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Another New-Ish Italian Pen (Delta/ Chatterley) Fails


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#1 gregamckinney

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:28

Whatever the statistical continuum of trouble with Italian pens is, I always seem to have the worst luck.
I've posted (ranted a little, I guess) before about my terrible experience with Visconti pens. Only 2 out of 9, or possibly 2 of 10 Visconti's I've owned wrote and/ or functioned properly out of the box. Beautiful pens, but with abysmally inconsistent quality.

I've had good luck with all of the Omas and Aurora pens I've bought over the last 15+ years, and only one problematic Stipula.

I used to consider (based on my own hands-on experience) Delta to be on the quality end of the modern Italian pen range, but that seems to have come to an end. Setting aside issues with pens breaking from a drop (even one Oro that broke in half at the ink window after an 18" drop to carpet,) I now have had 3 Deltas in a row that either didn't write worth a damn out of the box, or now a Delta/ Chatterley that at 9-10 months old has started to leak profusely out the bottom/ piston knob end. I will send it off for repair of course. Even at $45 for a repair, and 2-3 months away, I'll be happy to eventually have the Delta back.

Either I'm the unluckiest guy in the world (though only with certain brands of modern Italian pens,) or there is something fundamentally wrong with the manufacture, quality and value of these expensive pens.

Every failure of a new, expensive Visconti or Delta drives me farther away, and really (for a bit, anyway) takes the fun out of collecting and using fountain pens.

Regards, greg <-- pouting, sure, but not without good reason

#2 Russ

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:25

Wow. Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. I've never had a Visconti or Delta . . . probably better that I don't go there. I'm with you on Omas and Aurora -- great pens, consistently. I sold my Optima a few years ago and don't want another. But the Omas . . . I think I could have only Omas pens and not be dissatisfied.

#3 mathguy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:36

Agreed on Visconti. My wife and I have 8 of them between us, and only 2 have worked out of the box. We've had great luck with Deltas (10 out of 10 worked), Marlen (4 out of 4), and Stipula (3 out of 3). It would be interesting to do a consumer survey to get a notion of the defect rate of the Italian manufacturers. Visconti would get hammered, I'm betting. Beautiful pens, but gawd awful innards.

Edited by mathguy, 05 December 2012 - 03:37.


#4 raging.dragon

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:00

A brand with a greater than 75% defect rate wouldn't have survived for the 25+ years that Delta and Visconti have been in business. So why then would a few people experience such high failure rates, while other people experience far lower failure rates? Well, random events tend to be clumped instead of spread evenly.

#5 dannzeman

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:12

...Setting aside issues with pens breaking from a drop (even one Oro that broke in half at the ink window after an 18" drop to carpet,)...

This.

I have a dolcevita stantuffo that just came back from Italy. It slipped out of my pocket as I bent over and fell maybe 2 feet onto carpet, landing on its side (in the same manner as you would set it on a flat surface). The section broke at the ink window and I was initially charged $45 for the repair, but after some discussion they said they could take off 20%. As far as I'm concerned it's a materials, possibly manufacturing, defect.

I know one thing, their customer service is lacking behind that of Pelikan and Pilot. It's enough to make me reconsider ever purchasing another Delta, which is a shame because my two Dolcevita Stantuffos are in my top 3 favorites.

#6 Aysedasi

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:20

Every failure of a new, expensive Visconti or Delta drives me farther away, and really (for a bit, anyway) takes the fun out of collecting and using fountain pens.


Without wishing to sound rude, I struggle to see why you continue to buy them - there are an awful lot of other makes.....?

Edited by Aysedasi, 06 December 2012 - 17:21.


#7 Koyote

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:45




Every failure of a new, expensive Visconti or Delta drives me farther away, and really (for a bit, anyway) takes the fun out of collecting and using fountain pens.


Without wishing to sound rude, I struggle to see why you continue to buy them - there are an awful lot of other makes.....?


This^^^

The reports (in this thread) about people having multiple bad pens from the same company are confusing; why keep buying from a mfr if the pens don't work? My money and time are scarce enough, and mfrs are abundant enough, that one bad experience would be enough to make me look elsewhere.

Edited by Koyote, 06 December 2012 - 17:46.


#8 Aysedasi

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 19:09

Exactly so, I spend far too much of a relatively limited income on pens, so they have to be right. As Koyote says, if they're not, I'm not about to go back again.....

#9 leod

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 13:03

Exactly so, I spend far too much of a relatively limited income on pens, so they have to be right. As Koyote says, if they're not, I'm not about to go back again.....


I kept coming back because they make beautiful pens and materials but I limit my choices to omas, visconti, and aurora for now.
Although i still have a problem with the last omas bought this year that was fixed thru Kenro.

are there other non-italian makers that use celluloid nitrate in modern pens beside platinum?
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing

#10 gregamckinney

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 17:33

In the case of Visconti, I had kept coming back since the pens are beautiful, and because at the time I was the only person I knew having so many problems. I kept hoping the previous pens were a fluke.

Same with Delta, but I'm learning my lesson sooner this time.

Regards, greg

#11 Strang

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 17:40

I have more than 30 Deltas, far and away the most of any brand I collect. A couple which suffered at the hands of previous owners aside, I've never had a problem and never a problem with a new Delta. Easily (along with Platinum) the most reliable pens I own.
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#12 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 18:34

Thanks for sharing Greg. I was more or less reprimanded in another thread here http://www.fountainp...ib/page__st__50 for daring to criticize visconti and delta quality.

Edited by georges zaslavsky, 08 December 2012 - 18:40.

