Comparing six relatively large nib wide body pens
I thought it might be fun to compare six quite different pens that have large nibs. The pens are the iconic Montblanc 149, the Montblanc Alexander Dumas which is based on the Montblanc 139 which was the predecessor of the 149, The Montegrappa Extra 1930, Delta's Dolcevita Oversize, the Sheaffer Legacy family of pens that in turn were based on Sheaffer's PFM from the late 50s and early 60s and the Pelikan 1050.
So to get the Boring Details out of the way before the fun, without further ado here are ...
The Boring Details
And the six pens we will look at:
The first pen we will look at is the iconic Montblanc 149. Too often when big pens are mentioned it is the Montblanc 149 that is listed first, and it is a nice pen; but even more boring than the boring details. It doesn't have any real weak points, it holds lots of ink, works well and reliably, has good manufacturer's support, is readily recognized and either appreciated or despised. But there is simply nothing there to fire the imagination, kinda like that Little Black Dress on a manikin.
The one I'm using in this review is an early resin model with a nice, soft 14C nib.
The 149 is one of the lighter pens in the comparison, is a piston filler with a large inkview window and so far I've never found an ink that it refuses to use.
The next pen, while certainly not a peacock, definitely is a showoff. It is the Montblanc Alexander Dumas (the père) and is among the shortest of the group. It is based on the Montblanc 139 which came before the 149 and is a piston filler. The nib is an 18K medium nail but smooth, wet and responsive, a foil instead of a broadsword.
The body material appears to be inset Mother of Pearl but may well be a fine resin with panels set off by inlaid gold lines. The cap and piston knob are very dark brown resin about the color of grenadilla with the authors signature on the cap.
The nib is decorated with a fleur de lis and is the same size as on the 149.
The Montegrappa Extra or Extra 1930 is without a doubt Italian. It's loosely based on a design from the 1930s and is celluloid and Sterling silver. The Extra was introduced in 1999 and is the same size as the later Extra 1930 that was reintroduced in 2005. Other than the color and packaging differences the biggest change was that the historic body imprint of the mountain was dropped when reissued.
The celluloids look deep enough to drown in and the balance and performance are far more Alfa Duetto than Mercedes sedan. But it is here that the Italian nature shows, a fast responsive beautiful piston pen that takes a Brazillion turns to cap or uncap.
The other Italian at the table is the Delta Dolcevita Oversize. Delta is a new company without the pedigree of the others but their attention to detail is certainly no less than any of the others. It is short when capped and so fits in shirt pockets easily (but not in any of the dedicated pen slots in my shirts) but tied as the longest when posted and the heaviest in the group.
The cap band is Sterling Silver and the nib is a luscious wet stub that is very unforgiving about being kept on the paper. Rotate the nib so it is not flat on the surface and it simply stops writing. Keep the wheels on the road though and it is an absolute joy to use and gives great shading with the right ink.
The pen is a Cartridge/Converter using standard international cartridges and a threaded converter and also incorporates an o-ring should someone wish to use it as an eye-dropper.
Next is the Sheaffer Legacy family which are based on the late 50's through 60's PFM (Pen for Men). While the original was Sheaffers snorkel filling system, the Legacy series are cartridge/converter pens. The one included in this group is a Jim Gaston Cobalt Blue limited edition of just 300 pens.
All of the Legacy family use the superb Sheaffer 18K inlaid nib and all that I have tried have been wet, reliable, smooth and the stubs the finest stubs of any pens I've tried.
The Legacy family consists of three variations, the first simply called Legacy has a faceted endcap and using the Sheaffer Touchdown filling system. The touchdown sac in this case is removable so that Sheaffer cartridges can also be used or a Sheaffer squeeze converter substituted should it need repairs. The Legacy 2 is similar except that the endcap is a smooth conic cylinder. The most recent iteration is the Legacy Heritage that dropped the touchdown mechanism and simply uses cartridges or any of the standard size Sheaffer converters.
The final pen considered is the Pelikan 1050 which was introduced in 1998 and discontinued just one year later. It is basically a Pelikan 1000, their largest pen with a Sterling silver vermeil cap. It's among the longest of all six pens capped, posted and just the body and the second heaviest. The nib is a springy 18C fine.
The pen has one annoying habit which really limits its pocket time. The cap tends to loosen in your pocket and more than once I pulled just the cap out with pen, nib up sitting in my shirt.
So which of them get more than their fair share of pocket time?
The Sheaffer Legacy family (especially the ones with the FT Madison stubs) probably get the most followed by the Delta Dolcevita. My preferred filling system is C/C so the Delta shines there. Next is likely the Montegrappa Extra or 1930 Extra but not if I will be capping or uncapping a lot.
The Montblanc Dumas is likely to get some pocket time just because it's so purtty. The 149 and Pelikan 1050 almost never get to go out and play.