Montblanc Rouge Et Noir Serpent Marble Pen Is A Modern Take On History

The name alone, “Rouge et Noir,” makes pen collectors swoon, both for what it meant to Montblanc in the early part of the 20th century and for what it means today as part of Montblanc’s stellar oeuvre. The original Rouge et Noir (“Red and Black”), which takes its moniker from the eponymous novel by the French writer Stendahl, was crafted in black ebonite and fitted with a red-crowned cap (and a newfangled filling system).

But the pen didn’t immediately capture pen lovers by storm. Its true acclaim came later, as the company found its equilibrium and ascertained its emblematic Mont Blanc snow-capped mountain peak insignia. Today, an original Montblanc Rouge et Noir can claim high prices at auction and is considered highly collectible—if you’re lucky enough to find one.

Fortunately for vintage and contemporary pen fans alike, Montblanc’s Heritage collection, launched in 2016, has kept the spirit of the Rouge et Noir alive. Its latest iteration is the Rouge et Noir Serpent Marble based on a 1920s hard rubber model. It was originally coined “Red Ripple” because of the swirling marble pattern on its cap and barrel.

The new Serpent Marble has a metal cap and barrel featuring a coral lacquered marble finish created with a water transfer that gives every pen its own flowing decor, thus making each unique. The cap crown is a complementary orange-tinged red resin with the famous Montblanc emblem at its center in white resin. An engraved serpent coils around the cap crown before descending, head down, to form the clip. This vintage-looking snake is made by a stamping and winding process in a special alloy metal, and its aged look is created using a unique galvanic and stripping process.

The just-available collection comes in a fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint pen, and the 14-karat gold nib of the piston-filled fountain pen is rhodium coated and decorated with a serpent design. The edition is also available in a set that includes a fountain pen, journal and a leather pen case.

Other pens in the Heritage Collection include the Rouge et Noir Spider Metamorphosis Special Edition, the Rouge et Noir Spider Metamorphosis Special Edition Coral, the Rouge et Noir Special Edition Coral and the Rouge et Noir Special Edition (black). Several limited editions are also included in the collection, including the Fountain Pen Heritage Rouge et Noir Spider Metamorphosis Limited Edition 1906 and the Heritage Rouge et Noir Solitaire Serpent Limited Edition 1906. Each of the pens in the Heritage Pen Collection thus far includes either a spider or snake motif, imagery that is important to Montblanc’s monumental history in pen making.

One particularly outstanding piece within the Heritage Collection is the one-of-a-kind Rouge & Noir Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1 introduced in 2016. The cap and barrel are set with about 15.34 carats of dark blue sapphires forming the truly spectacular backdrop for the coiling hand-engraved serpent, which sparkles with 153 individually cut diamonds. When the cap is removed, a second serpent is visible on the rose gold nib, with two rubies set as its eyes. Not to be overlooked, the cap crown glows with a 6.15-carat Montblanc Diamond, a proprietary cut. Its price at the time of its creation exceeded $1.3 million.

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I have been in the publishing industry for over 20 years and have written extensively about writing instruments, watches, jewelry and accessories for consumer and trade...