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Why Are Montblanc Pens So Expensive? (10 Reasons)


 

While you can write a memo or letter with any writing instrument, nothing quite compares to a Montblanc pen.

Besides looking elegant and providing a smooth experience when writing, the Montblanc pen is the gold standard when it comes to ballpoint pens.

If you have an interest in buying a Montblanc pen, however, you’ll quickly discover that they are far more expensive than the average pen.

Considering it serves the same function as any other pen, you may wonder what it is about Montblanc pens that make them so expensive.

 

Why Are Montblanc Pens So Expensive? (10 Reasons)

Blue metal pen on textured mini notepad

 

The average price of a Montblanc pen is around $500.

Certain factors like its design, construction materials, and brand name make some Montblanc pens as expensive as over $80,000.

Let’s look at these factors in more detail.

 

1. Status Symbol

bearded businessman holding pen while writing in notebook and sitting in plane

 

When you use a Montblanc pen, you’re basically setting your status as wealthy.

Due to how expensive the pens are, and the fact that they’re pens, this sort of purchase comes from executives and the wealthy.

The majority of people don’t have the funds or budget to buy a $500 pen.

That’s especially true since, like all pens, Montblanc pens will eventually run out of ink.

Since it’s unlikely you can refill the pen, you’re going to have to buy another.

That means you’re going to need to spend another $500+ on a pen.

It isn’t sustainable for most people.

As such, Montblanc pens are reserved for those who have an excess of funds that they can spend on things that aren’t sustainable.

Because it’s mostly the wealthy who can buy one of these pens, it becomes a status symbol.

In the world of the wealthy, flaunting one’s bank account doesn’t do much to spread your status.

It’s uncouth.

To show off the fact that you’re wealthy, you invest in expensive items.

Montblanc is a small item that can make a big impression.

When you take out a Montblanc pen to sign someone’s check or to sign paperwork, you’re basically showing off your wealth.

Since it’s an acceptable way to show off wealth, those with the money buy the pens.

Montblanc pens are expensive because they’re status symbols of wealth.

 

2. Comfortable Grip

Close up of the hands of a businessman in a suit signing or writing a document on a sheet of white paper using a nibbed fountain pen

 

When one of the cheapest pens you can find under the Montblanc pen is around $200, it better be a good pen.

Such is the case with Montblanc pens.

One of the reasons they’re among the best pens in the world is their design.

You may not pay a lot of attention to the design and shape of pens, but some people do.

Concerning the Montblanc line of pens, the brand wanted to introduce a new design.

They wanted a pen that both looked elegant and provided a comfortable grip.

If you spend most of your day writing with a pen, then you know how quickly your hand can cramp after writing with it.

Montblanc fixed that problem by introducing a thicker base to the pen.

It set the standard for what elegant and high-quality pens should look like.

Even cheaper pens often borrow from their design.

They have thicker bottoms.

This thicker base makes the pen more comfortable to grip because you have a greater surface area for your fingers.

When the base is thin, your fingers have to close tighter together.

That means your muscles and tendons are working a bit more.

The result is a fatigued hand.

With a larger base, and thus a larger grip, your fingers can relax a bit more while using the pen.

This extra detail is easy to overlook, but it’s one of the reasons why Montblanc pens are expensive.

They make using pens more comfortable.

They also essentially set the standard for what a modern pen should look like.

Montblanc pens are expensive because they provide added comfort and style.

 

3. Gold

Feather of a Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen

 

Montblanc pens get their luxury status from using precious metals.

One of the precious metals that it uses is gold.

In particular, Montblanc uses 14-karat or 18-karat gold to make the nib of their pens.

The nib is the part of the pen that you use to write on a surface.

It’s the part that actually touches the surface of the paper and distributes the ink onto it.

Because it’s such a crucial part of the pen, a lot of time gets spent on making it.

Montblanc thinks of its nib as the heart of its pen.

It’s one of the most important and intricate parts.

As such, they use some of the best materials to make it.

Gold isn’t cheap.

Montblanc uses real gold, too.

They don’t use a veneer or coating.

As such, they easily spend several hundred if not thousands of dollars on their nibs alone.

Like any other business, Montblanc needs to ensure that it can cover its costs.

If they’re using an expensive material like gold, then they need to make sure that they add the price of gold to the pen’s value.

This ensures that they’re able to make back their investment and earn a profit.

That results in a high price.

Another reason gold makes Montblanc pens expensive is that it adds prestige to them.

Wealthy individuals tend to value gold quite highly.

They like to use items that have gold in them.

Since their pens have gold in them, they’re willing to pay a high price.

It comes back to the idea of showing off their status.

The more gold that the pen has in its construction, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Montblanc pens are expensive because they use gold in the nib and other parts of the pen.

 

4. Platinum

Mont Blanc ballpoint pen suspended on dark gray background

 

Another expensive material that Montblanc uses in the construction of its pens is platinum.

In many cases, platinum tends to be more expensive than gold.

That’s because platinum is denser than gold.

It’s heavier, and since precious metals also get their value based on weight, platinum tends to have a higher value.

Platinum is also expensive because it’s rare.

Like gold and silver, it isn’t found in large quantities.

Its rarity means there is only a finite amount available.

The problem with that is that platinum is in high demand.

A lot of jewelry makers like to use platinum because of its clear, bright appearance.

It’s often better than silver, for example, because it doesn’t tarnish with time.

That means it lasts longer, requires less maintenance, and looks better.

As with gold, the more platinum you use in a product, the more expensive it’s going to be.

The value of that item is going to be higher since it includes the value of the platinum.

Montblanc uses platinum in some of their pen designs.

They coat the platinum on ballpoint nibs or caps.

The more platinum they use, the more expensive the pen is going to be.

