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The 32x Series
1936 Price list
The 32x series pens were made from the mid to late 1930s. The first digit in the model number - the "3" - signifies that the pen was part of the tier-3 or 'economy' line up. The second digit - the "2" - signifies that it was a button filler. And the last digit tells us about the nib/pen size - there was a size 2, 4, and 6 i.e. a 322, 324, and 326. The pens were available in various colours. There was plain black, of course, made from hard rubber or ebonite. And then there were some vibrant colours including blue, green, platinum lined, and pearl marbled, among others. The colourful pens were made of celluloid; they were priced the same as the black variant back in the day, but they are rare to find today and command a substantial premium among collectors!
The 32x series was quite similar to the higher 22x series. One notable difference was that the nib on the 22x had the "Montblanc" imprint with a '2', '4' or '6' inscribed while the 32x had a "warranted 14 KAR" imprint inscribed with either an 'a', 'b', or 'c' depending on the size of the pen. Another notable difference was that the 22x series had a full casein star on the cap top while the 32x only had an outline of the star on the cap top. Also, the 22x had a fluted clip while the 32x had a simple clip with a diamond-shaped end. And finally, the 32x sported the Druckfüller or simple push-button filling system, while the 22x had the advanced Stoßfüller or push knob filler technology.
According to a 1936 pricelist, the 324 was available for 6.6 RM, while the 324 was priced at 8 RM, and the 326 was 10 RM. The "RM" stands for Reichsmark - the currency of Germany at the time and until 1948. Let's take a look at some examples from the 32x series...
No. 322 belonging to Kawuska
More curiously though, this pen has a barrel imprint that is out of place. It says "DRP 508058" which corresponds to the patent number of the advanced push knob filler (original German patent link -> here, and British patent application -> here). This imprint would be OK on a 222, but not on a 322. The latter would bear the patent 544477 instead, which related to an improvement in the feed design (patent link -> here). This is further clarified by a 1936 pricelist that shows the 222 as being a Stoßfüller based on patents 508058.
So, either this pen was manufactured with a mistaken imprint, or a 222 body was modified to fit this 322. Both pens do share the same diameter at 1.25 cm. But, if the barrel was taken from a 22x series push knob and turned into a simple button filler then the threads underneath the blind cap should have been made out of black hard rubber. This is not the case with our pen - the threads are made of one single continuous piece of platinum lined celluloid. This particular pen was purchased from France where, the owner believes, Montblanc pens often came in uncommon variations. This is interesting because I once had a 222 PL from France and it did not have a push knob but instead had a push button!
First, we have a 322 in the mesmerizing platinum lined (PL) colour, belonging to Kawuska. It has the outlined cap and simple clip like the 32x ought to, but the nib and filler system are not as expected. First, the nib is one found on piston filler tier-3 pens from the 1950s. This 322 should have a "warranted 14 KAR" imprint inscribed with an 'a' to denote the small size of the pen (like the brown 322 pictured below). But, it is not uncommon for nibs to have been replaced during a professional service that might have taken place back in the day.
No. 322 belonging to Toltotoll
Next, we have a modest-but-classic plain black hard rubber 324 that belonged to me at one time. Over the years ebonite starts to oxidise and turn to a chocolate brown, as seen here. The nib on this pen is correct to the model but different from the typical vintage Montblanc nibs. Instead of bearing the "M" for Montblanc inscription, the 32x series has a warranted nib inscribed with 'a', 'b', or 'c', depending on the size of the pen. Size 'a' is the smallest and is found on the 322, while size 'c' is the largest and found on the 326. This 324 has the 'b' nib as would be expected of this mid-sized #4 pen. This particular one is quite flexible! The Stoffhaas imprint on its cap signifies that this pen was sold by the Montblanc-exclusive stationer Stöffhaas in the 1920s and 30s at one of its boutiques in Germany, Spain, Paris, or London.
No. 326 belonging to Trang Shirley
Finally, we have this gorgeous 326 in pearl marbled colour belonging to Trang Shirley. This is the largest model in the series. Notice the correct "c" nib. Just like the 324 above with the "Stöffhaas" imprint, this 326 has an imprint telling us where it was sold. The imprint reads "Füllhalter Fachgeschäft Dusseldorf Königsallee 2C" wch translates to Fontain Pen Specialty Store in the locality of Königsallee 2c, in Dusseldorf (Germany), where Graf-von Faber Castell and Montblanc boutiques are found even today!
For bibliography, see Resources page -->link
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