More and more, consumers across industries want bespoke. Having something that is one-of-a-kind is a way to not only show your individuality, but also your passion as a collector. Because of the nature of fountain pens (or, really, any factory-manufactured object), it can be hard to offer a bespoke level of service. Unless you’re working with an urushi artisan or a nibmeister, you may be limited to what you can create by yourself.
Montegrappa, one of the world’s leading and innovative pen companies, has redefined the bespoke experience with their Configurator, under their Made by You banner. An incredibly responsive and user-friendly service, the Configurator allows near total control on the visual aesthetics of designing a pen, without any technical know-how needed. It’s as simple as clicking through the pre-determined options from a menu and seeing your design come to life.
I loved the opportunity to create five custom pens using the Configurator. Choosing from four standard Montegrappa models (Zero, Quattro, Extra, and Otto Extra), I was able to understand the interplay of design, functionality, and beauty and how small changes have a big impact for these pens.
What was nice about the Configurator was the variety of options. I got a real sense that I was getting a pen that was specially made for me alone. While some of the options were limited for model tyles (of course, a ballpoint will have less real estate for changes), it never felt like I would be unsatisfied with the overall process. Indeed, I was blown away by the ease at which I could create a pen that was at once beautiful and totally unique.
Overall, if you have the resources, I highly recommend getting a bespoke pen if possible. I feel that a pen you made with your own time and design details will only be that much more special and will be cherished for years to come.
With that, here are a few sample designs I came up with. I hope this inspires you to try it out, too!
For this pen, I went with a really subtle design. I believe I have said it before, but I don’t think there are enough white pens on the market and they make for a subtle, eye-catching design that will stand out against other neutrals.
I also liked the idea of this pen being a wedding gift, given the ivory and gold tone of the pen. I used my name for the engraving, but one could easily change it to a special anniversary date.
The configurator has the ability to detail each change so you can see what design choices I made on the right of the screencap below.
I ended up doing two Quattros to showcase the variety that this pen silhouette has. While these pens are very similar (I love a bit of mixing metals and I think it works perfectly on the Quattro model), there are subtle distinctions between these two pens. You can see it most notably in the top disc.
I thought it would be good to do a ballpoint to see how limited the customization options were; but, as I mentioned above, the real estate is just inherently less on a ballpoint, so you’re not “missing out” on any customization options here.
But what you can’t see in the screenshot is the ballpoint option has a Montegrapphite top disc (I chose “Samba” for this), which in turn gives it a subtle pop of color that sets it apart from its Fountain Pen cousin, which is also shown.
The Extra Custom gave even more options for the pen and while some may feel overwhelmed by the process, I was energized to create a really beautiful pen that I’ll be dreaming about for years to come.
The amount of luxury detailing on the Extra Custom was out-of-this-world and the silhouette provided me with a pen that would assuredly feel as luxurious as it looks. In fact, I made sure to go with the most interesting material and nothing, in my opinion, beats Mammoth Ivory. How cool is it that Montegrappa has the option for ivory from one of the most intriguing prehistoric animals ever? I simply love that this is an option and would truly make a once-in-a-lifetime pen for anyone who can afford it.
Extra Otto Custom
Finally on the list is the Extra Otto, which has even more customization options than the Extra. Here, I strayed away from resins and ivory and went for a totally Baroque pen, made from metal components with a rich rose pattern engraving. The result is a breathtaking pen that undoubtedly will be the star of the show every time it’s on one’s desk.