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time
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#13 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 18:43

Iam sticking with Omas, Stipula and Montegrappa soon
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time
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#14 kauloltran

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 19:36

Fountain pens are not foolproof objects! It takes some fiddling to get an old nib to work. Because of their technical mechanics, there is double standard for fountain pens, expensive or not, I don't expect all of them to work right out of the box. Sometimes all it takes is a thorough flush with soap and tines adjustment. I can tell the same tales of misery with my bad Omas and Pelikans.

#15 ethernautrix

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 21:24

Sometimes I wonder if there is just a personality conflict with certain brands....


I mean... there are pens that I love to look at and would love to own and write with, but... while they are troublefree for others, they've been a problem for me.

Edited by ethernautrix, 08 December 2012 - 21:26.

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#16 m0rr1s

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 21:44

Sometimes I wonder if there is just a personality conflict with certain brands....


This is my feeling too. I have three Deltas and all worked well straight from the box. I have brought other pens on recommendation and found them 'problematic'. I have put it down to how I write with them...

Edited by m0rr1s, 08 December 2012 - 21:44.


#17 raging.dragon

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:54


Fountain pens are not foolproof objects! It takes some fiddling to get an old nib to work. Because of their technical mechanics, there is double standard for fountain pens, expensive or not, I don't expect all of them to work right out of the box. Sometimes all it takes is a thorough flush with soap and tines adjustment. I can tell the same tales of misery with my bad Omas and Pelikans.

old nib? sure. Much can happen in 50-100 years. But out of the box, I don't think there is any reason to argue about it: an expensive pen SHOULD write well out of the box.


But a pen that writes well for one person may not write well for another. Some of us prefere wet nibs, while others prefere dry. Some of us prefere absolutely smooth nibs, while others prefere different amounts of feedback. Some of us prefere stiff nibs, while others prefere various degrees of softness, springiness and flexibility. A pen tuned for heavy handed writers may skip when used by a light handed writer.

Each brand, and sometimes each line within a single brand, has it's nibs tuned differently. Thus, each of us will find some brands, models and/or variant nibs will work better for us than others. Or we may even find that for different tasks, or even just different moods, we prefere different nibs.

Sometimes I wonder if there is just a personality conflict with certain brands....

I mean... there are pens that I love to look at and would love to own and write with, but... while they are troublefree for others, they've been a problem for me.


This is my feeling too. I have three Deltas and all worked well straight from the box. I have brought other pens on recommendation and found them 'problematic'. I have put it down to how I write with them...


I wouldn't be surprised. Also, ink preferences might make a difference.

Edited by raging.dragon, 09 December 2012 - 07:55.


#18 gregamckinney

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 18:55

When I wrote this, I forgot to add a key aspect:
With only one or two exceptions, I as eventually able to get all of the problem pens working properly.
My main objection was that modern, expensive pens wrote poorly- or in several cases- _not at all_ out of the box.
Sending a pen off to a restorer or nibmeister to get it to work properly should not be necessary.

Best Regards, greg


[ETA: fixed punctuation error.]


In the case of Visconti, I had kept coming back since the pens are beautiful, and because at the time I was the only person I knew having so many problems. I kept hoping the previous pens were a fluke.

Same with Delta, but I'm learning my lesson sooner this time.

Regards, greg


Edited by gregamckinney, 09 December 2012 - 18:56.


#19 rhosygell

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 20:36

Having tried modern Omas, Aurora, Montegrappa, Filcao and Delta pens only the last two have been reliable. I still have a Delta Windows Autumn in regular use. It has been impeccable straight out of the box and continues to work in an exemplary fashion.
Quite honestly, any manufacturer can have a flop. My biggest flops came from the most unexpected quarters, Aurora and Pelikan.

Edited by rhosygell, 09 December 2012 - 20:36.

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#20 eric47

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 20:50

Having tried modern Omas, Aurora, Montegrappa, Filcao and Delta pens only the last two have been reliable. I still have a Delta Windows Autumn in regular use. It has been impeccable straight out of the box and continues to work in an exemplary fashion.
Quite honestly, any manufacturer can have a flop. My biggest flops came from the most unexpected quarters, Aurora and Pelikan.


Say it isn't so, Aurora and Pelikan flops, no way! :D

Of the brands I own (Aurora, Omas, Montegrappa, Viconti), the most reliable and least problematic have been the Auroras, even with those I've had some issues with new out the box pens. No Delta here because they're piston fillers have really fat sections that don't suit my grip. Since you mentioned Pelikan, I've had problems with them too.

I always laugh about the great "bullet proof" Japanese pens (often combined comments about the finicky Italian pens). My biggest flop ever is the only Japanese FP I've ever owned, a Namiki VP (90s stealth faceted version). The sucker had serious issue 3 times in a 6 month period, each time requiring a replacement part. The experience was so bad, it not only scared me away from the brand, but the entire country's FP production. :rolleyes: (joking of course.)
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#21 ArchiMark

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:36

FWIW, I've had most of the Italian brand pens; Aurora, OMAS, Delta, Visconti, Stipula, Tibaldi, and Montegrappa.

Overall, all of the pens listed have been very good, but the one Visconti I had needed some feed cleaning first as I recall.

After having about 8 plus Delta pens, I would rate them as very high quality. It's unfortunate that Greg has had such issues with them as that has not been my experience with them. However, I'm not discounting the issues he's had.

From reading the various forum sections the past several years here, you can find someone for most pen brands that has had negative experiences with that brand, while others experiences have been positive. Just the way it is.....unfortunately. It's clear that some pens leave the manufacturer without getting a complete QC check and adjustments if needed.




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