Ever since I was at high school I worked in the Montegrappa business. My parents would give me pens to repair and I did my homework using a Montegrappa pen. I felt great responsibility to continue the brand. Hanging in our new Dubai Mall store there’s a photo of the Montegrappa mountain in north-east Italy – I’ve walked on it many times.
Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross during the First World War. The Red Cross HQ was next door to our Montegrappa factory so Hemingway would come in and look around. We have a pen in tribute to him now. We are one of the few companies who continued to operate during both world wars. Demand for pens was high because soldiers needed to write home. Back then the pen was the mobile phone of today.
Joining a writing club that includes, amongst other notables, Vladimir Putin, His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan, His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and Sylvester Stallone.
I use the Otto Extra fountain pen. It has an eight-sided barrel and is made from celluloid, which is an organic resin that comes from finely ground cotton. Pigments of colour are added to make a paste, which is then put into an oven to dry for one year. It is cut into pieces and then dried in an oven for another year.
A fountain pen is a very personal thing. My pen will perform differently for me than it would for you. The feeder is made from ebonite, which is a material that has memory. It remembers how much pressure the user writes with and releases the right amount of ink. The pen adapts to my writing personality.