Buying the Lamy 27 – which happened to have a medium oblique nib – made me fall in love with this kind of streamlined design from the sixties and the oblique that it was equipped with. An stubbish/italic kind of oblique that at the time was a part the regular range of most (German, at least) pen manufacturers with pride and self respect.
This buy made me crave for more and this search opened my eyes for the Montblanc 22 – a lot because of its original and beautiful semi-hooded nib. As bleubug kindly pointed out in a reply to the first post about these pens, the 22 was designed by Albrecht von Goertz – a man who also designed the BMW 507 – a beautiful sportscar and a special grand piano to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of the iconic piano maker Steinway & Son’s factory in Hamburg. A man with many talents who – in the MB 22 managed to unite the classic features of Montblanc with a modern shape. Even if the Lamy 27 – which is a pen that is also original – and the MB 22 share the basic characteristics they are both two unique pens. The Lamy 27 has its rounded rocket windows and the MB 22 has its special nib design (which it also shares with the more upmarket Meisterstück version n0 12 & 14).
That is that about the design – at least for now. By sheer luck I managed to buy a couple of MB 22 for bargain prices. The nib sizes weren’t listed, but I thought that for such a good price as I got them for I’d be happy if they worked and had an OK nib. Both worked and both sported Oblique/stubby nibs. One of them is definitely a medium or broad oblique and one might be a regular broad that performs like a stub or a very diminutive oblique.
The nibs wrote excellent right out of the box (OK I had to clean them, but no other measures were necessary) which is more than one can say of many new, modern pens. And all three nibs are made of 14 k gold and it is clear that they are made to write with – everyday writing. Since they are rather narrow obliques they suit very well for fast note taking without digging into the paper and they bring character and (I hope) some refinement and control to my scribblings when I take notes. These are pens built to be used, but also with a lot of thought put into the design – of both the pen bodies and the nib. Broad range of nib choices and semi-hooded to make it possible to put the pen aside for a moment without it drying out.
These nibs – the broad range of nibs that were offered when fountain pens were still made to be used as tools also – once again – highlight the question why current manufacturers (some already know what will come now…sorry) do not offer more than F/M/B nibs in most cases – not even on pens in the higher price levels. The British manufacturer Conway Stewart has taken this a bit further with their recent Coronet series, which is their “entrance level”/budget pen with a price around £220/$300 if you buy it from an internet dealer. They only offer this pen with a medium nib without any option to send it in for a change. This for a pen that carries a price tag that, even if CS consider it a budget pen, still makes the pen belong to the expensive/luxury division. Imagine BMW or Audi doing the same with motor alternatives on one of their “cheap” cars. One dealer has been able to cut a deal with CS and offer it with their full range of nibs for a limited time – that is good, but not enough. I like many of CS classic designs, but find it very parsimonious and ungenerous to offer a pen at that price level with only one nib option – especially when it is a company that carry three sizes of italics. Very ungenerous in fact. I can understand why the Pelikano Jrs are made with one kind of nib – they are cheap (well made) pen for children who is learning to write. To apply the same policy on a high end product is…not so clever.
The big hope when it comes to nibs is the Italian pen companies where particularly Stipula and Aurora offers a broad range of nibs for most of their (standard) pens. Of course one can always send the pen to a nibmeister for customization, but when I buy a new pen I don’t want to send it off to get the nib as I want it. I think all the pen manufacturers who consider themselves as manufacturers of writing tools should consider to widen their horizons a little and see the potential in broadening the nib ranges and market fountain pens as the individualistic alternative to plain ballpoints and roller balls. Why buy a fountain pen if it comes with the same narrow options when it comes to the tip/nib width and character as a ballpoint or a roller ball?
‘I’d be very happy (and grateful) if you would like to share your own views on this matter by making a comment. :)