Check out our manufacturer of the month!
Welcome to Bittner - The Pleasure of Writing!
Every year we celebrate within the Graf von Faber Castell-Collection a special highlight: the Pen of the Year.
As you know, each edition tells the tales of eras and peoples whose deeds shaped the history of humanity.
2021 is an extraordinary year as the Pen of the Year is inspired by medieval knights!
When designing the Pen of the Year 2021, we drew our inspiration from the most famous of all knights: King Arthur. His legend of early medieval Britain, about the sword Excalibur, the island of Avalon and the prophet Merlin has captivated people for centuries.
Leather and Gemstone
So how have we revived the legend of knights today? First we drew inspiration from knightly arms and armor because high-quality weapons and skillful sword fighting played a central role in a knight’s life.
The Pen of the Year’s brown grip zone recreates the leather strap on the sword’s hilt.
The sword played a prominent role in Arthurian myth. According to legend, Merlin drove the otherworldly sword Excalibur deep into a large stone and inscribed upon it: “The one who is able to pull the sword out of the stone is the rightful King of Britain”.
And sure enough Arthur succeeded in freeing Excalibur from the stone with ease and was crowned ruler of the kingdom.
But let’s take a closer look at the Pen of the Year. The writing instrument’s end piece is adorned with a red, faceted garnet with sunray cut which is particularly impressive.
In the Middle Ages this precious stone embodied light and truth and was used for jewelry and weapons. Due to its hardness and high refraction of light, the valuable garnet was also called a carbuncle.0
The Pen of the Year shows another aspect of knightly armor: the coat of mail, consisting of around 20,000 steel rings and weighing several kilos. The slightly ribbed cap of the Pen of the Year is reminiscent of this filigree structure. The matt, anthracite surface is finished with a resilient PVD titanium coating.
In addition to military virtues, such as honor and courage, the knights were brought up to embody decency, humility and modesty.
For this reason, knighthood is still highly regarded today. The tradition of knightly accolades, for example, is a ceremonial event that has been preserved in the United Kingdom to this day.
Arthur had a trick up his sleeve to encourage a knightly bond: in order to avoid disputes about the best seat at the table, he introduced a round table, where there was no hierarchy between the knights. The knights who had a place at the table, now renowned as King Arthur’s Round Table, were his most trusted companions. Among them were Lancelot – the most famous of the Knights of the Round Table – and Arthur’s faithful nephew Gawain, who can be seen in the picture.
The size of the round table stated in different sources varies between 12 and thousands of knights. According to Sir Walter Scott, there were only 16.
Life at court
King Arthur and his companions lived in Camelot Castle. Galahad was also a famous knight of the Round Table. He is described as an impeccable knight. His coat of arms shows a unicorn as a sign of purity and perfection, and his shield was adorned by a red cross on a white background, as shown in the picture on the left.
This “heraldic cross” adorns the top of the cap of the Pen of the Year and in the Middle Ages was considered a symbol of hope.
And because we were talking about the castle of Camelot: the end pieces on the writing instruments’ cap and barrel are modelled on the battlements of a knight’s castle.
A fight for honor
Battles were also a part of knightly life. The Battle of Camlann is the final battle of the Arthurian legend.
Mordred, a Knight of the Round Table, kidnapped Arthur’s wife and usurped the throne in Arthur’s absence.
It all come to a tragic end: at the Battle of Camlann, Mordred fatally wounded Arthur who in turn stabbed him with his lance.
In addition to the sword, lance and crossbow, the knights fought using a longbow and carried their round shield for defense.
The shape of the fountain pen and rollerball pen is reminiscent of a spear. Two grooves on either side, similar to the blood grooves on a knight’s blade, give this Pen of the Year its unique, elegant outline.
The art of forging
High-quality swords were essential not only for battles. They were equally as important as a weapon and a status symbol.
Forged by master craftsmen, a good sword was considered magical and valuable. To forge the knightly swords, medieval smiths used Damascus steel, which was regarded as particularly hard while being both flexible and unbreakable.
The typical iridescent and unique surface is achieved through repeated welding and folding of different types of steel.
The barrel of the Pen of the Year 2021 is made of steel with just these characteristics. Thanks to this individual pattern, each writing instrument is truly unique.
Values and constancy
As you know, we are celebrating our 260th anniversary in 2021.
One major milestone was in 1898, when Count Alexander linked his famed aristocratic name with that of the globally renowned company, giving it its unmistakable identity.
The image of the two fighting knights, whose lances were replaced by pencils, became the symbol of this new self-image.
Since then this image has illustrated our values, tradition and those knightly virtues that the Counts and Lords of Castell have embodied for centuries.
With this in mind, we are looking forward to celebrating a successful anniversary year.
Every one of the 375 fountain pens and 125 rollerball pens in this limited Pen of the Year edition is truly unique.
Nib Material: Rhodium plated 18K gold
Filling Mechanism: Piston