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Visconti Homo Sapiens

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50 replies to this topic

#1 tanalasta



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Posted 19 April 2010 - 13:44

First Impressions (9)

The Visconti Homo Sapiens was one of the most anticipated releases for 2010. A unique material (a lava and resin composite) and the palladium 23k nib, none of which have really been seen before in a modern fountain pen.

I wanted something durable, a pen that could take a knock and would be more resistant to scratches or cracks than resin or celluloid. Yet not as heavy as a brass or metal pen. On both counts, the Homo Sapiens fit the bill.

The purchase experience was exceptional. This was my first purchase from Bryant at www.pentime.net and his service and correspondence was quick, friendly and accomodating. I asked for the nib to be dipped, tested and flushed prior to shipping and he did it within an hour of payment and promised to ship it the very next morning.

The pen is also customisable using the Visconti 'My Pen' system. The Visconti logo on the top of the cap is a magnet that can be removed and replaced with initials. Bryant has the gold-coloured ones that match very well with the pen.

The Visconti box sets a new standard for me. Under the yellow cardboard jacket is a large and impressive brown faux-leather box. Inside, sitting on white felt is the pen. On the left of the box, there is a hidden tray that you can pull out which has the instruction manual and a small DVD inside, as well as an included bronze polishing cloth

A robust discussion of the pen has taken place http://www.fountainp...and-measuments/

Appearance (8)

Its a large pen, with the bronze almost appearing like rose gold.

Understated, matte black with bronze trim.

Plenty of photos online and on pentime.net can do it more justice than me.

43 grams posted (from Bryant)
25 grams without cap (from Bryant)
14.5 cm capped
13.5 cm to nib uncapped


Design/Size/Weight (7)
The design is unique. Who else uses a composite of lava and resin in a pen? This gives it a nice, sturdy heft along with the titanium filling system or rod.

The weight is substantial if you are used to resin pens which are usually 20-25g. The pen posts securely but becomes extremely top heavy as a result. I would not recommend posting this pen. Uncapped, it appears like a traditional pen and is perfectly balanced. The nib is reasonably large and just right for the pen.

The lava material has a matte, slightly rough look to it. It is lukewarm to the touch and others have described an almost neoprene feel to it. What they possibly mean is that it is not rock hard to touch, yet not glassy smooth like resin nor cold like metal.

You notice that it is not pure resin and has a granite type heft and sensation to it.

The capping system is unique to Visconti. There's a small rubber insert in the cap and corresponding grooves on the section. You press in slightly and uncap the pen with only a slightly anti-clockwise motion. Reverse to re-cap. It makes uncapping the pen a breeze.

The finish on the grip section where the cap hooks on is slightly rough. That may be due more to the nature of the material than manufacture. The rest of the finish is pristine.

Nib (8)

The 23k Palladium


It is about the size of the MB 146 (LeGrand) nib. And I believe manufactured by Bock.

If you like Pelikan nibs, you will love the Palladium. It is wet, free flowing and writes with the slightest touch. I rate this pen wetter than my Binderized Pelikan M600, perhaps 8/10 in flow. I had it filled with J'Herbin Perle Noir. Bryant's video below is with Visconti Turquoise.

The Extra-Fine Palladium writes quite wide and definitely wider than a Japanese fine in my opinion. It is wider than my Pelikan M600 XF and MB 146 XF. If you prefer more feedback in your nibs, or a finer line then you may need the nib adjusted.

The nib is butter smooth and smoother than my Pelikan with a large sweet spot. There is a bit of spring in it, more pronounced when writing at low angles. Given how wide I feel it writes with very light pressure, I would not rate this pen flexy and would be most hesitant to press hard enough to demonstrate significant flex.

However, Bryant was kind enough to test my pen prior to shipping to ensure it was perfect. He even put the video of him testing the very pen he shipped to me on Youtube and FPN!

