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Twsbi/montesa Venezia (first Impressions)


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8 replies to this topic

#1 amb

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 01:38

TWSBI Montesa Venezia, a first look

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Like many of y'all, I have the TWSBI Diamond 530 and am highly impressed by it, sufficiently so that I now also own their newer-older offering, the Venezia.

I gather (though corrections and clarifications are welcome) that while the same people were involved in the design and manufacture, it's an older model originally introduced under the "Montesa" brand and which they're now selling alongside the 530.

First impressions: it's hard to avoid comparisons with the 530, which has (imho) a bunch of really brilliant design elements in both its packaging and in the pen itself. That said, the pen ships in a tasteful enough (if unremarkable) black sleeve with a cardboard double-flip-top box within. The box has two channels within it, one holding the pen (in a soft pouch), the other holding a pair of cartridges and a convertor, the latter three all in plastic pouches. While there's a Montesa product catalog enclosed, I think it suffers from a lack of any real documentation. ("Congratulations on purchasing your new Montesa Venezia! Your pen uses standard international cartridges or the included convertor.", and so forth. Basically, I'd like to see all that stuff they covered in the great 530 documentation.)

Anyway, to get on with it:

1. Appearance & Design: 8 I really like the aesthetics of this pen. The fit and finish are excellent, with well-plated fittings and a flawless body. I have the dark blue colour, which is a blue so dark that when I first unpacked it I wondered if I'd been sent a black one instead. In better light it's a dark lustrous blue that I quite like. It's got a dark blue jewel at each end, enough to be interesting but without being blingy. I'd be happy to wear it in a suit pocket when I don't want to have to answer the sort of "hey, what's that?" questions that most of my more-striking pens would get me.

2. Construction & Quality: 8 Everything fits well to both the eye and the touch. The clip is a very solid spring clip, and there's something very satisfying about screwing the cap into place. It feels solid without being heavy; it actually surprises me that it's just as light as most of my metal pens.

3. Weight and dimensions: 33g inked, 133mm closed and 160mm posted. Diameter at the widest is 11mm. This is right where I like things, so I'll rate it another 8, but really, weight and dimensions are subject to both personal preference and almost completely quantitative, so draw your own conclusions. The balance feels quite nice.

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4. Nib & Performance: 8 I have the Fine nib. It's quite good out of the box, and as modern production fine nibs go I'm more than impressed. It's just a touch toothy on Rhodia with one of my preferred German inks that most of you find wretchedly dry (in particular, Lamy Blue-Black), and I expect that a larger nib, a wetter ink, and possibly a bit of use would take away even that. It was absolutely zero fuss; I filled the converter, inserted it into the pen, reassembled it, and started writing. Even after leaving it horizontal and uncapped (as I've done several times while writing this review), getting it started again was no harder than lowering my writing angle just a bit more than usual or giving it a touch of pressure, and if I actually cap it (crazy, I know) it's flawless.

Note that the guts are (as far as I know, anyway) all made by Schmidt. While I don't know if there are differences between different Schmidt nibs used by different companies, I do have a couple of others on Danitrio pens and have generally found them all to be pleasing and functional.

5. Filling System & Maintenance: 8 I've so far only used it with the Schmidt K-5 convertor that it came with, about which I have no complaints. It also holds a pair of standard short cartridges back-to-back (two of which are included) if you want to do things that way. Zero leaks, zero fuss, I just inked it up and off to the races.

6. Cost & Value: 7 At $60 I think this is a decent enough value, though not as compelling as the 530. While I only have a few days of experience with it so far, it's been a pleasure to hold and a pleasure to use. That said, at this price point it's pushing into what I think of as middle-tier pens, and there's some stiff competition in the US$60-110 range, though I believe this pen could be sold for half-again as much from a better-established brand and nobody would blink.

7. Conclusion: 7.8 A delightful nib, a solid value, understated elegance, and internals that Just Work. I'm pleased.

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Edited by amb, 27 December 2010 - 08:14.


