“Meisterstück” was first applied to Montblanc’s pens in 1924, and has since been applied to their flagship models– the 1 in the first position of the model number meant, when the numbers really had meaning, top of the line models.
The 149 did not appear until 1952, four years after the other 14X models. All Meisterstücks had received a make-over in 1948, adopting a more modern profile with rounded ends. The 149 was in essence an oversize version of the breed, and like most oversize models is aimed less at the large-handed than it is the deep-pocketed. There have been some changes in the details of the pens over the years, but externally there is very little difference between the earliest models and the latest.
The size of the model has actually grown since its introduction; the earliest models were substantially smaller than the current breed. There was an intermediate size, introduced about 1959, which appears to have driven a change of filler mechanism. The first 149s used a two-stage telescoping piston, which allowed for a greater ink capacity by reducing the amount of barrel given over to the filler. When the already-large 149 got even bigger, according to some sources this led to a column of ink heavier than the feed could support and Montblanc gave up on the complex filler, switching back to the single-stage type still in use. Given the existence of eyedropper pens of enormous capacity which still manage to keep their ink up, this story has to be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, a smaller reservoir does lead to less chance of dribbling when close to empty so over-great capacity may still lie behind the change of mechanism.
There are fairly regular reports of these pens being sent out into the world with “baby-bottom” problems affecting their writing. That aside, they are extremely nice pens to write with. One also hears that the modern resin is relatively brittle, so care must be taken not to drop this pen– although one would think that dropping something so expensive would be avoided anyway. Subjectively, I remain unconvinced that it’s a nice enough pen to command such a price, but there are many who feel that it is.
Production Run: 1952 to present. Those wishing to pin down the age of a 149 might have a look at this rather good article comparing various ages.
Cost When New: $935 MSRP in 2014.
Size: 14.7 cm long capped, 16.6 cm posted, 13.6 cm uncapped. These measurements reflect the current production.
Point: Currently 18K gold; I suspect the earlier 14K was dropped in 1992 when the company went aggressively up-market, but this statement has no foundation.
Body: Celluloid until c. 1960, resin thereafter.
Filler: Piston, capacity approx. 1.7 ml. This reflects the modern single-stage piston.
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.