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