The High Artistry Homage To Hannibal Barca
21 September 2017
At a gala event in Singapore three weeks ago, Montblanc unveiled “The High Artistry Homage To Hannibal Barca” limited edition pens as the latest in their series of tributes to heroic characters. VIP guests from around the world were feted with a lavish multi-course dinner interspersed with multimedia presentations. Before the final unveiling of the pens, there were history lessons about Hannibal’s military campaigns and, of course, his famous crossing of the Alps with battle elephants.
Jens Henning-Koch, Executive VP of Marketing Communications and Product, told us of the 2nd Punic War in 218 BCE that inspired the design motifs. He described the Cartago pen as “refined, bold and strong, with beautiful contrast.”
Six Limited Editions
Montblanc’s artisans from various métiers d’arts toiled on the pens, especially those working with precious stones and metals. Techniques involved stone cutting and setting, granulated lacquering and even an ultraviolet laser. The key feature is a cap top in the shape of an elephant’s head, complete with tusks, eyes and a pocket clip shaped like a trunk. Military armour can be seen in the design motif. There are
five six limited editions in the collection.
Matching pachyderm cufflinks will be available for the Collection.
MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 1 White Gold (Cartago Edition).
Fountain pen made of solid Au750 white gold, blue sapphires in full pavé, crowned by a 6.03 ct. Diamond in brilliant cut, colour D, clarity FL
Naturally, the most interest was generated by a ‘piece unique’ Cartago Edition with a price of €1.5 million ($1.76 million), crafted from white gold and diamonds contrasting with a full pavé of blue sapphires.
The trunk-shaped clip is set with stones while the elephant head is decorated with individually cut and hand-set gems. In order to avoid stress or breakage, Montblanc Artisan Atelier developed a tensioned clip with the aesthetics of the elongated trunk, while maintaining smooth functionality.
Check out the deep blue sapphires on the barrel, embellished with individual rows of carée-cut diamonds. Hannibal’s epic route from Carthage to Rome is engraved on the forepart of the pen. The solid gold nib is decorated with a design representing the Carthaginian god Baal’Hammon, and is adorned with two brilliant-cut diamonds.
The top of the cap holds a 6.03 ct. brilliant-cut DFL diamond, while a blue sapphire cabochon from Ceylon is fitted at the other end of the pen.
MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 1 Champagne Gold (Alps Edition).
Another ‘piece unique’ is the fountain pen made of solid Au750 champagne gold, diamonds in full pavé, crowned by a 6.03 ct. Diamond in brilliant cut, colour D, clarity FL
There is a third MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 1 (deep dark sapphires and Au750 rose gold) but it’s still being crafted and hidden from view.
MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 5.
Fountain pen made of solid Au750 champagne gold, dark blue sapphires, crowned by a Diamond in brilliant cut, circa 1,85 ct., colour D, clarity FL/IF
The five great generals in Hannibal’s family are represented by the five pens available. This pen features a cap and barrel in dark blue sapphire with solid champagne gold fittings. The middle of the cap is adorned with an oval gold shield to represent the Punic cuirass armour. For the first time in Montblanc history, the star emblem has been replaced with an engraved and polished 3D model of Mont Blanc in rough rock crystal, as a reference to Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps.
MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 10.
Fountain pen made of solid Au750 white gold and diamonds, crowned by a approx. 0,74 ct blue sapphire in brilliant cut.
This Limited Edition 10 was inspired by the Battle of Cannae, where Hannibal captured 10,000 Roman soldiers, with 10 pens available. An anthracite titanium underlay has an “armour” of solid white gold overlay, with the strategic plan of the Battle of Cannae engraved in two colours on the barrel. The Montblanc emblem is crafted from white agate set into rock crystal, representing snow-covered mountains that Hannibal’s army had to traverse.
MONTBLANC High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 86.
Fountain pen made of solid Au750 red gold, diamonds and crowned with a Montblanc emblem made of mother-of-pearl set in granite. This pen has a cap in olive wood with UV laser etched leopard pattern.
The High Artistry Homage to Hannibal Barca Limited Edition 86 makes reference to the 86,000 men who crossed the Alps with Hannibal, with 86 pens available. The pattern references the leopard skin that Hannibal and his generals wore to protect their left arm and shoulder. The elephant trunk is made of solid red gold, and its eyes are set with cognac-colour, marquise cut diamonds.
I used to collect limited edition fountain pens before switching to watches and before Montblanc became a serious watchmaker. I still have those pens but they are never used. In this day and age, with e-mail, SMS text messages and WhatsApp, the art of handwriting has atrophied somewhat. Paradoxically, that has meant that pen collecting has become even more associated with luxury.
If “the true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords,” then it must be sheer luxury and indulgence to collect something that you rarely use and don’t need.
Previous AlphaLuxe articles about Montblanc
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).