MONTBLANC HIGH ARTISTRY
The first ascent of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 86
’22/’23 High Artistry Collection
A tribute to pioneers, glaciers & mountaineering
Limited Edition : ##/86
Year : 2022
Made in Germany
Every great achievement starts with a pioneer attempting something that has never been done before.
Just as climbers strived to scale Mont Blanc in the 18th century, Montblanc’s Artisan Atelier masters take their craft to new heights with these High Artistry editions.
A sophisticated fountain pen crafted in Au750 solid yellow gold.
The elaborate engraving on the wooden cap depicts flora and fauna found around the Mont Blanc, whilst a leather barrel is embossed with a paragraph taken from Jacques Balmat’s diary, written during his climb.
Unveiled to a select group of top collectors on the occasion of Montblanc Haus’ opening on May 11th, 2022.
Full set configuration. All original boxes and papers.
The concerned pen has never been used nor inked.
Cap: Walnut wood is decorated with special engraving showing alpine nature. The cap top features a detachable smoky quartz crystal showcasing the Montblanc emblem in mother-of-pearl embedded in black onyx.
Barrel: Solid cowhide leather is embossed with an extract from Balmat’s diary. The fitting engravings are inspired by mountaineering shoe rivets, while the forepart engraving depicts the Mer de Glace glacier in the form of a monster, recalling ancient stories about the mountain.
Nib: An Au750 solid yellow gold nib is adorned with a 3D motif of an Edelweiss, the symbol of the Alps.
Clip: Shaped to resemble the silhouettes of an alpenstock and an axe, important tools of early mountaineers.
Cone: A granite cabochon is set into the Au750 yellow gold cone.
Striving for new heights
Every great achievement begins with a pioneer, a vision and a determination to do something that has never been done before.
Just as the summit of Mont Blanc was conquered by two mountaineers, the Maison Montblanc was founded by three visionaries, who took Europe’s highest mountain as the symbol of perfection against which they measured every achievement.
Like the climbers, who made their way from plateau to plateau into the snowy heights of the Mont Blanc massif, the maîtres d’art of the Montblanc Artisan Atelier have worked step by step, methodically setting and overcoming new challenges in craftsmanship to steadily achieve new heights of their art form.
To honour the courageous pioneering of the first ascent to the Mont Blanc summit, Montblanc has created the High Artistry The First Ascent of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 86.
The roof of Western Europe
Mont Blanc: the white mountain. Rising out of the Alps to a height of 4,810 metres on the border between France and Italy, it is the highest peak in Western Europe.
Known as the ‘Roof of Europe, Mont Blanc stood as an indomitable challenge to climbers from the dawn of civilization. Its shining glaciers inspired awe and fascination but also fear.
Traditionally, demons and dragons were believed to inhabit the icy expanses in the highest regions of the Alps.
Folklore drew comparisons with open-jawed dragons clinging to the cliffs, slithering down through the narrow valleys and threatening to descend into the villages.
The forepart of the Au 750 solid yellow gold Limited Edition 86 is engraved with a depiction of the Mer de Glace glacier near Chamonix. Based on the legend that this glacier resembles a giant monster hugging the northern slope of Mont Blanc, the engraving is envisioned as a monster from the ancient stories.
The path of pioneers
On 8 August 1786, an unlikely duo set off to conquer Mont Blanc.
One was an ambitious young hunter and crystal collector, Jacques Balmat, and the other was Michel-Gabriel Paccard, an alpinist and physician with a passion for botany and minerals.
The day began at 4 a.m., when they left their camp at 2,300 metres to traverse the ice crevasses of La Jonction to the colossal Bossons glacier and then on to the crags of the Grands Mulets and the challenging terrain of the Ancien Passage.
Their efforts were rewarded at 6:23 p.m., when they became the first people to reach the highest peak of the Alps, the 4,810-metre summit of Mont Blanc. The two pioneers stayed only half an hour on the windy mountaintop before descending, exhausted, lit only by moonlight, to their camp over the northern flank.
In memory of the triumphant first ascent to the summit of Western Europe’s highest mountain, the Au 750 solid yellow gold clip ring is engraved with the date ‘8 Août 1786’.
The alpinist’s essential tools, alpenstock and axe, are miniaturized on the clip, which is decorated with a diamond.
In reference to the year of the first ascent of Mont Blanc, the edition is limited to only 86 pieces.
Visionaries move the world
The brave and hazardous expedition of Jacques Binatand Michel Gabrid Pacard marks the birth of modern alpinism. It was accomplished by two men who ventured across uncharted terrain using routes that had, for countless generations, appeared to be impassable.
The two poinieers navigated deep ice crevasses, broad icefields and steep cliffs equipped only with riveted shoes, crampons and long alpenstocks. Among the few belongings they carried with them would have probably been Balmat’s diary bound in durable leather, as it was usual to carry on expeditions at that time.
Inspired by these ancient diaries, the barrel of the High Artistry The First Ascent of the Mont Blanc Limited Edition 86 is made of vegetable tanned leather embossed with an excerpt from Balmat’s handwritten account of that historic day in 1786. Mountaineering shoe rivets provide the inspiration for the decorations on the Au 750 solid yellow gold fittings.
Among the first to explore the glaciers, cliffs and rocks of Mont Blanc were crystal hunters like Balmat, who received the title ‘du Mont Blanc’ after making the first successful summit attempt.
While he hunted mountain crystals to trade, his companion, Paccard, had a more scientific interest in these stones.
For thousands of years, mankind has been fascinated by the magical fire of diamonds, sapphires, malachite and quartz. Each stone carries an intense natural beauty inside, which can only be revealed by a complex polishing process.
Whether applying the traditional cabochon cut, rounded and smooth, or the faceted
‘round brilliant’ cut, it takes great craftsmanship to make a stone truly shine.
As an example of this artistry, the Limited Edition 86 is adorned with a granite cabochon set into the Au 750 solid yellow gold cone.
The cap top features a smoky quartz that can be detached to reveal the Montblanc emblem made of mother-of-pearl embedded in black onyx underneath.
Hand carved artworks
Through generations, the herdsmen who grazed their animals on the lush summer pastures of the Alps developed one of the most traditional and virtuosic art forms of the Alps: wood carving.
Cupboards, chests and boxes for daily use were often given simple geometric decorations, such as the Savoy rosette.
Precious furniture, altars and pulpits were often adorned with detailed images from the alpine landscape.
The walnut wood cap of the edition is artfully carved with images of alpine ibex and chamois in their native habitat on the slopes of Mont Blanc.
Among the various flora that grows in this landscape, the most coveted trophy was the edelweiss flower.
Growing in the high altitudes, this unusual flower is protected from cold and ultraviolet radiation by its furry white ‘petals’.
Because it often takes root on dangerous ledges, climbers needed to be both brave and physically fit to win their prize – and many ended up making the ultimate sacrifice.
The handcrafted Au 750 solid yellow gold nib is embossed with a 3D relief depicting the edelweiss flower.
The rare artisanship required to create such a three-dimensional engraving makes it a fitting tribute to the cult blossom.