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Visconti Van Gogh


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33 replies to this topic

#1 bjcmatthews

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 08:32

I should be studying. Hence I'm writing reviews about my pet hates in high end pens.
My biggest pet hate, the one that I have fed only the best leftovers of negativity, and nursed with negative propaganda, is that relating to my VVG.
But I digress.

Visconti Van Gogh- Firenze Midi Steel F nib

Introduction: I saw this pen seven months ago in a couple of reviews on this very site. To me it looked like everything I want in a fountain pen- a cap, barrel, and nib. In addition to that, it was very colourful, and looked expensive. I was even willing to neglect the disjunction between it being named after Van Gogh, and looking nothing like any of his painting styles. I’m now eagerly waiting to see what the Visconti Charlie Sheen will look like.

First Impressions:

The Box?

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Did this pen arrive in a box? I’m not sure. It arrived in something that looked like a leather lined alligator placenta. The fake leather and fake alligator skin detract from the presentation, but answered for me a very profound philosophical question- Are you meant to combine cow hide and alligator hide in the same article? No. Nature didn’t intend it, otherwise we’d see more farmers with amputated limbs.

I fail to see the need for a fancy looking box. After all, the pen should be the main attraction. If your interested in boxes, try theboxnetwork.com

I think an unpretentious black cardboard box with an embossed image of a famous piece of Van Gogh’s would be more appropriate.Maybe I'm a minimalist. Although I doubt I can be a minimalist and own this pen.

The Pen:

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Colour: This part of the review gets the richest description, as it is the only aspect of the pen I really like.If I can don my Oscar Wildian cape and hat for a moment-

“the colour of this instrument is cruel, with a hint of redemption. On the tired battlefield, when war has ceased, blood has soaked into the soil, and fires smoulder in the ruined earth. Semi-transparent clouds reflect the spent hatred of man, through which sunlight peers tentatively, with the promise of a new hope. And the letters VISCONTI shine, as the converter can be seen through the plastic”

(Oscar Wilde didn't write war stories. Neither did Van Gogh smear paints on pens. We live in a world of lies, do we not?)

That’s what I think when I see this pen. Of course, this only applies to the crème de la crème of VVG owners who decided to choose the transparent red one.

Personally I don’t want to see the converter through the plastic. In the same way I don’t want to not see the insides of a demonstrator. Seeing the converter just makes the pen that much cheaper.

Weight: Posted, it is as well balanced as my diet isn’t. Unposted, I feel like I’m holding a pencil that has copulated with a sharpener far too much. There is a problem with posting the cap though. It feels like it fits snugly on the end of the pen, but it shifts left and right. I can't restrain the urge to reflexively snatch at it when I'm using the pen, for fear that it will work itself loose. Once I finally overcame this impulse, the cap worked itself loose, and fell off, almost onto a tile floor.

Converter: converts ink outside the pen inside the pen. Nothing worth noting.

Clip:

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Awful. I could snap the clip off with one thumb pushing it sideways. It doesn’t even sit straight on the pen, but is at an angle, and very slightly rotated ( it came like that, I haven’t actually tested whether I could actually break it off). When I clip the pen onto things, the spring goes “sproingk” like any number of loony toons characters have done in the past.That sound, to me, is like a talking mime- inconsistent with quality.

Threads: They make the clip look good. They won’t do as good a job as holding the pen inside your shirt pocket though. They feel rough, and the pen doesn’t screw into them easily- I feel if I were to tighten the pen into the cap enough to stop it coming undone, I would really damage them. That, and unusually, the pen sits in the cap in two different ways when screwed on. One, the cap sits more angular to the pen, in the second, the barrel and cap line up better. I tighten the caps of my pens as gently as a woman with pelvic floor problems sneezes, so I haven’t forced the threads. It is a design flaw.

I’m not saying threading celluloid is easy, but for 100+ dollars, I wouldn’t expect my 12.50 Noodlers piston filler to have better, sturdier threads. After all, I could have bought 12 of those. And they smell nice.

Nib: Finally, onto the nib. I have avoided the nib for reasons that will soon become clear enough to let the VISCONTI lettering on the converter shine through them.

This is my grading system :

1-the pen has a bit of metal that is nib shaped, but that is where similarities to a writing tool cease

2-the nib is acceptable, but nothing on it’s own, only the rest of the pen justifies using it

3-The nib writes nicely, and contributes to the pen (all my pens are threes, bar one)

4-The nib triumphs over the pen, I don’t give a rats about the pen, but I have carnal thoughts about the nib.

5- doesn’t exist. Nothing is perfect (shouldn't the rating system only be out of four? Well, I'm optimistic

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This nib get a 1/5. It is the worst nib I have ever used on a pen. It writes like a nail. EXACTLY like a nail. It scrapes the paper, and lays ink poorly. I need to resort to twisting the converter and flooding the feed every page and a half of writing. Even on good paper Clairefontain, and Rhodia, it scratches like a starving dog at my front door. Maybe I shouldn’t use the nib on my front door.

