Monteverde Invincia Stealth Black Review
I am fairly new to fountain pens, and the invincia was my first fountain pen, which I got for Christmas last year (2012). The reason I am reviewing this fountain pen today is because I used it continuously for 2 months as my only pen, writing 3+ hours a day with it, 6 days a week. As a result, I have a pretty good understanding of its pros and cons. I recently purchased a noodlers Ahab and a Visconti homo sapiens, so I have something to compare it to in this review now, which I have wanted to write for a while. Please forgive me if my terminology is a bit off, and feel free to correct me if I say something wrong.
While very subjective, I thought I might offer my thoughts on the appearance. The pen is of a tapered design, bulging in the centre and slowly decreasing in radius towards the end of the cap and the barrel. It is brass, coated in shiny black paint or lacquer. The cap screws off to reveal a black metal grip section and large, dark grey (think of graphite) nib. On the base of the cap, Monteverde invincia is printed, and the logo is also printed on the top of the cap.
Personally I really like the look of the pen. It is not gaudy, and will not catch the eye of those around you like some other pens, but this is perhaps a good thing, and it will not attract thieves either. I love the look of the nib; the slightly lighter colour contrasts well with the rest of the pen. Mine is a little scratched in places, revealing the metal under the paint, but this is not a flaw of the pen, but rather a fault of mine for carrying it in my pocket for two months.
The pen is 43g with the cap and 31g without. I think it is a little back heavy due to the thick barrel but overall I like the weight of the pen.
Construction: 15.5/25 (combined score)
The pen can be disassembled; the section, barrel, the nib unit and the converter can all be removed. The nib and feed seem to be inseparable, though you can screw them out of the pen together for cleaning. I would've liked it of the nib and feed could be separated entirely so the feed could be cleaned better.
The barrel seems to be solid brass. It has metal threading for both the section and the cap, which work wonderfully and don't seem to wear at all, even when people like me repetitively screw and unscrew the section during a boring class or lecture. It is very thick and heavy, and would probably survive even the most brutal treatment.
The cap, like the barrel, is solid brass, meaning it is very durable. It has a plastic lining inside where the nib sits, and screws on snugly. The clip is stiff but still functional, and like the rest of the pen, it appears to be very durable. The biggest problem for the cap is that you cannot post it at all; it will fly off when writing, and could get lost. Personally, I find this to be very poor design.
The section is made of metal like the rest of the pen. It is functional, but very slippery and during exams or long period of writing, it can become a pain. I find that it tapers too fast, and is far too thin just before the nib, which can become uncomfortable after a time. The rim just before the nib is a welcome touch, as it stops your fingers sliding down to the nib. The threads connecting the section to the barrel are well designed and durable; the section never becomes loose.
The converter that comes with the pen is just awful. It holds about 0.5mL of ink, which is not nearly sufficient for me. I was refilling it about 3 or 4 times a day when I was using the converter. The converter also comes loose of the feed really easily. Several times each day, I would have to open the pen and reconnect the converter to the feed, as the ink would stop flowing. I started using large cartridges which held much more ink and did not come loose.
Writing experience: 22/30
The nib is very smooth when writing at a moderate pace. The amount of friction seems to increase exponentially as you write faster however, though I didn't really find this much of a problem, and didn't even really notice until I purchased my homo sapiens. This is a relatively cheap pen, so I suppose it is to be expected. This lessened by switching from pelikan Edelstein to Visconti ink.
Skipping is a real issue for this pen. It often skips when quickly crossing "t" or very quick downstrokes on "L". More frustratingly, it almost always skips or railroads on the downstrokes of right brackets. For most, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but in a math exam when writing 3 pages of matrices very quickly, it became a serious issue for me. Because of this, I found myself applying a lot more pressure than should be necessary to try to eliminate the frequent skipping.
A strange effect of this pen is that it seems to write with a very faded line. My black inks look very grey and somewhat "soft" around the edges rather than well defined. My blue ink seems lighter too. There is no feathering or bleed though, so this is not necessarily a bad feature, but it may not be what some people are looking for.
The pen has a little bit of line variation, but certainly can't flex well. I can make it flex on the downstroke with enormous amounts of pressure, which can be useful when writing integral signs, or to add a bit of flare to a capital letter, but the amount of pressure required for the flex is beyond what would be comfortable for everyday writing. The small amount of line variation makes my writing look quite nice, and it is far more legible than when using a ballpoint pen.
Final score: 37.5/55 (68%)
The invincia black is not a bad pen. It looks great, most of the components are very sturdy and the pen is almost indestructible. It wears very well; only a bit of chipped paint over 2 months of solid use. There are a few problems however. The converter does not work, you cannot post the cap and the nib sometimes skips. It also writes with a very faint line and has a bit of friction when writing very fast. I'm not sure if I would recommend this pen to someone. For me, its down sides became too much to bear, and after using it for 4 exams, I went out and bought my Visconti which is almost flawless except for a small ink capacity. For others who do not write so much, it would probably be fine. I would suggest trying it out before buying it, and see if the skipping or the grip is an issue for you.