Due to the prestige of the Montblanc range of luxury fountain pens we see a huge number of questions being asked about Montblanc pens month in month out. Although we have already covered some of the common questions in previous articles, we have noticed a number of people reaching out for a Montblanc 144 vs 145 comparison article so we have decided to make this the focus of today’s article.
We are hoping that we will be able to fine some light on the two pens and help our readers workout the best option for them moving forward to help you choose the perfect fountain pen for you. Although we feel that the Montblanc 145 will be the default option for most people due to it being much easier to source these days as the 144 has had its lines discontinued and are becoming harder and harder to source.
Although the Montblanc 144 is a great pen, especially the older variants of it, they are often snapped up as soon as one becomes available by fountain pen collectors. The older variants of the Montblanc 144 usually fetch a high premium too due to being so rare and due to the high price tag of Montblanc fountain pens, the additional premium on top of their standard price usually puts the older 144’s out of budget for someone looking for a every day pen rather than a collectors item.
As usual, we have added our comparison table below going over the core features for both featured pens with a short breakdown of our recommendation. Below our comparison table, we have our more detailed breakdown of each of the featured pens to try and help offer our readers the most information as possible to ensure they are making the correct choice when choosing the pen for them.
Montblanc 144 Vs 145 Head To Head
As you can see from our comparison table above, the Montblanc 145 is our primary recommendation to our readers as it is much easier to source and can be cheaper than the Montblanc 144 although both models are excellent pens. The vast similarities between the 145 and 144 usually mean that you should think more about the budget and aesthetics of the pen as they both perform in a very similar manner and offer almost identical writing experiences.
Please note that we have chosen the most common variants of each model of fountain pen for our comparison table above. When it comes to the Montblanc 144, there are variants of the pen made prior to 1960 that come with a piston filler system rather than using a cartridge converter but these are very rare to find these days and can be very expensive.
There are also some older variants of the 144 that come with an 18 carat gold nib rather than a 14 carat nib but again, these are rare and fountain pen collectors often pay a heft premium for them. Although extremely rare, there are also some very old Montblan 144s that have the Iridium barrel rather than the resin-based barrel of the modern pens but these are usually sold directly between collectors rather than being put up for sale to the public.
As the more modern Montblanc 144 and all Montblanc 145s come with a cartridge convertor system, any of our readers who prefer to use a piston filler with their fountain pens may be better off going with the Montblanc 146 due to it coming with a piston filler as standard. Keep in mind though, the Montblanc 146 is usually more expensive than the 144 and 145 so you will have to factor in your available budget too.
Montblanc 145 Review
Moving onto our in-depth reviews of the two featured pens and starting with our primary recommendation for our readers, the Montblanc 145. With the 145 following on from the 144 line, Montblanc have taken the time to improve on many of the weaknesses and points of feedback from the community for the Montblanc 144 to try and improve on them as best they can.
Although they have done a decent job of improving the 145, its target market and price range does limit what they are able to do with the pen but in our opinion, one of its largest drawbacks is the lack of a piston filler variant of the pen. Even if they had the standard 145 and then a Montblanc 145pf at a higher price point, we feel that it would have done a better job of solidifying the pens position in the market.
Instead of this being an option though, you have to go with the Montblanc 146 if you want to stick with the Montblanc brand to have your fountain pen have a piston filler. We feel that this has been an issue as the Pelikan m800 and Pelikan m600 come with a piston filler system as standard as well as a lower price tag while offering similar performance to their Montblanc variants.
The Montblanc 145 Nib
The Montblanc 145 comes with an excellent quality nib that is made from 14 carat gold as standard offering a great amount of flex and spring in the nib when writing with it. The gold content of the nib helps to improve your writing experience with the pen as well as help to keep the pen as true to your hand movements as possible when compared to a stainless steel nib.
The pen is available with the standard nib sizes of extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad covering the bases for the majority of people looking for a luxury fountain pen. That said though, although the market share is much smaller than the standard nib sizes, we do feel that the lack of a double broad or oblique nib option is also holding the 145 back from some of its competitors from brands such as Pelikan, Parker, Lamy, and Pilot.
On the flipside of this though, owning any Montblanc fountain pen is more about the prestige of the brand and that is why people are willing to pay the premiums for the pen over something like the Pelikan m600 that can offer similar levels of performance for a lower price tag. As Montblanc is more about luxury, they tend to cater for the larger market shares rather than the smaller, more niche audiences that may use a double broad or oblique nib.
As Montblanc are a European pen brand, they conform to the standard western sizes for pens giving you an easy way to move over to the Montblanc 145 from other western pens sticking to the nib size that you usually use with another brand. That said though, if you are used to using an Asian brand such as Pilot then please be sure to upsize your nib when moving over to the Montblanc 145 as Asian nibs do tend to be on the smaller size.
