It seems that Montblanc has taken a different turn with their latest pen. The Starwalker is definitely not the "same old thing"! Let's face it, if this pen had come from Waterman, Parker or Sheaffer, it probably wouldn't seem so cutting edge. The fact that it comes from Montblanc makes the new shape and style all the more pronounced.
The Starwalker is a slim pen, along the lines of the 144 size. The width makes it "just right" for my hand, if you like big pens you might find it a bit narrow. It's not a heavy pen either, light enough to be comfortable if you're writing a lot.
I'm assuming that this pen is aimed at the market previously buying the Generations or maybe the 144 pen. It's obviously designed to appeal to a younger crowd than the more conservative 146 and 149 pens. I'd call it the perfect student pen, if it weren't for the fact that, as a Montblanc it's priced at around $300. Not exactly the right pen to send off to middle school with junior!
But as a graduation gift when he gets sprung from High School? Well.... Maybe. Although, thinking back on how I was right after graduation, maybe waiting a few more years for college graduation might not be such a bad idea.
This is also a pen that should appeal to young professionals as well. It's got enough style and flair to seem interesting, and of course, so important in the "professional world", it has that white snowcap on top!
It's the treatment of the trademark snowcap that sets the Starwalker apart at first glance. Instead of having the cap set into the top of the cap, this pen has a clear cap top, somewhat like those of the old Waterman 100 year pens. Inset into the center of the clear portion is a flat white star. It's actually pretty cool, it just sort of hangs there in suspension. I won't say that it makes the pen, but it's a big part of it's charm.
The cap itself is also a step away from traditional design, being a bit bulbous in shape. The barrel is your basic Montblanc torpedo shape, but the cap swells out in a gentle curved shape. It's noticeable without being too over the top. If you like this sort of design, you'll probably love it, otherwise you'll find it making the pen appear "top heavy".
The matching ballpoint model shares this design feature, with the lower portion of the barrel swelling out a bit to match the profile of the capped fountain pen or rollerball versions. I actually like the way this makes the gripping section of the ballpoint a bit wider, it feels very comfortable in the hand as a result. The ballpoint version is twist actuated, and is really a very nice ballpoint, if you're in the need for a "good" ballpoint, this is one to take a serious look at. It's simple and understated, but has an interesting look to it, and feels good in the hand.
The fountain pen has a metal section, deeply engraved with a pattern of checkering. You're not going to losing your grip on this pen when writing, that's for certain! The nib itself is a simple triangular shape, and seems nice enough. It's smooth, just a bit of give to it, and comes in fine, medium or broad tips. The one we received for photography was a medium tip, and feels very smooth, as has been my experience with most modern Montblanc nibs of medium or larger size.
The Starwalker is listed as being a cartridge only pen, no room for a converter in the slim barrel. I didn't have on one hand to try in it, so we'll take Montblanc's word for it. The section is quite long, fitting well down into the barrel, and threading securely into place. The cap is a screw on style, and also threads onto the barrel end for posting, a nice touch since it keeps the cap securely in place while writing.
The fit and finish of the Starwalker was first rate, from top to bottom, I couldn't find fault with the build quality of this pen. The threads are nice and tight, the cap closes and posts securely, and the fit of the metal to plastic was very clean. The metal trim is all silver colored, I'm guessing it's either silver or platinum plated, in either case, it's very well done. The section is a sort of gunmetal color, it looks like the PVD plating I've seen on some other pens.
This is an unusual pen, although, as I said, a great deal of that "unusual" stems from it being a Montblanc with a unique shape. I choose to think of it as a good sign. An indication that Montblanc is taking a step or two out on the design side, and trying to come up with something new and exciting. Whether or not they've succeeded with the Starwalker is going to be very much an individual decision for each of us, but my vote is yes!