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Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Age Oversized Ef


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59 replies to this topic

#1 Rubicon

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 23:56

First Impression: 10/10

The pen came in a very nice (faux?) leather presentation box and I know it looks a little plain, I personally find the Homo Sapiens gorgeous. It made a very favorable impression if I hadn’t been tugging at the cap for about an hour.

Appearance: 10/10
This is, without a doubt, a very understated pen. Like the other pens I like to own (plain colored OMAS 360s, for instance), it can fly under the radar but up close, there is a sense of extravagance to it. Don’t get me wrong, I like many ornate pens such as the celluloid 360s, but I like them more as eyecandy- I feel a little unnatural taking them out of the house.

The material of the pen, volcanic rock, means that even from afar one can tell it’s not your stereotypical black-barreled and white-trimmed fountain pen made of shiny resin. Holding it is another matter all together. It might sound creepy, but I love touching the pen. I wouldn’t call it “rubbery”, but it has a soft quality and never gets cold. In fact, it retains some of your heat after you’ve held it for a while.

For the most part, it looks exactly like the bronze version, with two rings on the cap and a silver trim with HOMO SAPIENS etched on it. Its rather classic look, and its unconventional qualities, make this an intriguing piece- certainly a conversation starter.

Posted Image

Design/Size/Weight: 9/10
This gets a 9 because while I don’t have any trouble with it, I’m not pleasantly surprised either. The ergonomics are just right and feels very balanced. I personally find the pen quite light, but then I’m used to writing with heavy pens. But in the modern user’s perspective, this pen should be very comfortable to write with compared to those weightless pencils and pens that are so common nowadays.

Posting the cap, however, creates quite an imbalance towards the top and I don’t expect to write for a very long time with it. I got the “oversized”, which I find fine, as I’m a daily user of my Montblanc WE’s and they all tend to be on the larger side. I’m also a pianist which means I have relatively large hands. On smaller hands and people unfamiliar with fountain pens (modern writing instruments like mechanical pencils and pens tend to be rather thin), it might feel large and the MIDI might be a better option, but I’m old and set in my ways, relatively speaking, as an 19 year old going on her third year of FP-addiction.

Nib: 9/10
I’ve always wanted a flexy pen, and this pen does a little bit of that. Before the Homo Sapiens, I tried a Noodler’s Ahab, which works fine for its price, but I never enjoyed writing with it given how scratchy it is. It’s not as flexible as the Ahab but it wasn’t designed to be. When pressured, it still produces respectable line variation to impress the modern day audience, most of who don’t even know you can WRITE in line variation except on a computer.

For all the complaints the Homo Sapiens receives about its wetness, I find it to be just right, but perhaps it’s because this is extra fine. It’s not too dry, not too wet and writes with minimal pressure. On top of that, it’s smooth- for an EF nib. The fun factor also bumped it up one point because writing with a springy modern day pen (that’s actually spring and doesn’t have inkflow problems like the Ahab) is wicked fun. It does run on the wide side. I typically write with a fine point, or even at times a medium point, but in most other brands, this would have been F.

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Filling System: 8/10
It took me a while to figure out the filling system, because I was always under the impression that the Oversized fountain pen were power vacuum fillers when in fact it’s a hidden piston, in the style made famous by Lamy 2000, so as you can imagine I spent the better part of an hour furiously pulling on the blind cap to little effect. Fortunately I grew some brains and noticed that as I unscrewed the cap, the inside looks exactly like a piston. The filling mechanism is smooth but I drew in a lot of air within the first couple of tries. Later, however, I stopped hearing the bubbling sound characteristic of air in a piston.

Cost and Value: 7/10
I’m not sure if the world at large could really justify spending $475 (from Fountain Pen Hospital) on a pen that’s made of rock and steel. Unlike most Visconti pens, there aren’t even precious materials involved. But then again the world at large can’t justify spending any amount of money on a fountain pen and if I’m buying Visconti, I’m not buying the material, but that’s an aside. I would say this pen could be much cheaper. If I could name the price as a buyer, I would ideally pay about $250-300 for it.

Conclusion: 8.8/10
Would I buy it again if I lose this one? No. There are plenty of fish in the ocean and it’s certainly not SO special that I would dish out around 500 dollars for again. There are pens I can do without, and there are pens I can’t. I would recommend this pen, but not that enthusiastically. If you’re a Visconti fan intrigued by the HS and its unconventional materials, sure, pick it up. But for the general collector or a heavy user like me (I only buy pens I can see myself using), it’s by no means necessary.

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Edited by Rubicon, 03 March 2012 - 23:31.


