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Monday, March 29, 2010

Marlen Does What It Does Best: Limited Editions…and maybe a little pasta.

I always enjoy my annual meeting with Marlen—specifically with Attilio Puggina, international sales director. Thankfully his English is far superior to my Italian, but since I am also of Mediterranean origin, I can usually get by with hand gestures and an appropriate arch of my brow. Puggina is an engaging man who knows a lot about pens, having been with Marlen now for several years. This year we met once again in Switzerland during the BaselWorld exhibition, and he showed me a few of the company’s upcoming limited editions that have not yet been seen on this side of the Atlantic. I am happy to share my scoop. The first is the Imperium Romanum, an homage to the Roman Empire, which will be available in a fountain pen or a rollerball pen. Just 395 fountain pens will be available, and each will retail for under $2,000. The second is the Antiche Origini, which is comprised of buffalo horn, mammoth ivory and resin. Just 38 fountain pens will be available, each at about $5,000. Finally, is the truly amazing tribute to Botticelli (this year is the 500th anniversary of his death). Each fountain pen is “painted” freehand with hot enamel by artists employed by Marlen specifically for this purpose. Just 28 fountain pens will be produced, each priced at a little over $5,000. All the pens mentioned here are piston filled and have 18-karat gold nibs—and they will be available in May. Their packaging, too, is quite elegant: lacquered wooden boxes specific to each theme. On a much lighter note, the company has also introduced a pen with the working title of “the Pasta Pen.” Its red, white and green resin exterior is, of course, a tribute to the Italian flag, while the shape of the pen is reminiscent of penne pasta with its angled ends. I think it’s a winner, not to mention a marketer’s dream. Mario Esposito and Antonio Esposito are the founding principals of the Marlen. The former is in charge of global marketing, while Antonio is in charge of design. Bravo, gentlemen.

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