Montegrappa’s “Icons” series of writing instruments pays tribute to cultural giants, regardless of the fields in which their character and achievements lifted them to global awareness. Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco, California, to parents of Hong Kong heritage and raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. The newest in the series honors both an individual who features prominently in any list of the 20th Century’s strongest, most influential personalities, as well as a milestone in Montegrappa’s illustrious history. Combining the two has resulted in a commemorative pen of significance and resonance. For the second pen in the “Icons” series, Montegrappa has chosen a person who – through the media of film – embodied all that is noble in the martial arts. At the same time, he opened the West to the disciplines of the East, while helping to establish martial arts films outside of Hong Kong, a genre that remains
globally popular 37 years after his death.
On the 70th Anniversary of his birth, Montegrappa is pleased to pay homage to the legendary Bruce Lee. Thanks to the success of his motion pictures, Lee almost single-handedly sparked a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. He is noted for his stellar roles in five feature-length films, including The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972) and Way of the Dragon (1972), and two posthumous releases, Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978). But he was more than a mere “kung fu” actor: he endeared himself to Chinese audiences as a role model who revered Chinese culture, while his devotion to martial arts resulted in a personal style he called “Jeet Kune Do” (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). In 1999, on the eve of a new millennium, Bruce Lee was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. It is fitting that Montegrappa honours Bruce Lee with a long-awaited re-interpretation of one of its most coveted pens: The Dragon. Bruce Lee was known as “The Dragon”, having been born on the day and in the hour of “The Dragon” in the Chinese horoscope. In addition to 2010 marking the 70th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s birth, it also marks 15 years since the 1985 release of Montegrappa’s Dragon pen.
In Chinese iconography, the Dragon holds special significance. The dragon became the Chinese national symbol in 1912 – the same year that Montegrappa started its production of writing instruments. The limited edition pen of 1995 celebrated the encounter of these two cultures, the Orient and the Occident. It was a fountain pen born under the sign of the dragon, a fascinating symbolic figure, interpreted by the skilled hands of the artist Federico Monti. The image of the dragon came to life in the body and on the cap of Montegrappa’s creation, transforming a writing object into a work of art, inspired by myths and legends.
Montegrappa produced the original Dragon in 1,912 pieces to celebrate its founding year. It was produced in black mother-of-pearl celluloid and sterling silver. Only 100 fountain pens were issued in 18K gold. The fountain pen had a piston filling system, and was available with nibs in six widths. These pens can now be found solely – and rarely – in collecting circles.
Resembling the original, the new pen has been distinguished from the 1995 release by a change in the design of the pocket clip, a new colour, the detail of the Dragon’s tail on the pen barrel, the fountain pen nib and the top of the cap. “The Dragon 2010 Bruce Lee” limited edition features a body and cap made of red celluloid with black veining, referred to as “cinnamon”. Topping the cap is the immortal yin-yang symbol, representing balance. The cap and the barrel are both embraced by exquisitely carved dragons, their eyes highlighted by rubies on the sterling silver version and by matching precious stones on the fully-encrusted versions. The nib itself features the profile of Bruce Lee in a famous move, foot and fist extended, suspended in air.
Montegrappa will produce a total of 2010 pieces, consisting of the following:
• 888 sterling silver fountain pens
• 888 sterling silver roller balls
• 88 solid yellow gold fountain pens
• 88 solid yellow gold roller balls
• 8 fountain pens in solid yellow gold with black diamonds
• 8 roller balls in solid yellow gold with black diamonds
• 8 fountain pens in solid yellow gold with rubies
• 8 roller balls in solid yellow gold with rubies
• 8 fountain pens in solid yellow gold with emeralds
• 8 roller balls in solid yellow gold with emeralds
Also offered, in addition to the 2000 individual pens listed above, will be 10 sets consisting of fountain pen, roller ball and inkwell in solid gold, with white diamonds. Since 1912, Montegrappa has been manufacturing high-quality writing instruments in the same historic building in Bassano del Grappa, North East Italy.