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Monteverde Sonata: A Pocket Pen Review


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18 replies to this topic

#1 OakIris

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 20:23

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.   :P  )

 

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!   :blush:  )

 

Exterior box:

 

IMG_1039.JPG

 

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Interior pen box:

IMG_1046.JPG

 

Monteverde "branding" on interior "faux satin" lining of the pen box:

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The pen, the converter and the cartridges:

IMG_1049.JPG

 

IMG_1052.JPG

 

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.   :mellow: )  

 

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!

 

IMG_1093.JPG

 

Fill System:

 

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:

 

IMG_1061.JPG

 

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.  

 

IMG_1081.JPG

 

 

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!

IMG_1054.JPG

 

Some size comparisons

 

Monteverde Sonata and the J.P. LePine Indigo:

 

IMG_1057.JPG

 

IMG_1059.JPG

 

The Monteverde Sonata and the Lamy Safari:

IMG_1084.JPG

 

Conclusions:

 

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.

 

IMG_1094.JPG

 

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:

 

IMG_1123.JPG

 

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

 

IMG_1119.JPG

 

 

Pen safely tucked in for transport:

IMG_1121.JPG

 

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.   :)

 

IMG_1126.JPG

 

Holly


Edited by OakIris, 04 October 2013 - 20:29.


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#2 CapeClear

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 21:15

What a gorgeous little pen, wouldn't mind one of them myself! Where did you buy it may I ask?

#3 OakIris

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:24

Glad that you think the pen is gorgeous, too, CapeClear. 

 

I bought my pen from goldspot.com.  I bought mine from their eBay store but they have a  website as well and the pens are available there, too.  Not sure of their inventory - they no longer have the True Yellow listed on eBay so I may have got the last one of those.  Quick shipment and delivery, too, though perhaps not so quick for you - they do ship internationally, though.  :)  I didn't do an exhaustive search, but Goldspot was the only place I could find the pen brand new.

 

Holly



#4 Geordielass

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 13:45

I don't usually like short pens but this one is rather tempting, as it looks as if it's almost "normal" sized when posted and seems really nice.  Probably just as well it's not easily available in the UK, my pen budget is pretty much all spent until after Christmas!

 

Great detailed review, by the way, I hope you are going to do more.

 

Trouser pocket + eyedropper - if you do try it, you are a braver person than me!


Edited by Geordielass, 07 October 2013 - 13:48.


#5 Mainecoon

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 19:34

A truly nice and detailed review. That goes for the pictures as well. Thank you for this and I hope there are more to come! :)
Happy Writing!, Mainecoon

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#6 OakIris

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 11:55

Thank you all for your comments; good to hear that the review had enough detail but not too much - and glad that you are tempted, Geordielass. :D  It was actually fun to write the review, too, so if another a pen clamoring for a review comes my way, I will not hesitate to give another try!

 

Trouser pocket + eyedropper - if you do try it, you are a braver person than me!

You have a good point.  lol - If I try this conversion, I will definitely try it out with water first!

 

Holly



#7 terminal

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 00:22

I really like your review!  I enjoyed reading it and I think your writing moves the reader along well and your photographs are fun and unique.  It's glib and fun to read!

 

I'm surprised how much I like this pen -- it's quite nice looking.  Too bad about the nib.  How do you find the nib in comparison to the Safari?

 

I just ordered one of those exact little converters for one of my wife's pens and I'll confirm that it's a little stinker.  Let me know if you find any other 1/2 international converters and I'll do likewise.  I hate that the 'piston' isn't threaded.  

 

I like the case too! 


"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#8 betweenthelens

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:50

Holly, what a nice review! I agree with your partner's description; the pen does remind one of a bumblebee. I've seen that case before and it is so pretty. It is a shame about the converter but I'm sure you have your pick of cartridges in lovely colors. Enjoy your new pen!



#9 Geordielass

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:01

I meant to put this in the last comment I made, but would a Kaweco Sport converter fit and work any better?  I don't have one, so I can't say, myself if it's a better performer, but someone will know, I'm sure :).



#10 OakIris

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 14:44

I really like your review!  I enjoyed reading it and I think your writing moves the reader along well and your photographs are fun and unique.  It's glib and fun to read!

 

I'm surprised how much I like this pen -- it's quite nice looking.  Too bad about the nib.  How do you find the nib in comparison to the Safari?

 

I just ordered one of those exact little converters for one of my wife's pens and I'll confirm that it's a little stinker.  Let me know if you find any other 1/2 international converters and I'll do likewise.  I hate that the 'piston' isn't threaded.  

 

I like the case too! 

Glad you enjoyed the review and rather like the pen as well, terminal!  The nib is decent, it just isn't "special," if you know what I mean.  Kind of hard to compare it with the Lamy nibs - my pink Safari has a broad nib on it and my only other Safari - well, it is an Al-Star, but it's basically the same thing - has a 1.1 Italic nib on it.  I enjoy writing with both of them but can't really compare them to the "nail" that is on the Sonata.  Yeah, the Monteverde converter leaves a lot to be desired; makes you wonder why they even bothered!  I might look into the Templar mini-converter, though from what I can see, it also holds very little ink.  (Sadly, I don't think they have made a mini-converter yet that matches the capacity of the short international cartridge.)  I do have a Kaweco Sport mini-converter - more on that below - but I have yet to be able to use it so I don't know whether or not it is an improvement over the Monteverde converter; it is a different type, of course, (aerometric) and it does appear to be better made.

