For those who aren’t fans of fine writing instruments, the idea of a €1.5 million (S$2.4 million) pen might seem somewhat incomprehensible. This is clearly not the case, however, for some of Montblanc’s biggest VIP clients.
Last month, nearly 200 global VIP customers and media — many of whom had been specially flown in — attended the brand’s latest High Artistry writing instrument collection at a gala dinner at Fullerton Bay Hotel. The collection pays tribute to Carthaginian general and famed military strategist Hannibal Barca. Over dinner, we were told that several customers had already expressed their interest in purchasing the two unique pieces forming the apex of the range. Each has a price tag of €1.5 million. The range also includes other, more accessible, limited-edition pieces, available in quantities of five, ten and 86.
Explaining why Hannibal was chosen as the focus of Montblanc’s latest High Artistry collection, the brand’s executive VP of marketing Jens Henning Koch shared: “He’s a great figure who resisted and fought the Roman Empire with a much smaller army. He once said, ‘I will either find a way, or make one.’ This attitude is still very relevant in today’s world.”
The High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 1 comes in two unique editions: One is rendered in champagne gold and white diamonds; while the one shown here features white gold and diamonds, and blue sapphires. Here’s what else goes into this seven-digit writing instrument.
1) Brilliant clip: Our favourite part of this pen is its elephant-shaped clip. It’s a nod to how Hannibal took the Roman army by surprise during the second Punic war by leading his party – which included a herd of war elephants – across the Alps. All the diamonds on the clip and elephant head are individually cut and set by hand. While we would not carry around either of these two unique editions in our shirt pocket, the eventual owner/s of these two unique editions might be pleased to know that the clip was specially developed to ensure function was not compromised by form.
2) Etched tribute: The forepart of this writing instrument features an engraving of Hannibal’s route from Carthage to Rome – a reminder of his unorthodox and brilliant strategies, which are apparently still taught at the US Military Academy at West Point today.
3) Fine point: The solid-gold nib features a special design depicting the Carthaginian deity Baal’Hammon. Add two brilliant-cut diamonds to the mix, and it all makes for a nib we wouldn’t want to risk getting ink on.
4) Crowning glory: A 6.03-carat flawless diamond sits at the top, and even its setting is noteworthy – it sits prettily within a stone-holding table further accented with diamonds. With such a brilliant crowning glory, a boring flat base would not have sufficed. A Ceylon blue sapphire cabochon covers the base, completing a writing instrument that essentially doubles as a piece of high jewellery.