Cigar Aficionado

The few romantic scribes who still take time to handwrite letters are becoming as outdated as druids. The ones who do it in style are even more anachronistic. Nevertheless, one maker of elegant writing instruments in northeastern Italy doesn’t seem to notice or care. In its 100 years in business, Montegrappa Pens has not let the modern age hamper its creativity or passion for a good pen. The motifs and styles it offers are nearly limitless, which means that Montegrappa can match the right pen for any document you can come up with.

More conservative tastes might lean towards the NeroUno, a sleek and understated line of black resin pens whose hexagonal shape feels very natural in the hand. The Linea roller ball model in rose gold trim featured here ($475) is ready for use right out of the box, making consistently clean, jet-black lines that smoothly transfer from point to paper with minimal pressure.

If you require the heft of a weighty implement, and have a flare for the baroque, Montegrappa’s Chaos pen ($5,770) contains all the themes of a heavy-metal rock opera and was designed by Sylvester Stallone. Life, in the primordial sense, is characterized by sterling silver reptiles and snakes, while death is fairly straightforward as a silver skull. The pen’s fiery highlights are overlaid in red and yellow enamels, all set against a body of black pearlized celluloid. Chaos comes in 18K gold as well for $65,700. Only 1,912 pens were made—1,000 as a fountain pen and 912 roller ball models, one of which actually made a cameo appearance in Stallone’s film The Expendables 2.

The same kind of dramatic statement can be made with Montegrappa’s limited-edition Mayan Calendar pen ($8,385), a tribute to ancient civilizations, human sacrifice and, ultimately, the end of the world. With all the buzz about the Mayan calendar concluding on December 21, Montegrappa celebrates humanity’s reckoning with this release. Such Mesoamerican imagery as Mayan gods, architectural stones (which are sealed in translucent enamel) and the sacrificial sword on the pen clip are all clearly cast in silver. Should you prefer this small Mayan monument as a fountain pen, its 18K gold nib and ebonite feeder make each writing stroke fluid and adherent. If you believe that the world is truly ending this December, splurge for the pen in solid gold. Sure, it will set you back $137,950, but in lieu of the apocalypse, it doesn’t really matter, and besides, the gods will be pleased.