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No, No, No... Not Another Review Of The Homo Sapiens...


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78 replies to this topic

#1 alvarez57

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 18:40

Disclaimer: a very personal experience/impressions of this pen.. therefore, this is a subjective comment of this pen. :thumbup:

Like all of us who follow FPN quite closely and own several Viscontis, well, I have been reading the reviews, impressions of a pen that strikes for its unusual and innovative elements.
Well, again, I was yesterday running errands and :headsmack: being close to Dave's stationary and Fountain pen store, like always, I looked for an excuse to get in...

I checked the few Iroshisuku bottles he had. They were into the blue tonalities; I already have two bottles on the blue tonalities... plus many more of other colors. Nah! Let's focus on another thing.
He had two Wall Streets, one green and the other gray. The stacked coin pattern is the only desirable pattern I do not own on any pen... these had the Palladium (Pd) "dream" nib. So, I started doodling around with them. I couldn't believe how TOOTHY they were! I tried a F and M nib. Tried it with a saturated black (Ebony Black by PR) and with a thinner ink Asa-gao from Pilot. Still too toothy!!
Frustrated and not wanting to spend so much money, my eyes started wandering to the other pens until I saw behemoth Homo Sapiens.

:yikes: "Homo Sapiens I said!"
.... and that was it...

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Two things, or three that really, really caught my attention from this pen: the nib! Now I remember how some members here had mentioned the difference of Pd nibs between other models and the Homo Sapiens. There IS a huge difference, being the latter not only very smooth but the nib tends to be "flexier". This nib is a Medium and it has a pretty good flow. No inky fingers yet.

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Another element that caught me is the feel of the material in the hand, fingers. It is the most bizarre impression because it feels like rubber yet it is NOT. When you slide your fingers along the pen, you can feel the resistance and softness typical of rubber, but when you gently strike it with your teeth, it is stone! I love this.

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And last, the sturdiness of the materials, very unusual to use brass and stone with plastic! Wonder if there is any brittleness in the stone/plastic combination but I would not subject it voluntarily to the drop-to-the-floor test, not at this price.

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I did not buy it half-priced, but 20% off Dave's retail price, which is pretty decent. I had the same discount when buying the MB149, and comparing around, I got a decent discount.
Today I'm going to submit the pen to hospital rounds (writing a lot on cheap paper). My ink today is Gray Flannel from PR, which is a medium-saturated gray with a nice shading (see in picture of pen next to ruler).

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As it can be seen, this is a huge pen. Heavier than plastic/resin pens and lighter than metal pens (which I don't like at all), so I like this weight. I don't cap it for it already shoots off my small fingers (but large palm) and yes, the cap does add weight. Yet, if you had a big hand (like most of you guys have), you may not find that the cap out weights the rest of the pen. I grabbed it further up the feed section and it didn't feel off-balanced. Now, this pen is far more comfortable in my hands than the Montegrappa Symphony I have (celluloid + metal feeder).

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You know, one thing that I've found out in pen collecting or, owning a bunch of pens, is that it takes many samples and time (and money) to find the style of pen/nib you really like. I must confess that it took me a lot, lot of pens to get there (about maybe near 60 pens), more than I would have really wanted to....:headsmack: :( What have I learned?
I have learned that it is THE NIB above all (duh!) then the ergonomics of the pen. Style, colors, the looks...well that can be secondary. You can find a lot of very nice pens with good nibs for an affordable price and not brake the bank. -i.e. Esterbrooks, P51's, Lamy's, unexpensive Pelikans, Noodler's, etc. But I will have to confess that in spite of me having payed an eye, a lung, and two kidneys for this pen and really not having the "looks" .... IT IS WORTH IT. Yes, the materials are exotic...you pay for that. But it feels so, so good in my hands that I have to admit it beats in comfort and writing my MB149, my Pelikans and even in texture my Urushis (anathema!!!!).
So far, I REALLY, REALLY like this pen. Visconti did a good one here. I hope in the long run I won't get disappointed (like the Model T, the MB Bohème retractable, the Marlen pens.....).


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Thank you!

sonia alvarez

 

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#2 JefferyS

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 18:47

Thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive review. I'm glad that you have a good experience with the Homo sapiens. I haven't given mine the "against the teeth" test yet, but plan to.

Edited by Jeffery Smith, 23 July 2011 - 18:47.

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#3 Tennessee Dave

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 18:55

This is a very timely review for me. I have 2 pens on my radar list for near term purchase...Montblance 149 and the Homo Sapiens. You've given me a lot to thing about especially since you own both of the pens that I am trying to decide between. Thanks for your insight.
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#4 alvarez57

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 18:55

Thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive review. I'm glad that you have a good experience with the Homo sapiens. I haven't given mine the "against the teeth" test yet, but plan to.


Funny Jeffery, but all the time I was dealing with this pen I was thinking of you!