For example, if you currently use a Pilot 95 with a medium sizes nib and like the font size when writing, it may be better to go with a Montblanc 145 that has a fine nib size to get a similar font. Keep in mind, this only needs to be done if you are used to using an Asian fountain pen brand, if you currently use a western fountain pen brand you can usually make a direct switch and go from a medium nib to a medium nib with little to no difference.
Although the Montblanc 145 is on the wetter side of writers, it is no where near as wet as some competing pens on the market and in our opinion, is closer to being a standard writer than a wet writer. We would expect the vast majority of our readers who opt to use a Montblanc to be choosing to write on 120 GSM paper or better when using the pen for the best possible writing experience too preventing the wetter nib from being an issue.
The quality of Montblanc and the time and effort the put into engineering their pens really does show when it comes to the writing experience as the nib of the 145 has minimal issues even when you are actually trying to catch it out and cause scratch, bleed, or feathering. That said though, if you are using thin, 60 GSM or lower paper then you will get a little ghosting from the Montblanc 145 but there are rarely issues with feathering, bleed, or scratching.
The Barrel Of The Montblanc 145
Although all Montblanc fountain pens used to have a barrel made up of Iridium, the sky rocketing costs of Iridium over the years as well as the improvements in producing and refining resin as lead many luxury fountain pen brands to switch from Iridium to high-quality resin. Although some of the competing brands on the market do have some excellent quality resin, we do feel that Montblanc do have the best resin production and refining system on the market.
Their precious resin is just as tough as some of the competing resins developed by competing brands on the market but the Montblanc resin is not only much lighter but also has a better finish in our opinion. Although this will come down to personal preference, it really does show and is in line with what you would expect from a Montblanc product. The question is, do you really think this improvement and the Montblanc on the Montblanc 145 is worth the hike in price tag over something like the Pelikan m600 that is much cheaper yet very similar with Pelikan also being one of the best brands in the world too.
As we touched on in our comparison table above, the Montblanc 145 uses a cartridge converter system rather than a piston filler. Although the developments to cartridge converters have come a long way over the years, they are still not up to par with piston fillers in our opinion and many fountain pen purists prefer the piston filler systems too. Unfortunately, if you do want a piston filler in your Montblanc pen then you are going to have to extend your budget for the Montblanc 146 as we mentioned earlier or go with a pen from a competing brand.
The Montblanc 145 is available with its barrel in a wide range of colors and a number of different trims as standard opening up the options available as well as the resale market for collectors. On top of this, there are also a number of special edition Montblanc 145 fountain pens on the market with unique colors, trims, and nib designs to further increase the options available too.
Just keep in mind that if you do choose to go with a special edition Montblanc 145 then the price tag will be higher than the standard Montblanc 145 as collectors usually pre-order the special editions as well as pay premiums for their unique designs. That said though, the special edition Montblanc 145 fountain pens also tend to have a much better resale value, especially if you keep your pen in good working order.
The Montblanc 145 Cap
The cap of the Montblanc 145 is also made from the same high-quality precious resin as the barrel of the pen giving the users the same tough but light benefits as the barrel of the pen. The lightweight materials used in the construction of the pen also helps to ensure that the pen is well balanced and does not have issues when posted such as back weighting. Although rare at this price point in the market, it is good to know that posting the pen during use will not detract from your writing experience.
Unlike the older Montblanc 144, the Montblanc 145 uses a screw on cap that helps to score it more points over the 144 as the screw ensures that the barrel and cap of the pen stay attached when not in use. The last thing that you want is to fork out for an expensive, luxury fountain pen only for the cap to use a push lock system and to release the barrel for it to then fall and break or simply go missing. The screw lock on the 145 drastically reduces the chances of this happening though and increases the chances that your pen will last you for decades to come.
Although the clips on the Montblanc range of fountain pens does have mixed reviews, it is simply down to the personal preference of the user. Some people tend to prefer the more flexible clips while others prefer the more rigid ones like the clips that Montblanc use on their caps. The thing you have to realise is that the Montblanc range costs hundreds of dollars and the rigid pen clip design is much better at ensuring that the clip keeps the pen in place to stop it from going missing or falling and breaking.
Even if you are a fan of flexible clips on your fountain pens, you are going to be hard-pressed to find any brand that offers a flexible clip on their fountain pens at this price point in the market. Over the last decade or so, they have all made the switch to using a rigid clip on their pen caps to help reduce the chance of accidents or pens going missing due to the clip releasing from your pocket or paper when not in use.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Montblanc 145
As the Montblanc 145 is not based around using a piston filler system for ink delivery to the feed, it does not have a traditional ink reservoir system and the maximum ink capacity of the pen is dictated by the size of the ink cartridge that you use with the pen. As there are a number of Montblanc cartridges on the market that will fix (as well as some that don’t so always check) we have listed the average ink capacity of 1ml but some cartridges are 1.2ml.
