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The Passing of A Legend: In Memory of Gianfranco Aquila

If you follow many social channels in the pen industry, then you may have seen more than one post regarding the passing of Gianfranco Aquila. Even if the name does not sound familiar, his impact on the pen industry can be felt around the globe. 

Aquila – or Il Signore delle penne, as he was known – was at the helm of Montegrappa for most of his life. An extraordinary man with a precise vision of the industry and business acumen to back up his vision, he turned Montegrappa into a renowned luxury brand synonymous with Italian refinement.

John Hemingway and Gianfranco Aquila at the Montegrappa boutique opening in Milano

Born in 1943, Aquila got a head-start in the industry with his father’s stationery business. It was at age 38 that he first moved to acquire his beloved pen brand, leading the renaissance of the Italian writing industry. Through his stewardship of the brand, Aquila pushed for innovation in the market and made some very shrewd business moves by adding a luxury component to Montegrappa’s product lineup to build a sustainable business that has, indeed, reignited the global market.

Giuseppe Aquila, Gianfranco Aquila, H.H. Pope John Paul II

After a brief stint in the hands of a Swiss luxury group, Aquila took the reins of Montegrappa once again in 2009. Even after a decade-long gap, Aquila picked right up where he left off: seeing areas of improvement within his production line, while continuing to make big-name partnerships to introduce luxury pens to new markets. With this keen sense of business direction, it is no wonder he was given the nickname Lord of the Pens.

Quincy Jones and Gianfranco Aquila at the Montegrappa Flagship store opening in Bassano del Grappa

Now, Montegrappa is in its 110th year of operation and it is a company that is so inextricably linked to the talent of this great man. He, indeed, created something unique and special, while maintaining the core values of good Italian design in all that he oversaw. His legacy will be felt for generations to come and for those who knew Mr. Aquila personally – we give our condolences.

Gianni Agnelli, Gianfranco Aquila
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