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  • Photography by Mr Michael Bodiam
  • Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER

Montblanc, the renowned German manufacturer of what those in the know refer to as "writing instruments", takes more than just its name from Europe's tallest peak. As seen from above, the six glaciers descending from the mountain's snow-capped summit also form the inspiration for the famous "white star" logo that crests the tip of all Montblanc pens, while its elevation in metres gives rise to the "4810" engraved on the nib of every version of the brand's most iconic model, the Meisterstück. And there's a simple metaphorical explanation behind all this carefully crafted symbolism: just as Mont Blanc marks the highest point in the Alps and all of Europe, so Montblanc aims to represent nothing less than the pinnacle of its craft.

It's no surprise, then, that the brand's pens - its heavyweight Meisterstück 149 model in particular - have developed something of a reputation among high achievers. A Montblanc writing instrument is a symbol of lofty aspirations: a pen for royalty, CEOs and politicians. Wherever an important deal is being inked, the six-pointed white star will never be far from reach. It's said that President John F Kennedy always had one to hand, and that the ex-president of the USSR Mr Mikhail Gorbachev used one to sign his resignation (James Bond, meanwhile, has used a Meisterstück as a lethal weapon on at least one occasion). All things considered, this makes them an ideal gift.

With Christmas around the corner and a lot of men set to receive what could mark their entry into the world of proper, grown-up pens, we thought it would be a good time to provide the newcomer with a simple introduction. We spoke to Mr Christian Rauch of Montblanc's writing instruments and leather division to hear his suggestions for using and maintaining a Montblanc fountain pen. Click through the sides, above, to hear his recommendations.