What Switzerland is to watches, many would say Germany is to writing instruments: a variety of pen makers call the country home. And Pforzheim, which sits on the edge of the Black Forest, has been considered a jewelry-making hub since the 18and century. So Pforzheim-based Otto Hutt combines the art of pen-making with well-placed artisan jewelry-making skills when crafting his range of Bauhaus-inspired writing instruments.
Engine-turning, for example, is evident on many of the company’s mostly metal pens, sometimes executed in the traditional way, but more often these days through the use of modern CNC machines. Perhaps even more remarkable, the entire construction of Otto Hutt’s pens – fountain pens, rollerball pens, ballpoint pens and pencils – takes place in Pforzheim, including electroplating, varnishing and polishing.
A little history
Otto Hutt was founded in 1920 by Karl Hutt, who produced silver pens and other small accessories, employing 20 people in the first year of operation. In the 1960s, Karl’s son Otto took over the management of the company and later still Robert E. Huber GmbH reinvigorated the brand. The company has since moved from that first location to a larger facility in Pforzheim (now with over 70 employees), and its pens are distributed in 20 countries.
The company’s writing instruments are cataloged by number, from design 01 to design 09 comprising the current collection. Another, Design C, created in honor of Otto Hutt’s 100th anniversary, is a stunning non-digital limited edition that was designed in collaboration with award-winning German product designer Mark Braun, who has worked with a number of renowned brands. including the watch company Nomos Glashütte.
“Mark Braun is an outstanding German designer,” says Marco Frei, Managing Director and Owner. “Using a unique design language in many aspects of everyday life and its products, it has already won numerous awards. The close affinity with the Bauhaus school, its attitude towards quality, manufacturing precision and attention to detail, are values that shine through in every product and form the basis of the cooperation between Mark Braun and Otto Hutt.
The 08 design, another technical feat also designed by Braun, followed.
Frei says of this model: “Every detail has been meticulously planned. In total, the fountain pen consists of 25 parts of which only seven are visible. The 08 design embodies an attitude where fine craftsmanship and high technology claim their place in our daily culture, our way of life.
“The result is the harmonious yet strong presence of the 08 design, which speaks to the combined skill and knowledge of our company – let’s call it ‘Bauhaus of the 21st century’.”
Both pens use the new Pull+Twist™ mechanism – “a clever piston-operated filling system where the finial button is attached to the mechanism and can be twisted for operation,” Frei explains.
It requires a “slow pull” which brings the Pull+Twist™ mechanism into the fill position, while turning it clockwise creates a vacuum inside the fountain pen, drawing in the ink.
The linear guilloché decoration of the pen is, I think, perfection. It gives a sense of visual order, which then reveals extraordinary precision.
“We wanted to incorporate the technique of guillochage, which is deeply rooted in the heart of Otto Hutt’s story and interpreted [here] in a contemporary way,” says Frei.
The first pen collections are obviously from the Otto Hutt family, but each is distinct and points to a different facet of the company’s know-how.
“Otto Hutt’s 01 and 02 designs go back to the roots of the company, while the 03 design is an adaptation of the style of writing instruments from the 1940s,” shares Frei. “Since Design 05, we have worked with designers to further develop our portfolio.
“The entire Otto Hutt collection consists of writing instruments for everyday use. Our fountain pens, rollerballs, ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils have won a large community of fans. The feedback on social media is really great and we appreciate the dialogue. There are so many styles, everyone can find their favorite piece.