I must admit that I have gotten pens just because of their eye-candy factor, and lately I've been branching out and getting pens that aren't boring old basic black or blue. This pen caught my eye a while ago, but US$80 is just a little too much for an impulse purchases. So when Office Depot had their half-off sale on pens, reducing the price of the pen to US$40, my will power vanished. I had a hard time finding an Office Depot that had the pen in stock, but three stores (and a few other pen purchases) later, I found one! After visually inspecting the pen, I whipped out my trusty old notebook and proceeded to "write" with the dry pen. The sales associate stared at me, and blurted out that they don't keep the pens inked, and his face pinched into this puzzled look. He probably thought I was nuts, but I'd rather have him think that than going home with a messed up pen that someone else had abused and returned. In any case, the nib felt decently smooth and I plunked down my credit card and left a much happier man.
This pen is between a Pelikan 600 and 800 in size, and looks pretty with the yellow and blue resin bands. The yellow bands have that blobby/chunky look, and the blue is a solid and somber colour. Nice mix of fun and sober. I've always seen the pen posted, and truth be told, I would probably not have gotten the pen if I had seen the little nub on the end of the barrel. I've gotten used to it now, and it no longer sticks out like a sore thumb, but it's still not one of my favourite things about the pen.
The pen felt very heavy, but thankfully a lot of it is from the clip. It felt very nicely balanced in my hand without the cap. After staring and playing for the pen for a long while, I inked the pen with Private Reserve DC Supershow blue (yes, I colour coordinate my pens and inks). What can I say? The pen just writes. The "Iridium Point Germany M" nib is stiff, but remarkably smooth and lays down a wet medium line. Everything about this pen has been basically drama-free.
Pictured with the Regatta is a recent acquisition, a Conklin Nozac.
The colored resin bands alternate between blue and yellow on the barrel and cap. The cap and barrel always meet at their blue bands, posted or capped. I think it makes the pen look more interesting than if it were just alternating bands of blue and yellow. The barrel ends with a funny looking nub. I suspect it was done so the pen would be an uninterrupted cylinder when the cap is posted. The exposed treads there looks a little out of place, and I find the tapering a little awkward. The material they make the yellow bands from is translucent, but due to the reinforcements placed in the lower portions of the barrel, only the top "nub" is effectively translucent. I suppose this makes it some sort of a "jewel."
There are four "diamond-cut" bands (the matte-looking metal bands) between the resin bands, which feel rough. However, they're also slightly smaller in diameter than the resin bands, meaning they won't scratch up flat surfaces the pen should roll across. Very nice little detail. I suppose it's that thinking that made them choose the smooth polished metal for the clip, blind cap, cap band, and the ring between the barrel and section. To my eyes, they look somewhat out of place with those diamond-cut bands, but I can live with the compromise.
There are only two physical markings to indicate the brand of the pen: a discrete black engraved "Monteverde USA" on the cap band, and the cap jewel. The jewel on the cap is the only part of the pen that is ugly. When I first saw it, I thought it was a manufacturing defect. I understand the need to get rid of sharp edges on the jewel, but what they did was to make the mountain range look, well, blobby. They really should've done the jewel the way they did the engraving on the cap band.
The ugly cap jewel:
The section is made of basic black plastic. While not exactly ugly, it just screams out the fact that they're sharing parts across product lines.
The stainless steel nib is engraved with four leaves on some sort of a vine, and a rather generic "Iridium Point Germany M." Thankfully Monteverde decided to leave the shiny stainless steel alone.
Eyeballing the pen with a ruler, the dimensions are:
Capped length: 5-9/16"
Uncapped length: 5-1/16"
Posted length: 6-1/2"
Cap length: 2-3/8"
Diameter of barrel: 9/16"
Diameter of section at its widest point (next to barrel): 15/32"
Diameter of section at its narrowest point: 3/8"
This is a medium-heavy weight pen. About half the weight seems to be in the cap, so while the entire pen seems heavy capped/posted, it's of a rather comfortable heft without the cap. The cap screws on, and it takes a little over 1.5 revolutions to cap/uncap the pen. Post the pen by screwing the cap onto the end of the barrel. This means no scuff marks, but it also means that you need to turn it around 1.25 revolutions to post the pen. I usually use my pens unposted, and the pen feels nicely balanced in my hands. Posted, it feels top heavy to me, but I tend to grip my pens rather far down the section. The center of gravity of the cap is towards the jewel, no doubt because of the added weight of the blob of ugly metallic mountain range. This probably makes it feel even more top-heavy. Yes, I really hate the jewel. And speaking of the grip of the pen, if you tend to grip the section higher than I do, the two sets of metal treads may irritate your fingers and/or the webbing between your thumb and index finger.
