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Fdv Savant And The Yol Corinthian


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#1 jar

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 17:18

For the next step in our survey of Sterling Silver pens I'd like to compare two examples of very similar fountain pen designs, the Ferrari da Varese Savant and the Yard-o-Led Corinthian.

There have been some great reviews (QM2's and andybiotics) lately of the Yard-o-Led Corinthian and so I'll be brief and mostly concentrate on the differences between the two pens.

Long long ago and in a land far far away I was really into sports cars. I collected sports cars, drove them for awhile, sold them, (let me tell you collecting fountain pens is not just cheaper, it takes up far less space) raced them, enjoyed them, fussed over them, repaired them, adored some, cursed many.

I seemed to particularly love the British (once you get past the Prince of Darkness designed Lucas electric systems) and the Italians. I had several MGBs, several Mini Coopers, an Austin Healey 3000, a TVR Vixen, an early E-Type and a 120, even a Morgan.

For me though the epitome of the British sports car was my Austin Healey 3000. It was solid, comfortable, moderately powered, handled pretty well and stopped almost always. It was beautiful and the leather interior was perfectly finished, you could see most of the dials and they even worked most of the time.

It was the Italians though that were my passion, particularly the Alfa Romeos. I had Giulias and Giuliettas and Duettos and Berlinas and GT Junior and GTV and 2600 Touring Spider but my absolute favorites were my Giulietta and my 1967 1750 Boat Tailed Duetto with dual Weber carbs and a 10mm cam. The thing about an Alfa is that even if you have never driven one, within 30 seconds of your first experience you will feel like the car was designed just for you. Everything is in the right place, the guages angled perfectly for quick readings, the tach rotated so that the needle is vertical at 6000 rpm (6000 a day keeps the doctor away), pedals perfect for heel and toe and brakes that stop like nothing you have ever experience.

These two pens remind me of those two cars.

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On to specifics.

The Corinthian is heavier than the Savant, 53.7gms compared to 44.6 for the Savant just as the Healey was heavier than the Giulietta. It's equipped with a broad nib while the Savant has a medium. Both nibs are 18K gold, the Corinthian in White Gold and the Savant in a two tone.

Like the cars, both are responsive and the Corinthian ink flow is fast enough to keep up with my writing, but the Savant is definitely more maneuverable.

The pens are almost exactly the same length...

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but the Savant has a far larger nib...

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The retail prices on the two pens is comparable, $650 for the Corinthian and $799.00 for the Savant.

The Corinthian comes in Sterling Silver only while the Savant is available with three different enamel finishes, black, bright yellow and the burgundy as in this example.

Just as with the Yesterday that was reviewed earlier, the enamel on the pen is a high temperature glass enamel that is then diamond cut to produce the Godrons exposing the underlying Sterling Silver.

The Corinthian comes in the classic Yard-o-Led wood box while the Savant comes in a nice clam shell like red leatherette box with green lining.

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The clips are quite different on the two pens, the YoL being its traditional riveted and serial numbered clip with the Savant having a very unique spring loaded clip.

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The YoL is a snap on cap while the Savant is a screw on that takes one full revolution to remove.

When it comes to posting though there is a big difference.

The Corinthian cap posts deeply on the body but not securely. Tilt it over and the cap will fall off. The Savant though is made so that you can safely and securely post the cap.

I'd call both pens standard full size with the Corinthian being just a hair longer when capped. Writing with either is a pleasure. The body on the Corinthian is just slightly wider than the Savant but the sections of the two are very similar in diameter. The Savant though has a greater curve to its shape that I find really positions my fingers perfectly.

Both use standard international size cartridges and converters and so far seem to love any ink I've fed them including J. Herbin, Diamine, Private Reserve and even Noodlers.

Which of the two do I prefer?

That would be like picking your favorite child, totally impossible. I've found that even though the Savant is bright red, the Corinthian garners more comments.

In a situation where you are often capping and uncapping a pen, I'd chose the Corinthian. For general use, I find I put the Savant in rotation more often.

The Corinthian, like my Healey, is solid, pretty reliable (it doesn't use Lucas Electrics) but also has quirks you need to be aware of and compensate for, like the cap posting issue. The Savant though felt like a pen I had been using for years, like those perfect old blue jeans and docksiders, a pen that had been designed with me in mind. From the moment I first inked it it was as though it was an extension of my hand.


Edited by jar, 07 August 2011 - 17:33.