That’s why you can sometimes find some platinum Montblanc pens going for more than $1,000.

Platinum is also seen as a status symbol.

Since it tends to be more expensive than gold, a lot of wealthy people will wear platinum jewelry instead of gold jewelry.

Platinum is a status symbol and comes with an appropriate price tag to match it.

 

5. Labor Costs

Montblanc Meisterstück 149 fountain pen on a black, rough Formica surface.

 

Perhaps one of the biggest factors that make Montblanc pens so expensive is the cost of labor.

Montblanc doesn’t hire just anyone to make their pens.

They also don’t rely on an automated process.

While some parts of their pens might go through a factory, most of the work is actually done by hand.

They use expert craftsmen to assemble each piece of the pen.

Each pen takes at least 100 steps to make.

The construction of the nib, alone, takes around 32 steps.

Each step involves steady hands and an eye for detail.

The training to become a craftsman for Montblanc can take a few months, if not a year or two.

Part of the reason the training is so grueling is that they have to learn the proper grinding techniques for the pen’s nib.

If the technique isn’t correct, then the process starts over again.

Montblanc also has experienced craftsmen on hand who have worked with the company for years.

They’re the ones who check the grinding on the nib to ensure they’re correct.

The pens then get assembled by hand.

Since most if not all of the pen’s construction is done by hand, means the process isn’t that fast.

As a result, Montblanc is only able to produce so many pens each year.

That creates a shortage.

Since the pens are in high demand among the wealthy, they end up paying even more for them.

Labor costs, however, are one of the big factors that make the pens expensive.

Since Montblanc wants to ensure it has the best of the best on its manufacturing floor, they pay them well, which is another cost added to the price of each pen.

 

6. Quality Testing

Businessman signing a document in office

 

It isn’t just craftsmen who make Montblanc’s labor costs expensive either.

When each nib passes from the floor, it ends up in a quality testing room.

An expert will then test the nib to ensure it writes well.

Of course, quality testing a Montblanc pen doesn’t mean they just look to see if the pen works.

They’re testing the nib to ensure it provides the Montblanc experience.

That means the nib needs to provide the right sound.

There’s a specific sound that Montblanc nibs create when scratching along a piece of paper.

If the nib doesn’t provide that sound, then they’re not going onto the next stage of production.

Besides sound, the nib has to provide the right feeling.

The writer’s hand has to smoothly glide along the page.

If the nib doesn’t provide the right kind of experience, then it’s tossed back into the workshop.

Clearly, Montblanc spends a lot of time quality-testing its pens.

This makes them expensive because it means they’re putting that much more investment into their pens.

To make back on their investment, they need to sell them at high prices.

 

7. Brand History

Mont Blanc logo

 

There’s no question that the Montblanc name also plays a role in determining the final price of a pen.

Montblanc got its start in 1906.

It became an official company in 1908.

By 1910, the company had named itself after the mountain, Mont Blanc.

They felt it conceptualized the company’s focus on high-quality craftsmanship and European design.

Since then, the company has consistently produced high-quality products.

Whether it was pens, watches, or other accessories, they spared nothing in the pursuit of making luxury products.

That sort of reputation matters.

It also means that they correlated their brand name with luxury.

That meant it was easier for them to sell their products at luxury prices.

Brand name matters when it comes to pricing.

Because the brand put in all the work of marketing themselves, consumers trust their products more than unknown or generic brands.

They’re more willing to spend more money on a brand that they know than spend less money on a brand that they don’t know.

This isn’t always the case, but when it comes to expensive items like Montblanc pens, it certainly leans that way.

 

8. Diamond

Montblanc fountain pen isolated on white background.

 

While some pens contain gold and platinum, some pens also contain diamonds.

One such model costs more than $100,000.

Part of the reason it’s so expensive is that it’s covered in diamonds.

It also uses large diamonds to create the Montblanc logo.

Diamond is an extremely precious gemstone.

Its value stems from a few aspects.

The color, cut, and clarity are just some of the aspects that determine a diamond’s worth.

Since Montblanc only uses the finest materials, you can bet they’re using the best diamonds in their pens, too.

Diamond Montblanc pens are some of the most expensive pens that you can buy.

You’re not just buying a pen, you’re buying all the diamonds, too.

A lot of work goes into this particular pen.

Besides ensuring only the best diamonds are in the pen, the craftsman has to clean, shape, and manually place each diamond into the pen.

That takes a lot of time and skill.

If a mistake is made, then it could jeopardize the whole pen.

Montblanc pens are expensive when they contain diamonds in their construction.

 

9. Iridium

golden fountain pen leaves a signature on a white paper closeup

 

One of the most expensive precious metals that Montblanc uses in its pens is iridium.

Each pen nib receives a coating of iridium on the tip.

Iridium is expensive because it’s extremely rare.

Many scientists believe that the only reason iridium exists on earth is that it came via a meteor.

In fact, they believe that iridium came specifically from the meteor that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Because of its small supply and high demand, the price of iridium is quite high.

It’s high in demand both in the aviation industry and in the tech industry.

Since Montblanc uses it, too, they have to pay high prices to source it.

Montblanc is expensive because it uses iridium on its pen nibs.

 

10. Luxury

Hand of businesswoman writing on paper in office

 

A final reason Montblanc pens are expensive has to do with the simple fact that they’re a luxury item.

There are plenty of other pens out there that get the job done.

Montblanc pens do the job better and provide an experience that standard pens don’t offer.

Because they’re part of the luxury market, they come at luxury prices.

 

Conclusion

Montblanc has a reputation for creating some of the best pens in the world.

They’re extremely expensive for the reasons above like their crafting materials, status symbol, and the fact that they’re luxury items.

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