Montblanc’s new Great Characters Limited Edition collection pays tribute to the rebellious spirit and talent of movie legend James Dean.
The Montblanc Great Characters Limited Edition collection is known for paying homage to cultural icons, leaders and thinkers who have shaped the world. It all began in 2009, when the Swiss maison raised the curtain on a new collection of writing instruments with Mahatma Gandhi among the first legendary figures to be immortalised in this form.
Over the last decade, Montblanc has celebrated icons like John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Miles Davis and The Beatles. Recognising their lasting impact on politics and culture, Montblanc seeks to tell the story of the legacy they left behind by honouring different aspects of each character’s contributions, be it within art, science or humanity as a whole.
Handmade by master craftsmen and issued in limited edition, these writing instruments are a fascinating tributes. And this year, the maison pays tribute to 1950s Hollywood icon James Dean.
Known for his leading roles as Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and Jett Rink in Giant (1956), Dean quickly gained a reputation as a cult figure, thanks to his remarkable knack for connecting with audiences. It was the character of troubled teenager Jim Starck he portrayed in Rebel without a Cause (1955) that defined his stardom. Sadly, East of Eden was the only film starring Dean that he would see released in his lifetime owing to his untimely death at the age of 24.
In 1954, Dean expressed an interest in motor racing and followed his passion, successfully competing in several races. Yet his legacy as a driver was short lived, when in October 1955, he succumbed to a fatal car crash while practising for an upcoming race.
Although his time was fleeting, Dean left a lasting impact on his generation and Montblanc honours this legacy with the Montblanc Great Characters James Dean Special Edition.
The red precious resin of the cap and barrel of the writing instrument evokes the vibrant colour of the red jacket the star wore in his second film Rebel without a Cause, which was one of the first technicolour productions of its time. Available as a fountain pen, a roller ball and a ballpoint pen, the collection also nods to Dean’s last film Giant with the shape of the ruthenium-coated clip as a reference to the gun that his character Jett Rink carried on his shoulders in one of his most famous scenes.
Another legendary scene from East of Eden, Dean’s first-ever movie, is immortalised by the pattern of a dollar bill on the platinum-coated cap top. One of the star’s most famous quotes, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”, is engraved on the cap.
The handcrafted, rhodium-coated Au 585 gold nib is engraved with a racing flag and the ring on the barrel provides the geographic position of the James Dean Memorial Junction, which is the site of the fatal car crash that claimed his life.
It took just a year and a half for James Dean to achieve immortality, yet his raw talent has inspired generations of actors, musicians and artists, and his legacy continues to live on through Montblanc’s artistry.