When you are the #1 selling maker of luxury pens, everyone will be chasing your brand, trying to emulate it. That is why the market is flooded with myriad knock-off Mont Blanc pens.
We’ve seen our share of them. They range in quality from obviously fake to nearly identical to the real thing. In fact, some fakes are so good, only Mont Blanc can tell the difference, which is why the company has an authentication service.
However, with a little research and careful observation, you can suss out the bulk of the fakes while saving a fortune on authentication fees.
The most common modelsÂ in the Mont Blanc line up are known as Classiques and LeGrands (146 fountain pen), as well as the oversized fountain pen known as the 149. Mont Blanc makes the bulk of these pens from what they call a “precious resin,” sterling silver and plated and solid gold. The precious resinÂ pens are trimmed in gold plate or platinum plate.
There are 3 obvious details to search for when you look at a Mont Blanc pen made of precious resin. Since 1991, Mont Blanc has included a tiny serial number on the clip band of its pens. Only the very best fakes include a serial number, and that only started in more recent years. The vast majority of fakes leave out the serial number. It doesn’t help, that Mont Blanc actually reuses some of its serial numbers and didn’t keep the best records of who got which serial number and where the serial numbers were sent.
Another detail to look for on authentic Mont Blanc writing instruments is the word “Pix” written under the clip. It is nearly impossible to get a good photo of that with our lighting rig. However, starting around 1997, Mont Blanc began including that detail to help customers authenticate its pens. Of course, in recent years, the very best of the Mont Blanc replica makers have started including that feature. Yet, the vast majority of the fakes leave it out.
Lastly, among the black pens, the precious resin has several special give aways to its authenticity. First, the black pens are not metal with a black paint job or lacquer. The precious resin is actually a very brittle plastic. Although it looks black, it is really a very deep wine red. If you hold it up to a very bright light source that won’t do any eye damage, you can see a deep red glow around the edge of the pen, much like this more easily seen red edge of this glass of wine. (My favorite blog homework assignment. I mean, I couldn’t let that glass go to waste.) This is generally the most difficult authentication test to perform, as you really need to catch the light just right…and not go blind in the process. Most fakes just use a normal black plastic or a metal barrel painted black.
Rollerball pens have an additional feature that helps you authenticate them: refills. Mont Blanc rollerball refills are specially threaded and screw into the barrel. Even some of the best fakes that we’ve seen, fail on the refill. The fakes might take a standard plug-in Schmidt-style 888 refill. The Mont Blanc Starwalker rollerball pen in the photo was one of the best fakes we had ever seen. It even came with a screw-in refill that said Mont Blanc, BUT it would not take a genuine MB rollerball refill. The guy who gave it to me after we couldn’t find a refill to fit it confessed he got it in China for only $25 and thought it was too good to be true. At least he wasn’t out a full retail price! That was about 11 years ago when we got it. Back then the crystal topper was clear, but now it also is discoloring, which the real ones won’t do.
Although boxes are easily found on eBay and other places, as a rule of thumb, if you see a pen being sold in its original box, then you are more likely to be dealing with the real thing. So many of the fakes don’t come with any boxes. Also be sure to check with the dealer. The well known pen vendors out there can be trusted to stock the authentic secondhand pens. However, you really might want to check the penÂ closely if you’re buying from someone at a flea market who knows nothing about pens or from a seller on an auction site that has lots of bad reviews or no reviews.
For pre-1990s Mont Blanc pens, there are myriad other ways to date and authenticate them. However, we shall save that for a future post.
Just found out I purchased a fake 145 platinum Classique from Macys.com in May 2020. Discovered the fake when I took my skipping fine nib pen to a Montblanc Boutique to be sent to the MB repair station in Texas. Repairs said it is a fake. Now I have to take up this issue with Macy’s.
Wow! That’s really rare to get a fake from a national retailer. I wonder if the employee slipped it in to make a fast buck…or if their buyer thought they were ordering the genuine article from China or something. Thanks for sharing. Buyers, beware.
Maybe someone asked to look at the pen then played a shell game with Macys by putting the fake one back and taking the real one home. I heard of that happening with fake watches.
Hey, I’ve got one of those just like the first pic in this article (LOL!). That one was easy to determine. However, I have another “Montblanc” that I’m not so sure about. I suspect it might be fake, but…. It was my brother-in-law’s. If you give me an email, I can send pics for you to look at. Just fixed the twist mechanism, but the cap pushes off under the tension of the spring, or when you press the point down. Is the rubber gasket/flange thing the only thing that holds the cap in place? Does it need just a tighter friction fit or am I missing something?
Howdy! Please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to help. Thanks!
Ordered a White Tribute Rollerball from Mercari. Already have white ceramic with platinum that i bought in Geneva. This one arrived and at first glance it was pretty good but then everything wasnt right…. Cap star shape and dome shape and height, barrel weights, internal mechanism, fonts of all etchings, and the worst bit was the nib laser etching which looked like a kid had done it. oh well. Reported to Mercari and held the seller accountable!
Wow! It is amazing what people try to get away with. Good luck with Mercari.
I just bought what seems to be a pre 1990 mont blanc 144 rollerball bordeaux and does not have a serial number. How do I know if it is real? I bout from a store that sells fountainpens. The fountain pen recycler in MN. i can email you pictures if that would help. I would just like to know if I need to return this.