 

Holly, what a nice review! I agree with your partner's description; the pen does remind one of a bumblebee. I've seen that case before and it is so pretty. It is a shame about the converter but I'm sure you have your pick of cartridges in lovely colors. Enjoy your new pen!

A bumblebee it is then!  lol  It is fun to look at and nice to use.  Curious about your comment about the case though - I made it myself and didn't knowingly model it after anything, so I am not sure where you might have seen it before.  Perhaps you saw a photo of the "burnt chile" case I made for my LePine Indigo; I have that posted here on FPN as well - similar but not exact!

 

IMG_1068.JPG

 

I meant to put this in the last comment I made, but would a Kaweco Sport converter fit and work any better?  I don't have one, so I can't say, myself if it's a better performer, but someone will know, I'm sure :).

 

As I mentioned above, I do have a Kaweco Sport mini-converter; I got it in hopes of using it with my Indigo pen, but it did not fit - it was too long.  I did try to fit it in the Sonata, but had no luck with that, either.  It felt as if I would need to use a lot more force than I was willing to use to push it onto the nipple - not sure what the problem is, the nipple looks as if it should fit....  Anyway, looks as if refilling cartridges is the best I can do at this time!  (At least I have the Kaweco converter - hopefully someday I will have the pen to do along with it!)

 

Holly



#11 betweenthelens

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 17:09

That was it! I meant I'd seen it before as something you'd made and I've just found the thread from whence your photo has come. It's so unique, I knew you were the only one who'd made it.

 

(http://www.fountainp...ingle-pen-case/)

 

Yes! I love the style and color. You're so talented.



#12 OakIris

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:58

That was it! I meant I'd seen it before as something you'd made and I've just found the thread from whence your photo has come. It's so unique, I knew you were the only one who'd made it.

 

(http://www.fountainp...ingle-pen-case/)

 

Yes! I love the style and color. You're so talented.

lol - I thought that must be it.  I made both cases out of the same piece of leather and with similar waxed thread so there is a definite "family" resemblance.   Not sure how talented I am, but thank you for the compliment!   :blush:  Cases like these are very simple to make and, if this is something you would like for one of your pens,  I encourage you to give it a try - these are great for briefcase/bag/purse carry, too!

 

Holly 



#13 betweenthelens

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 19:22

Thank you for the inspiration, Holly! I still say you're very talented!

;)



#14 hot cocoa

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:37

Great review, Holly!

 

It looks like the Sonata suits you (pointless converter aside). I like the banding on the barrel, too - it's a nice touch. Monteverde has some nice acrylics, so it's good to see this pen fall in line with that, too.

 

I agree that the $50 price point would seem more appropriate for what you get. Good to know it can (hopefully) converted to an eyedropper. That right there would make it more versatile all around as that barrel looks like it would hold a buncha ink!



#15 KlytusLord

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 22:19

I have been wanting to add a Monteverde pen to my collection for some time. This review has certainly helped in trying to pick my first one. Thanks!

#16 OakIris

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:21

Great review, Holly!

 

It looks like the Sonata suits you (pointless converter aside). I like the banding on the barrel, too - it's a nice touch. Monteverde has some nice acrylics, so it's good to see this pen fall in line with that, too.

 

I agree that the $50 price point would seem more appropriate for what you get. Good to know it can (hopefully) converted to an eyedropper. That right there would make it more versatile all around as that barrel looks like it would hold a buncha ink!

I haven't tried the eyedropper conversion as yet, but I probably will. I don't see why it wouldn't work but if it doesn't, I'll have some cleaning to do, but hopefully, no harm done!  Still liking the pen.  Nice that it starts right up, too, even after not being used for 3 or 4 days; I can't say that about all of my pens, including those that cost quite a bit more than this one did.

 

I have been wanting to add a Monteverde pen to my collection for some time. This review has certainly helped in trying to pick my first one. Thanks!

Glad that my review was of help for you.  I am considering getting another Monteverde pen at some point; black pens don't normally appeal to me, but their Invincia Deluxe "Nighthawk" is actually on my wish list!  Quite different from my True Yellow bumblebee, lol.  And, it has a choice of nibs.  Here is a photo from the Golulet Pens website:

 

MV41350-4T.jpg?1382099659

 

Holly



#17 CapeClear

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 23:30

Well I've dropped every hint imaginable to my partner that I really want the Sonata for my birthday so here's hoping she gets the message!

#18 OakIris

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 15:38

Well I've dropped every hint imaginable to my partner that I really want the Sonata for my birthday so here's hoping she gets the message!

 

Nice!  I hope you do indeed get the pen and, most importantly, that you like it!

 

Holly



#19 arquitron

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 18:24

OakIris

 

I have been looking into buying a Monteverde for quite some time now.  I just happen to be looking for a pocket pen too and after reading your review I googled for the "Monteverde Sonata True Yellow" and voila...just found the last one on Amazon and bought it right away!  I think I'm going to be happy with this one.

 

Thank you for your review


Edited by arquitron, 20 June 2015 - 18:49.







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