There are fountain pens that seem to do nothing for you when you first see them. Some of those pens grow on you and some may even become a slight obsession. The Montblanc 25X is one of those pens, for me. It’s because of that nib. The Montblanc 25X wing, with its broad shoulders, or rather, chiseled chin, above a neck that wraps around the feed, is very distinctive. When I first saw one, I thought I didn’t like it. Or perhaps I just had to get used tot the idea of the wing nib, because it was intriguing. And like looking at a picture that is slightly scary, I had to look it up again. And again. By then, I had already bought a 50s Montblanc 264 OBB and a naughties Montblanc Meisterstuck Chopin OBB. The 264 was quite good, the Chopin had horrible baby’s bottom (a term of frustrated endearment, when the tipping has been polished to such an extend, that the tines have become rounded like a tooshy and the ink line doesn’t always reach the paper, making for hard starts and skipping). So I was very curious to know if the 254 would be a better nib.
The 25X series was produced by Montblanc in Germany in the late 1950s, alongside their Meisterstuck line, to offer more affordable pen models. The materials used however, are the same black resin as used in the Meisterstuck range. The trims are gold plated, with a single band between section and body, a band and clip on the cap and two cap lip bands, the lower broad and the upper thin. The pen is a piston filler with the nib size and model number engraved on the piston turning knob. Under the gold band on the section where the pen body begins, there is a clear blue ink window. The pen is torpedo shaped, but the cap dome is less pronounced than that of the Meisterstuck. The cap does have the snow dome, a little off-white in color. The wing nib is of 14ct gold and rests on an ebonite, rounded feed. The feed slopes towards the tines as a flat surface between the typical ribbed feed sides.
Anyhow, I ran across a 254 oblique medium in an auction and was surprised by the low bidding. Checking out the item description I found out that was because the cap had the logo of the German electrical goods company AEG on the cap. The 25X and other 2XX and 3XX series were often used as corporate gifts, so there will be more AEG Montblancs out there. Next to this cap engraving, the turning knob, which is engraved with the nib size, read “f”. So this was a doctored pen, with either a changed turning knob or a changed nib. Anyhow, these facts kept the price well under three digits, so I decided to take the leap.
As you can see above, the G of AEG has almost worn off. This pen was well-used before it reached me – and I won’t bore you with the story of why it took a month to get to me, only that the seller was very helpful at retrieving it from a lost items warehouse somewhere in Germany – and in reasonably good condition. A thing with these pens is, because the caps are slip-on caps, they are prone to cracking. This cap may be engraved, it is not cracked, so I was very pleased with that. This is also something to look into should you be looking for a 25X online: make sure the cap has not cracked.
On the other side of the cap, there is a nice Montblanc engraving, with the snow dome between “Mont” and “blanc”. The cap also has the famous white snow cap on a slightly rounded cap end. It is not as pointy as the Meisterstuck finials, which makes the pen rather soft in appearance when capped.
As soon as I could lay my hands on the pen and ink it up, I was enthralled by how smoothly it wrote and how good it looks IRL. It looks like a little “Incredibles” face above the section, with its broad jawline. It really writes like a little superhero! The nib is so springy, it boarders on flexy (don’t full flex it, though, that’ll ruin the tines). It writes all the time. No hard starts, no skips. The feed makes for a very steady ink flow and the tipping is just shaped enough for an interesting ink line. Nothing too freaky, nothing too boring. A nice office pen. Because it is not pristine, I have no problem taking it with me to the office or any place else I might need to write in a not too crazy ink line.
It’s a smallish pen, as you can see in the top picture’s dimensions, and perfect for me for writing long sessions. The girth as not too thin, otherwise it would be too small for me and I have small hands. If you are looking into this model and you have larger hands, you might want to consider the larger brother, the 256. Just let me know when you find an OB(B) or B(B) and you want another nib size, because I’m after one of those!
All in all, if you are looking for a vintage Montblanc with a fantastic nib, I can heartily recommend the 25X series. Just mind the cap.