A super-quick (ha!) version of This or That – two Montblanc Fountain Pens – the fancy newish Heritage 1912 versus the classic and much-loved retractable nib Boheme.
But first – did you see that I’m giving away the new Lamy Safari in Neon Coral? Enter here.
On to This or That . . .
These are each great pens that write really well. I had the Heritage inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun from this review and inked the Boheme with Montblanc Oyster Grey in anticipation of writing this post. I’m not showing any writing samples today – suffice it say that the writing experience is pretty terrific with both pens.
Other than the great brand, precious resin, and amazing writing, the greatest similarity between the two pens is the retractable nib.
The biggest differences are . . .
Fill System The Boheme will only accept cartridges (standard short). The Heritage has a unique piston filling system. Cartridges are convenient, for sure – just pop one in and go (well, after waiting a few minutes or more for the ink to work its way through the pen’s capillary system). There are approximately a zillion more colors of bottled ink available than cartridges. Also, fill with a piston and you’re ready to start writing immediately.
Posting the Cap The Boheme is designed to be posted – to advance the nib, simply screw the cap on to the end of the pen – it’s perfect, really. There is no way for the cap to work its way loose with normal use. The Heritage, on the other hand, is not meant to be posted – annnnnd despite the pictures on the MB website (this kills me, in case you’re wondering), it cannot be properly posted. This could be a deal-breaker for some people.
Size Capped, the Boheme is smaller – practically pocket-sized. Uncapped, the Boheme is still smaller. However, posted, the sizes are comparable. With each pen in the ready-to-write position, the Boheme is around 1/2 inch longer than the Heritage.
Grip The Boheme (shown above) features a very slightly flared grip. I find it very comfortable to hold. The Heritage (below) is quite smooth. I also find it very comfortable. I can see that some people would have an issue with the Heritage. For example, if you have especially (ahem) moist hands, maybe your grip would be too slippery to be an enjoyable writing experience?
Clean-Up The Boheme can be a bit of a pain to clean. Do you want to run water through the pen and over the working parts of the retractable nib? I didn’t think so. Given that, your options are to set up an elaborate cleaning scheme which involves a cleaned-out cartridge (long) and needle/syringe or find some cleaning cartridges (I’m not even sure these are still around?). (Maybe there’s another option?)
While I’ve not yet cleaned the Heritage (not even before I inked it because I’m pentulant like that), I imagine it will work like any other piston fill pen.
Let’s talk about money . . . Right now on the MB website, Bohemes range from $690 – $1645. The Heritage is $1,110. Of course, you can probably find a better deal for each on eBay – and the very good news is that the retractable nib pens are (to my knowledge) not counterfeited.
Right now, I’m a huge fan of the Montblanc Heritage 1912. I’ve mentioned to more than one person that I think it’s my favorite pen – maybe even my grail pen. I love it that much. Having said that, I also love my Boheme collection.
As each pen is a terrific writer, it’s really going to come down to personal preference. I’ve outlined the things that I think could make or break a decision. Now, you tell me – This or That? Which would you choose?