Meet Montblanc Meisterstuck 149, their flagship fountain pen launched in 1952 and remains largely unchanged. Ah this brand is the most polarizing of all of the best fountain pen brands. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay.
My Short Fountain Pen Video
The Meisterstuck line includes several models: the Platinum, Solitare, Legrand, Classique and Homage to Mozart.
Montblanc started adding the white star to all Meisterstucks in 1929 and once this pen was introduced almost thirty years later it became their iconic pen, the one the company itself heralds as representing their brand the best.
The cigar-shaped 149 has a long history. It’s housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and one was even owned by JFK and loaned to German Chancellor Adenauer for a signature per their website.
Is it worth the $900US list price? Let’s find out…
Montblanc 149 Meisterstuck Fountain Pen Design
What do the Meisterstuck model numbers mean?
After reading as much as I could get my hands on, Montblanc used to number their models:
- 1 was for the tier of pen, meaning 1 was the best, 2 was second tier and 3 was third tier. They eventually eliminated production of all third tier pens and renamed other models.
- 4 is for piston-fill
- 9 is for nib size, 9 being the largest.
The Montblanc 149 Meisterstuck fountain pen is oversized. When I say oversized, I mean BIG. It is 144mm capped and 15mm wide at its widest point on the cap band.
The cigar-shaped black resin fountain pen has their iconic white star on the rounded cap end, followed by a gold-plated clip ring which holds the pen clip in place. The clip ring is engraved with the serial number for the 149 the company uses to authenticate pens.
The clip is uniformly sized from top to end, with a raised, rounded rectangle at the top which travels about a third of the way down the clip. The underside of the clip on new 149s is stamped with Pix and a registered trademark on the underside.
The threads on the body and inside the cap are all made of resin and take three full turns to uncap and recap it.
The clip band has three rings. One raised ring in the center which is the widest and reads: Montblanc Meisterstuck No. 149 Pix. in all caps.
It’s a piston-fill fountain pen and the knob on the back is separated from the body by a gold-plated ring.
Uncapping it, you can see the slotted ink window near the section. Because I’m using Montblanc midnight blue bottled ink in this review, it’s hard to see as the dark ink coats the window, but if you hold it up to the light you can see when you’re about to run out. A photo of the ink window is in the last section of this review below. (A much more scientific way to figure out when you’re out of ink is when the pen stops writing. That’s how I do it with all of my fountain pens.)
The nib is 18K gold with platinum inlay. It’s a size 9, which is the largest nib Montblanc makes. Because it’s so large, it’s easy to see the detailing and beauty of this nib. Some call it tri-color, because the platinum is surrounded by gold on both sides, you can see an oversized photo of it below.
Montblanc 149 Meisterstuck 149 Dimensions:
- 144mm Length Capped
- 130mm Length Capless
- 161mm Length Posted
- 11mm wide nib
- 28mm long nib
Nib Sizes Available:
- EF, F, M, OM,
- OBB, OB, B, BB
How does this flagship, iconic fountain pen write?
Well. After a refill.
I cleaned out the pen before I inked it the first time. Then left the nib tip touching a towel to pull out any remaining water from the feed for an hour before inking it. I was frustrated at first because this expensive fountain pen skipped every once in a while for the first pages of notes. I decided to flush it again and clean it out a second time before re-inking.
That did the trick. After the second refill, no skipping or hard starting, it wrote like a champ. There wasn’t a narrow sweet-spot in the nib like there was in the Starwalker, it writes in almost any position. It just skipped until the second filling of ink then smooth as ice.
I have no complaints on the Montblanc 149 Meisterstuck fountain pen’s performance. Once you get used to this massive beast in your hand, it takes off and the extremely generous ink capacity means you don’t run out of ink often. The grip section is 11mm wide, so it’s wider than most.
Ink capacity alone would make this a daily carry for most fountain pen enthusiasts.
The feed on the medium nib I tested kept up with even the fastest chicken scratches I made and writes smoothly. On anything. If you use a lot of pressure when you write, you will see slight line variation, with the down-strokes coming out slightly wider than the horizontal and upstrokes. It’s definitely not a flex nib by any means, but there’s a certain softness you start to feel in gold nibs after using a lot of them, the 149 has some softness and give.
I use fountain pens to break myself from the death grip I have on rollerballs, so I don’t use enough pressure when I write to get that line variation unless I concentrate and try, but many people do.
One of the surprises with the Montblanc 149 was the pacing of ink delivery. It didn’t flood despite being such a huge fountain pen with tremendous ink capacity and didn’t dry out either. It delivers a perfect medium line from the medium nib and showed almost non-existent bleed-through on even regular notebook paper.
Because the 149 meters out ink so well (at least the medium nib,) that enormous ink capacity will last you a LONG time. I refilled this piston-fill twice and ran through all of that ink, but it lasted much longer than any other fountain pen I’ve tested so far.
The Montblanc Midnight Blue bottled ink feathers very slightly on thinner notebook paper, but not in my journal.
To Post or Not To Post. That Is The Question:
The Montblanc 149 is NOT for posting. The cap doesn’t seat well on the body, it wriggled off and chattered while I wrote. Also, the cap is heavy and makes the pen unbalanced because most of the weight is carried in the top third of the cap, encouraging it to pull down and away from the center of the pen.
Montblanc 149 versus Sailor 1911L – Overall Value
I know, I know, that’s a safe answer. Let me explain.Ah, the eternal question I said I’d answer in the opening paragraph of this review… Is it worth the $900 US list price Montblanc recommends? Well, it depends on who you are and what you’re looking for.
The 149 design is a tad boring to me. It’s your grandpa’s fountain pen. It’s supposed to be as it’s their flagship pen, they haven’t updated the design much since its introduction in 1952 and it’s a bit dated.
If you’re looking to round out your collection of flagship pens, you need a 149. It writes well so you won’t be disappointed. If you can find one used, at a good price, you’ll be thrilled.
Also if you like big, I mean MASSIVE pens, the 149 is your best bet.
If you’re collecting the best writers on the planet regardless of brand and you like the style of the 149, I’d go with a Sailor 1911L, I think Sailor all but stole the design of the 1911L from the 149.
They’d probably say inspired, but check them out side-by-side to the right, it’s a better overall value and slightly better writer (by a hair) at almost one quarter of the price.
I would feel better about recommending the 1911L if it wasn’t so overtly “inspired” by the 149, but damn, after using both, I’d still go 1911L.
It writes beautifully, don’t get me wrong, but value for the price? 1911L.
Check the price of the Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 on Amazon.