I previously reviewed the fountain pen version of the Montblanc Meisterstuck “Classique”, and I still consider this model one of the more overlooked gems of the pen world. Sure, the storied 146 and 149 models get most of the attention, but both are simply too big for many people to use comfortably, and you have to pay quite a premium, especially for the special and limited edition models. The Classique is Montblanc's "mid-priced" model that is still large enough for most people to use comfortably, and offers the same Montblanc writing experience as its larger siblings.
I’ve owned a Classique ballpoint for 15+ years (graduation present), so with the addition of this rollerball to my collection I now have a full ballpoint + rollerball + fountain pen set in this size. In terms of the writing experience, there’s not too much to say here that hasn’t already been said. Montblanc makes a great rollerball refill, which their pens are designed to showcase. The Classique rollerball is a relatively slim pen - slightly slimmer than both the ballpoint and the fountain pen - but it still has some weight to it, due in part to the metal end cap. As a result, the pen has a very nice balance for writing, especially when posted. The friction-fit cap opens and closes with no rattle whatsoever, and the cap posts securely.
The pen shown here is the Le Petit Prince Classique PT 163 Rollerball (if we want to be technical about model numbers). It features three key design elements from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s story: the fox engraved in the resin on the cap, the star on the clip (which is the feature that sold me on a pen from this series), and a quote: “Créer des liens? ... Tu seras pour moi unique au monde” which translates to “To establish ties? ... To me, you will be unique in all the world.” If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand the significance, but if you haven’t, well, you need to read the book.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
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I love this pen. Sure, most of it is the design, and the tie-in with one of my favorite stories from childhood (and adulthood, and, well, ever) but whatever your feelings about the brand, they make a mean pen. The form factor of the Meisterstuck Classique makes it a great everyday writer for both long-form handwriting and quick notes.
Site sponsor Appelboom carries a wide range of Montblanc pens, including the Classique models, in both the standard and special edition versions like the Le Petit Prince pen shown here. Also, check out my previous review of Montblanc rollerball and fineliner refills, which I consider to be some of the best.
A Few General Thoughts on Montblanc as a Brand
The company takes a lot of flack for the price point of their pens, which in my opinion is unwarranted. The past few Montblanc pens I’ve purchased have had zero quality control issues, with excellent out-of-the-box nibs on the fountain pens. They also have a pretty liberal nib-exchange program and will stand behind their products as long as you purchase from an authorized retailer. Yes, at the end of the day, you are paying in part for the branding and design, not the pure functionality of the pen. The majority of Montblanc pens, however, are priced similarly to Aurora, Montegrappa, or Pelikan, especially once you get into special and limited editions, so I don’t see much of a reason to favor one of these brands over another based on how they are pricing things. If you like the pen, and can comfortably afford it, then buy it and enjoy it. If you’re looking for something else - like a no-frills workhorse or simply something at a lower price point - there are plenty of other excellent options out there to meet your needs, and I try to cover a range of options on the blog.