Imagine if you will for a moment a Rolex with a case made from real tobacco leaves. Seems crazy, right? And yet this is exactly what Montblanc – often referred to as Rolex’s alter ego in the pen world – has done. Called the Figurado Creation Privée, this new pen takes the concept of customisation to a whole new level.
The Figurado Creation Privée
Although in recent times Montblanc has been generating a lot of buzz for its new collection of high-end watches, the brand name has always been and will always be synonymous with high end writing instruments. In fact it’s no exaggeration to say that Montblanc is known the world over from Schanzen (District of Hamburg home to Montblanc) to Shenzhen (China) as the luxury pen brand.
It’s not surprising than that Montblanc has risen to become the master of Limited Editions. Though not the very first brand to introduce idea, it was and continues to be the brand that boldly took the concept where no pen has been before, setting aflutter the hearts of many a collector along the way.
The Figurado Creation Privée fountain pen is the end result of a unique collaboration between Montblanc and the pen’s owner and – as you might have guessed – it is a one of a kind.
The Figurado is the expression of a special relationship between one person (undoubtedly rich and eccentric), cigars and pens. This ménage à trois is translated into a very original writing instrument, shaped as a cigar and covered in real tobacco leaves. New techniques had to be imported from other fields to allow the treatment of the organic leaves to prevent them from degrading.
Through a process akin to the transformation of raw hide into durable leather the tobacco leaves are masterfully wrapped around the metal body and covered with a fine cellulose film. Furthermore the leaves are coated with multiple lacquer layers. Basically the Figurado has been embalmed Pharaoh style (although its internal organs are still all in place and intact).
The beauty of the execution is that the leaves have not been covered under such a thick layer of lacquer that the surface becomes perfectly smooth and glass like. The layers are so thin that the leaves maintain their cracks and irregular surface. In this way the direct contact with the leaves is maintained. Hence the spirit of the cigar is carefully protected.
The clip of the pen is designed like a hollow tobacco leaf and placed not on the cap but on the barrel, a feat I am sure was particularly difficult to achieve given its conical cap shape. If you know your pens you’ll know that this arrangement is specific to ‘vanishing nib’ type pens. And indeed this is a ‘vanishing nib’ pen. The top section of the barrel is twisted to allow the nib to retract inside the pen.
Now of course the whole point of such a system is to do away with the cap but as you can see the Figurado also has a cap. That’s because it is inspired by the Heritage 1912 model. Similarly the internal mechanism is inspired by the same Heritage 1912 model. The twisting knob at the top can be pulled first and twisted second to engage the ink filling mechanism.
The metal trims of the pen are made in solid 18k white gold. The brilliantly polished metal contrasts splendidly with the natural grain and matte finish of the tobacco leaf. On the gripping area the signature of the owner is etched. A writing instrument with a signature on it. There is no place to escape the long reach of writing.
The nib is engraved with the upper body of the owner. An enigmatic middle aged figure, with a flamboyant hair style, sporting a luxury watch and of course a cigar in his hand. Difficult to say whom he might be. Montblanc wouldn’t tell us as they are under a strict confidentiality agreement. Can you recognise him?
The gleaming metal is encrusted with matching tourmaline stones and a diamond at the base of the cap. The cap strangely looks like a hat and it has a Montblanc-shaped-diamond placed above the rim on the custom designed banderol.
The Figurado pen is delivered in a real working humidor, to protect the organic nature of the foliage together with a raft of fine accessories. A leather case for a real cigar and the pen, a Dunhill lighter covered ironically in tobacco leaves too, cutter and ashtray. (no doubt Limoges china).
A beautifully eccentric and imaginative piece of luxury the Figurado pen truly captures the essence of bespoke service. What other pen brand could realise such a project? With the resources and knowledge required I believe only Montblanc.
As far as price goes we can only guess. We are told by Montblanc that all bespoke pieces start at a cool 250,000 euros and from there, the only way is up!
Iunal Giumali is the founder and editor of the very successful pen blog Penficionado.com and owner of The Pen Gallery. His blog is considered one of the top resources for writing instruments news and reviews on the net. With a writing style that is original and engaging his main goal is to share his passion and unfold the mysteries of mechanical luxuries.