Write Right: Luxury Writing Instruments

With a price tag of $750,000, the newest writing instrument added to Montblanc’s and Van Cleef & Arpels’ repertoires is far more impeccable than any pen (or piece of jewelry, for that matter) can claim to be

By Sara Neff


To continuously set a new standard for luxury, historic companies have been setting a new trend lately: pairing with another company of similar great heritage. Capturing the quintessential relaxed yet sumptuous California lifestyle, famed hotelier Ian Schrager joined forces with renowned designer Philippe Starck to create the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles. Following suit, for their sixtieth anniversary, Ferrari collaborated with legendary Italian watchmaker Officine Panerai to create a line of lavish watches. However, the newest alliance between Van Cleef & Arpels and Montblanc is a design so elegant and elaborate that only it could come from these prominent companies.

 Montblanc, the highest mountain in the European Alps, served as inspiration for the three Montblanc founders.

Van Cleef & Arpels and Montblanc are both brands synonymous with sophistication and luxury. Van Cleef & Arpels is as recognized for its timeless and exquisite jewelry as Montblanc is for its magnificent writing instruments. Therefore, it seems only natural that the two combine forces. To celebrate each of their one hundred years of history, the two Maisons have crafted a writing instrument that is incomparable to any other in the world.

Unveiled for the first time in February 2007, the Limited Edition Mystery Masterpiece Piston Fountain Pen astonished even the most discerning clientele of the two companies. With a meticulously crafted solid white gold skeletonised cap and barrel beneath an overlay set with an astounding 836 diamonds and 256 gemstones, the Mystery Masterpiece articulates a century of tradition and expertise found only at Montblanc and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Three different variations of the Mystery Masterpiece will be released, set either with rubies, sapphires, or emeralds. Following its namesake, the Mystery Masterpiece has been fashioned using Van Cleef & Arpels’ patented “Mystery Setting” technique, where the prongs are concealed beneath the gems allowing the precious stones to take center stage. The interplay of form and color is mesmerizing as the design culminates with an intricate butterfly made of white gold and set with diamonds, resting gently on the clip. The rhodium-plated, solid 18-carat gold nib is specially engraved to commemorate the anniversary for which the Mystery Masterpiece has been created.

Montblanc, the highest mountain in the European Alps, served as inspiration for the three Montblanc founders. The snow covered peak and its six glacier tongues came to form the brand signet that is known worldwide. And not to be forgotten, the infamous Montblanc white star logo graces the top of the Mystery Masterpiece’s cap. However, the white star on the Mystery Masterpiece is unlike any other that Montblanc has ever created. Formed from round diamonds, the white star is the crowning finish to this ultra-luxurious writing instrument.

Finding buyers to pay $750,000 for this lavish writing instrument will not prove to be difficult. With only three pieces of each variation produced worldwide, prospective buyers will be more than willing to pay the three-quarters of a million dollars to get their hands on this masterpiece. Whether or not the buyers will actually use it as a writing instrument is another question. There is no doubt that a creation of this magnitude should be prominently displayed, rather than be shut away in a desk with other ordinary pens.