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Fluff, Luxury

The Swiss Step Poorly, Falling Off The Mont(blanc)

As recently reported in the Financial Times, the Swiss have stuck their foot in it once again,

The Swiss penmaker Montblanc, in a jarring attempt to raise its profile in India, has unveiled a gold-and-silver fountain pen to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi, the independence leader whose austere asceticism was at the heart of his liberation campaign.

The limited-edition Mahatma Gandhi pen, priced at Rs1.1m ($23,000, €15,800, £14,400), has an 18-carat solid gold, rhodium-plated nib, engraved with Gandhi’s image, and “a saffron-coloured mandarin garnet” on the clip. The pens were unveiled this week, before the national holiday on Gandhi’s birthday.

Gandhi Nib

And here is the rhodium-plated nib of the pen, where Gandhi, with his bamboo stave in hand, is engraved. Classy, eh?

Looks like a bit of a marketing oxymoron, given that Gandhi was famously Non-Elitist as described in Wikipedia,

As a practitioner of ahimsa, he swore to speak the truth and advocated that others do the same. Gandhi lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and social protest.

So it looks like the Swiss are going down 0 for 2, what with their miserable showing in the Polanski affair.

We note that the Swiss are conspicuous by their absence from the recent poll on National Self-Interest.

Perhaps they’ve covered the mirrors in their house, or at least should consider it.

Note: At first I thought FT had made a mistake, because Montblanc is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. But with some further research I discovered that in fact the company was founded in 1906, and is a subsidiary of Swiss holding company Compagnie Financière Richemont.

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