Although there are a number of third-party ink cartridges on the market these days that advertise their ability to work with the Montblanc 145, we would always go with the official Montblanc cartridges. This way you know that you are always putting the best quality ink into your pen and not risking any issues with low-quality dried up ink in the feed or nib of the pen from using a third-party brand of cartridge with your 145.
Montblanc 145 Writing Samples
Montblanc 144 Review
Moving on to our review of the Montblanc 144 and we will probably be keeping this one shorter than the one above for the Montblanc 145 due to the 144 being so hard to source these days as well as often being considerably more expensive for the older variants of the pen. On top of this, the fact that the Montblanc 144 uses a push to lock cap really goes against the pen in our opinion as a general use, every day carry fountain pen.
The Montblanc 144 Nib
Due to the number of decades that the Montblanc 144 was in production there are a number of different nib variants on the market but the most common one is a 14 carat gold nib with the second most popular being the 18 carat gold nib. There are also some very rare 22 carat gold limited edition runs but it has been over a decade since the sale of one of those has been confirmed due to fountain pen collectors trying to keep them in their own private collections.
Just like the rest of the Montblanc range of fountain pens, the Montblanc 144 is available with a standard nib size of extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad but due to the age and use of the 144, the most important factor of picking one up is that it has been cared for correctly. A visual inspection of the nib on the pen will often be enough for you to workout if the pen has been kept in good order but issues with the feed or other internals can sometimes be hidden.
Although a Montblanc 144 that has been taken care of over the years should have minimal issues with feathering, bleed, or ghosting during use, these can be common for nibs that have not been cared for. Over the years, the tines on the nibs of many fountain pens can end up becoming misaligned and although short term fixes are easy enough to do at home, it is something to keep in mind when purchasing an older pen.
The reputation of the Montblanc 144 has managed to grow to what it is due to the fact that Montblanc did an excellent job with the nib to ensure that no matter the nib size that you opted to go with, you would have minimal issues with scratch during use. Although the fresh out the box, brand-new Montblanc 144 fountain pens offered an excellent writing experience, this will depend on the state of the pen you purchase but many of the 144’s have been giving the love and care that they deserve over the years.
The Barrel Of The Montblanc 144
As we mentioned way back at the start of the article, although some of the first production runs of the Montblanc 144 are available with an Iridium barrel and cap, these are very rare and often go for a very high price tag due to collectors wanting them in their own private collections. The more modern production runs of the Montblanc 144 have a precious resin barrel like the rest of the Montblanc fountain pen range.
This offers you the same benefits that we pointed out above when covering the Montblanc 145 with the barrel of the pen being both lightweight and tough. Although resin barrels are commonplace at this price bracket for fountain pens, in the lower price brackets, some brands still use either steel or plastic for the barrels of their pens. High-quality resin offers you the benefits of both without any of their disadvantages ensuring that you get the best pen possible for your money.
Depending on the variant of the Montblanc 144 that you are able to source, some of the older production runs come with a piston filler mechanism for their ink storage and delivery but these are rare now, even on the preowned market. The more common Montblanc 144’s that you will find available for purchase use a cartridge convertor system but it is usually a generation or two behind the one in the Montblanc 145 depending on the variant of the 144 that you get.
If your Montblanc 144 has not been cared for correctly then you may have to do a full clean of the pen from the converter through to the nib to clean out all of the dried ink and gunk that may have built up. Thankfully though, this is easy to do and you are usually able to do it yourself at home using a cheap fountain pen flush kit without having any problems along the way.
The Montblanc 144 Cap
As you would expect, the cap of the Montblanc 144 is made from the same material as the barrel so depending on the variant that you get, it will either be iridium or precious resin with most options being precious resin. One of the major drawbacks of the Montblanc 144 over the Montblanc 145 in our opinion is that it uses the snap on cap system rather than a twist lock.
We know that a number of people do prefer the snap on cap but as the Montblanc 144 will often have a higher price tag than the 145 as well as being harder to find spare parts for if the barrel pops off, falls, and breaks, we just dont think that it is worth the risk. The Montblanc 145 has the twist lock system on it as standard helping to reduce the risk of anything like that happening helping to score it a ton of points ove the 144.
Montblanc 144 Writing Samples
That brings our Montblanc 144 Vs 145 comparison article to a close and although the Montblanc 144 is a great pen, the Montblanc 145 has to be the primary recommendation for our readers as we feel it will be the better option for the majority of people. It has a few advantages that push it ahead of the 144 as we have pointed out throughout the article as well as having earned itself an outstanding reputation amongst the community since launch.