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/
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
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.
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.
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.