Monday, September 6, 2010

Assignment #1: Object Description of Bill's Pen

My object, a Montblanc Meisterstuck pen, belongs to Bill. The pen could be basically described as a typical ball point pen; it certainly would appear to the passerby as an average pen in shape and design. Even its color and weight could be described as typical. It is in the subtle details, that one can truly appreciate the craftsmanship that went into its making, and the classic beauty of this pen. It is approximately 6 inches long, and is a little less than a half an inch in diameter. The official Montblanc website (which provided me a wealth of information on this pen, its production, and its history) lists the materials as the barrel of the pen being constructed of black resin, and the gold accents of the pen being made of 18K gold. The pen’s adornments include three gold rings at the top, middle, and bottom of the pen, and a gold plated clip. The gold ring around the center of the pen, where the two barrels of the pen meet, is engraved with the words: “Montblanc” and “Meisterstuck.” The top of the pen has a domed cap, with the Montblanc logo: a white, rounded-edged, six-point star, reminiscent of a star of David.
According to the Montblanc website, this particular model of pen began being produced in 1924, and production of all pens takes place at their headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. This means that Bill’s pen could have been manufactured any time after that, and shipped to the US for retail. Since I did not get an exact date as to when this pen was gifted to Bill, only an estimation of approximately 20 years ago, I can only assume that the pen was manufactured shortly before its initial purchase. This seems likely because, as many Google searches on “Montblanc pens” have lead me to discover, these are a very popular and highly sought after brand of pens. As such, they are most likely produced regularly and this particular style of pen, the Meisterstuck, would have been readily available since its debut in 1924.
However, though I mention that this is a popular brand of pen, that is not to diminish its physical or sentimental value. As the Montblanc website proudly proclaims their pens are all “crafted by masters of their craft with sure instinct and highest skills.” The painstaking process of production for these pens contains upwards of 100 steps before completion, from gold strip rolling, to embossing, to quality assurance testing. In fact, this particular type of pen can only be purchased in select boutiques or directly from the website, (or on eBay, if you are searching for a deal). The website even instructs potential customers to call a concierge, via a 1-800 number, to obtain pricing. Through some basic “ebay searching” I got the vague price range of about $200-300 dollars for one of these unique writing tools. Unfortunately I cannot verify the validity of these price ranges, and have no real way of knowing the “going rate” for one of these at the time it was purchased for Bill.

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