Montblanc’s Robert Louis Stevenson Writers Edition: A treasure trove of writing instruments

By Alvin Wong 20 December, 2023

The author of Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, is immortalised by Montblanc in its latest commemorative writing instruments

It was a celebrity catch-up ahead of its time. On a balmy September morning in 1887, Mark Twain met Robert Louis Stevenson, of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde fame, in New York. The two literary giants took a stroll down Washington Square before settling down on a bench to chat—for five hours straight. Among the many things they talked about, was the subject of fame.

“(We) tried to find a name for the submerged fame, that fame that permeates the great crowd of people you never see and never mingle with, but who read your books and have an affection for you… and you will remain in the home of their hearts’ affection forever and ever,” recalled Twain in a speech from 1908. “Stevenson and I decided that of all fame, that was the very best.”

On hindsight, “forever and ever” is an appropriate estimation. Stevenson’s body of work, which amounts to 13 novels and eight books on travel, are revered in modern literature. Marked by a fascinating blend of adventure, imagination, and creativity, they are informed and inspired by his extensive travels through France, the United States and the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific, where he eventually settled.

It is thoroughly appropriate then, that both Stevenson and Twain continue to be fervently celebrated today. Montblanc, for one, has been paying tribute to legendary writers from Oscar Wilde to Franz Kafka since 1992, when it introduced the Writers Edition series of commemorative writing instruments. The Mark Twain Writers Edition collection was released in 2010. This year, Montblanc serendipitously unites both men by inducting Robert Louis Stevenson into the illustrious line-up with a collection of four exclusive writing instruments dedicated to the Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer.

Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition 1883. Photo by Montblanc

Treasure Hunt

All Montblanc’s Writers Editions are created with careful appreciation and articulation of the writers’ works and legacies. The Robert Louis Stevenson Writers Edition is no different. Each of the four writing instrument in the series celebrates Stevenson’s rich imagination and his mastery of compelling narrative, taking reference from his most popular masterpiece, Treasure Island.

Motifs from the novel appear across all Robert Louis Stevenson Writers Edition models. The conical profile of the writing instruments follows the shape of spyglass used by sailors and pirates. Depictions of skull and crossbones, the universal symbol of pirates, as well as that of the compass rose, can be found on all models. And as a nod to Stevenson finding his final, personal paradise on the Pacific Island of Samoa, all writing instruments are etched with ‘Tusitala’ on the nibs, a nickname given to him by locals that means “teller of stories”.

Even at their most judiciously adorned, evinced by the Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition set, the writing instruments exude a cheeky blend of mischief and elegance that echoes Stevenson’s prose.

Made with platinum and special resin for a tactile grip, the writing instruments are adorned with a Montblanc logo superimposed with a skull motif on the cap. Elsewhere, references to the author’s life journey are gleaned from the inscription ‘under the wide and starry sky’ on the cap top ring alongside his signature, as well as an engraving of sea waves on the gold nib to symbolise his voyage to Samoa. This collection comprises a fountain pen, roller ball, ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil.

Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition 94. Photo by Montblanc

And the ornamentation gets progressively more elaborate. On the Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition 1883, with limitation number referencing the year of publication of Treasure Island, collectors are treated to a capricious vessel of metal and lacquer. On the barrel is an illustration of the ‘Hispaniola’, the three-mast ship that Squire Trelawney set sail on to Treasure Island. By sliding a tiny button at the middle of the barrel, you can change the British red ensign flag to one with the skull-and-bones symbol to signify the ship’s capture by the pirates.

Crafted in sterling silver with yellow gold grid and hand-engraved lacquer inlays, the Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition 94 unveils yet another facet of the Treasure Island story. Here, the story’s main antagonist Long John Silver takes centre stage. The cap tube and barrel are hand-engraved with symbols like a treasure chest, map, revolver and pipe, alongside the character’s likeness and that of his parrot, Captain Flint. As for the writing instrument’s 94-piece limitation, the number references the year 1994, when the Royal Bank of Scotland released a one pound bank note to commemorate the author.

But it is the Writers Edition Homage to Robert Louis Stevenson – Limited Edition 8 that is the undisputed star of the collection. Clad in gold and mahogany wood, it is a sublime weaving of Treasure Island and Stevenson’s life itself.

A skull motif set with black sapphires anchor the gold cap, etched with iconic lines from the story. On the cap ring, one finds Stevenson’s signature and the number 1889—the year he arrived in Samoa. More treasures (excuse the pun) abound on the barrel. Its wooden plank-like decoration with the word ‘Walrus’ references the name of Captain Flint‘s ship, and a cut-out in the shape of the Samoan island of Upolu—with GPS coordinates of Stevenson‘s house hidden in recess—is a nod to Stevenson’s favourite place on earth.

Just as how the best writers teleport readers with their mastery of language and prose, Montblanc, too, conjures emotions, people and places with thoughtful artistry, hand-crafting savoir faire and state-of-the-art construction. And as the Writers Editions writing instruments show, both are equally committed to telling great stories.


This story first appeared in the Dec 2023 issue. Purchase it as a print or digital copy, or consider subscribing to us here.