Sparta and its heroes, also known as Lacedaemonians, inspired the design of the Pen of the Year 2020.
Gods and HeroesSince its first edition in 2003, the Pen of the Year has gained a special status among connoisseurs of fine writing culture. Each limited edition tells the tales of epochs and peoples whose deeds shaped the history of humanity. The Pen of the Year 2020 is inspired by the Greek heroes of Sparta and their king Leonidas. For centuries, the small province of Sparta was the strongest military power in ancient Greece. The Spartiates’ discipline and superiority are legendary, acquired in their strict education from childhood onwards: the Agoge – meaning “leading, guidance, training”. Spartan society was moulded by the military, their fate determined by the gods: the courageous Athena was considered the most important deity alongside Apollo and Artemis. She stood for wisdom, strategy and combat and was also revered as the “guardian of the city”.
Hardened and perfectFrom childhood, every male Spartan went through a training system which was tough and physically demanding. Driven to bravery, perseverance, fearlessness and abstinence, they were to be made the best warriors of their time. As Spartiates they became full citizens, the ruling minority in the Spartan state and thus elite warriors for the whole of Greece. Heavily armed with shield, breastplate, helmet and greaves, they went into battle on foot. They had to buy their very expensive armour themselves, which was adapted to their own body shape. The Pen of the Year 2020 embodies the characteristics of this armour - durability, hold and aesthetics. Seven rough diamonds of 0.35 carat on the ruthenium-coated and matt, sandblasted barrel of the writing instrument represent the robustness, strength and uniqueness of the bold Spartans. The milled pattern on the barrel is reminiscent of the strip-style armour worn in the abdomen region.
Battle and mythGreat wars between Sparta and the Persians, who wanted to conquer Greece, were fought at the beginning of the fifth century BC. Despite the tremendous Persian superiority, the Greeks held their ground – and the myth of the unbeatable warriors was born. One essential element of their defence was their helmet, made from a single piece of bronze. The most widespread type of helmet in the Archaic period was the Corinthian helmet. It protected the head and featured a narrow, elegant slit for the eyes and horsehair to intimidate the opponent. The spring-loaded clip on the cap of the Pen of the Year 2020 is based on the Greek ridge helmet and the powerful shape of a horse’s neck. Like the end piece, the brilliant cap is polished to a high shine.
Bravery and masculinityWith their reputation as the strongest, unbeatable army of Greece, the Spartans were highly esteemed allies in the Hellenic and foreign states in the middle of the 6th century. Their battle at Thermopylae is famous the world over. Leonidas faced the superiority of the Persian king Xerxes and temporarily managed to stop him at a geographical bottleneck with just 300 Spartans. The brave warrior paid for his courageous effort with his life – but the majority of the Greeks withdrew in time and defended the country. In battle, the Spartans’ large, round shields were indispensable since they could protect the entire upper body. They inspired the lacquered inlay in the end cap of the Pen of the Year 2020, which features the lambda, the eleventh letter in the Greek alphabet. As shorthand for the Lacedaemonians – the historical name of the Spartan state – the lambda was emblazoned on Spartan warriors’ shields.
Precise and powerfulThe Pen of the Year 2020 was created in homage to the art of metalworking which was applied by the Spartans to produce armour, short swords and shields. As a reference to the rivets on the Spartan armour, its distinctive barrel is adorned with premium diamonds set by hand. The
milled, matt grip zone of the writing instruments is a reference to the warriors' breastplate, which was shaped according to the anatomy of the body. Details such as the milled decorations on the barrel are reminiscent of the archaic patterns on the Spartans’ protective, precisely fi tting battle dress.
Strictly arranged, the uncut diamonds on the barrel of this exclusive writing instrument embody Greek values:
Pride, perseverange and dignity.
As the hardest natural material, the word diamond comes from the Greek word adámas (Ἀδαμασ), which translates as “invincible”.
Willpower and loyaltyGreeks and the city of Troy battled each other for years in a war that Menelaus – later king of Sparta – fought for his beautiful Helen. Bravery, honour and loyalty were special qualities of the Lacedaemonians. Their legendary era is reflected in the Pen of the Year 2020: the matt ruthenium-coated barrel, the grip, the clip and the lambda symbol are reminiscent of the grandeur and sophistication of their armour. There are 90 copies of the rollerball pen and 310 fountain pens. A certificate signed by Count Charles of Faber-Castell attests to the authenticity of the limited edition.
The exclusive writing instruments come in a highly polished black wooden case.
The Pen of the Year 2020 conveys pride, honour and loyality - heroic values embodied by the ancient Greeks. Fallen warriors were revered as heros even after death.