I forgot to add that the cap mechanism is, as for now, the best one I've had: secure, locks with a "shock absorber" mechanism and FAST!

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sonia alvarez

 

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#5 JefferyS

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 18:59

Well, I just gave mine the Sonia tooth test, and you are right! While the pen feels like hard rubber, the feeling against the teeth is that of solid rock!
Jeffery
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#6 alvarez57

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 19:05

Well, I just gave mine the Sonia tooth test, and you are right! While the pen feels like hard rubber, the feeling against the teeth is that of solid rock!


:roflmho: :thumbup:

sonia alvarez

 

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#7 Tiffanyhenschel

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 19:50

Well, I just gave mine the Sonia tooth test, and you are right! While the pen feels like hard rubber, the feeling against the teeth is that of solid rock!


:roflmho: :thumbup:

I confess that I tested mine this way, too when I first used it. It is one of my two favorite pens.
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#8 markiv

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 19:52

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I also took the plunge couple of weeks ago and got one. I have to thank you for coining the tooth test (I tested mine too - positive result :)) and also for showing the flex prowess of the nib. I am a vintage pen person and was surprised with the line variation your M nib got. This made me curious and I gave mine a shot and while it does have the capability, it comes with an uneasy feeling of springing the nib.
Absolutely agree with the virtues of the nib but they could have done a better job with the clip finishing.


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#9 Soot

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 20:13

I must confess that it took me a lot, lot of pens to get there (about maybe near 60 pens), more than I would have really wanted to....:headsmack: :( What have I learned?

So, I guess it takes about 60 pens to get to the right pen? LOL~ I'm just kidding~ Don't take it too hard.
At least you found your perfect pen!

Thanks for the amusing review!
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -- A. Einstein

#10 alvarez57

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 23:37

This is a very timely review for me. I have 2 pens on my radar list for near term purchase...Montblance 149 and the Homo Sapiens. You've given me a lot to thing about especially since you own both of the pens that I am trying to decide between. Thanks for your insight.


One thing that I found today while doing my rounds and writing pretty much: THE INK CAPACITY!! All this time I was worried the nib had flow issues...nope! I was plainly running out of "gas". The filler system is something you have to play when filling this pen. I agree with someone who wrote in the reviews that it needed an ink window ( meh! doesn't go with the design, though).
If you are for the nib - the 149 and the Homo Sapiens (HS), I really cannot compare them for they are very different in feel. Both are smooth, but HS is more responsive, say.
Ink capacity? The MB beats the HS.
Ergonomics? Both are good, but I prefer the HS.
Fragility?? I don't have to bet the HS should by far beat the "precious transparent crappy resin".

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I also took the plunge couple of weeks ago and got one. I have to thank you for coining the tooth test (I tested mine too - positive result :)) and also for showing the flex prowess of the nib. I am a vintage pen person and was surprised with the line variation your M nib got. This made me curious and I gave mine a shot and while it does have the capability, it comes with an uneasy feeling of springing the nib.
Absolutely agree with the virtues of the nib but they could have done a better job with the clip finishing.


The hand writing with the green ink in one of the pictures was done with a different pen! (Wahl). I realized this could be confusing after I took the picture. The nib is somewhat flexy, but no, forget about the spring (even with my super-flexible Danitrio Bock nib) in modern pens. Clip doesn't bother me.

I must confess that it took me a lot, lot of pens to get there (about maybe near 60 pens), more than I would have really wanted to....:headsmack: :( What have I learned?

So, I guess it takes about 60 pens to get to the right pen? LOL~ I'm just kidding~ Don't take it too hard.
At least you found your perfect pen!

Thanks for the amusing review!


Thank God it was not after 120 pens!!! :headsmack: But, among those 60 there are a nice bunch that I do like.

sonia alvarez

 

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#11 JefferyS

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 00:06

I'm taking both of mine to work on Monday and showing my colleagues the Alvarez Tooth Test. It is almost like an optical illusion.

The ink capacity takes some getting used to. I have never run out of ink, though the ink flow is probably a 7/10 on the Binder scale (with 6/10 being "normal"). It errs on the side of wetness, so a fast-drying ink is not a problem. I think one has to be a bit patient when filling, and I think it may accept more ink after a few fillings have primed the pump. My two default Hs inks are Diamine Syrah and Diamine Oxblood, and I top off the pens every 5 days or so.
Jeffery
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#12 Tiffanyhenschel

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 00:12

There is a learning curve to filling the reservoir of the HS to capacity, but once you get the knack of it, it will write seemingly forever without needing a refil. Others have already explained it much better than I could, so I won't repeat it here. Just do a search in the Italian Pens forum for filling a Homo Sapiens to capacity.
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#13 PAKMAN

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 00:21

Great review! I love my HS Lava! If I make sure the section is in the ink I get a really good fill, some folks say to fill it once then again, I haven't really needed to do this. I had Mike at Mike-it-Work adjust my ink flow down a little at the Little Rock pen show and I am thrilled with how it writes. My first and favorite ink to use with this pen is Levenger Smokey (a nice gray ink). Glad you enjoy yours, mine is truly one of my very favorite pens!

