Spanish Chevron Designs

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L to R: Montblanc burgundy chevron 246, green chevron 326, and grey chevron 344, all made in Spain in the 1950s.

Pic Credit: Jesús Guillén

Enrique Wiese started the production of MBs in Spain, post-WWII. It is believed that domestic production was taken up at that time because the Hamburg factory could not meet local and international demand after its bombing in 1944 (during World War II). Also, trade controls mandated by the Spanish dictatorship made it difficult to import pens at that time. Labour and parts were cheaper in Spain, and so MBs would only be affordable in the country if produced there. Consequently, Spain's production of MBs stopped once injection moulding technology was introduced in the late 50s-60s because the new technology reduced the need for manual labour considerably - and with it the cost of pens too. 

From L to R - Soennecken Rheingold (blue-ray), MB 344 grey chevron, and Waterman 7 (emerald-ray).

Pens belong to FredRydr

MB 326 (left) and BigBen (right)

Pens belong to Jesús Guillén

Waterman Ink Vue

The "chevron" designs are unique to España. These pens were available in black, burgundy, blue, and green chevron, or "negro, borgonon, azul y verde" as per a 1958 Spanish catalogue. In his book about Spanish Montblanc pens (link), Jesús Guillén compares the look of this material to that of the Waterman's Ink Vue model because the barrel is translucent and allows the ink level to be seen. Other companies used a similar material and design too, for example, the Big Ben pen pictured here which uses identical material. The material used for these pens was probably made in Italy. Interestingly, it seems that sometimes the chevron coloured Spanish MBs were covered with plain black celluloid paint - may be for sale to German buyers who considered colourful pens to be lower-tiered. The prices of the black and coloured pens were the same, and so I assume that the Spanish manufacturer had no problem coating coloured pens with black if the latter received more demand and the coloured stock was just lying in the warehouse. Contrastingly, Guillén explains that British officers posted in Spain found German pens to be too dull and preferred brands that offered more colour. In this article, we look more closely at the 246, 326, and 344 chevron designs from the 1950s.

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Left to right: No. 326 blue, No. 246 burgundy, and No. 326 green

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No. 344 (left), No. 246 streamlined (centre), and No.246 streamlined (centre)

My friend, and a generous contributor to the website - FredRydr, has a particular interest in the "ray" or "chevron" pattern celluloid. Two years ago, he began research into the source of the celluloid and found that it was designed by John Hill of New Jersey, USA.  On June 7, 1935, Mr. Hill filed his application for a design patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which subsequently issued a 14-year patent to Mr. Hill for the celluloid design on September 17, 1935: Design Patent No. 96,914.  The legally protected ray or chevron is described as comprising slanting and substantially parallel strata of contrasting color effects, the ends of which meet or approach similar strata slanting in opposite direction. Mr. Hill assigned his rights to the Celluloid Corporation (formerly Celluloid Manufacturing Company) located in Newark, New Jersey (across the Hudson River from New York City).  Celluloid Corporation would have either (1) exported the celluloid to Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other countries where pens were manufactured using this design celluloid, or it entered into contracts to enable for local production in those countries. The latter is likely the case with Spanish Montblanc pens, based on J. Guillén's comment about restrictions on imports into post-war Spain. Of course, the other possibility is local manufacturers simply infringed the patent until its expiration in 1949.

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The chevron 246 is a piston filler.  Notice the two cap bands and the full celluloid star on the cap top. Also, it has the fluted clip. These features are similar to those of the German 23x series. The 246 also came in a streamlined version which has a torpedo-like shape. As you can see, the 246 doesn't have an ink window, but ink levels can be seen through the translucent striations in the colour like with the German 14x grey and green striated models. Montblanc advertised it as "deposito transparente" or transparent barrel. While a 1958 Spanish catalogue does confirm that the 246 was available in all colours, examples today are mostly found in burgundy. This makes the green 246 pictured here is a very rare pen. A smaller size 244 was also available but only in black. 

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Burgundy chevron No. 246, belonging to Jesús Guillén

Very rare green chevron No. 246, belonging to Joudenali

A typical streamlined 246 (left), and a super-rare 246 with transparent window (right), belonging to Jesús Guillén

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The Chevron 326 is a button filler.  As a flat-top, it is similar in shape to the 246 made in Spain, but the latter is a piston filler. Another difference is that the 326 has only the outline of the star on its cap crown (similar to the 33x economy German series). Also, it has only one cap band, and it is appointed with the common clip typically found on the 33x German series. A smaller 324 model was also available. 

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1958 Spanish catalogue, courtesy Tom. W. (goldfinkberlin.wordpress.com)

Green chevron No. 326, belonging to Jesús Guillén

Blue chevron No. 326, belonging to Jesús Guillén

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1958 Spanish catalogue, courtesy Tom. W. (goldfinkberlin.wordpress.com)

The grey chevron 344 is very close in shape to the German 344 except that the Spanish version has a pointier cap top and of course the German 344 was not made in this colour. The 344 is a piston filler and a medium/small sized pen. It was also made in "reticulated" black colour - a very interesting black webbed design. 

The 344 (left) compared to two streamlined 246s (centre and right). Notice the subtle difference in size, cap rings, clips, and cap top stars. 

Montblanc Spanish 344 in grey chevron, belonging to FredRydr

If you'd like to learn more about such fascinating Spanish MBs, then I strongly recommend that you add the following book to your collection - Montblanc Pens Made in Spain, by Guillen, J. M. (2014). Also, you may be interested in reading an interview the author did for this website - link. Everything I know about Spanish MBs comes from Dr. Guillén himself - he is an authority on these models and truly generous with his knowledge!