I have jumped through hoops for this nib. But it wasn’t impressed. So I had to resort to pulling out the nib and feed, cleaning the pen numerous times,using all sorts of inks, realigning the nib all kinds of ways (some not even strictly legal) but still it feels more like it belongs in a toolbox than in my pen drawer.

I’m going to send the bastardised mongrel to watch_art one day and see if he can work some magic. I got it off ebay, and not a pen seller at that (it was a once off product with the seller) so I can't send it back for another nib. But for a mint pen, it should perform better than what I have observed

I’m not going to buy a gold nib either. I don’t mind steel, , but to get a pen at a good price only to flog yourself silly with paying for a better nib doesn’t sit right with me. It doesn’t sit on the left either.

In Summary

Pros:

Colourful
Nice weight
Shape is alright

Cons:

The functional parts of the pen (mine anyway)

I don't dislike the pen (too much) but for what it's worth, a pen like this shouldn't have issues with simple things like threads and clips.The price comes back to me, tarnished with little factors that make the pen looks cheaper and tackier, and that is what gets to me. You wouldn't buy a car and expect to have to put up with doors that open but risk snapping off, and a windshield that rattles. All Visconti need to do is reevaluate their designs. And a customer care service that is as decent as TWSBI's.

On a side note (and indeed almost deserving of a new thread, a local pen store was broken in to the other day, and a big display of VVG's was stolen. Wonder if I could get in touch with the gentlemen who manufactured the liberation of such instruments?





Edited by bjcmatthews, 18 March 2011 - 09:56.


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#2 Scriptorium Pens

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:49

Wow, that's really a shame. I absolutely love my VG midis & maxis. One of my midis has a gold nib, the other two are steel, and they are smooth as can be, nice and springy. Don't give up on Visconti. They make some excellent pens & nibs. You just got very unlucky!

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#3 watch_art

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:54

Wow. Well, as soon as you're ready, just send it on down. PM me for any questions or details. :thumbup:

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#4 oldstoat

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 12:56

I admire your honesty but I assume that you won't be reselling via FPN.........:hmm1:
I flunked my metaphysics exam. I was caught gazing into the soul of the guy next to me Woody Allen

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#5 WendyNC

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 13:08

Just because you got it used, I'm not sure that means that Visconti won't service it. Might be worth asking.
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#6 watch_art

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 13:18

I saw a few of these at the pen show in little rock last week, and thought the quality difference between this and their higher end pens was huge. I also thought the clip was flimsy.

But I also didn't care much for the Homo Sapiens. I didn't like the loose feel of the cap when "screwed" down. it sort of bounced on the pen. It felt cool, kind of like a hard wet suit I guess, not at all like rock. But I was expecting to be bathed in lights from the heavens when I picked it up and played with the cap, but... meh. and the little thread things on the barrel had all sorts of lint stuck to em. is that normal?

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#7 RockFL

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 13:32

QUOTE: "I’m now eagerly waiting to see what the Visconti Charlie Sheen will look like."

:ltcapd:

Great review with great photos and detailed commentary. Thanks for this.

#8 empyrean

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 15:11

I have two Visconti Van Gogh midis. Each with a different sized nib. Each bought from different ruputable pen sellers. Nibs are in perfect tune and alignment with the feeder. Under a magnifying glass, you couldn't find a better nib. However.... :gaah: both pens skip occasionally on the downstroke. Enough to be annoying. Both pens also require tweaking of the converter to get the ink flowing after writing several sentences. Coincidence? Bad batch?

Enter the $39 Cross Aventura. Smooth writer, no tweaking, works with 7 different inks and different papers. Some have had problems with the Aventura. But one thing for certain; a bad Aventura doesn't sting as much as a bad Visconti or Omas or Montblanc.
empyrean Conklin,Stipula Pyrite, Bon Voyage & Tuscany Dreams Siena, Levengers, Sailor 1911,Pelikan M200, Bexley BX802, AoLiWen Music Notes pen, Jinhao's,1935 Parker Deluxe Challenger, 1930s Eversharp Gold Seal RingTop, 1940s Sheaffer Tuckaway, 1944 Sheaffer Triumph, Visconti Van Gogh midi, Esties!(SJ, T, and J),Cross Townsend Medalist & Aventura, 1930s Mentmore Autoflow, A bunch of Conway-Stewarts 84, Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue(med); Montegrappa Elmo (broad nib), Delta "The Journal" (med nib), Conklin Yellowstone (med nib)

#9 Ghost Plane

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 16:03

Contact Visconti. Your seller palmed off a dog on you that bears absolutely no resemblance to the luscious, perfectly machined Van Goghs I own [1 of each color, to be precise].

#10 ethernautrix

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 16:04

Enjoyed this review very much, especially the color description. Bravo!

Also, sympathies that the pen disappointed you so.

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#11 empyrean

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 17:29

Contact Visconti. Your seller palmed off a dog on you that bears absolutely no resemblance to the luscious, perfectly machined Van Goghs I own [1 of each color, to be precise].

