Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Tortoise Demonstrator
INTRODUCTION: When I was about 13 my Mom bought me a Van Gogh in the medium size as a graduation present. That pen quickly became my daily user and still is for the most part. It was from the year the Van Gogh pens were first introduced and has an unbelievable 14kt nib that just writes like a dream. Back in October I was in Cincinnati with school and had some free time to wander so I went to the Appointments pen store in the Carew Tower. At first I wasn't looking for a Visconti but rather a Stipula. However, I was drawn to the look of a Van Gogh sitting in its case all by itself and asked to try it. I was floored with it and an hour later I walked out with my second Van Gogh and first demonstrator.Note: This is my first review so let me know how it is.
- Construction & Quality: 9 – The pen is solidly built, with no visual flaws. Visconti's quality is always top-notch and this pen is a fine example. It is actually a light pen considering it is 5 3/4" capped. Holding it in the hand you really get a sense of its solidity and even though I haven't measured the thickness of the barrel material, I'd say it is at least 3/32" which is quite thick for a pen. It is a well balanced pen, with most of the weight centered on the section. As I said there are no flaws in fit or finish. But the only thing that bothers me is the clip as it has some play side to side, but I love it's look as it is supposed to represent a bridge connecting societies. This is definitely I pen that can withstand a fall on a hard surface as long as it is capped.
- Nib & Performance: 8 – I chose a broad nib since I love bold lettering and I think my writing looks best with a thick line. The nib is made out of 14kt gold with what looks like a platinum mask to match the silver trim. The nib is definitely the most interesting part of this pen - it's huge at 3/4" long! It's a monster of a nib with a monster broad point that is unlike any other nibs I have in my collection. It writes like a double broad with what I would call a very noticeable oblique character. It's not stubbish as the the horizontal strokes are noticeably wider than the down strokes. However, the nib is scratchy on the left tine around the bottom corner. I don't notice the scratchiness when writing most of the time but if I rotate the pen to the left while writing the scratchiness becomes annoying. It's a bit odd as the right tine is perfect and extremely smooth. Eventually I am going to have the nib smoothed out. The pen writes very well with most of the inks I have used except for Visconti black. It skipped and dried out incessantly with that color. So I switched to my preferred ink, PR Naples Blue, and what a difference. It is smooth-flowing, extremely wet and saturated. Plus, the pen does not skip or dry out anymore. I don't really like black ink so I won't be putting the Visconti ink back in the pen.
You'll have to excuse the nib's dirty appearance, but I rather like how it looks with the blue in the engraving which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful on any pen. I also love the crescent breather hole. I don't like the round breather hole so I prefer the heart or moon shaped ones. Moreover, the fretwork on the section is very nice.
Filling System & Maintenance: 6 -This is the part of the pen that I wish was different. A pen this big can easily have a piston filler without changing the design. It is a standard cartridge/converter. One thing that does make up for it is Visconti's beautiful converter which echoes the design of the section. For a converter this holds a good amount of ink, haven't counted but I can go for a couple of weeks between fills even with heavy note-taking. I fill it up with my Visconti ink pot and it couldn't be easier. The pen fills completely - and I do mean completely - on the first time. Plus, since I'm using the ink pot there is no need to clean the section as it is protected from ink by the seal. I've had this pen in an airplane with my filled with ink and it does not leak. The reason it gets a low score is because of the converter.
You can see the design of the converter through the barrel and it's completely full.
- Cost & Value: 10–I bought the pen at Appointments in Cincinnati. The owner - Labron I believe - was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. He took the time to show me all the pens that caught my eye and was eager to show others that didn't. The 14kt Maxi is not a cheap pen with an MSRP of $295.00. But Labron gave me a great deal, all I paid was one $195 plus tax. It was a pretty good deal in my opinion for such a pen. And Visconti's packaging couldn't be nicer. It came in a red alligator-patterned leather case with a sliding drawer for the manual and warranty. Inside it was a beautiful white leather with the Visconti logo on the upper part and it has a spot for an included ink bottle - the same ink that doesn't really work in the pen. This pen is definitely a great value compared to the other pens in my collection.
- Conclusion: 8.25 -Overall, I love this pen. It has met all my expectations even with that scratchy left tine. The whole experience at that store helped to influence my decision as to me it is what a pen store should be. It has an excellent selection and great service. I would definitely buy the pen again for myself, but most likely in a different color. And I would also buy another to give as a gift, but that may be difficult with the possible discontinuation of this model. It is currently one of my daily writers and probably will be for years to come. I will never sell this one!
Anyway, hope everyone enjoys my first attempt at a review.
M A S
Edited by MYU, 10 January 2010 - 06:30.