A classical imprint on the vermeil band around the cap references the Italy of antiquity. The top of the cap is crowned with a gold “coin” imprinted in the shape of a nib with feed. The pen sports another gold band to accent the rear of the barrel at the piston cap.
The design of the piston-fill model of this pen is functional as well. I particularly like the orange translucent ink window that is light enough to easily identify the color and quantity of ink in the reservoir. This is a major convenience as is the pen’s large capacity for ink. If you’ve gone dry using windowless pens or have found yourself holding a pen aloft and squinting into the light, you’ll appreciate the Oro.
The barrel is thicker at the back then tapers almost imperceptibly to the front. Visibly, the Oro seems cylindrical but one’s hand follows the pen’s line and it settles comfortably into one’s grip. The ink window separates the barrel from the front section where the taper is more pronounced.
My Dolcevita Oro came in an attractive but not opulent orange cardboard box that slid from a black sleeve. Inside were some papers, a small, 30cc bottle of Delta ink, and a black, silk-lined clam shell case. Opening the clam shell, I found my new pen. The packaging provided for a sufficiently formal initial meeting between the pen and its owner.
This pen is a happy, bright eye-catcher. It’s a celebration. This is the pen you use when that big contract finally closes, and for signing wedding books and for baptisms. The Dolceoro would be as out of place for a funeral guestbook as a bright orange hearse with Italian flags fluttering above the front headlights would be inappropriate for receiving a casket.
Appearance & Design Rating 10
The Oro is turned from a solid block of precious resin. (Apparently that’s pen maker talk for “good plastic”) The resin stock used has a good degree of translucency and achieves a high brightness for a pen that is not celluloid.
The nib is 14K gold monochrome and the furniture is vermeil; solid silver shrouded in gold. The cap is screw off with resin threads. The end cap that covers the piston-filler knob has metallic threads. The clip is unadorned, well-attached and has some springiness. It is fitted with a roller-style tip to facilitate attaching it and removing it from one’s pocket.
Tolerances are good throughout with connecting pieces fitting tightly together and the bands and clip are solidly attached. This seems to reflect a good degree of hand work and pride in workmanship.
Construction & Quality – Rating 8
The Vita Oro is a medium/light heft for a pen of its size. The pen’s dimensions are 5 ½” capped, 5 1/8” uncapped, and 6 ¾” posted, the barrel seems to be about 9/16ths at the point that the cap closes on the barrel. That puts it at about the same size as a Pelikan Souveran M800
I happen to like large pens. I can scribble along happily with a Pelikan M800 or M1000 for a very long time and the pen feels comfortable and natural in my hand. The Dolcevita Oro is like this – very comfortable in size, shape, and texture. For some, this may be too large. Still others may prefer the very large over-sized Dolcevita Oro which is thicker but lacks a piston-fill system. In that the “right” size and weight is more in the perception of the writer than a quality of the pen, I’ll not offer a rating on size.
Rating – Depends on reader preferences.
The nib on my Oro is a stiff, smooth and somewhat dry broad. As with size, the experience of writing with the Oro nib is very much like that of a Pelikan M800 except that my Pelikans deliver more ink and, as a result, a slightly wider line.
I write well with a stiffish nib and having one can be a convenience when writing self-duplicating checks. Most of my documents don’t need the greater line variation of a springy nib and one can zip along focusing more on composition than style with a stiff nib. But, truth be told, I get more of a zing out of writing with my M1000s that are much springier than this Delta or the Pelikan M800 line.
The Oro sports a reliable, smooth but not especially remarkable nib. I rate the nib as “above average” but not stellar due to the 14K content versus the pricier 18K and for lack of spring.
Nib Performance – Rating 7
The Delta Dolcevita Oro medium has been sold with a converter. The piston-fill Oro and the converter fill are as different as real Elvis Presley and the impersonator in a seedy Tokyo nightclub.
This model has a truly outstanding piston filler. The piston on this specimen moves up and down with smooth confidence. And it holds a lot of ink… How much? Molto! It is operated by a metallic knob hidden under a rear cap. The knob is large enough to get a good grip and the piston system has a very nice feature to it. When the piston reaches the end of its travel path, the piston knob doesn’t just stop. Instead it continues to turn and clicks lightly.
With most piston pens, I operate the twist mechanism gently as the pen fills so I don’t damage the piston with too much pressure at the end of the travel path. Not a worry with the Oro – you can’t force the piston beyond its proper range. This feature elevates the Delta Oro a full point above other piston-fill pens that lack this clutch-like characteristic.
Filling System – Rating 10
Art Brown Pens reports the current MSRP of the Delta Dolcevita Oro at $650.00. As with most fountain pens you’d be hard pressed to find a pen selling at that price.
I have wanted a Delta Dolcevita Oro for a long time based on its appearance. I priced them a year ago and drew back. Reason overcame impulse. The pen was a converter fill. I had plenty of pretty pens. I couldn’t justify another big expenditure for something that even I had to admit I wanted mainly because it was pretty.
Then the piston-fill models came out and with a unobtrusive but very usable viewing window. Again, temptation. But the pen sold at premium prices. Nothing available for under $300. Again I demurred.
Street price for a Delta Dolcevita Oro piston-fill fountain pen are now down to $275 to $475. Some pens have sold on Ebay for even less and I was fortunate enough to find one there offered by a trusted seller. As the lexicon goes, resistance was futile.
In my opinion, , given the quality of the pen’s components and fabrication, the excellent filling mechanism, and the beautiful design, this pen is an very good value if you find one in the lower end of that spectrum at, say, $300 or less.
Cost & Value – Rating 10
The Delta Dolcevita Oro is a beautiful, distinctive, well-made fountain pen. The piston-fill model handles large quantities of ink in a very problem-free, easy to use fashion. Functionally the pen is the equal of other high-end, piston-fill fountain pens. However, the Dolcevita Oro offers more. It’s a solid, efficient, fun to use pen that is also esthetically beautiful. It can’t help but stand out and draw interest. The message it conveys is not the power message of a Montblac or the precise efficiency of a Pelikan, or the design excellence of a Pilot 823 (although, the Oro’s piston-fill system delivers excellence).
A Dolcevita Oro in one’s hand is like a glass of fine, sweet, golden harvest wine. It conveys appreciation of good times and serves as an invitation to savor life. Such a pen deserves your attention and invites your applause.
Overall Rating – Eccellente, 9 out of 10
Edited by PatientType, 11 February 2011 - 19:48.