Ask anyone to name the most successful British band of the 20th century, and I guarantee 90% or more will answer the Beatles. Together, the Fab Four of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr created some of the most iconic and enduring music of the last 100 years, and today, almost 50 years after the band left millions of fans reeling when they went their separate ways, their hits remain as popular as ever. We all have our favorite Beatles period, with some preferring the early days of I Wanna Hold Your Hand, others favoring their mid-60’s psychedelic hits, and still others having a fondness for the more mature offerings of their later years. Regardless of preference, few would dispute the genius of their 1969 album, Abbey Road, remembered as much for its iconic record sleeve as the content of its tracklist. Over the years, many artists, musicians, entertainers, and fans have played tribute to the great album, whether by recreating the iconic image of our four hero’s crossing the now legendary zebra crossing outside the studio; by covering one of its many incredible tracks; or, in the case of premium German manufacturer Montblanc, creating an exquisite writing piece that takes the essence of the album and recreates it in pen form.
The History of Montblanc
Before we look too much at the pen itself, a quick trek through the history of Montblanc is in order. The luxury brand has its origins in a small company started by Hamburg banker Alfred Nehemias and Berlin engineer August Eberstein in 1906. While Eberstein and Nehemias may have planted the seeds, Montblanc as we know it today can be traced to Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and Claus Johannes Voss, who took over operations a few years into the company’s life and quickly transformed it into the purveyors of such premium writing pieces as the classic Rouge et Noir (which is still going as strong today as it was then), and the eponymous Montblanc fountain pen. Fast forward several decades and the company fell into the hands of the luxury British goods company, Alfred Dunhill Ltd. The acquisition led Montblanc to expand into other areas, and soon they were peddling premium leather goods, jewelry, sunglasses, perfumes, and watches. While each new line has proved popular, nothing has yet managed to surpass the pens at the heart of the Montblanc business empire- today, over a century after it first started hawking its wares, Montblanc still enjoys a reputation as one of the finest pen manufacturers in the world.
A Tribute to the Arts
In 1992, Montblanc kicked off the first of its now annual Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards. In its essence, the award is a recognition of all that’s great and good in the arts: each year, Montblanc picks one lucky individual whose contribution to their field is worthy of reward, and does exactly that with a cash prize sum and an exquisite, limited edition pen that pays homage to both the recipient of the award and another significant entity (either past or present) whose life and work has had an enduring impact on both the arts world and the one at large. In 2017, Montblanc chose the Beatles to be honored with that year’s limited edition, creating three equally impressive masterpieces in the process. The Beatles Special Edition celebrated the seminal album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, coming in a multicolored, bright design to reflect the dramatic costumes worn by the band on the album’s cover. Next up was The Beatles Limited Edition 88 fountain pen, a celebratory piece that featured all things Fab Four, from the Union Jack engravings to the peace sign motifs, from the band’s inscribed signatures to their etched portraits. Lastly, we come to our particular pen, The Beatles Limited Edition 1969.
The Beatles Limited Edition 1969
Even if you didn’t know the history of Montblanc’s Patron of the Arts series, you’d know at a glance that The Beatles Limited Edition 1969 is both a very special piece and a fitting tribute to one of the most legendary bands of all time. The barrel of the pen draws inspiration for the mixing table at Abbey Road studios, the place the band recorded and mixed both their 1969 album of the same name, and various other pivotal works. The cap, meanwhile, is shaped to resemble the microphones favored by the band during their sessions and bears reference to the “LMW 28 IF” license plate of the Volkswagen depicted on the Abbey Road album cover. On the barrel of the pen, we have a brightly colored union flag motif, a reference to one of the album’s lesser-known tracks, “Her Majesty”. Moving on to the artfully designed clip, we can see a suggestion of the flowing mustaches worn by the band on the Abbey Road album cover. The Beatles references don’t stop with the pen’s design- even the name of the pen has been specially thought out to pay tribute to the year of Abbey Road’s release, 1969.
The Technical Details
Want the nitty-gritty of what goes into making such a special creation? Thanks to the nice folk at Montblanc, your wish is our command:
- Ruthenium-coated clip with featuring a special design
- 90 grams
- Lacquer with several metal inlays
- Lacquer with several metal inlays
Montblanc Ink: Mystery Black, Pacific Blue, Mystery Black, Pacific Blue, Mystery Black, Pacific Blue, Mystery Black, Pacific Blue, Royal blue, Royal blue, Royal blue, Royal blue
Montblanc creations rarely come cheap, and that’s especially true of The Beatles Limited Edition 1969. With an average retail piece of $2,960.00, this isn’t an investment to be taken lightly. That said, for fans of either fabulous pens or fabulous bands, it’s definitely one to think about.