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Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze


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34 replies to this topic

#1 akustyk

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 19:32

There are many reviews of this pen on FPN, so I will keep mine short and try to highlight the aspects of the pen that have special significance to me.

Appearance & Design (10/10)

The Homo Sapiens is a very unique pen. When I first saw a picture of it, I was not convinced I would liked it. However, when I first held the pen, I immediately loved it. There's something very substantial about it, something very balanced, very subtle, very beautiful. The material has a uniquely pleasant feel. It's neither warm, nor cool. It feels much better than resin or stainless steel I have used.


I must confess that I like simple pens, with somewhat understated looks. For example, in terms of appearance, I prefer a Lamy 2000 over an Edison Collier. The Homo Sapiens is neither simple, nor flashy. The bronze trim is absolutely gorgeous, especially with a bit of patina. The combination of the earthy gray of the lava with the old look of the bronze trim is really good. Even the engraving looks perfect, complementing the overall design really well.

Construction & Quality (10/10)

The pen appears to be very solid, nearly indestructible. I am not sure how robust the filling mechanism is, and how long the pen will last without needing overhaul, but it does make an impression of being built like a tank, which is rare in modern pens.

Weight & Dimensions (10/10)

The pen is fairly large and heavy. I use it unposted, and it fits my hand perfectly. It actually makes for truly effortless writing. I like light pens, too, but the Edison Premiere is almost too light for me. My perfect size and weight is the Montblanc 146 (posted), so the Homo Sapiens is just perfect, but I would not like it if it were any bigger or heavier.

I must also say that everything about this pen is well-balanced. The size of the blind cap in relation to the body. The grip section in relation to the nib, etc. Even the clip looks nicely balanced. It seems like a lot of careful thought went into making this pen.

Nib & Performance (10/10)

I am one of the people who think that the nib is the most important part of the pen. I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to nib preference. My favorite writers are Lamy 2000 M, Montblanc 146 M, but I also like my Sheaffer TD with a Feather Touch nib. I use fine or extra fine nibs on cheap paper, and medium nibs on good paper. I like nibs that are rigid, but have a bit of spring to them. I prefer wet nibs when writing on good paper, and drier nibs on cheap paper.


The Homo Sapiens Medium nib is flawless. Absolutely flawless. It is wet and not too broad. It has some spring to it, but is not flexible. It does have the ability to write with minimal pressure, as advertised. It is definitely in my top three, right alongside a Lamy 2K and a modern 146.


I love how the nib feels. It has a bit of feedback. It's hard to describe. It's not scratchy at all, yet, you can feel the paper a bit. It helps me write better, more precisely. By comparison, the Opera Elements M nib feels like glass. It's smoother and more flexible, but I like the Homo Sapiens nib better.


Finally, this nib is very consistent in terms of flow. I dislike pens that write wet shortly after filling, and then dry out after a couple of paragraphs. This pen has steady, generous flow all the time.

Filling System & Maintenance (10/10)

The vacuum filling system works very well. I think the pen holds a fair amount of ink. I like the fact that you don't have to loosen up the blind cap for proper ink flow, as is the case with some other vac pens. The only problem is that you have no way of telling how much ink is left. However, an ink window would probably ruin the appearance of the pen.

Cost & Value (8/10)

This is an expensive pen! However, compared to many other $500+ pens out there, it offers very good value because of its uniqueness, writing performance, and build quality.

Conclusion (Final score, 58/60)

I wasn't sure I was going to like this pen when I first saw it. I thought it might just be a gimmick, a pen with flashy design and poor performance – there have been so many. But after using the pen for a while, I have come to believe the opposite: it is a very solid performer, with beautiful, classy looks, and a truly unique, innovative fountain pen. I wish more companies were willing to go that route and forgo the flashy, highly ornamental designs in favor of performance and durability.

Attached Images

  • IMG_6250.JPG
  • IMG_6251.JPG
  • hsWritingSample.png

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#2 JefferyS

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 19:46

I like the spring-loaded clip, and the bayonet cap mount. I know some people dislike one or both of those features, but I like them both.
Jeffery
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#3 PatientType

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 20:19

I'd been attracted to the look, weight and size of this pen. Then I read a handful of reviews that noted production flaws. Those put me off of the pen and I passed on a couple of opportunities to buy one. Sounds as if you got a good one. Thanks for the comprehensive review.

