MontBlanc Johannes Brahms Special Edition Fountain Pen-19

Brand Montblanc
Model Donation Pen 2012 — Johannes Brahms Special Edition
Nib Material 14k rhodium plated
Nib Sizes F,M,B
Filling System Piston
Dimensions Capped Length: 145.8mm / 5.74″
Posted Length: 160mm / 6.3″
Uncapped Length: 127.5mm / 5.01″
Barrel Ø: 12.7mm / .5″
Section Ø: 10.6mm / .42″
Weight 31g
Notes Features platinum plated hardware.
Price $785
Availability Now

Of any pen manufacturer currently producing theme pens, I think Montblanc does it the best. While they have created some pretty extravagant pieces, they rarely go way over the top, which seems to be the norm for some manufacturers. Instead, many of their pens have a subtle sophistication that packs a lot of references into one piece, as is the case with the Johannes Brahms Special Edition Donation Pen for 2012.

As anyone might guess, the Johannes Brahms Special Edition fountain pen is dedicated to music. That’s easily evident by the tuning fork-shaped clip. Under the clip, near the top of the cap are five thin bands that represent a music staff. Lastly, Johannes Brahms’ signature can be found on the cap band centered under the clip. I would have liked to have seen the theme extended to the nib imprint but instead  it is decorated with a dove of peace: the sign of love and peace found on all Montblanc Donation Pens. With each purchase Montblanc donates 20 Euros to select cultural projects relating to classical music. I don’t know if that’ll help you sleep at night but at least some good comes from spending a boatload of money on a pen.

MontBlanc Johannes Brahms Special Edition Fountain Pen-13So, what does that boatload of money get you? For starters, a piston-filling 146-sized fountain pen that’s not as rounded or cigar shaped as a 146. Each end of the pen is more squared off with a slight dome shape that I actually find more appealing than the 146. You also get a rhodium plated 14k gold nib, platinum plated hardware, and Montblanc’s special plastic precious resin with an ink window that’s hidden when the pen is capped. While the Johannes Brahms Special Edition is about $250 more than a regular 146, it does have more character and is considerably cheaper than many other SE and LE fountain pens Montblanc produces.

The Johannes Brahms Special Edition is a gorgeous fountain pen. While I’m not all that crazy for the clip, I absolutely love the multiple bands near the top. I sincerely hope Montblanc, and other manufacturers for that matter, experiment more with cap bands in this location. The section has a subtle convex profile to it that aids in the comfort while using the pen. Being made of resin keeps the weight down and fatigue at bay during those ultra long writing sessions. The pen only weights 31g, 12 of which can be accounted for in the cap alone. When posted you will definitely notice the change in balance in your hand but not in an unpleasant manner. I was able to use the pen very comfortably posted or not.

MontBlanc Johannes Brahms Special Edition Fountain Pen-9The factory broad nib is buttery smooth and has a bit of a stubbish quality to it. The flow from this pen is just luscious. It’s slightly wet, always consistent, and never disappointed me. Filling the pen is a simple matter of operating the high quality piston mechanism. The generously sized piston knob makes getting a good grip easy and the action was smooth with moderate resistance. One thing I’ve always liked about Montblancs is their implementation of an ink window. The material is crystal clear and with any dark colored ink it practically disappears when the pen is in use.

My only complaint with this pen is with the cap. When capped or posted it wobbles just the slightest little bit. Even when threaded on and locked down tight the cap still wiggles a tiny bit. In the posted position it’s slightly more prominent but somehow is still securely attached to the barrel. It was never a problem during use and, honestly, the only time it’s noticeable is when you intentionally wiggle it. This isn’t something I’d expect from a Montblanc but since it in no way interferes with usability it’s hard to fault it too much.

MontBlanc Johannes Brahms Special Edition Fountain Pen-15Montblanc has created a very nice piece with the Johannes Brahms Special Edition. If this is in your price range I would recommend you get to your nearest boutique and check one out. If that’s not an option I’d say just go ahead and order one. You won’t be disappointed.

If this pen is just outside of your budget then things change. I don’t have a problem routinely spending $200-300 on a pen. That means I’d have to skip 2 or 3 pens to purchase this one. I just don’t think the trade off is worth it, especially since I would prefer to have multiple pens with different qualities. But I’m sure at some point in my collecting lifetime I’ll want to downsize and use fewer, more special pens and I think this would be a good candidate.

But how does it compare to other pens in its class? If we look at the Executive Class ($500-999) of pens featured on our site there are no fewer than 51 entries. We’re talking about pens like the Pelikan M101N Lizard Special Edition, the Omas Old Style Arte Italiano Paragon Arco Verde, the Omas Vintage 360 Turquoise, the Nakaya Naka-ai, and the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage Limited Edition just to name a few. How on Earth do you decide between all these fantastic fountain pens?

MontBlanc Johannes Brahms Special Edition Fountain Pen-2

Fountain Pen Comparison Set 2-1

(L to R) 1. Pelikan Go! 2. Sheaffer PFM II 3. Parker Vacumatic OS 4. Aurora 88 5. Zebra V-301 6. Omas Arte Italiana Art Déco 7. Montegrappa Memoria 8. Sheaffer Snorkel 9. Omas 360 10. Pelikan M805 11. Pelikan M200 12. Giuliano Mazzuoli Officina 13. Montblanc Brahms 14. Omas Arco Milord 15. Lamy Studio 16. Parker 51 17. Pilot Vanishing Point 18. Namiki Capless 19. Lamy 2000 20. Edison Extended Pearl

Fountain Pen Comparison Set 2-2
Fountain Pen Comparison Set 2-3

This pen was purchased for review.

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  • Will Platt

    great hands on! i love the looks of this pen…exept for the lower cap band. it doesn’t seem to bad for a piston filling MB either. not that i would ever be able to spend that sort of money though…

  • Don

    I tried this pen..I have a Dark Lord Sith of fountain pens that hangs out at Paradise Pen with me once in a while and she whipped this out…told me she tried about 4 of them and this had the best nib. It was a medium and I was nervous for the medium nibs I have tried in the past from Montblanc were “Meh” at best. holy god was I wrong…This thing had a nib that could sing let alone play the piano. It was perfect.Perfect Flow, Perfect smoothness, perfect weight, perfect balance and perfect looks to me. To bad I lost my job a few months ago UGH! A pen for the peasantry this is not. Buyer beware you have to try before you buy their quality control is still a bit “meh” on some levels.

  • David

    Sounds like the cap sleeve is loose on this pen. I would never buy a modern Mont Blanc pen without seeing and inspecting it closely in person. Quality control is hit and miss with MB these days. There’s’ no excuse for this given what they’re asking for their products.

    • Dan Smith

      Cap sleeve? You’ll have to be more specific.