Our buddy Ariel visited the Montblanc plant where they make some of the nicest – and most ridiculous – pens in the world. These things are apparently handmade from stem to stern, allowing the ostentatious and foolish to brandish writing instruments that cost more than vials of natural pituitary gland extract.
Ariel is obviously much kinder to the whole operation than I am and it's fascinating to see old world craftsmanship writ large. The entire process, from nip to case, is lovingly documented by Mr. Ariel's sexy camera.
A hardcore enthusiast will located more detailed information, so I will layout the most impressive parts of the process and provide some visuals for you to see (refer to the media gallery in addition to the images located in this article). What impressed me was just how much hand effort was involved in the making of each nib. The basic shapes are made via machines, but all the detail work, fine shaping, and polishing are done by hand with dedicated equipment.
The actual tip of a Montblanc fountain pen nib is not in gold like the rest of it is. Gold is a relatively soft metal that would quickly wear after being dragged on paper. So Montblanc melts a special (and more expensive than gold) metal allow to the tip of each nib. It is then shaped and polished to give it that iconic fountain pen tip look.