The clip is rather grabby, but works well with fabrics of all thickness (dress shirt, casual shirts, t-shirts, cotton car coats).
A few days into using the pen, I heard a rattle when I passed the pen from my left to right (dominant) hand. After a few moments fretting, I discovered that it was the converter rattling against the barrel. Not as bad as a loose part within the pen, but the rattling is probably a permanent "feature" of this pen. It doesn't rattle while writing, but it doesn't take much effort to elicit the rattle. For example, I have a tendency to temporarily "rest" the pen on the webbing between my thumb and index finger, and I can hear the rattle while moving the pen between this position and its normal writing position. There's a secondary rattle coming from the converter itself (see below). I'm not sure where to place this particular flaw, but it does "cheapen" the product.
Filling system: 3/5
This pen accepts cartridges and converters (international size). The screw-driven piston converter that came with the pen was tinted green, which ties in nicely with the company name. The converter is mostly clear plastic, so you can see the screw on the top section move with the piston. Would probably look very nice in a demonstrator. The screw on the converter is a little loose, and rattles against the body of the converter. While the converter is seated very securely (tested by shaking the pen violently), it rattles against the barrel of the pen.
I've had four problems with the converter:
1) The green tint on the barrel means that you can't tell what colour the ink is. Can be annoying if you're anything like me, keeping a few dozen pens inked with all the colours of the rainbow.
2) When almost empty, the ink had a tendency to cling to the wrong end of the converter. If they're going to go through the trouble of making their own converters, they can stick a ball bearing or something inside to help with this problem.
3) As mentioned before, the converter I got rattles.
4) The converter as a whole rattles against the barrel.
Nib Design and Performance: 5/5
The only nib option has the dreaded "Iridium Point Germany M" engraving. My previous experiences with IPG nibs have mostly been those attached to Duke pens (mostly good after some work), and more recently a DaniTrio Tactical II (really good). So, I was expecting a stiff, mediocre writer that isn't overly smooth. Boy was I surprised by this pen.
The nib is stiff as a nail - not quite rOtring stiff, but stiff nonetheless. With Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue in it, it lays down a nice wet medium line. While not buttery smooth, it is pleasantly smooth with just a touch more feedback than I usually prefer. Overall a superior writing pen.
The pen starts right up after a day or two of neglect. I've let the pen sit for over ten days horizontally in a case, and it started up after a quick stroke (about the length of a lower-case elle). There's been no skipping, stuttering, sputtering, or any sort of drama. It's just one of those few pens that just work.
There always seems to be a few small droplets of ink on the tines of the nib, but the pen has not leaked under what I consider normal usage - traveling in shirt pockets, and clipped to a pocket within a backpack. There is maybe one single tiny droplet of dried ink in the cap that's visible with the naked eye. Incidentally, the inside of the cap is made of some sort of machined metal with a yellowish colour, and if you've OCD when it comes to keeping stuff clean, the shiny finish will show every single speck of dried ink.
The retail price of this pen is US$80 at Office Depot, and you can get it for under US$70 at online stores. As I mentioned earlier, I snagged my copy for US$40. In my opinion, the pen is a great buy at US$40, and at full retail it's a decent buy.
The Regatta is a pretty pen that writes well and is very reliable. The aesthetics are, well, they are what they are. The soft rattling is somewhat reminiscent of an elderly car, giving the overall impression that the Regatta isn't as polished as other pens in its class. To me, the pen writes well enough for me to put up with the negatives. It is a good performer for its price, so if you're shopping for a medium-weight, medium-girth pen, this pen is definitely worth a look.
Edited to correct a few typos.
Edited again because I can't count.
Edited by helius, 03 January 2007 - 05:27.