1. Appearance and Design.
The Turchese Meraviglia Stantuffo is based on the Delta Dolce Vita piston filler pen so much of this review applies to that pen and the Dolce Vita Oro. The key differences in this pen is the use of the fantastically gorgeous Montegrappa celluloid. One of the great things about Bryant is that he listens to his clientele. If you ask FPN'ers to design their perfect pen, you'll get a gazillion ideas but a piston filler and celluloid are two of the most frequent requests. In addition, the lack of a metal section (celluloid all the way down) and silver trim were also very popular. So these are all elements that are incorporated into the Turchese Meraviglia Stantuffo. This pen is available with silver trim or the gold trim shown in my pictures.
This pen is a modern oversized pen and is comparable to a MB 149 is length and girth. The pen features a flat top (Yay!) with elegantly executed trim. There is a very ornate cap band that doesn't over power the aesthetic. The pen is a piston filler but has a blind cap rather than a captured piston knob. Under the blind cap is a beautifully machined brass piston mechanism. There is a transparent ink window that is partially revealed while the pen is capped and fully exposed when uncapped. I suppose this latter feature is a bit controversial. The ink window is very functional but does interrupt the flow of the celluloid. The ink window is less intrusive on the Dolce Vita Oro because the ink window is orange to match the color of the orange resin. There is no step down to the section; the barrel flows smoothly to the section with the exception of the threads. A nice touch in a modern pen.
The most striking thing about this pen is the beautiful turquoise pearlescent celluloid. This pen is really blue. The material is real nitrose celluloid and has the characteristic smell of camphor. If you ignore the bright color, ornate cap band, and the large size, this pen is very reminiscent of late 40's /50's Italian piston filling pens. The bright color is the main feature that sets this pen apart. While I collect vintage celluloid pens, very few if any of the vintage celluloid patterns feature such a brilliant color. Of course, if you are not into color, this pen is not for you.
2. Weight and Dimensions.
The pen is 14 cm capped, 13 cm from back of pen to tip of nib, and 17.4 cm posted. The pen is 16 mm wide at the ink window. This pen is definitely wider than an old style Omas Paragon and probably functionally wider than a Stipula Etruria. I don't have the weight but this pen is not light. The balance of the pen without cap is towards the rear because of the brass in the piston mechanism. The pen can be posted but feels very unwieldy. In every respects this is an oversize pen and suits those who favor larger pens. This is at the limit of how wide I like my pens (similar to my Danitrios).
3. Construction and Quality.
This pen exhibits a high level of craftsmanship. The trim and furniture are gorgeous. The celluloid has a nice polish and the equal of modern celluloid pens. I do own a few vintage Italian pens with a bit nicer execution of the celluloid but not in the trim. There are nice touches like having brass threads for the blind cap. The seam between the barrel and section with the ink window is good. It is unclear how the window is joined. Many pens with such ink windows can fail at this junction especially if dropped. Only time will tell how good the joint is.
4. Nib and Performance.
The pen comes with a standard 18k Delta nib (probably Bock). Mine is a fine but other sizes are available. The nib is on the stiffer side and does seem a tad stiffer than the nibs on my other Delta pens. There will be no mistaking this nib as a flex nib. I've had good luck with Delta nibs (knocks on wood) with this pen being my fifth Delta. Every single one has been smooth and wet. On good paper, the fine nib writes a reasonably fine line comparable to a Nakaya/Platinum medium. With the fine nib, you get very little line variation. If you need more 'character' to your nib, a stub is available or you can get a medium or broad and have it reground into an italic nib. So far, the pen has performed flawlessly with no skipping, drying out, etc.
5. Filling and Maintenance.
This pen is a true piston filler with Delta's own piston mechanism. The piston know is a knurled brass knob hidden under the blind cap. The knurling is a nice touch since it is easy to grip. The piston is fairly smooth. It is not the smoothest but does not give you a heart attack like the piston on say a Tibaldi Modello 60. The pen holds a good amount of ink. I would say it is comparable to an Aurora Optima or old style OMAS Paragon. One nice touch about the Delta mechanism is a clutch such that the knob gives a tactile and audible feedback when you have backed the piston up all the way. This prevents you from accidentally applying too much force and forcing the piston mechanism out of the pen. The cost of this mechanism is the added weight to the back of this pen.
6. Cost and value.
This is a modern piston filling celluloid pen with a true piston mechanism. The comparable pens in this category include the Stipula Etruria, OMAS Paragon, and Milord. At $595 for the silver trim version and $695 for the gold trim version, the prices are less than the competition. For many this is still an expensive pen. Unfortunately, it seems celluloid prices are rather high based on Dante Vecchio's (Visconti owner) comments about celluloid pricing. For what this pen is, an Italian celluloid piston filler, the price is more than justified. In closing, I find this pen to be an interesting mix of vintage and modern. It has the design cues from 1950's Italian pens while having a bright modern color and large size. I have to thank Bryant for coming up with these kinds of pens.
Edited by AltecGreen, 28 April 2010 - 03:47.