I should, and give these pens a chance. They are truly beautiful pens, one greenish with silver trim, and the other cappacino with gold trim. You know, after this experience with Visconti, I was still interested in the Homo Sapiens, but don't know if I want a pen that aborbs moisture, etc. :drool:
empyrean Conklin,Stipula Pyrite, Bon Voyage & Tuscany Dreams Siena, Levengers, Sailor 1911,Pelikan M200, Bexley BX802, AoLiWen Music Notes pen, Jinhao's,1935 Parker Deluxe Challenger, 1930s Eversharp Gold Seal RingTop, 1940s Sheaffer Tuckaway, 1944 Sheaffer Triumph, Visconti Van Gogh midi, Esties!(SJ, T, and J),Cross Townsend Medalist & Aventura, 1930s Mentmore Autoflow, A bunch of Conway-Stewarts 84, Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue(med); Montegrappa Elmo (broad nib), Delta "The Journal" (med nib), Conklin Yellowstone (med nib)

#12 Owner of a Lonely Heart

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 22:58

Well I sure hope my Vang Gogh Midi with the 14k nib turns a much better result than this when it gets here... I have already had the chance to dip and play with one in my local B&M before I ordered one...

#13 Thornton

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 23:12

I like pens that write like nails, but the ink flow issue is simply unacceptable. I'm sorry you received such a dud. My Van Gogh Midi is actually one of my wettest writers.
"Instant gratification takes too long."-Carrie Fisher

#14 IWantThat

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:18

Don't give up on the Van Gogh. It's a great little pen, I think :)
Tamara

#15 empyrean

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:28

It's the broad nib that does it the most, and often. I wonder why it skips occasionally? :eureka: Doesn't seem to be any reason. Enquiring minds want to know!
empyrean Conklin,Stipula Pyrite, Bon Voyage & Tuscany Dreams Siena, Levengers, Sailor 1911,Pelikan M200, Bexley BX802, AoLiWen Music Notes pen, Jinhao's,1935 Parker Deluxe Challenger, 1930s Eversharp Gold Seal RingTop, 1940s Sheaffer Tuckaway, 1944 Sheaffer Triumph, Visconti Van Gogh midi, Esties!(SJ, T, and J),Cross Townsend Medalist & Aventura, 1930s Mentmore Autoflow, A bunch of Conway-Stewarts 84, Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue(med); Montegrappa Elmo (broad nib), Delta "The Journal" (med nib), Conklin Yellowstone (med nib)

#16 mathguy

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 03:39

<br>I have two Visconti Van Gogh midis. Each with a different sized nib. Each bought from different ruputable pen sellers. Nibs are in perfect tune and alignment with the feeder. Under a magnifying glass, you couldn't find a better nib. However....&nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="http://www.fountainp...fault/gaah.gif" class="bbc_emoticon" alt=":gaah:"> both pens skip occasionally on the downstroke. Enough to be annoying. Both pens also require tweaking of the converter to get the ink flowing after writing several sentences. Coincidence? Bad batch? <br><br>Enter the $39 Cross Aventura.&nbsp;&nbsp;Smooth writer, no tweaking, works with 7 different inks and different papers. Some have had problems with the Aventura.&nbsp;&nbsp;But one thing for certain; a bad Aventura doesn't sting as much as a bad Visconti or Omas or Montblanc.<br>


My wife's You & Me has a similar problem. She found that using Waterman ink solved the flow problem to some degree, but is still thinking about sending the pen to someone to have the flow problem fixed. She really loves the pen and wants it to be a keeper. The other two Viscontis we have (an Arte Mudejar and an Eco-Roller) have been terrific-zero problems.

Edited by mathguy, 19 March 2011 - 03:45.


#17 coach0519

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 12:58

So, tell me how you really feel :ltcapd:
Sorry to read about your bad experience

#18 watch_art

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 13:23

downward stroke skipping sounds like tight tines.

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#19 jonveley

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 13:45

One of my first pens was a blue Van Gogh, which I bought new almost 10 years ago for $200. I still have it, for 3 reasons: (1) it's pretty to look at, (2) I paid way too much money for it, but most importantly...

(3) I wouldn't wish this piece of junk on anyone else.

I have to agree with this review. Nice to look at, but writes like something out of the Flintstones.

#20 empyrean

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:45

downward stroke skipping sounds like tight tines.

I tried the old razor blade trick (very carefully) on the Broad nib and it seemed to work a bit. My other Van Gogh, medium, is doing better the more I use it.
empyrean Conklin,Stipula Pyrite, Bon Voyage & Tuscany Dreams Siena, Levengers, Sailor 1911,Pelikan M200, Bexley BX802, AoLiWen Music Notes pen, Jinhao's,1935 Parker Deluxe Challenger, 1930s Eversharp Gold Seal RingTop, 1940s Sheaffer Tuckaway, 1944 Sheaffer Triumph, Visconti Van Gogh midi, Esties!(SJ, T, and J),Cross Townsend Medalist & Aventura, 1930s Mentmore Autoflow, A bunch of Conway-Stewarts 84, Platinum 3776 Chartres Blue(med); Montegrappa Elmo (broad nib), Delta "The Journal" (med nib), Conklin Yellowstone (med nib)






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