Alfred Dunhill is a premier luxury brand, recognized around the globe for it’s classic menswear and accessories. In fact, the parent company of Dunhill, Richemont, owns Montblanc as well, along with more than a dozen other high-end brands.
As a company, Dunhill became popular in the early 1900’s by tapping into the world’s newest fascination: automobiles. Dunhill didn’t make cars, but rather accessories for those who drove them. Goggles, coats, even a wind-proof pipe.
The pipe, and smoking accessories in general, was how I first became aware of the brand. Not that I have ever smoked, but there wasn’t a mall in the 1980’s or 1990’s where you didn’t see some sort of Dunhill presence. That market has changed over the past two decades, and Dunhill has changed right along with it, while remaining true to its origins.
The Sentryman Art Deco Rollerball is the embodiment of the Dunhill brand in a writing instrument. A glorious one at that. You can’t look at this pen and not think, or say, “Wow.”
You also cannot look at the price of this pen and not think “Wow” as well.
At $790, this is far and away the most expensive non-fountain pen I have ever reviewed. I was actually nervous when Dunhill reached out to me to review this pen, and paused for days, if not weeks, before committing to accepting this product from them.
I’m glad I did.
I’ve spoken for years about what I call the “Montblanc Problem”, which is the phrase I use when you are paying for everything about a pen besides the writing experience. The refill is the least expensive part of the equation, which anyone can afford. The refill also fits in many other pen barrels, giving you the Montblanc writing experience without the Montblanc cost. The Montblanc/Pilot G2 hack is famous for this.
As I tell readers all the time, you have to understand what you are paying for in the luxury pen market, and decide what is important to you. Are materials, style, branding, and marketing your primary purchasing factors? Or is it the writing experience? There is no wrong answer, of course, but the most impossible question for me to answer is “I have x dollars to spend on a pen for a gift, what should I buy?”
If money is no object, I would consider the Sentryman over any Montblanc rollerball I have seen. It is absolutely stunning. It feels great to write with. It looks great sitting on my desk, or clipped to a shirt pocket. It writes wonderfully (Unposted, that is. It is too heavy posted.) with the included Dunhill-branded Schmidt EasyFlow refills (International G2/Parker refill compatible). Price excluded, this is a 10 out of 10 pen.
But price can’t be excluded when making a purchasing decision. I’ve spent more on fountain pens, but my opinion is that I get more too. Do you get more when spending this much on a rollerball? That is for you to decide.
My thanks to Alfred Dunhill for sending me this pen at no charge for purposes of this review.
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