The Mont Blanc Heritage 1912 is exactly what its name suggests – a celebration of the company’s heritage and culture of innovation that stretches back more than a century.
Released in August 2013, the Heritage 1912 is a modern day reproduction of a vintage pen – a homage to the Simplo Safety Filler, a technological marvel first introduced by the company approximately a century ago. The eyedropper filled “safety pen” had a retractable nib, and was specially engineered to prevent ink leakage when capped.
First available in a 333 piece Limited Edition made of titanium, the earliest model was adorned by a mother-of-pearl emblem atop the cap and fitted with a 18K gold nib. It was later issued in the black resin version seen in this review. The black resin version has a 14K nib and simpler clip while the Limited Edition came with a variety of clips. Mont Blanc recently released the humongous Heritage 1914, a large interpretation of the 1912 that comes in both black and coral red.
While the appearance of the Heritage 1912 remains faithful to the original, Mont Blanc has engineered the pen with a modern piston filling system that does not require an eyedropper. The pen is also constructed from black resin rather than BHR or “black hard rubber”. The knob atop the pen has two positions – in its default position it functions as the twist mechanism for the nib, and when pulled out it operates the piston filling system. The entire operation was smooth and effortless, and unlike the Boheme, does away with cartridges.
Another unique feature of the Mont Blanc Heritage 1912 is a flexible 14K white gold nib that makes the writing experience soft and comfortable. This is rarely seen in modern pens, which have stiff rigid nibs to accommodate ballpoint users, as they often exert too much pressure on fountain pen nibs and cause them to become “sprung”.
Having tested the pen, I found that it was really soft and forgiving to write with. I was able to coax greater inkflow from the nib by simply applying light pressure. That being said, I would not dare to put the nib under too much stress as it is not made specifically for the purpose of extreme line variations or copperplate calligraphy, and it would be extremely expensive to repair if damaged. The nib is buttery smooth, unlike a number of Meisterstück nibs I have tested.
Beauty lies in simplicity, and the cylindrical form factor of the Heritage is a refreshing change from the uninteresting torpedo shape we have come to expect from the brand and its countless imitators. It was also the thing I found attractive about the highly sought-after Agatha Christie LE. Furthermore, the barrel is uninterrupted by screw threads for the cap – the threads are shifted to just above the nib. The cap is adorned by a modern interpretation of the Mont Blanc logo.
The simplicity of the Heritage 1912 conceals its sophisticated inner workings – the smooth, inner piston filling system has good capacity and can hold enough ink for a writing session. The pen features an ingenious mechanism for retracting the nib when not in use. A metal rod prevents the pen from being capped while the nib is not retracted, and protects the nib from damage.
Apart from the expensive price tag, the only negative point I can see about the pen is the fact that prolonged opening and closing of the cap leaves scratches on the barrel. Even new pens from the boutique were reported to suffer from the same issue. Mont Blanc claims that this is inevitable and considered part of normal wear and tear. I choose to believe that at this price point, measures should have been taken to prevent this from happening.
Given that the pen is not see-through and the knob is always in the outer position when filling the pen, a useful addition would be the addition of subtle markings near the knob that show which direction to turn the knob when filling or emptying the piston reservoir.
One quirk about the cylindrical design of the Heritage 1912 is the inability to post the cap. I tried multiple times and the cap fell off after a short while. It was clearly not designed for the purpose. That being said, I usually do not post caps and instead leave them on the table.
The Mont Blanc Heritage 1912 is a pen that caught my attention and singlehandedly changed my perception of the brand. Above all, the Mont Blanc Heritage 1912 is an apt reminder of the brand’s illustrious past. The Heritage proves that a successful product does not require extravagance or complicated ornamentation – something that suits my style and minimalist leanings. That makes it perfect for those who enjoy simple beauty and great engineering. It also appeals to those who like vintage styling without the fuss of maintenance issues and demand reliable operation.
– Attractive modern rendition of the Simplo at a more affordable price
– Ingenious and smooth two-step knob for nib and piston operation
– Clean, uninterrupted barrel form
– Great weight compared to Meisterstück
– Soft, flexible and smooth nib
– Extremely costly, even for resin model
– Cap causes scratches on barrel
– Unable to properly post cap
The Mont Blanc Heritage is available from authorised retailers and boutiques, subject to availability.