When I first saw the Montblanc Rouge et Noir Metamorphosis pens, I was confused by the fact they featured a spider. I was thinking of Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” in which is main character Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to discover he is a cockroach. It took my good friend Tobias to remind me of Ovid’s tale by the same name in Greek Mythology, in which a woman named Arachnae does not give Athena–the goddess of wisdom, war and crafts–enough credit for being as talented a weaver as herself.
Athena challenges Arachnae to a weaving duel. Arachnae wins with a tapestry showcasing the offensive behavior of the gods, which sends Athena into a rage. Athena shreds the offending tapestry and turns Arachnae into a spider and eternal weaver. Hence our modern scientific term for spiders being arachnids.
The modern, limited Montblanc pens are truly stunning pens that pay tribute to that story as well as some early designs of Montblanc pens in the 1920s. Unsurprisingly, fakers jumped on that design just as quickly as a spider jumps on a fly in its web.
From a cursory look, both the genuine article and the fake look very similar. We do not have the sterling silver spider web version of the original to show, but we do have the fake. Montblanc made a plain black version like the one we have, a plain orange version and a black with silver spider web version. To the best of our knowledge, Montblanc DID NOT make an orange spider web version. Furthermore, the original silver web is more like a filigree. You can tell on the fake that the orange is painted on to the steel pen with a raised webbing.
The actual spider logo on the fake is very convincing, but when you look closely at it, you can see by its slight lack of detail that it is made from a casting of the original.
Our authentic fountain pen has two other features that the fake version in fountain pen often do not have. The authentic pens have a spider etched into the nib, while the fakes with a steel nib often have a more traditional “4810” nib design. Also, the real FP has a piston filler, not a converter, as many of the fakes do.
Many of the real Montblanc editions, but not all, also have ruby eyes in the spider.
With any luck, these pointers will help keep you out of some fraudster’s web of overpriced fake Montblanc pens.