#4 Joe in Seattle

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 22:38

I got mine just this week. I asked Bryant at Pentime to test drive it before mailing and to check for any flaws in gold masking of nib. The EF I received writes, as the Reviewer says, ideally - for my taste. 'Twas expensive for me, but I'm very pleased with the acquisition. I, too, really like the bayonet mount cap.
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#5 JefferyS

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:13

I've never had an issue with any of mine (4).

Some of the complaints were that the pen is charcoal gray with lighter gray flecks (= lava) in it. The Visconti photos make it look more like a smooth, matte black with no gray. The fine photos in this OP's post are representative of the flecked appearance. Okay, the lava thing is a bit contrived (not ilke it's a precious element...it's lava).

Filling can be a little fussy. Once you get the hang of it, it works fine. Before you get the hang of it, you will tend to run out of ink quickly.

One user indicated that the nubs on the bayonet mount were wearing off. I always press my cap inward before twisting, so that hasn't been an issue for me.

One complaint was that the words "Homo sapiens" on the barrel do not line up with the clip when capped. Not sure that's a mistake or flaw.

The bronze tarnishes, but I think it's supposed to.

People with really sweaty hands don't like the appearance that the barrel is sweating (it's their hands, I swear). There's a simple test to prove this. (1) put antiperspirant on the pen...still gets sweaty. (2) put antiperspirant on your hand. Voila! No more pen sweat.

Still my favorite high end pen with a factory nib.
Jeffery
In the Irish Channel of
New Orleans, LA

#6 akustyk

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:18

I'd been attracted to the look, weight and size of this pen. Then I read a handful of reviews that noted production flaws. Those put me off of the pen and I passed on a couple of opportunities to buy one. Sounds as if you got a good one. Thanks for the comprehensive review.

I think there's always some risk with modern pens. I've read and heard stories. My own experience has been mixed, the HS is perfect, but the Opera Elements would not write at all, but Visconti replaced it and now it's amazing. Still, I have the say, the Homo Sapiens is very, very good. Yeah, the lava thing is a bit contrived, but it does feel unique, in ways that the Lamy 2000 feels unique. Thanks for your comments!

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#7 akustyk

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:25

I've never had an issue with any of mine (4).

Some of the complaints were that the pen is charcoal gray with lighter gray flecks (= lava) in it. The Visconti photos make it look more like a smooth, matte black with no gray. The fine photos in this OP's post are representative of the flecked appearance. Okay, the lava thing is a bit contrived (not ilke it's a precious element...it's lava).

Filling can be a little fussy. Once you get the hang of it, it works fine. Before you get the hang of it, you will tend to run out of ink quickly.

One user indicated that the nubs on the bayonet mount were wearing off. I always press my cap inward before twisting, so that hasn't been an issue for me.

One complaint was that the words "Homo sapiens" on the barrel do not line up with the clip when capped. Not sure that's a mistake or flaw.

The bronze tarnishes, but I think it's supposed to.

People with really sweaty hands don't like the appearance that the barrel is sweating (it's their hands, I swear). There's a simple test to prove this. (1) put antiperspirant on the pen...still gets sweaty. (2) put antiperspirant on your hand. Voila! No more pen sweat.

Still my favorite high end pen with a factory nib.


Thanks for your comments. I think the bayonet is very functional, ingenious even. I've always liked caps with fewer threads, so this system works very well for me. It has never occurred to me to check alignment of the engraving with the clip. I have not had any experience with "sweating". In fact, the pen feels less "wet" than perfectly smooth grip sections.

I think this kind of pen is a good example of how personal fountain pen choices can really be. This pen is not for everyone. I didn't expect to like it as much as I do now.

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#8 goldenkrishna

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:30

Hello akustyk,

Thank you for this interesting review and the nice photos.

I concur with Jeffery Smith and Joe in Seattle regarding the clip and the bayonet mount cap. I have no experience with said Visconti, however I own a Waterman Directeur General with these qualities and I really like it.

Now I have to do some reading about the quality issues mentioned by PatientType.

