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Maker: Montblanc

In 1959, Montblanc revised its entire production, doing away with essentially all previous models apart from the 149.  The new range was identified by two rather than three digits, with the first indicating trim and the second… usually size, with 4 showing a larger pen and 2 a smaller.

The 32 was in the “popular price range,” as described my Montblanc themselves.  I have seen this model described as a “student pen” but that would definitely be a post-secondary student; it is double the price of a Parker 45 of the same age, and very nearly as expensive as a Sheaffer Imperial IV.

The inset points of these pens were rather smaller than all the other contemporary Montblancs, and the body was slightly less sleek thanks to the threads on the ink window– all the other pens of this family had slip-on caps. The threads are not universal, and probably vary over time, as I have seen some examples which are rigged with slip-caps too.  In fact, some 32s also had the larger semi-hooded “butterfly” points, which quite muddies the distinction between them and the 22.  There don’t appear to be any differences in the feed or filling system between the 32 and more exalted models.

In addition to having nine different points available, the 32 also had several variations.  The 32D and 32 Steno were basically just two other point options, but the nature of the points– very stiff in the former, for penetrating carbon forms, and rather loose on the latter– meant that the mounting was different, and rather more point was visible externally. A metal-capped version was called the 32S.  The 32P was a cartridge-filler version, and if I’m interpreting some unclear pictures correctly it lacked an ink-window.  There was also a long-tailed desk version called the 232.  I will also mention the 31, which was the 32 with a plated steel point rather than a gold one; it is very difficult to tell the difference between them if you’re not close enough to see the gold content indication on the 32’s point.

In the hand, the 32 is very like a lot of contemporary fountain pens.  It is light, and it’s slender taper gives it excellent balance.  It is, indeed, rather hard to pick one out of a line-up involving a plastic-capped Parker 45, a later Lamy 27, and a Pelikan MK10; I’m not suggesting anyone was copying anyone else, just that the time had a specific look.  The points are what one would expect in a modern high-end pen, smooth and with spring rather than flex.  There is sufficient give in them to allow for some line variation, but I would urge against working that too hard.  Apart from the risk of damaging the point, plastics of the 1960s are sometimes given to cracking.

Production Run: 1959 – c. 1968

Cost When New: $11.00 on an undated US price list which I suspect from being in the latter part of the model’s run (for modern value, try this calculator).

Size: 13.0 cm long capped, 14.0 cm posted, 11.7 cm uncapped.

Point: 14k gold in the 34 and 32, plated steel in the 31

Body: Plastic (no mention, at least in the 1962 catalogue, of “precious resin”).

Filler: Piston, capacity approx. 1.2 ml.

Montblanc 32 in green. The clip is on its way to brassing in this example; it was living in Japan before it came to me, and I’ve noticed the plating on hardware doesn’t like warm, damp environments.


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