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#2 Esterfella

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 03:02

Thanks for the thoughtful review. I've been eyeing this pen since it debuted, and now that it is available in my preferred silver trim finish, I'll likely make the plunge. I'm wondering if you can comment on the apparent different filling options available, and perceived real world difference in feel, operability and look as between the oversized model and the smaller version. Thanks.

#3 Rubicon

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 23:28

I also preferred the silver trim, which is why I rushed to get it. However, I haven't used a power vacuum filler (this being my first Visconti), nor have I seen the MIDI in person.

#4 langere

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:27

Is the nib made out of Palladium like the bronze version?

Erick

Waterman Hemisphere "M" nib running J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite

Moonman M8 "F" nib running Noodler's Heart of Darkness

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#5 OC Mike

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:46

I recently purchased a HS Steel with a 1.3mm stub. I had to send the pen to a nib meister to get the nib adjusted. I must say, it's a great writer and guys in the office are inquistive when they see it since it's different from my typical MBs or Pelikans that I carry on a daily basis. I really enjoy the weight, girth and feel of the pen. The palladium nib is a joy to write with.
Regards,

Mike

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#6 breaker

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:44

nice review and pics!
thanks!
Cogito ergo sum

#7 Rubicon

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 23:38

Is the nib made out of Palladium like the bronze version?

Erick

Yep :)

#8 Faulkner

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:47

Could anyone compare midi and maxi regarding size, ink capacity and nib features? :rolleyes:

#9 tanalasta

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:03

Beautiful review ... I would have gotten the steel version had it been available on release!

And nice to see your nib writes as you so desire :)

Enjoy your pen!
In Rotation: MB 146 (EF), Noodler's Ahab bumblebee, Edison Pearl (F), Sailor ProGear (N-MF)
In storage: MB 149 (18k EF), TWSBI 540 (B), ST Dupont Olympio XL (EF), MB Dumas (B stub), Waterman Preface (ST), Edison Pearl (0.5mm CI), Noodler's Ahab clear, Pilot VP (M), Danitrio Densho (F), Aurora Optima (F), Lamy 2000 (F), Visconti Homo Sapiens (stub)

#10 cdelance

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 15:43

Thank you for the review and pictures. I, too, had trouble properly filling my Bronze Age version early on, but eventually got the hang of it. Following this post, I may need to evolve to the Steel Age. Alas, too many pens, but such little time and disposable income.

#11 Chettiar

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:11

May I ask if the two toned overlay matches the engravings? I got one over the weekend and the nib overlay does not match the engravings. And am miffed...

#12 Rubicon

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 21:16

May I ask if the two toned overlay matches the engravings? I got one over the weekend and the nib overlay does not match the engravings. And am miffed...


The steel age doesn't come with overlays.

Posted Image

#13 camoandconcrete

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:12

Wonderful review! I too love the Steel Age, but I find it odd yours is a piston as the oversized one I tried in a store is the vacuum filler, same as my Bronze HS. Anyway, it is still a beautiful pen and I hope you enjoy it.
What I'm looking for: Montblanc 132, 235, 422 and 432. Any help would be most appreciated.

#14 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 13:55

looks like the piston filled version is a more reliable and much less finicky version than the power filled hs
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

#15 Rubicon

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 19:18

Here's a writing sample captured using iPhone (my excuse for the crappy picture). Posted Image

Edited by Rubicon, 09 March 2012 - 19:19.


#16 Trivan

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 18:57

Deleted

Edited by Trivan, 11 March 2012 - 01:27.


#17 hari317

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:19

Thanks for the nice review Rubicon. How does the ink capacity compare between the Piston filer and Power filler versions?
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#18 Lemon328i

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 18:58

WIth the piston, this would be the midi sized HS. The full size has the power vacuum fill just like the bronze version. To be fair, the midi is still a big pen.

EDIT: Looks like Visconti might have made the large HS steel with a piston filler too instead of the power vacuum. Next time I am in Bertram's or Fahrney's I'll check it out. If this is true, then Visconti needs to update all their retailers, because in every catalog I've seen so far, the oversize is listed as power fill and the "midi" as a piston fill.

Edited by Lemon328i, 12 March 2012 - 11:43.


#19 Faulkner

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:58

I'm confused. :hmm1: Is it the midi or maxi size? Could anyone compare measurements? :thumbup: Also I wonder whether there are "internal" differences between maxi sizes of bronze and steel ages :huh:

Edited by Faulkner, 12 March 2012 - 08:59.


#20 Ouroboros

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 16:46

Great review - now I want one. But I am confused about the filling system. As a previous poster mentioned, all the literature says the Midi gets the piston filler and the Maxi gets the power filler. If anyone has measurements comparing the Midi to Maxi that would be great, I think even the Midi is a decent size so that's where I think I'm looking.






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