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#2 Fountainpenlover

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 18:43

Great original review! I especially love your comparisons to the Austin Healey and the Alfa Giulietta both of which I love! True classics in the real sense of the word! Two beautiful fountain pens compared to two charismatic cars!

#3 andybiotic

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 04:57

I've never even heard of the Ferrari da Varese Savant before, they are surprising similar. I love nailhead designs and when I was choosing for a new pen, the Savant didn't even come on the radar in my research! The shape is very pretty, not too crazy about the colour scheme though :embarrassed_smile: . I love how it is of the same length of the corinthian but has a bigger nib... :puddle: !

QM2 has posted a "solution" to the corinthian posting problem and that is to have a single layer of cellotape on the inside of the cap below the edge where it is needed to snap close. I tried and it worked like a charm, I can turn the posted pen upside down without worrying the cap felling off, it is quite secured. The downside is that the rim / ledge of the cap rests on the web of my hand and that is not very comfortable and posting the cap also ruined the balance of the pen...

Its funny how it is obviously not designed to have the cap posted but most of the official pictures found for the corinthian are, indeed, posted! :hmm1:

Btw, is the serial number on the clip of the corinthian supposed to be different for each pen? I thought I saw the same number on yours as on mine? :hmm1:
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#4 jar

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 13:12

I've never even heard of the Ferrari da Varese Savant before, they are surprising similar. I love nailhead designs and when I was choosing for a new pen, the Savant didn't even come on the radar in my research! The shape is very pretty, not too crazy about the colour scheme though :embarrassed_smile: . I love how it is of the same length of the corinthian but has a bigger nib... :puddle: !

QM2 has posted a "solution" to the corinthian posting problem and that is to have a single layer of cellotape on the inside of the cap below the edge where it is needed to snap close. I tried and it worked like a charm, I can turn the posted pen upside down without worrying the cap felling off, it is quite secured. The downside is that the rim / ledge of the cap rests on the web of my hand and that is not very comfortable and posting the cap also ruined the balance of the pen...

Its funny how it is obviously not designed to have the cap posted but most of the official pictures found for the corinthian are, indeed, posted! :hmm1:

Btw, is the serial number on the clip of the corinthian supposed to be different for each pen? I thought I saw the same number on yours as on mine? :hmm1:


FdV is such a small company, still family owned and run, that is it too often not on anybodies radar. The enamel color is really nice and so I stuck with the Burgundy when I bought the Yesterday. I'll admit though that I have also been thinking about the yellow.

FdV is a really small company as mentioned and I feel quite confident that if you asked them they'd make one for you without any enamel as well.

Yeah, just like classic sports cars the Corinthian has it's peculiar quirks. We each find a way to live with them at first and over time they change from annoyances to delights.

IIRC the numbering sequence on YoL pens is the order made during a year so you will have duplicates but not within the same model year.

It would be amazing though if we do have the same number. Mine is 9870 and is a 2007 pen.

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#5 jar

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 16:23

Great original review! I especially love your comparisons to the Austin Healey and the Alfa Giulietta both of which I love! True classics in the real sense of the word! Two beautiful fountain pens compared to two charismatic cars!


I enjoyed comparing them to cars, but I also owned some over the years that might be a bigger challenge like my Humber Super Snipe, the Deux Chevaux or Citroen DS-21.

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#6 adyf

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 06:48

Just out of interest does anyones Corinthian get scuffed around the raised part of the section due to cap being put on and taken off? Mine seems to have scuffed pretty bad in such a short space of time. I'm guessing that this will be normal.

#7 jar

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 19:26

Just out of interest does anyones Corinthian get scuffed around the raised part of the section due to cap being put on and taken off? Mine seems to have scuffed pretty bad in such a short space of time. I'm guessing that this will be normal.


I never noticed much scuffing. Got pics?

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#8 APHK

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 08:00

The Savant is a very beautiful pen. Is its nib size similar to an MB149 or 149?

Edited by APHK, 10 September 2011 - 08:57.


#9 jar

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 12:38

The Savant is a very beautiful pen. Is its nib size similar to an MB149 or 149?


No, much smaller. I'll try to get a picture for you in the next day or so.

Got it.

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From top to bottom, 149, 146, Savant.

Edited by jar, 10 September 2011 - 15:24.

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#10 APHK

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 00:41

The Savant is a very beautiful pen. Is its nib size similar to an MB149 or 149?


No, much smaller. I'll try to get a picture for you in the next day or so.

Got it.


From top to bottom, 149, 146, Savant.


Thanks for the photo. These pens are much smaller than I thought.






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