I purchased my Sonata at the end of August of this year so haven't had the pen all that long. This may be more of a "first impressions" review; it is also my very first review so forgive me if I either miss some necessary details, or, on the other hand, put in more details than are necessary. (I wrote a review by hand - it was about 13 pages long; I will spare you many of those details. )
I was in the market for a pocket pen - yes, I mean a pen for the front pocket of a pair of trousers, not for the proper shirt or jacket pocket. I wanted a pen for "out and about" carry, jotting down quick notes, crossing things out on a grocery/shopping list, that sort of thing. It needed to be small enough to fit comfortably and safely (for me and the pen) in the pocket, sturdy enough to take such abuse, easy to post, write decently, and still be relatively inexpensive so that it could be replaced if lost or damaged.
I only had one pocket pen at the time, a Jean Pierre LePine "Indigo." I do like the pen but the cap screws on to post and lining it up perfectly so that it will screw on is rather awkward and fiddly; usually took me longer to get the cap posted correctly than it took me to write the note - a bit annoying. I considered a Kaweco Sport, especially the vintage piston fillers, and a few others, but for some reason I was also looking for a yellow pen, and I came across the image of the Monteverde Sonata in yellow. There was very little information available about the pen and I found no reviews, but I was hooked and bought the pen.
The Sonata collection is one of Monteverde's "Retired" collections, no longer being made, but I was able to find a NOS Sonata on eBay. I am not sure when they were first produced; the earliest mention I have come across is from 2008. The pens - fountain pens and rollerballs - were available in the following colors and patterns: Lite Pink, Deep Blue, Perfect Red, Yellow (True Yellow,) and Tiger Eye. Here is a link to the Monteverde site where you can see the various choices: Monteverde Sonata Fountain Pens (Ignore the fact that the description Monteverde included is all about the rollerball version....)
The pen came in a outer cardboard box with the pen box inside of it. For those that have no patience with the actual "unboxing" of a pen, it was a bit of a struggle to get the interior box out of the exterior box - ended up having to tear the cardboard of the exterior box in order to release the actual pen box. The pen was nicely displayed in the top tray of the pen box. Under the top tray was a plastic case containing a couple of ink cartridges of Monteverde Blue and a converter. (I did not notice until after I had taken these photos that there was a smudge of "something" on the pen cap near the clip - it wiped right off, but I didn't take new pictures - sorry! )
Interior pen box:
Monteverde "branding" on interior "faux satin" lining of the pen box:
The pen, the converter and the cartridges:
Appearance and build quality:
I like the way the pen looks. It is made of "resin" (no claim that it is "precious resin," though) with chrome coloured - stainless steel? - furniture. The pen seems to be well made and sturdy, not flimsy or cheap feeling. The yellow resin is somewhat translucent and has some depth to it, with swirls and marbling to which my point-and-shoot camera and meager photographic skills cannot do justice, and the the yellow stripe on the barrel ties the pen design together quite nicely. (I was excited when I first saw a photo of the Sonata because I thought the pen was a piston filler - that the yellow stripe marked the division between the pen body and the blind cap - but it is merely decorative. )
When my partner first saw the pen, she said "It looks like a bumble bee!" I think the contrasting colors are quite lovely. The clip is a simple design with nice clean lines and the cap bands add strength to the cap as well as giving the cap a nice finished look. "Monteverde" is discretely etched into the back of the top cap band . The clip itself seems strong and springy, but I haven't really tested it as I do not clip pens to my pockets or notebooks.
The only minor quibble I have with the pen's appearance is with the Monteverde logo of mountains that is on the end of the cap - the cap jewel, if you will. Instead of being made of the same smooth and sharply defined metal that was used for the rest of the furniture, it is sort of rough and pitted looking - deliberately molded that way, but I think it would have looked better smooth and sharply defined. I couldn't get a good photo of it to show what I mean, but that really isn't much to complain about!
Nothing unusual here, just a typical cartridge/converter set up. The cartridges are standard International (short) cartridges so you have the choice of the many ink brands that supply cartridges. The converter is.....cheap and flimsy feeling. It looks as if it "wanted" to be a piston fill, but it is not threaded, works like a plunger instead, and, most disappointingly, holds very little ink. Like the Monteverde ink cartridges it has a little plastic ball bearing in it which is supposed to help with ink flow (I think....) Here is a picture showing a comparison between the ink cartridge and converter to give you an idea of ink capacity:
I did try the converter using Sailor Jentle "Sky High" ink, but I was unable to get the air bubbles out of the converter, which probably further reduced the converter's ink capacity.
An international cartridge (short) holds about .75 ml of ink; I couldn't find any official information about the capacity of the mini-converter, and didn't take the time to actually measure it. A very rough, non-scientific estimate of capacity is that one fill of the converter lasted me for about 3-4 pages in a composition book, while the cartridge lasted for well over 10 pages. I will be refilling cartridges with the ink/s of my choice instead of using the converter.
I am wondering if the pen could be made into an eyedropper, however. The barrel appears to be all plastic (resin) so it should be an easy conversion and the ideal filling system for this pen. I may give it a try.
The Nib and feed:
Generic stainless steel nib. It has a number "8" molded into the bottom of the feed - no idea what that stands for - and "Irridium Point Germany M" and some scroll work is etched on the nib itself. The pen didn't start up with the first stroke, but did on the second stroke with no further coaxing. The flow is immediate, saturated, steady, keeps up with no difficulty with fast writing. The nib is a "nail," but that is what I expected, and is quite smooth. Some of Monteverde's pens have a choice of nibs, but the Sonata only came with a medium point. I contacted Monteverde about this to find out if they made other nibs for it; sadly they only have medium points for this pen, their other nibs will not fit it. A further inquiry got me the information that the nib is a #5 in size; I may replace the nib with something more interesting in the future. In the meantime, the stock nib is nice and smooth and as I have no plans to write the next great American novel with this pen, it should do just fine for the note taking, etc., that I use it for.
No close up of the nib with my camera, but here is non-close up!
Some size comparisons
Monteverde Sonata and the J.P. LePine Indigo:
The Monteverde Sonata and the Lamy Safari:
I like this pen. It fits well in my pocket, it does not leak and I don't worry about it getting damaged while being carried in my pocket. It writes nicely, posts easily and securely, and feels good in the hand. Plus it looks stunning, IMHO.
It won't take the place of my "full size" pens and no doubt it won't be the last pocket pen I buy, but it is a keeper and I recommend it for those that are looking for a pen that fits the "pocket pen" criteria. I do wish I had known about the pen when it first came out. I think it cost under $50 at that time; I paid around $70 for it with shipping.
In case you think I really abuse my pocket pens - trouser pocket carry?? Really?? - I do put them in a leather pouch first. This is the one I made for my Sonata:
My design was a bit off - as in, I didn't measure correctly, and ended up putting the magnet closure on the "body" of the case slightly off center; I added the pen nib charm to make it look as if I meant to design it that way. lol
Pen safely tucked in for transport:
Well, that is it for my first review; I hope it will be useful to someone and perhaps encourage them to buy one of these rather fun pens for themselves.
Edited by OakIris, 04 October 2013 - 20:29.