Well, according to sub-forum guidelines, you need to go into a bit more detail than that! =P
Please, allow me to fill the gap.
I have a fondness for titanium. I love how light and durable it is. My watch is titanium, my wife's and my wedding bands are titanium, I've got knives with titanium handles. When I got into fountain pens, it was only natural I'd be drawn to pens with titanium parts. I've generally been disappointed with titanium nibs, and titanium bodies are few and far between. (I'm only aware of one new titanium pen released since http://www.stylophil...jan03/02tit.htm
came out.) I've been possibly on the verge of ordering a titanium pen from Chris Thompson for ages now, but the one I really wanted was the Visconti Skeleton LE, because of my love of demonstrators. But with only 888 in the known universe, my chances were pretty slim. Then comes the New England Pen Show, and the Penopoly table. I couldn't believe that there was one for sale. I mean, that there was one for sale at all was one thing, that there was one for sale and nobody had yet bought it was completely another. I whipped out the credit card, moved my son's college education one step down on the "Harvard University"-"Hamburger University" spectrum, and took home my new best friend.
Oh, and then about a week later barriep put another one up for sale on FPN. For less money. In better condition. With box & papers. So, following the logic that if one was a good buy, two must be better, I bought that one, too.
Anyway, I sent one off to Mike It Work, and haven't seen it yet, so this is a review of the one I did have in my possession. I can update it when Mike finishes on the other one.Appearance & Design
So perfect. It's sandblasted titanium over clear resin, so you see all your ink sloshing around, and you get the warm, soft touch of the titanium in your hand. The cap is totally clear, too, so you can see the nib when the pen is shut, which not all demonstrators allow (I'm looking at *YOU*, clear Pilot Custom 823.). Of course, that means you can also see any ink that gets out. Luckily, cleaning the cap is a cinch. Just unscrew the top, push out the inner cap, clean everything, put the inner cap back in, making sure to line up the channel with the clip, and it's pristine once again.
One thing I think I'd do differently if I were designing the pen would be to plate the whole nib in rhodium, so it was all white, rather than the two-tone appearance it has now. I think it would match the rest of the pen better that way.Construction & Quality
Well, now. Here I have some complaints.
1) I haven't had any *trouble* with the clip, but it's just on a simple springy piece of steel. It doesn't look as solidly attached as Visconti's newer clip styles. It's an appearance thing.
2) I have first hand evidence that the titanium section can come off the resin body, and that the titanium overlay on the cap can come loose. Easily fixed with a little binary epoxy, but I'd have preferred if it didn't happen in the first place.
3) Ink got between the section and body when filling, then leaked out onto my fingers as I used it. I think I've fixed that now, but until I get the second one back, I won't be able to tell if that's a result of problem #2, or inherent to the pen.Weight & Dimensions
Length (closed): 5 11/16 inches
Length (posted): 7 1/4 inches
Length (unposted): 5 3/8 inches
Weight (closed, with ink): 46 g
Weight (uncapped, with ink): 31 g
Barrel diameter: .57 inches
Section diameter (min): .43 inches
I don't own a Ripple, but I suspect that these pens are similar based on photos I've seen. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who has both pens about how they compare.Nib & Performance
Nib first - both of my Skeletons come with nibs labeled "M". The first one is at Mike It Work getting changed to an XF, and the second came to me Binderized to an F. I'm happy with the one I'm using now, but I think because of the after market alterations, I can't really rate the Skeleton here.
Writing experience - Postable, but I'd never use the pen that way, and can't comment on how it feels, because to me it just feels wrong. Unposted and mostly full of ink, the center of gravity is about 40% of the way forward of the blind cap, and it seats well in the crook of my thumb. The section is metal, which I know in previous posts I've claimed to hate, but those were smooth steel or silver. The matte titanium feels very comfortable, and it doesn't give me the cold slick feeling that usual metal sections can provide.Filling System & Maintenance
The Skeleton uses a plunger filling system. This is a simple one chamber plunger, not Visconti's Doubler Reserve Power Filler. Simply unscrew the blind cap, pull back on the plunger, slam it home, and watch the ink gush in. Screw the blind cap back in, and you're done until the pen is empty. I haven't had any problems filling yet, but sometimes I need to shake the pen to get ink past the plunger up to the nib. It's a much better situation than I originally experienced with my Stipula Suprema Nuda, and not annoying enough to send it in for repairs, but the problem does exist. If it gets worse, I'll have to reevaluate. I've currently got the pen filled with Noodler's Green Marine, and there's no sign of any staining. See my other maintenance note about cleaning the cap above.Cost & Value
Prices seem to fall into the $750-$1250 range when the pens are available, which is rarely. I think the cost is about equally based in rarity, design and material. Construction quality, on the other hand, has me a little nervous.Conclusion
I love this pen's looks and feel. I hate some of the flaws I've mentioned. I don't yet regret spending the money on these pens, but I might if other flaws make themselves known as they age. If another one had shown up for sale the week after I bought the second one, I might have snatched that up too, but if one showed up tomorrow, I'd probably keep my money and get something less cool and more reliable.
Edited by opus7600, 14 July 2010 - 23:04.