Whether you know their names or not, there is no doubt that Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm have had an influential grip on children’s imaginations around the world. The 18th Century German authors are still known today for their collection of fantastical short stories that would eventually inspire Walt Disney and many other artists through the generations.
Montblanc, who has always had a keen sense of respect for storytelling, has come out with four new editions to commemorate the brothers. Each of the four editions is a masterful interpretation of one of the classic tales, but with some common elements through the series. The four pens are shaped from a wooden stick in an homage to the storytellers who would wander between villages reciting these tales. The clip is an impressive display of design: when looking at it frontally, it appears as a gnarly root but when turned sideways, it reveals the facial profile of the Brothers Grimm. The caps are engraved with the words “Es War Einmal…”, which to English-speakers are the classic words we often hear before the story begins: “Once upon a time…”
Let’s now walk through each edition.
Homage to Brothers Grimm Limited Edition
The first edition pays tribute to Rapunzel, the long-locked prisoner in the high tower. The barrel and cap is a black resin with a wavy pattern to symbolize her hair. The stark contrast between the platinum-coated clip and fittings against the black barrel shows the dark and sinister path in the woods Rapunzel would take. Additional details of this pen include the spindle-shaped cone, the letter R on the cap, and the title of the collection is engraved to commemorate the date and bibliography of Rapunzel in literature.
Homage to Brothers Grimm Limited Edition 1812
The Sleeping Beauty pen is next. The story of the young princess who is awoken by a prince’s kiss is commemorated through visual design elements of the 1812 pen. The overwhelming feature of this pen is the gold-coated overlaying the ruthenium coating on the metal body. Its criss-crossing vines resemble the foliage that grew around the castle while the princess was in her poisoned sleep. Most beautiful in this pen is the Montblanc emblem that crowns the pen is constructed in Mother-of-Pearl surrounded by red lacquer, reminiscent of roses that wrap the castle.
Homage to Brothers Grimm Limited Edition 86
One of the most action-packed fairytales of the brothers, Hansel and Gretel provided ample source material for the 86. First, we see the gorgeous ebony wood of the cap and barrel which resembles the dark forest and subsequent burned house of the witch at the end of the tale. To contrast this, AU750 gold is used to create even more drama and cleverly depicts further events from the tale. Gold is used for inlay flames and fittings, to enhance the signatures of the brothers on the cap, and a gold flame on the back of the cap.
Gold also features in the inscription of “Knuper knuper kneischen…Wer knupert an meinem Häuschen?” (or “Nibble nibble like a mouse, who is nibbling at my house?”), which adds a creeping, horror-rich touch to this pen. The solid gold cone is set with a cabochon made of Mother-of-Pearl symbolizing the treasure Hansel & Gretel discover after they burn the witch. The limitation of 86 Fountain Pens is a reference to the number of fairy tales published in the first edition of the Children’s and Household Tales.
Homage to Brothers Grimm Limited Edition 8
The fairest of them all is surely Snow White and the LE 8 proves this. Montblanc outdid themselves with this pen, showcasing the talent of artisans and the vision of one of the leading pen companies in the world.
The cap and barrel are made from Au750 white gold, molded to resemble leaves, which are coated in yellow gold. White gold inlays help to tell the part of the tale of the seven dwarves, who mined the nearby mountains for precious ores. The barrel has a faceted rock crystal (to represent her coffin in the tale) while the reverse side is hand-engraved with imagery of Snow White taken from Grimms’ drawings. The cap includes crystals to further enhance the beauty and luxury of this pen. One crystal contains the letter “S” as a reference to the fairy tale Snow White. Two lines of diamonds across the rings as well as a line of diamonds on the cap and barrel are reminiscent of the shimmering beauty of Snow White.
The cap of the pen is crowned with sapphire glass while the cone is embellished with engraved leaves and rubies set within the cone. The bottom of the cone contains a spinel cabochon symbolizing the black hair of Snow White. The nib is Au750 yellow gold, engraved with flames.
Montblanc has further created accessories inspired by the opus of the Brothers Grimm. A calfskin leather notebook is decorated with a large illustration of the letter “G” in the style of old fairy tale books. Montblanc has created a dark green ink based on the forests of the Grimm fairy tales. A pair of round cufflinks and a woven leather bracelet, both with the design of the Montblanc Emblem on the writing instruments, complete the collection.