An Homage to Victor Hugo

Montblanc pays tribute to the genius of an iconic French Romantic writer and poet, with a new limited edition set of writing instruments, with painstaking details inspired by two of his most famous works, and his beautiful home in Guernsey.

Lifestyle Insider Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo Limited Edition 8 cap detail

His most famous works – Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’) – are classics, and live on today, in musicals, reprints, and film. Both, written by the brilliant French auteur Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885), have earned an enduring place in popular culture. As part of Montblanc’s Writers Edition, that celebrates literary giants who have made their mark on world literature through the power and artistry of their writing, the brand new Montblanc Writers Edition Homage To Victor Hugo is a testament to this writer who documented injustice, using his work to champion the social and political causes of his time.

Crafted in the Montblanc Ateliers, four different editions bring to life the magic of Hugo’s works from the imposing architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the compelling characters of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, via motifs, engravings, enamelling, colour, and materials used. The Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Victor Hugo Edition is available from July 2020 onwards, from Montblanc boutiques worldwide.

Lifestyle Insider Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo

Montblanc Writers Edition Homage To Victor Hugo Writers Edition

Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, set in Paris during the 15th century, tells the story of Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer and his unrequited love for the beautiful La Esmeralda. The novel condemns a society that cruelly excludes the likes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda. The characters and themes of the novel are represented in the design of this edition in black precious resin with platinum-coated fittings, with a skeletonized clip inspired by the window of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, and its drop evoking the bell of Notre Dame, that was rung by Quasimodo. The face behind the clip comes from an original drawing of Jean Valjean, the protagonist in Les Misérables. The cap reflects the gothic architecture of the cathedral, while the pen’s barrel, is decorated with a pattern found in wood panels in Hugo’s Hauteville House. The Au750 solid gold rhodium-coated nib features a special engraving of a gargoyle from the Notre Dame cathedral, while the Montblanc emblem is crafted from resin.

Lifestyle Insider Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo Limited Edition 1831

Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Victor Hugo Limited Edition 1831

This platinum-coated metal and red lacquer edition features details from the story of Jean Valjean, the principal character in Les Misérables who illustrates Hugo’s theory about the redemptive power of compassion and love. With a red lacquer and skeleton overlay cap and barrel design reminiscent of the Gothic architecture of the Notra Dame de Paris (red being the colour of Jean’s prison garb), a cap decorated with a Rosace – the rose window of the Notre Dame cathedral, and the numbers 24601 and 9430 on the cap (Jean’s prisoner numbers). The cap top is engraved with the quote “Chaque homme dans sa nuit s'en va vers sa lumière” (Each man in his darkness goes towards his light”) from Hugo’s Les Contemplations, telling the story of redemption. The cone ring features a special engraving similar to decorations on the balcony of the cathedral and a single chain link, a reference to Quasimodo’s chains. The yellow colour on the bottom of the cone is a reference to the yellow passport that Valjean is given when he leaves prison, a reminder of his status as a convict. The Montblanc emblem crowns the edition in mother-of-pearl, while an Au750 solid gold rhodium-coated nib is adorned with a special engraving of a gargoyle from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The pen is limited to 1831 fountain pens, and 1831 rollerballs, with a limitation number of 1831, marking the year Notre Dame de Paris was first published.

Lifestyle Insider Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo Limited Edition 83 cap and barrel

Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Victor Hugo Limited Edition 83

This precious edition in solid gold takes its design cues from the gothic splendour of Notre Dame, but also gives insight into the author’s private life. Transparent hues of blue resin (cap and barrel) under the Au750 gold skeletonized overlay evoke the blue skies he enjoyed from his lookout room at Hauteville House, and his skills as a watercolour painter. The Central Rosace in lacquer is in different shades of blue, while the author’s initials figure - the “V” etched on the cap and “H” on the barrel. The shape of the cone is taken from the story of Quasimodo with a single chain, and the mother-of-pearl inlay on the cone references his sword of Pair de France with its mother-of-pearl handle. It has a solid Au750 nib embellished with a gargoyle engraving. The limitation number of 83 commemorates the age at which the author passed away, in celebration of his life and achievements.

Lifestyle Insider Montblanc Writers Edition Victor Hugo Limited Edition 8

Montblanc Writers Edition Homage to Victor Hugo Limited Edition 8

For the first time in Montblanc’s Writers Edition collection, a very limited writing instrument of only eight pieces worldwide is presented. The value of the edition comes from the rare craftsmanship of the pliqué-a-jour enamelling technique in particular, used to create the central Rosace in different shades of red enamel. The motifs on the surface are held by fine gold partitions, making them look like miniature stained-glass windows. This enamelling technique is one of the most demanding and requires painstaking detail. It is also the technique that best highlights the crystalline clarity of glass and the delicacy of the metal supporting it. The cap and barrel is in transparent black precious resin, with black PVD coated Au 750 solid gold, skeletonized overlay in a design inspired by the gothic architecture of Notre Dame cathedral. Three-dimensional gargoyles adorn either side of the cap, while fittings in Au 750 solid yellow gold, are decorated with brilliant cut diamonds. The cone shaped like Quasimodo’s pillar has a tsavorite and single chain link, the Montblanc emblem is made of mother-of-pearl, and the Au750 sold gold nib is decorated with fine gargoyle engraving.


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

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It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

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