being one that caters only to the high end. However, despite their widely dissipated target audiences, the common thread that ran through all of them was the Montblanc stamp and it goes without saying that even at “reasonable” price points, the pens that were on offer were of extremely good quality.
Take the Monte Rosa 042 for example. It was an overwhelmingly black resin (though there were other colours that were offered as well); a piston filler that was small in overall size (well, definitely by Montblanc standards) and was primarily meant for students. It came fitted with a steel or a gold nib (the 042g). The Monte Rosa line was in production between the second half 1950’s up till 1959 when it was discontinued and was, admittedly, one of Montblanc’s lower end offerings. I cannot resist the temptation of slipping in the quip, that despite being originally offered for the hoi polloi, it is clearly true to its regal lineage and in terms of quality, the Monte Rosa 042 is way better than many of the top end pens by modern manufacturers. Naturally, they are highly sought after as collectables.
As for the pen itself, it is a standard cigar shaped offering with a fairly narrow girth. The finial is rounded and holds a gold-plated clip that is decently resilient. The bottom of the cap has a wavy cap-band of the same material, which is unusual by Montblanc standards. The words Montblanc and Monte Rosa are etched on the cap.
Just under the cap is a translucent ink window, which apart from the obvious functionality also adds a nice visual touch to the pen. It is also a testament that corners were not cut to match the price points at which the Monte Rosa was originally offered.
The barrel ends in a piston knob, which despite the years is surprisingly smooth. I have been told that the Monte Rosa incorporates a solid brass piston system with a double seal silicon cork, making it virtually fail-proof. Apparently, this is where the industry standard silicon corks originated. As the pen was originally meant for students, it is also capable of carrying an enormous amount of ink. The filler knob in Monte Rosa also has two markings 042g for the gold nib and EF indicating the thickness of the lines. (Some Monte Rosa pens also had the KF – Kugel Fine nibs which were one of a kind steel nibs and are stuff nibmeister’s fantasies are made of). And least I forget, mine comes with a “sweet spot” that I have attained. “Attained” because, reaching it is nothing less than the attainment of Nirvana for a lover of fountain pens!
The threads are distinct, though not so pronounced as to give sore fingers, especially in view of the fact that the grip section is a tad bit small for the big German fingers they were originally designed for. As for me, they are as near perfect as they can be and the act of writing with the Monte Rosa 042g reminds one of a mountain spring- perennial in its pure, unadulterated flow of pleasure.
The balance, the flow, the weight (both capped and otherwise), the carrying capacity, the filling system, the nib – everything is perfect, like they say “Deutsche Fertigung vom Feinsten”!