Limited edition Erebouni pens a reminder of Armenian history

When was the last time you wrote a letter with a pen? And how long since you wrote a letter with a fountain pen … one with real ink, a nib and a removable cartridge? I thought so.

While letter-writing may not be the most fashionable pastime today, it is something that celebrates the past.

Which is perhaps why Montegrappa, the oldest Italian manufacturer of fine writing instruments, has launched the Erebouni Hokevor, which means spiritual in Armenian, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian tragedy in the days of Ottoman rule.

The exclusive fountain pen is limited to only 100 units in silver and gold with prices starting at US$50,000. And there is a UAE relevance to the pen’s launch – the concept for the writing instrument came from two prominent members of the Armenian community in the UAE: Dikran Tchablakian and Krikor Jabourian.

They developed the idea before approaching Montegrappa. The artist Koko Garabet Sakayan contributed to the design of the pen, which is set with symbols of Armenian culture such as the pomegranate, which symbolises life, the “Wheel of Eternity” for continuity, the dove and a single teardrop on the signature clip, representing grief.

The pen is a reminder of the night of April 24, 1915, when the Turkish government placed 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople under arrest. Hundreds more were apprehended soon after. Most were summarily executed.

Estimates vary over the death toll from the Ottoman Empire’s attempts to rid itself of the Armenian people before and during the First World War with figures varying between 500,000 and 1.5 million men, women and children. The pen was launched worldwide in March at BaselWorld in Switzerland, the world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair. Those with less to spend can opt for one of the other two lines in the range: the Erebouni Haverj, the Armenian word for Eternal, which is limited to 1,915 pens and costs $3,000 and the unlimited Erebouni Kragan, which means literary, with prices starting from $400.

q&a symbol of a stirring event

Dikran Tchablakian, the chief executive of tecbuy, an IT solutions company, tells Andrew Scott more about the commemorative pen:

Why did you design the pen?

The idea of a commemorative pen was developed from a concept from myself and Kriror Jabourian, managing partner of Airpo-Tech. The pen is a unique tribute and an oath of commitment to stay true to the legacy of the 1.5 million martyrs that continue to nurture and inspire Armenian culture. The Ebrebouni pen is a fitting tribute to Armenia.

Who is the pen targeted towards?

The primary target audience is people of Armenian descent. The pen is a highly symbolic and emotional product as it addresses an event in Armenian history that holds high emotional and sentimental value.

Do you expect others from outside the community to buy one as well?

It is also aimed at drawing appeal to pen collectors and pen lovers around the world. The project will focus on premium and luxury pens and cuff links commemorating the 100th anniversary of [the tragedy].

Is this the first of many pens that you expect to design and release?

Our plans to release other pens will depend on the response we get from Erebouni, which could prompt us into designing a new collection to celebrate Armenia’s rich culture and heritage.

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