The nib scores 8 only because I do like my nibs slightly finer, with more feedback and slightly less flow. This is highly subjective and someone who loves a butter smooth, juicy nib could well give this 10/10. It is NOT a stiff nib compared to my Aurora 14k (Optima) or MontBlanc 146 LeGrand.

Filling System (8)

Visconti Power Filler.

High capacity (I would estimate >1.5mL given how much it took out of my Visconti travel inkwell). Unscrew the end. Then pull it out until you meet resistance (about 5cm). Push back in, wait 5-10 seconds and screw the blind end back in.

No ink window so you do not know how well you filled your pen nor how much is left. One of the major disadvantages of this pen.

Cost and Value

When is cost and value not fantastic when you take into account Bryant's prices? The Pen and (I added) a Visconti Travel Inkpot for under $500 US.

The Palladium Nib was like using a paintbrush, the slightest touch and it would draw on the page. I would imagine it would be great for signatures. Given the unique material, feel and nib, I would place this pen on par with other pens in the $400-500 US range.

Rose gold instead of bronze would be nice, but possibly not quite in keeping with the Homo Sapiens theme.

Conclusion (8)

It is durable, with a lovely tactile feel and heft. The nib is juicy, butter smooth and with a gentle spring that makes it a joy to write with. Perhaps, not quite so good for someone with very small handwriting, but I imagine the majority of people will love it.

You should try this pen. It is masculine and the matte black with bronze gives it a unique, powerful look.

*no affiliation with Bryant, just a happy customer*

*photos taken from www.pentime.net and Viscont Press Releases as I haven't had the chance to photograph yet* Minor edits. The Fountain Pen Inventory review system does not like punctuation and cuts out!

Edited by tanalasta, 19 April 2010 - 14:11.

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)
In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

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#2 sfs6205



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Posted 19 April 2010 - 13:55

Thanks for the review. I have delayed ordering my H. sapiens because I cannot decide which nib I want - extra fine? Stub? I do know Visconti nibs (not the palladium - yet!) and they are great writers as you found - buttery smooth and wet.

I second your evaluation of your seller - Bryant is great to deal with (again, no affiliation, just another extremely happy customer).
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#3 Ed Ronax

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 19:05

Great review, its certainly made out of interesting materials and is a bit of a looker.
You cant go wrong dealing with Bry, he's most accommodating.

Edited by Ed Ronax, 19 April 2010 - 19:53.

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#4 RMN


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Posted 19 April 2010 - 23:13

Interesting, Tanalasta.

I was especially interested in your description of the nib.
I myself have the stub. Which I did not find too good at first, when used on the extremely smooth Clairefontaine Velouté paper. Later I flushed the pen with a soapy mixture, put in Watermans Blue Black and wrote on less smooth paper: a nice nib, writes well, but need just a bit of pressure. I am not used to a stub but I have the idea the sweetspot to be on the narrow side.

I do believe you're right about it being a Bock nib. I got the HS together with a Conway Stewart Winston with IB nib, and the look almost identical in shape. I would not be surprised if you could exchange these nibs... Which would be interesting, for that would broaden both nibranges quite a bit.

Bryant, would you dare to give that a try?






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#5 shrinknib


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Posted 20 April 2010 - 13:42

Lovely review.
I understand everything you have said and some of your reservations are mine too.
I second your positive sentiment of Bry, but the reviewis about the pen!
:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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#6 tanalasta



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Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:57

Just an update which I've posted here: http://www.fountainp...ost__p__1526969

Along with some photos to demonstrate the size comparison.

I've heard of some variability with the Visconti EF palladium nibs in terms of flow. The one I got from Bryant is definitely a very wet writer although others have suggested asking Bryant to send it to mikeitwork for flow adjustment prior to shipping. Bit late for me now (costs more to ship it there and back than to do the adjustment!)

That said, I'm still reasonably happy with the pen.

*tried editing the original post but couldn't do so*

In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)
In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

#7 dwong



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Posted 03 May 2010 - 03:50

Very nice review! The pen looks like such a smooth writer in the video, and the palladium nib is really something unique.