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#2 amb

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 08:15

No luck with a really good nib picture, but I've edited the original and added what I've got. Enjoy!

#3 Fountainpenlover

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 11:46

Many thanks for this review! Have the TWSBI Diamond 530, with which I am more than happy. So this review was more than interesting to me.
The Venezia seems very similar in appearance to a burgundy Pelikan pen I have with stub gold nib which I enjoy greatly due to its nib which is different from my other nibs, which are generally normal medium.
Christmas Blessings to all on FPN and may God watch over all of you on FPN throughout the New Year,
Mario

#4 Warriah

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:24

Very, very interesting. I was looking to buy a Diamond, but since the Venezia looks somewhat more attractive to me (I would hate leaking in a demo, or fixing the piston with the silicon) I'm searching for feedback of the Venezia too (well, an Italian buying a "Venezia" fountain pen from Taiwan.. :glare: ).

Is there a pic of the converter? Does it go with intl cartridge (like some Pelikans)? Is the nib really as good as many says for the Diamond?

Edited by Warriah, 29 December 2010 - 13:00.

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#5 amb

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 20:34

Is there a pic of the converter? Does it go with intl cartridge (like some Pelikans)? Is the nib really as good as many says for the Diamond?


I could take a pic of the converter next time I refill it, but it's a bog-standard Schmidt K5. International short cartridges work, too, and a pair were included.

I like the nib a lot. Supposedly the Venezia and Diamond both use nibs from the Schmidt/Bock empire and they're all the same except for the TWSBI branding on the later ones.

Even given theoretically identical specs, I don't know whether Schmidt/Bock would take more care with one run of nibs or the other, or whether they've generally gotten better or worse with time, or what. Speedy says they're identical. As steel nibs go, I think they're all quite good, but I don't have a direct comparison for TWSBI-branded vs. Schmidt-branded. (I have Schmidt-branded nibs in F and M, and a TWSBI-branded nib in XF, and while the latter is a bit toothier but I'd expect that anyway with the dryer ink I often use and don't mind it.)

#6 amb

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:14

Someone recently sent me a PM asking if I was still pleased with it six months on, so here's an update:

Yes! I'm not the inveterate collector that many of you seem to be, but I have a reasonable number of "too nice to travel because I'd be heartbroken if I lost it" pens that I rotate for home desk duty, That rotation has been hung up for the last six months as I just keep on using the Venezia. It gets left horizontally or nib-up about equally frequently but has never failed to run absolutely perfectly, and it feels really nice to my hand.

Note that I like my pens heavy and long and almost always post them, but I've actually found myself not posting this one because it's already a solid handful. (Though note complaints above; it doesn't actually post well should you want to do so, unless perhaps I'm just not pushing hard enough.) The fit and finish still look new, and the soft pouch it comes with (which is what I keep it in) has also help up well. The Schmidt Fine leaves enough of a line to have some personality while still being good for detail work (I write all of my checks with this pen), and I continue to have zero problems getting my rather dry ink of choice (Lamy Blue-Black) to flow well.

I was asked specifically about a comparison to the Lamy Studio, which is close in price; I don't own one, though I do own a 2000 and the Studio's barrel looks similar. My guess is that either one would write well, and one's choice is best made on whether you like a wider lighter pen or a dense metal pen with perhaps more traditional styling. I think the biggest complaint I have is that they're both cartridge pens, which means lots of refills. (Though I suppose that's just a chance to try more inks!)

#7 lovemy51

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 20:11

thx, amb! it looks like a very elegant design. i don't mind the cart/conv filling sys at all, in fact i like it. i constantly change inks and piston sys is not a much of a plus for me.

#8 M@rtin

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 20:48

Very nice and interesting review! (Que pinta tiene esa lapicera!!!) :thumbup:

#9 Bluefinntuna

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 04:06

Thanks of the review. I've wondered what this pen were like. Twsbi Diamond 530 has spoiled me on piston fillers and I can't go back to converters and cartridges.






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