The High Artistry ‘A Journey on the Orient Express’ limited-edition writing instruments are a voyage deep into Montblanc’s creative sanctum
The joy of discovery is an emotion that Montblanc always strives for, especially with its famed High Artistry writing instruments. Whether paying homage to the Great Wall of China, or celebrating the very first ascent of Mont Blanc, each High Artistry creation that comes out of Montblanc’s Hamburg-based atelier is more objet d’art than pen; offering narratives that unfold through artful motifs that blanket the writing instrument.
For 2023, Montblanc take us on yet another artistic adventure with the High Artistry ‘A Journey on the Orient Express’ limited edition collection. Brimming with unencumbered creativity, these writing instruments attempt to manifest the romance and magic of travel on the Orient Express—and arrives with stunning results.
Intricately sculpted gold motifs, handcrafted wood marquetry, traditional enamel technique and gorgeous gemstones are lavished on the creations. The collection comes in seven variations, the most collectible of which are two piece-unique models: the High Artistry A Journey on the Orient Express Limited Edition 1 with Case, and the High Artistry A Journey on the Orient Express Limited Edition 1 Papillon.
As the name suggests, the first version is housed in an impressive wooden case. Evoking the train’s original panelling and cabinetry designed by pioneering Art Deco artist, René Prou, it comes inlaid with wood marquetry. The writing instrument itself is crafted in gold, also embellished with patterns that are reminiscent of the Orient Express’ interiors. On the barrel, precious stones are set in a manner that traces the train’s historical routes, as well as evokes the ironwork roof of the Parisian station where passengers boarded the train. For a final flourish, the cap is equipped with a snap mechanism that hat-doffs the train engine’s machinery.
The High Artistry A Journey on the Orient Express Limited Edition 1 Papillon, on the other hand, places one of the train’s storied guests in the spotlight. The exploits of Robert Baden-Powell, a spy who posed as a naturalist and encoded secret information into butterfly drawings, are woven into this epic writing instrument.
Fashioned in gold, diamonds and rubies, the writing instrument conjures Baden-Powell’s intriguing journeys with ornamental butterfly motifs. The butterfly’s form, both real and abstract, are brought to life using an enamel technique called plique-à-jour. The brilliantly coloured, translucent enamel inlays that recall stained glass line the writing instrument. The main attraction is a glass door on the barrel, which reveals a plique-à-jour enamel butterfly underneath, extending its wings as the door opens. Delving further into the spy narrative, the rub-set cap top flicks open to reveal a miniature watch underneath, while a small wheel at the side actuates the writing instrument’s ink filling mechanism.
Besides the one-off editions, the rest of the A Journey on the Orient Express Limited Edition writing instruments are just as fascinating. Available in limited editions of five, 10, 83, 333, and 1833 pieces, each variation adds to the Orient Express’ storied legacy in its unique way.
Given that the Orient Express brand of today will soon be relaunched by the Accor Group, adding hotels in Rome, Venice, and Riyadh to its legendary train itineraries, Montblanc’s roll-out is well-timed. In the meantime, these mini masterpieces will go a long way to teleport us, though time and space, to dreamy, faraway places.