Are you searching for the holy grail of luxury writing instruments? Then look no further than the Montblanc 1912 Heritage.
Despite its small size, this fountain pen delivers an unprecedented performance. With a custom-made gold nib, the Montblanc 1912 Heritage writes like no other. Smooth and flexible, this pen glides across the page.
Simply put, the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is in an elite class of its own.
The 1912 Heritage highlights contemporary conveniences while at the same time commemorating the fountain pen’s rich history. Featuring a two-way twist mechanism, the Montblanc 1912 Heritage has a vintage retractable nib and a modern piston refill system. This fountain pen is the certainly the best of both worlds.
The Montblanc 1912 Heritage is not simply a writing instrument. It is a writing experience.
Aficionados agree that, although the Montblanc company consistently produces superior quality writing instruments, there is something unique to the 1912 Heritage. A modern take on a safety filler, this pen is a worthy update to a reliable classic. With its creamy, inimitable nib and an effortless piston refill system, the 1912 Heritage is a true dream.
Black lacquer barrel and precious-resin cap
Medium 14k gold with rhodium finish
Black precious resin barrel and cap
Medium 14k gold
Coral lacquer metal barrel and precious-resin cap
Fine 14k gold
Black precious resin barrel and cap
Medium 18k gold with rhodium-coated inlay
The impressive Montblanc 1912 Heritage blends the past with the present. Similar to safety pens, the nib can be extended or retracted. Unlike early fountain pens, the 1912 Heritage doesn’t use an eyedropper to recharge ink. Instead, a simple knob twist will activate a piston to refill the ink reservoir. Writers who chose the 1912 Heritage experience the feel of a flexible safety pen nib with the ease of an improved refilling system.
A classic Simplo Safety Filler alongside its derivative, the Montblanc 1912 Heritage. Source: fountainpennetwork.com
In the early 20th century, the currently-named Montblanc was known as the Simplo Filler Pen Company of Hamburg. This German business produced safety pens and quickly earned its reputation as a quality manufacturer. Safety pens were an early type of fountain pen that prevented ink from leaking at the joint of the nib and barrel section. For these pens, a nib was placed on a threaded rod. With the turn of a knob at the end of the barrel, the nib retracted into the body of the pen. Capping the pen provided a tight seal that stopped leakage.
Advertisements for the Rouge et Noir safety pen, an early model from the Simplo Filler Pen Company (later renamed to Montblanc.) This pen was the inspiration for the 1912 Heritage fountain pen. Source: fountainpennetwork.com
After the success of their pen model named ‘Montblanc’, the Simplo Filler Pen Company officially changed their business name to Montblanc in 1910. Shortly after, pens donned the trademark Montblanc white star, representative of the six glaciers descending down the side of Mont Blanc in the Alps.
In August of 2013, Montblanc released the 1912 Heritage as a tribute to their first model, the much-admired Rouge et Noir safety pen. As with the Rouge et Noir, the 1912 Heritage’s nib is retractable. However, design engineers replaced the messy eyedropper refilling system with the much more efficient piston. Montblanc released two editions: a titanium version a year earlier (limited to only 333 pieces) and standard version made of black resin.
Easily the most appreciated feature of the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is its patented two-function knob. This mechanism extends or retracts the nib and also functions as a piston, refilling the pen with ink.
The knob activates the mechanism that smoothly retracts and extends the nib. A twist of the knob approximately a full revolution clockwise will extend the nib. Turning counterclockwise will retract the nib back into the pen’s body. This feature allows the owner to leave the pen uncapped for a prolonged period of time without the nib drying out.
As an example, if taking notes during a meeting, replacing the cap of the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is unnecessary each time there is a pause. Instead, a simple twist retracts the nib so it can await its next use. When re-extended, the nib writes again without hesitation.
Older model safety pens required an eyedropper to recharge ink. However with the 1912, the knob that retracts the nib also acts as a piston filler. After extending the nib, the knob pulls out and twists to draw in ink. A downfall of this fountain pen is that it only holds about 0.8ml of ink. However, its vintage appeal is not marred by the mess of an eyedropper. A quick and clean recharge is made effortless with a piston-filling system.
