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Montblanc 342

Montblanc 342, c 1955

It used to be that not every Montblanc was horribly expensive. Up until about 25 years ago, Montblanc was a full-line penmaker, offering modest steel-pointed and student pens in addition to the expensive Meisterstücke (no disposables, though, as far as I know).

The Montblanc 342 is a commonly-found example of the entry-level Montblanc from the mid-1950s. Following the MB numbering system of the day tells you that this is from the third (lowest) tier of Montblanc-named products, and has a piston filler ("4") and a #2 size gold point. This is the kind of pen that a German kid might have gotten for passing his Abitur and embarking on a professional education. The same pen, with a steel point replacing the 14k point, was sold under the Monterosa sub-brand.

This particular pen dates from sometime in or after the late 1950s, judging by the blue ink-window and the full-lip cap band. It has a very reliable piston filler as well as a small but very smooth and serviceable 14k point in #2 size. The brand identity is pretty strong; it looks like a baby brother to the contemporary Meisterstück series. These pens turn up fairly regularly at shows and in online auctions, and you can also find them with steel points bearing the Monte Rosa sub-brand name.

The Verdict

Entry level Montblanc; although not a model to give palpitations to big-buck MB collectors, the 342 is a very nice smooth-writing pen that won't weigh down either your shirt pocket or your bank balance. Be on the lookout for unusual colors (red. green, and gray, even blue in the Monte Rosa range). The very thin gold plate on the clip is frequently worn away on models that have seen a lot of use (as is the case with this one).

Maker Montblanc
Origin Germany
Production c1955
Type Piston filler
Point 14k
Construction Plastic barrel, gold-plated trim.