With love,

goldenkrishna
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#9 JefferyS

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:39

The nibs remind me of TWSBI, and that's not a cheap shot. I love firm, wet, smooth TWSBI nibs. The nib glides across good paper.

It also gets many compliments, usually asking if it is an antique. The patina on the bronze makes it look antique relatively quickly. The composition of the pen is hard and smooth, but not slippery.

I'm a fan of Steinbeck and Hemingway. I think they would have liked a Homo sapiens. Charles Darwin would have liked it, but his father would have had to buy it for him.

And thanks to the OP for the thoughtful review.
Jeffery
In the Irish Channel of
New Orleans, LA

#10 terminal

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 23:52

This is absolutely one of my favorite pens. For me, it wrote right out of the box, and I agree with the comments so far about the design. I personally love the material and I think the nib is a pretty neat combination of flex and smooth.
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#11 iamchum

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 00:32

Glad to know someone else also likes this pen!

My two best writers.

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#12 Earthdawn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:54

I absolutely LOVE mine.

I love all the materials used. From the real bronze that ages naturally to the amazing feeling of the lava in the body & cap. Knowing the insides are titanium and will resist corrosion are icing on the cake. Now the nib, the nib is like writing on a cloud with just enough feedback to know your touching the paper. It is just amazing to write with and has put my MB 146 and Delta Dolce Vita in the pen case, sadly of course.
Now one of the things that make buying from Bryant @ Pentime even better then you thought it could be is his close relationship with Michael Masuyama. (SHHHHhhhhhh Im not sure he wants everyone to know :unsure: ) When i got my 1.3 stub I was able to have Michael set it up just right. Now you wana talk about a dream pen!!!

Until you hold this pen and feel its warmth and solid yet light touch of the nib you just wont understand fully what those that have one are talking about as it is almost indescribable.

As far as issues with the pen I believe those were addressed sooon after the pen came out.

GREAT review and excellent pics :thumbup:

Thank you for sharing with us.

#13 mhosea

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:08

Thanks for your comments. I think the bayonet is very functional, ingenious even.


I like the feature in principle, but my grip is long , so I have a lot of finger on the bayonet grooves rather than on the grip section. I can't say that I like the feeling. If the grip section were longer and not curved, I might buy one. The nib seems quite wonderful.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


#14 pokermon

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:12

Wanna try one pretty bad, but wish it wasn't so expensive...
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#15 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 22:57

tested several of them but the nib wasn't on par with my stringant expectations
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 akustyk

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 23:36

tested several of them but the nib wasn't on par with my stringant expectations

Sorry to hear that. I must have been really lucky because this nib exceeded my highest expectations. Nibs are obviously a very personal thing. It's as enjoyable as my Montblanc 344 with a Medium nib. The 344 has more flex, and is smaller in size, but just as much fun to use.

I will add that at the very beginning, the nib felt strange - not scratchy, but "draggy," as if it was covered with residue of some sort, but after writing a couple of pages worth of writing, this draggy feel completely disappeared. I wonder what that might have been? Perhaps that was the cause of your dissatisfaction? Just curious.

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#17 iamchum

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 00:12

tested several of them but the nib wasn't on par with my stringant expectations



what do you mean by stringent... Most people on this board have above average expectations, but if severeal visconti HS's can't meet your criteria then either 1. your criteria is very very specialized or 2. 95% of pens dont meet your criteria

My two best writers.

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.........I call this one Günter. ......... I call this one Michael Clarke Duncan.


#18 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:27

tested several of them but the nib wasn't on par with my stringant expectations



what do you mean by stringent... Most people on this board have above average expectations, but if severeal visconti HS's can't meet your criteria then either 1. your criteria is very very specialized or 2. 95% of pens dont meet your criteria

I am very very demanding and very special person indeed ;)
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

#19 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:01

Agree totally with the review! Thanks! This is a great pen. Mine did come with the quality control issue regarding the nib, and rather than send it back I sent it to Michael Masuyama and he returned it in perfect writing order. He does any pen work I need now.

All the best,
T

#20 7th Wave

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:28

This pen has been on my list for some time now, but the price always puts me off pressing the 'buy' button. Maybe I should look again and re-prioritise as it is clearly an exceptional pen.

@georges

I am very very demanding and very special person indeed

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