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#14 alvarez57

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 08:23

I'm taking both of mine to work on Monday and showing my colleagues the Alvarez Tooth Test. It is almost like an optical illusion.
....

:yikes: BOTH????? hmmmm... :huh: :blink:

...the Alvarez tooth test... no, nobody will remember me as this brave solo physician who refused by all means to go electronic in Metairie, Louisiana; but I will be remembered in posterity as the inventor of THE PEN TOOTH TEST. :doh:

There is a learning curve to filling the reservoir of the HS to capacity, but once you get the knack of it, it will write seemingly forever without needing a refil. Others have already explained it much better than I could, so I won't repeat it here. Just do a search in the Italian Pens forum for filling a Homo Sapiens to capacity.


Yeah, gotta check it but its waaaay tooo late tonite!

Edited by alvarez57, 24 July 2011 - 08:24.

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#15 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 08:44

I tried that pen last year with a ef, f and m nib, the very first examples had a better nibs than the later models. The grip was not enough firm and the nib was soft and not really flexible as I really wished.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#16 rockspyder

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 09:13

Thanks for a delightful review, Sonia! I just love this pen, as you said, IT IS WORTH IT..
By far one of the smoothest writers I have. And the feel of that material, truly unique. I'm still contemplating the "Alvarez tooth test" :roflmho:
There were previous threads about the brass, keeping it polished vs letting the patina develop, I've settled on the latter, it really looks at home with the stone finish. Enough other shiny pens, is one can be matte :embarrassed_smile:
Well, enjoy, I hope it never lets you down! :thumbup:

#17 alvarez57

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 16:19

The pen did pass my "Hospital round charting test" and later I wrote more with it in my diary (Leuctturn and PR Purple Mojo which bleed and bleed through the paper...). In spite of a large palm, my fingers tend to be almost disproportionally small, so the grip of the feeder is perfect for me.
The nib, I find, is very smooth but not glassy. I really don't mind this either. I don't have my MB149 inked now (nor will I ink now) but I can recall the MB being "glassier".
Again, in my personal opinion, when you have these high-end pens that basically do their job well, the differences will be based on our own particular demands or tastes. That I like this one a bit over my MB149 or my Danitrio and Nakaya does not mean the others are inferior. It is just my feel right now. It may change in a future... but those above-mentioned pens ARE still very much present in all my rotations.

sonia alvarez

 

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#18 alvarez57

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 16:21

:huh:
Funny, but the title says and repeats that this IS NOT a review and yet you guys congratulate me for the review!! :lol:

Thanks anyway!

sonia alvarez

 

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#19 JefferyS

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 18:49

I'm taking both of mine to work on Monday and showing my colleagues the Alvarez Tooth Test. It is almost like an optical illusion.
....

:yikes: BOTH????? hmmmm... :huh: :blink:

Yeah, it was just one of those things. I wanted to get a few piston-fillers as all of my other pens (with the exception of a Mont Blanc BB) are cartridge/converter fillers. I read a few glowing reviews on the FPN and ordered one in medium. I was smitten with it, and got my federal income tax refund about the same time. Sooooo, I ordered another one in fine.
Jeffery
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#20 fabrimedeiros

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 18:51

I'm taking both of mine to work on Monday and showing my colleagues the Alvarez Tooth Test. It is almost like an optical illusion.
....

:yikes: BOTH????? hmmmm... :huh: :blink:

...the Alvarez tooth test... no, nobody will remember me as this brave solo physician who refused by all means to go electronic in Metairie, Louisiana; but I will be remembered in posterity as the inventor of THE PEN TOOTH TEST. :doh:

There is a learning curve to filling the reservoir of the HS to capacity, but once you get the knack of it, it will write seemingly forever without needing a refil. Others have already explained it much better than I could, so I won't repeat it here. Just do a search in the Italian Pens forum for filling a Homo Sapiens to capacity.


Yeah, gotta check it but its waaaay tooo late tonite!



Yesterday, at night, I did the the Alvarez tooth test!! ooops! THE PEN TOOTH TEST!! Yes, It really looks like stone!! I think HS is one of the most resistant pens today, if not the most one. And It's pretty hard to find out a high end pen with that sturdy composition. In my opinion, this pen becomes more and more beautiful as time passes. The patina on bronze is awesome. Congratulations and enjoy the pen!
Ah, don't forget that's an easy technique here to fill the power filler to the maximum. And we don't need the Travel Inkpot to do that. I want one in metal, because it's practical and very cool, not to ensure a full filling.






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