Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Mont Blanc Pens

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.

At a quick glance this looks like an authentic sterling silver Mont Blanc Classique, but MB never paints its logo on the pen like this fake has.

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 models 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 resin pens are trimmed in gold plate or platinum plate.

 

Look closely at the gold-plated clip band of the cap to see a finely machine engraved serial number.

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.

Black “precious resin” on a Mont Blanc is really a wine-red plastic when you hold it up against a really bright light source, as we did with this glass of wine.

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.

 

This Mont Blanc Starwalker rollerball pen fake nearly had us convinced until we couldn’t fit an authentic MB refill in it.

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 pen 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.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Mont Blanc Pens

  1. Robert J Maziarski

    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.

    Reply
    1. Nathaniel Cerf Post author

      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.

      Reply
  2. Michael F Dion

    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?

    Reply
  3. Al J

    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!

    Reply
  4. pat patsy

    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.

    Reply
    1. Nathaniel Cerf Post author

      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!

      Reply

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