Oh, this is my first review and it is quite a length beast. Sorry for that!
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: When I first opened the postal package, it was definitely a wow moment. Inside was an extremely heavy, shiny, and gorgeous wooden box.
Not too shabby!
Opening the wooden box reveals a surgical looking caliper and, of course, the pen! Everything looks lovingly crafted and put together.
Delicately lifting it out from the acrylic holders, I'm amazed by the heft it has. Definitely not just a plastic pen!
APPEARANCE, DESIGN, TECHNICAL: This the pen created by Visconti in recognition (is that the right word?) of the divine proportions. It is a ratio (1:1.618) that is seen everywhere in nature and is said to be the peak aesthetic ratio. It has been incorporated into the design of this pen with the spirals of inlaid silver, and the ratio between the cap and the barrel.
Now on to actual pen stuff...
This pen is made out of celluloid, a nice traditional pen making material. For this pen, it takes the form of a briar wood looking material, which looks really nice in person. This pen is also rather large, a tad longer than a Montblanc 149, at almost exactly 150mm capped. The pen uncapped is approximately 138mm from the tip of the nib to the end of the barrel; a fairly substantial pen in the hand, which I like! The weight of the pen in your hand seems to tend towards the butt of the pen, due to the heavy filling system.
The capping system is also all new, and patented by Visconti. It was created to ensure the bands of silver line up every time you cap the pen. They call it the "hook safe lock", which is an apt description.
It securely caps each time, and guarantees that you won't open up your pen pouch one day to find a cap dislodged from your pen during a tumultuous trip. I feel very confident about clipping this pen to a shirt without fear of a messy accident. All it takes is a simple push a twist motion. Very slick and effortless! The mechanism is actually quite simple when I looked at it. There is a soft rubber tube fixed to the inside of the cap that the grip section squished into every time you cap and uncap. This also acts to seal off the nib from the outside to prevent drying.
So overall, hats off to the crew at Visconti! Great original design and execution!
CONSTRUCTION & QUALITY: The inlaying of silver is very well done. Running a finger nail over where silver meets celluloid, I can't detect where it happens with my eyes closed. However, I do have some bones to pick with the quality:
The shot above is of the trim bit at the filling window. For a product that has a MSRP of $1618, I expect more polishing to be done. When buying a premium item, you are paying that extra attention to detail. It simply isn't worth the price of admission if not for the little things. Examining what you shouldn't be paying attention to or hardly ever pay attention to is a good indicator of how well the item is built. If they polish every little screw and piece, you can rest assured more vital components are treated with equal care. To put it flatly, the entire piece encasing the filler window seems poorly made with little bumps and ridges on the internal faces. The silver surfaces that are part of the continuity of the lines running that the length of the pen seem acceptable for the most part.
Above is the Visconti arc clip. Spring loaded and pretty. The lettering, however, isn't the best. I was told the previously owner used it once, and then had it put away. Therefore the lettering somehow managed to come off during that period of time, or left the factory like that. Either answer is troubling.
Other than that, build quality is pretty tight. The clip wiggles a little bit, but the cap doesn't. The filling mechanism retracts and depresses smoothly with only a tiny gap with the barrel. Not rattling, so that's good. I also really like the choice of celluloid as the main material. It seems really sturdy and, with my short amount of time with the pen, I believe it will resist scratches better than my "precious resin" ( ) Montblancs.
Enough of me complaining, let's get onto the good stuff!
NIB & PERFORMANCE: The nib is made by the German company Bock. It is a large 18K gold two tone affair at 24mm long. I love the artsy crescent breather hole, and the flourishy design stamped on it. The feed is supposed to be something special too, with its red colour but I needed a nib swap so I got a black feed. No biggie.
Ok, enough details. How does it write? Very wetly, very smoothly and very fine! Absolutely perfect! It is at least as good as my 149 in terms of smoothness. What it isn't, however, is glassy smooth. You don't feel removed from the process, but completely attached to the paper and pen, feeling the roughness/smoothness of the paper. It's like a creepy extension of your had giving you direct feedback from the paper. Then there is that light "scratching" sound of a nib contacting paper... I prefer zero feedback, but this is really good! I believe the nib is a bit on the soft side (I think, because I don't have much to compare it to). I can also say for certain that there is a bit of flex, after an eye-popping test run by my heavy handed dad.
And just for the record, I was using Montblanc Royal Blue on some cruddy paper I found lying around.
FILLING SYSTEM: Visconti calls it the "push and pull touchdown". That is more of an operation definition. It works by some sort of vacuum mechanism. To begin, you first depress the silver button at the end of the barrel. You need to press it in quite deep which is good to prevent accidental release. Then you pull on the knob to extend it. It took a surprising about of force to do it, but it eventually budged. You are treated with an ornately engraved filling cylinder. This is one of those little extra special things I was talking about. You hardly ever see the filler knob yet they decided to create this beautiful piece of art, just because they could! ("Art for art's sake") Twisting down the length of the mechanism is the numbers of the Golden Ratio. The engraving is a done via little dots to form numbers and letters. I would have preferred a deep engraving, but I'm perfectly happy with this too.
The main problem I have with this filling system is that you must have the grip section submerged in order for the pen to successfully fill. Other than that, I'm just glad it is not a C/C filler.
I don't have any pictures ( ), but I have an animation of how it works!
COST & VALUE: I got this pen from Bryant. All I can say is that I'm very grateful that he gave me an opportunity to own such a beautiful beautiful writing instrument. This purchase would not have been possible without him!
CONCLUSION: If you made it this far, congratulations! There isn't any prize, just more of me rambling... Quality problems aside, this is a great pen and would recommend it to anyone! It is a very capable writer that looks absolutely stunning doing it. It's just a bit sad that this pen is going to get relegated to the boring job of doing homework rather than note taking.
On a side note, this pen was also released in a solid gold version limited to 618. In my opinion, it looks even better, with the warm gold bringing out the rich brown colour of the celluloid.
And last of all, a family shot.
Thanks for reading!
EDIT: Photo resizing and continually for spelling and grammar
Edited by PigRatAndGoat, 25 June 2009 - 23:44.