Hi Pat, These can be difficult to authenticate. First, I have not heard any negative things about that vendor. Second, if you have an authentic MB rollerball refill, insert it into the pen. Early fakes, especially, wouldn’t take MB refills. Lastly, how well does the logo fit into the cap topper? Fakes are often painted on our poorly fitted inserts. As you sent me photos of the complete box and papers, those all look correct for that pen. Happy writing!
Good afternoon I have been reading your article about take Kong blank pens . The pen I have had a cereal number around the top of the lid which is XY2006108 then metal germany the refill screws in and has volleyball refill mint blank pix and on the bottom of the pen it’s says montblanc-meistertuck
I just picked up a 149 from a Montblanc boutique in Tampa …
Things to note:
under the clip now says:
Made In Germany: Metal
Germany on the SN band is no longer there
The Cap Band now says Montblanc Meisterstuck No 129 (no pix)
The stod no longer has an oval around it on the nib.
Flashlight cap test passed.
I can send pictures. I love the pen but was not expecting all the changes.
Did the cap band say 129 or 149? I’d be concerned if a 149 said 129. No Pix under the clip? Interesting. I know they change things from time to time to throw off the counterfeiters, but “Pix” seemed to be a stalwart fixture. Glad you’re loving it! That’s the most important part of any pen.
My mistake it said 149, not 129. Massive typo there.
Yes, I am enjoying the pen a lot. Not as smooth as my Pelikan but it is a very nice pen.
When deciding to purchase the pen, I wanted to go pre-owned but I read so many counterfeit stories that it forced me to go retail. It is more than I wanted to spend but it bought me a piece of mind. BUT, it has opened the door to wanting to get the different versions of 149’s. But that will be another story for another day LOL
I bought a 162 LeGrand Rollerball. I have a serial number on the clip ring but no ‘Germany’. Under the clip, clearly engraved are “Made in Germany” and under that “METAL”
no sign of ‘PIX’ on the clip.
It sounds suspect.
Thank you for this post, and your generosity with your time and expertise. I know nothing about the Montblanc brand, but over twenty years ago I inherited what appeared to be a Meisterstuck. I tucked it in a jar of pens on my desk and promptly forgot about it until today. I looked at it, got curious, and Google led me to you. If I read this correctly, you are saying that no Montblanc of any description (including the Meisterstuck) ever came with a coated metal barrel? If so, I can at least thank my stars I didn’t buy the thing, and laugh at the idea of my late mentor (who was certainly wealthy enough to buy a genuine MB) toting around a knock-off.
If it has a brass foundation, it definitely isn’t MB.
My better half purchased a Mont Blanc classique 2nd hand off the internet for me as a prezzie. Looks quite good, has pix under clip which has number on it and the wording is well defined with pix on metal band. It appears to weigh just over 23g like the original. My only concern is the nib end of the pen feels very light and plastic when I have unscrewed it. Is resin more heavy. Is there anyway to test if resin as I could still send back if it is just a good fake. Thanks for your help much appreciated.
You have a very nice better half. These pens are very light. I’d be more concerned if it was heavy. Their “precious resin” really is just plastic with a fancy name. Happy writing!
Hi a great site, I am doing some research on my Father in Laws resin fountai Pen. It has Mont Blanc Masterpiece around the Cap band – no number on the clip ring and XX under the clip.The nib has Mont Blanc and the emblem with 4810 in large numbering and 140 and a smaller number 585 on it. It writes lovely it is not a loss if it is a fake but would be lovely to know your views.
Are you sure that is 140 and not 14C or 14k? Does it say “Masterpiece” or “Meisterstuck”? If it says Meisterstuck and is 14c or k, it is probably the real deal.
Hi Nathaniel Thank you for getting back to me, I have double checked and it defintely says around the cap band MONT BLANC-MASTERPIECE in capitals. However you are right i manage to borrow a loop and it is 14C. Thank you
Can you recommend a specific light to use for this test? I’ve tried a couple flashlights on known genuine pens with no red showing at all, but I don’t know if the light was strong enough. Thank you.
“The precious resin is actually a very brittle plastic. Although it looks black, it is really a very deep wine red. If you hold it up to a very bright light source that wonâ€™t do any eye damage, you can see a deep red glow around the edge of the pen”
Hi Chuck, Great question. It can be really difficult to get the lighting just right. It is most easily seen in direct sunlight. Just make sure not to look directly into the sun.
My father purchased some fountain pens from the writers series. They have never been used, but some of them are starting to tarnish or patina. Is that normal or could they be fake?
Hi Robin, No worries. That is very common, especially with the silver accents on the pens, but even gold will tarnish with time. The safest way to clean them up is with a silver-polishing cloth. Thanks for reading and writing to us!
I just purchased a Mont Blanc 144 burgandy from a well known local antique gallery. I think it’s real. I noticed the clip hasn’t any Mont Blanc writing on it. I didn’t notice the clip was engraved. This will be a gift so, I want to buy a new clip for it.
Thank you for your help.
Hi Patty, The clip ought to have some sort of marking that it was made in Germany. Otherwise, if it is an older model, it might not have any other markings on it. New clips are a little tricky to get. MB doesn’t sell parts to individuals or pen dealers like me. Your best best is to look on eBay for a spare clip for sale. Best of luck, and thanks for writing to us, Nathaniel