“Der Ur-Elfer: Das Meisterstück aus Zuffenhausen” – This was the title of Porsche’s press release on November 28th 2018, when the 8th generation of the legendary Porsche 911 was presented. As a car addicted person, read petrolhead, and a pen aficionado, I immediately thought this is exactly the case! The “Meisterstück”, in English “Masterpiece” from Montblanc is exactly the Porsche 911 under the writing instruments! Let me explain you why.
History & Values
Let me start with some facts about the history of these two glorious art pieces. On September 12, 1963 the Porsche 901 has been shown at the IAA in Frankfurt as the successor of the 15 years earlier produced Porsche 356, which was basically an upgraded version of the VW ”Käfer”. Not to offend anyone, but the 356 was really an “evolution” of the Volkswagen Typ1, better known as Volkswagen Beetle, of 1934. This car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche, father of Ferry Porsche, founder of Porsche as a Manufacturer. However, since Peugeot was owner of a trademark protection on all 3-digit combination with a 0 in the middle, in 1964, when the Porsche 901 was officially launched, the model description has been changed to 911. A numerical combination that makes beat every car enthusiasts’ heart higher. Interesting enough, the 911 had one ambition since its very first day; being the ultimate daily sportscar. And until this very day, the Porsche 911 is the reference in its class since all the other manufacturer such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have tried to create daily sportscars; their aim was always the same: to beat the 911.
Similarly, roughly 600 km further up north in Germany, a Manufacturer called Montblanc was already a well-known and appreciated brand producing nibs for fountain pens. But in 1924, so even before Ferdinand Porsche was working on the Volkswagen project, Montblanc launched a collection that was destined to become a legend: the MEISTERSTÜCK collection. A masterpiece that even today is the base of the Montblanc production. Because every other piece of the Montblanc collection is created and produced based on the iconic MEISTERSTÜCK. The same can be said for the Porsche 911, due to the fact that every other model Porsche produces, has style and design elements from the 911.
What makes the Montblanc Meisterstück and the Porsche 911 so special?
Design & Technique
Well, first and foremost, the design of both is remarkably recognizable. In fact, as soon as you observe the design of the Montblanc Meisterstück and the Porsche 911, you’ll see that nothing has changed at all, since their first release. Talking about the 911, even a little child recognizes the distinct lines of the 911 and it doesn’t matter if you take a so called Ur-Elfer from 1965 or the brand new Carrera S from 2019, you will immediately associate this shape to
the Porsche 911, as you can see on the images within this post.
This is part of the secret behind the success of the 911. The engineers are always developing the same base and even though the technical standards are getting more sophisticated and the car is getting better, faster and safer, the continuous evolution of the 911 allows the engineers to improve every single detail until they reach almost perfection. This achievement is even more impressive if you think that from a purely physical point of view, the basic project of the 911 has been massively criticized at the beginning, because the engine seats on the rear axle. In other words, for the ones that are not spending their time with physicians and engineers, the weight of the car is not concetrated between the wheels, which would be more appropriate for a sportscar, but unbalanced towards the rear. And this usually makes the handling of the car more difficult and as a final result, slower.
Talking about imbalance, it comes to my mind that the Meisterstück from Montblanc, especially if you write with a LeGrand or a 149 with the cap on the back of the pen, you also get a similar feeling of imbalance. And you notice right away the heavier body on the back of the pen. But the question is: Does it really affects the performance? Believe me it dosesn’t! I was lucky enough to drive every 911 generation since the 993 (1994) until the very last one launched in 2018, and if you look at the lap time of a 911 on the famous racing circuit of Hockenheim, then you understand immediately that this is not the case. The 911 has always been a little bit nervous on the back, as every owner will tell you, but… damn it’s fast! Talking about mere timing, just to remain on the rational side of life, the last Carrera S, which is basically the entry-level model of the 911 range, “laps” the Hockenheimring quicker than a McLaren MP4-12C, which has 175 horsepower more! This gives you an approximate indication of the excellent work done by the Porsche engineers. They really challenge the physical laws and manage to get better with every model.
Some say, the secret is in marginally developing every detail under the skin of the vehicle, so evolution instead of revolution. A very similar approach is taken by Montblanc with the Meisterstück. If you compare the design of a Meisterstück from the ‘50s to a brand-new model from 2020, you will notice that the differences are marginal. As well in this case, the majority of the work is done “under the skin” i. e. by using different alloys, more resistant materials, modern manufacturing methods for the nibs and so on. All this, with one objective, namely the performance of the instrument. How does that manifest in real life? Well, let me tell you what happened to me just this morning. I was preparing myself for the day and, as always, I pick a pen for the day that matches the outfit and the mood of the day. I picked up a Meisterstück 149 that I haven’t used for at least 5 weeks. A lot of other fountain pens would need a couple of lines before they write properly, right? Not the 149. You open it and it writes perfectly straight away. No need to warm it up in advance or any other preparation. Technically perfect and always ready to use. Just like a 911.
Talking about the Meisterstück 149 another consideration jumps to my mind. One more thing that Porsche 911 and Montblanc Meisterstück have in common is that both collections have tenths of declinations. The Porsche 911 exists as a simple Carrera T (a basic Carrera, just lighter), as a GT3 or GT2 (basically racecars with a number plate), as a Turbo or Turbo S (which is the luxurious high performance variant) and many more, including several limited editions like the Speedster, Sports Classic and the 911 R. In other words, the 911 has a model for every kind of taste and is meant to be used as a daily sportscar. If you take a look at the Montblanc Meisterstück range, you will recognize quite a similar pattern.
Let me give you a few examples. Did you know that Montblanc has launched a Meisterstück with a carbon fiber cap? The GT3 of the Meisterstück. Or, did you know, that there are different sizes and colors for the Meisterstück such as small, medium, le grand up to the 149? So, the 149, which has been launched by Montblanc in 1952, is the 911 Turbo of the pens. Bold, comfortable, unimposing but remarkably performant. A real 911 Turbo! But what kind of emotions does driving a 911 evokes?