#8 kanajlo



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Posted 11 July 2010 - 00:12

Would some metallurgist or chemist please tell me the advantage of palladium over gold?
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#9 Yuki Onitsura

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 02:52

Would some metallurgist or chemist please tell me the advantage of palladium over gold?

Well, according to Visconti, it has a higher melting temperature, is less prone to corrosion and is a bit more flexible.

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#10 akrishna59


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Posted 11 July 2010 - 04:27

great looking pen. you are certainly lucky to have it and i wish you all the happiness that only an fp can give. thanks for the nice review and photos. i will check out this pen on their site.


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#11 Jimmy James

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 06:23

Would some metallurgist or chemist please tell me the advantage of palladium over gold?

Well, according to Visconti, it has a higher melting temperature, is less prone to corrosion and is a bit more flexible.


Don't forget that palladium is around 1/3 the price of gold at the moment, so it represents a nice savings in terms of materials cost to Visconti.

#12 Preetham



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Posted 11 July 2010 - 08:32

Thanks for the great review. Amazing photographs.

#13 ckoza1


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 20:49

Perhaps this is a small matter in the overall evaluation of a pen, but I do not like the pocket clip on the Homo Sapiens pen at all. While the design is artistically attractive, it is not a functional design that allows the clip to flow over cloth. Therefore, it is quite a chore to secure the pen into even a shirt pocket.

#14 Brian


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Posted 12 July 2010 - 23:17

Missed this earlier. An interesting pen with some thought into the use of unique materials. Thanks.

#15 bran



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Posted 13 July 2010 - 20:41

Thanks for the review. This is the next pen to enter my stable.

#16 jnd


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Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:12

To answer an earlier post with respect to the palladium nib, I guess the advantage of palladium over gold would be its cost and its greater hardness/melting point (no protective rhodium plating needed). I've put some pressure on this first-ever palladium nib (95O palladium/95%/23 k). It's not as flexible as a steel nib, and a wee bit more flexible than a 14-k gold one--that is, a bit more springy than gold. There are aesthetic advantages: palladium is whiter than white gold. And there are the obvious cost advantages: per ounce, gold, $1241; silver, $18.51; platinum, $1545; palladium, $450. Recent advances in casting palladium have made it less a pain to deal with. When molten, it soaks up air and exudes bubbles when it cools, so it hardens porous. Vacuum casting needed to prevent that. As for the pen, what a bundle of really remarkable advances/features. The twist-and-lock cap-fastening design is also remarkable. I've never seen that in a pen. The cap hooks-in with a quarter-turn, and stays locked in snug. Thanks for the review.

#17 samh


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Posted 17 July 2010 - 03:43

Thanks for the review. This is the next pen to enter my stable.

Some day I hope to have one, though i have no idea how I'd ever afford it...

#18 breaker



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Posted 02 October 2010 - 21:51

nice review on a unique pen
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#19 cwnidog


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Posted 10 December 2010 - 18:47

I got mine with an EF nib from Bryant, as well (can't say enough nice things) and have been using it for a few months now. I will admit that when I first started using it, I was disappointed. It was dry and wrote with a somewhat erratic flow, even after a thorough flush with clean water with a drop of detergent mixed in. Then I discovered my problem - I was using the Visconti ink that came with the pen. Once I switched to one of my favorites, Noodler's Legal Lapis, it writes with a nice, steady, wet line and has become one of my favorite pens, always in rotation.

It compares well with and handles similarly to,the MB 146 or Pelikan m800 line (another couple of favorites). I love the feel of the lava & resin mix body. When I squirrel away a few (ha!) more buck, I'd be interested in picking up their calligraphy set - from Bryant, of course.
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#20 Sidestreaker



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Posted 14 December 2010 - 05:31

Thank you for the great review. I have intention of starting to collect Visconti and Homo Sapien is on top of my list, mainly because of the unique material it uses and based on this review, seems to be a fantastic writing pen. I'm considering F or M nib.
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