I chose to apply my credit to two Monte Verde fountain pens; they looked reasonable in the cabinet and from my brief web searching they were OK as a product. Leson to self: don't surf briefly if you want to research something that's intended to last a long time.
The pens are Monteverde Invincia RoseGold Carbonfiber model and a White Marble/Black Tip & Cap model Fountain Pens.
My review starts here;
The pen packaging was reasonable enough for the price. (Both $95 AUD)
(Because both pens are the same, save for the colour/material; carbon fibre versus white marbling they are exactly the same, so i will use the singular and plural as interchangeable)
Filling up the ink reservoirs. The "joinery" or screw mechanism between lower barrel and body had smooth relatively shapless grooves for thread which immediately alerted me. The machining was low grade and a poor thread doesn't auger well for longevity.
The caps seemed to "clip" reasonably when put on and off using a polymer inner O-ring as the seal. I turned the caps to see if the fit was uniform as a rotation can offer an insight into symmetry. Things "turned" grim quickly; the caps were loose or tight depending at what point in the rotation the cap was. Remembering this is not a screw cap pen. It was all down hill from here.
Next I loaded the ink reservoirs with Lamy ink, one blue one black. Flow rate was immediately rated average. After a couple of paragraphs of writting the flow stopped. The reservioir precluded the viscosity of the ink from sticking together; as ink left the nib it created a gap between the ink (now congregated at the top of the reservoir) and a large air bubble leading to the outflow point.
I had to remove the top half to gently flick the ink down the reservoir. Not happy. Writing was atrocious, I used mechanical engineers block graph paper for technical drawings, regular photocopier 90gsm white, lined note paper of approximately 70gsm, and the ubiqutous Moleskine cahiers (of which I have several depending on the meeting, or personal use). Every single one did not facilitate consistent ink flow.
Next I tried a change of ink brands after thoroughly cleaning the mechanisms. Inks included Noodlers, Parker, and Mont Blanc.
The problem persisted, indeed it worsened in some instances. (I even took the step of moderately diluting the ink to see if that helped. Nothing.) I returned it to the store, furious that I had been firstly sold a pen the wrong size and now sold, not one but two duds. The owners offer; repair. The repair was a joke. A razor blade was inserted between the slice in the nib and wriggled to apparently improve the flow. In conversation, the owner advised that that this was a common problem for MV pens. So much for merchantable quality provisions in our Sale of Goods Act.
I now have two expensive sticks; the surgery didn't work and nothing substantially changed. I can't get a refund but I can never go back to the store and the web is a beautiful thing for posting on work group intra-mail if you work for a big company. Colleagues listen to customer feedback, it's cheaper than making the mistake themselves. To think historical quality customer service can go from what I thought was perfect, to sour in a simple transaction.
Would I buy a Monte Verde again? Not if given the choice between burning a small stick and writing with the charcoal tip, or cutting letters and words out of newspaper print to make a sentence.
In conclusion (do I need one) DON'T even think about it when considering your next pen. Unless you like to collect expensive sticks.
PS: I am new to the forum and I have only recently discovered the site and read some quality posts; I am applying what I have read to pen buying decisions amongst other knowledge sources. Thanks to all who share their pen knowledge and experience.
Edited by MYU, 09 July 2009 - 10:59.