Montblanc’s Sleek, Monolithic Ferrari Stilema SP3 Writing Instrument

A futuristic fountain pen inspired by the automaker's powerful Daytona SP3 sports car

There are no guarantees regarding compatibility, integrity or success when two globally recognizable brands at the top of their categories, each with their own established design language, decide to collaborate. And yet, the first collaboration between iconic sports car manufacturer Ferrari and luxury writing instrument producer Montblanc, the Great Characters collector line dedicated to Enzo Ferrari, exceeded expectations and achieved critical and commercial success. Last week in Hamburg, the home of Montblanc, the pioneering brands unveiled their latest collaborative product, this time inspired by Ferrari’s powerful new Daytona SP3. Named the Montblanc Ferrari Stilema SP3 Limited Edition 599, it’s a monolithic writing implement that marries Ferrari’s sleek design language with Montblanc’s precise engineering and nuanced production methods.

“There are so many similarities in how we do things—in terms of innovation, in terms of material, in terms of performance, in terms of design,” Montblanc Global CEO, Nicolas Baretzki, tells COOL HUNTING. Regarding the origins of the collaboration, Baretzki explains, “At first we said, ‘Let’s start with the founding of Ferrari,’ which is Enzo, for our Great Characters series, and soon after we all agreed that we needed to do more. We decided to co-create something—to use the talent of one of the most respected designers in the automotive world and link that to our excellence with the whole engineering of Montblanc writing instruments.”

The designer that Baretzki references is Flavio Manzoni, Ferrari’s Chief Design Officer. Baretzki and Montblanc’s Managing Director of Writing and Accessories, Alessandra Elia, both note that Manzoni arrived with an abundance of astounding ideas for a writing instrument pertaining to the Daytona SP3. When looking at the pen, it’s easy to observe the influence of Ferrari’s design DNA upon its sophisticated architecture and alluring texture. It looks much like a monument to the future that can be stowed in a pocket; for a still object, it also looks fast. A lot of this has to do with the external material: Grade 5 titanium and durable “bulletproof” precious resin. The latter emits a rich red glow without an internal light source as it interacts with what’s around it.

That slice of transparent precious resin is a translation of the lights on the Daytona SP3—and it presented a few challenges. “We looked into a lot of different materials. We even went through the idea of ruby, as a matter of fact, as a material. But in the end, it turned out to be too pink because at the same time, from a color development point of view, we wanted to bring the fluorescent aspect of the SP3. We wanted to really be close to the inspiration,” Elia says.

The case also carries much meaning. “Flavio was very interested in using titanium,” Elia continues. “It’s a contrast to the precious metals that our artisans at Montblanc are used to working with. If it had to have been solid gold, there’s no way we would have achieved this kind of fairly light experience as well as such a thin depth.” This allowed for the development of something extremely thin yet resistant to scratch. To craft this, Montblanc had to acquire new machines from external suppliers.

As Elia notes, it’s lighter than expected (and lighter than other Montblanc implements) yet it still feels substantial. “Titanium was very important for us and plays a big role in its special feel,” Manzoni tells us in Hamburg. “Our objective is always to select the proper materials that achieve high performance, it does not matter if we are working on a car or, in this case, a writing instrument. We wanted to create a very high-performance writing instrument that is simultaneously lightweight, but also very strong and resistant. And we found that titanium was the ideal material for this purpose. For me, with this lightweight feel, together with the monolithic, sculptural shape we managed to create, makes the Stilema SP3 such a pleasure to hold and to write with.”

Montblanc collectors will note that there are none of the brand’s signature circular fittings. This also required technical maneuvering. “Our artisans, no matter what the challenges, they are always very, very inventive. They find solutions. For them, when they were approached for the first time with the idea that we wanted no fittings, they were like, ‘How are we going to do?'” Elia explains. Then they began to find a way.

On the surface, this is an incredibly chic, sleek pen; inside, technical innovations are tucked everywhere to make it a functional writing instrument. This includes a brand new ink-filling system—an internal mechanism which, for the first time with the Stilema SP3, happens to be shaped like the Montblanc logo. “We had to reinvent the whole process for the filling system,” Baretzki says.

With the titanium pen cap removed, however, one will be quick to note Montblanc’s signature fountain pen nib, expertly crafted—over 30 steps—from Au 750 solid white gold with a small iridium point. It’s a component that undergoes the meticulous production process and testing. It’s part of the reason that brand is so beloved.

Manzoni had one more request: he did not want the writing instrument to roll but he didn’t want interrupt the rounded design. “So we created this little part,” Baretzki points out a small rounded plateau, “to really make sure that wherever you put it, it will completely rest flat. It also works toward the writing instrument’s balance.”

“It’s really bridging our two worlds,” Baretzki says, noting it’s more than the laser-engraved Prancing Horse logo and white gold Montblanc emblem. “I also think Montblanc is represented by the notion of being able to create an art object that’s extremely beautiful on the outside,” he concludes, “that still maintains that technicality and the impeccable level of engineering on the inside.”

As its name implies, the Montblanc Ferrari Stilema SP3 Limited Edition 599 will be limited to an edition of 599. It retails for $27,500.

Images courtesy of Montblanc