Many other fountain pen manufacturers outsource the production of their nibs. However, with Montblanc, the high-caliber nib is hand-crafted and polished in house. The nib is 14k gold with rhodium plating. Eight tipping sizes are offered for the 1912 Heritage:
While many fountain pen tines tend to curve downward towards the paper, this pen’s nib is flat and straight. The 1912 Heritage’s nib is a piece of minimalist art with a simple design, uncommon with this pen brand. Engraved on the face of the nib are the signature Montblanc star symbol. The number “4810” is there to honor the height (in meters) of the highest mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc. Opposite the typical circular breather hole, the 1912 Heritage features a triangle that provides a flexible feel while writing. This aspect is reminiscent of the heart-shaped holes in the original safety pens.
Reminiscent of older edition Montblancs, the 1912 Heritage’s nib is springy with a touch of flexibility. The feed provides a generous amount of ink to the smooth writing nib. There is no hard-starting or skipping with this writing instrument. The 1912 Heritage nib simply glides across paper. Line variation is not as dramatic as many flexible original safety pen nibs, but altering pressure can enhance ink traces. The writing experience provided by the 1912 Heritage is elegant and pleasurable, with users frequently hailing it as a fountain pen favorite.
Length (with extended nib)
Cap Band Width
10.2 to 13.1mm
Overall, the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is smaller and compact, similar to a pocket pen. It is only 119.6mm when capped, but feels longer when the nib is extended. The barrel also has a thick diameter that rests comfortably when gripped. It is between the girth of a Montblanc Meisterstück 146 and Meisterstück 149. Writers with larger hands may find the reduced size of this pen a bit difficult to manage.
Although the cap cannot be posted, the hefty weight of this pen provides a substantial, balanced feel. At 48g total (37g uncapped), the 1912 Heritage’s significant weight combined with its short stature easily centers the pen in the hand.
The barrel of the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is made of piano black resin with a brass interior. In spite of its glossy finish, the barrel may attract lint, but fingerprints will not mar the appearance.
Even uncapped, this pen is stately and pronounced. There is no grip section, enhancing the seamless transition from nib opening to barrel. Writers are meant to hold this pen above the threaded section designed for the cap. If you prefer to hold your fountain pen close to the nib, the cap threads are barely noticeable to the touch, resulting in minimal discomfort to the writer’s fingers.
The barrel is tapered, narrow near the nib opening and growing wider at the body’s end. At the rear is also the control knob that retracts the nib and piston-fills the reservoir. The grooves on the knob are the same as those on the cap, below the finial.
Though classic and simple, numerous fans of the Montblanc 1912 Heritage claim this pen as the “best looking pen they’ve ever seen”.
As with the barrel, the cap of the Montblanc 1912 Heritage is constructed from sleek black resin. The clip is platinum-plated and simple, with the Montblanc star engraved at the back and “Made in Germany” hidden underneath. To uncap takes slightly more than 1.5 revolutions. When closed, the cap’s solid seal eliminates movement.
Although some may find the finial of this fountain pen showy and overbearing, it is simply striking. The entire top of the cap is covered with the trademark Montblanc white star, crafted from mother-of-pearl lacquer. Enclosing and protecting this dazzling beauty is a clear, hemispherical shaped resin.
For peace of mind, a mechanism inside the 1912 Heritage’s cap will prevent the user from accidentally capping the extended nib. Montblanc positioned a small metal rod inside of the center of the cap to prevent capping when the nib is exposed. Instead of damaging the nib, the rod in the cap will hit a small cutout on the back of the plastic feed.
A downside to the 1912 Heritage’s cap is its tendency to leave scratches on the barrel during its last rotation when capping. This is caused by the metal ring inside the cap. This occurs through normal use and is not covered by warranty. To repair this, owners can chose to occasionally polish the barrel. Most agree that the scratches show signs of character and a well-loved writing instrument. Also, users who prefer to write with a posted pen do not have this option for the 1912 Heritage. The cap does not post on the back of the barrel.
There is simply nothing as remarkable and admired as the Montblanc 1912 Heritage. This pen provides a superior writing experience with its semi-flexible, high-quality nib. The retractable nib provides a taste of safety fountain pens. Paired with an easy-to-use piston-filling system, the 1912 Heritage is easy to refill without the mess of an eyedropper or need for a cartridge or converter.
The Montblanc 1912 Heritage is not for jotting a quick note or list. To use this fountain pen requires a ritual - unscrewing and removing the cap, placing the cap down, and twisting the knob it reveal the nib. Preparing this pen to write is truly a performance.
This is not a writing instrument just anyone can own. The Montblanc 1912 Heritage is one to appreciate, display, and treasure for a lifetime.