Space travel is taken to be the ultimate adventure. From the vast unknown of the greater universe, humankind has drawn inspiration for pushing limits and achieving the impossible.
That said, we must not forget how precious and magnificent our planet truly is. The astronauts themselves often described the immense, awe-inspiring feeling of seeing Earth from space.
It is this very emotion that Montblanc is capturing for its latest line of StarWalker writing instruments. The new design expresses the wonder of being part of one of the most intrepid of explorations.
Black resin recalls the dark vast expanse of space, while a translucent dome beneath the Montblanc star emblem evokes the blue earth rising above the lunar horizon as seen from the moon.
The lineup includes three different editions: Precious resin in all black with contrasting metal fittings, black resin barrel paired with metal cap or forepart, and sleek full metal. Each is available as a fountain, ballpoint and fineliner pen.
There is even a matching notebook and pen pouch featuring a view of Earth from space. The image is printed on a shiny metallic leather that shimmers, creating a three-dimensional effect as if seeing the sparkling cosmos.
“All of the astronauts are saying the same thing. To them, the most extraordinary part of going to space is actually looking back at Earth,” stated CEO of Montblanc International, Nicolas Baretzki, in an interview.
“It is really about reconnection. Thinking about how amazing our planet is. Not only how much we should keep it in our minds, but also being conscious of how beautiful it can truly be.”
According to Baretzki, Montblanc’s other product launches this year have kept to the same theme. He explained that it is not so much about saving the planet though, and more about learning how to cherish it.
For him, he prefers to “reconnect” by spending time with his family and exploring or discovering new places. This gives him the opportunity to set his life priorities back on the right track.
“I think it’s a way to say, ‘Ok, how can we make sure that in a hundred or even a million years that our planet will remain just as beautiful as it is today.’ It’s something aspirational that everyone identify with,” he noted.
The global launch of the new StarWalker writing instruments in Houston, Texas, United States, underscores the theme of exploration beautifully. Members of the media were treated to a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
During the grand unveil at a cocktail event, Montblanc hosted a string of celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Diane Kruger, Winnie Harlow and Charles Melton. A former astronaut, Leroy Chiao, was also the guest of the night.
Chiao is one of a handful of individuals to have experienced the wonder of space and witnessed the fragility of Earth, having spent 229 days in space over the course of four missions.
More Than Meets The Eye
This latest Montblanc StarWalker may look deceptively simple, but a lot more goes into the design than a person may realise. There are certain nuances to it that really paints an interesting story.
The polished platinum-coated cap and barrel for example, represent the astronaut. In the angled clip cover and dome, there is a tribute to space exploration – it resembles the shape of a rocket.
Even something as nondescript as the cap screw mechanism says something. Its forepart and cone is similar to how astronauts secure their helmet to a space suit before setting off into space.
“I think it’s easier as a product developer to create something from scratch, versus adapting something that exists. Especially when you’re working on your icon,” said Alessandra Elia, the writing culture managing director of Montblanc International.
“So the challenge was to make this still look like a StarWalker and not alienate or shock people. At the same time, we had to really bring this notion of modernity and edge to the new design.”
She explained that while the coloured dome might look simple, it was not something easy to achieve. The translucent resin crown of Montblanc pens is patented, but the brand has never created a blue one before this.
“Coming up with the right shade of blue was also a challenge. There were eight different steps required to bring the dome to life, each one requiring strict quality testing to make it perfect,” Elia pointed out.
“Even the diagonal clip you see on the pen was challenging to achieve. In past designs, we’ve never cut diagonally, but vertically. So, these were some of the technical challenges that we faced.”
She added that the StarWalker is really all about the future. In comparison to the Meisterstuck, which is another of Montblanc’s iconic design, this pen pushes boundaries. It gives an idea of being forward thinking.
“That’s why space exploration is so perfect for the StarWalker, because it is by definition, the final frontier of exploration and innovation. Also, with the new StarWalker design, we can probably talk more to the millennials.”
On the question of whether writing is becoming obsolete, Elia said that it may be so for everyday notetaking and such. When it comes to writing as a form of self-expression, it is another matter altogether.
“For me, it’s true meditation. It’s the pleasure of writing. I’m not doing it because I need to write a prescription or sign a document. I’m taking the time to reconnect with myself.
“I think writing offers you this way of reconnecting, taking the time and expressing your thoughts, instead of these quick WhatsApp messages. It’s like a break from the stress that the digital world has brought on to us,” she said in conclusion.