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Visconti Opera Elements Review
Posted 26 January 2013 - 21:17
Appearance & Design (8/10)
This is not a particularly classic design, as it is made of nicely marbled resin, the Earth motif, has a smooth metal section, and the Visconti bayonet twist and lock mechanism for the cap. I happen to like this design very much, except for the fact that the pen does not post well. When posted, it becomes too long and too top heavy, unusably so. The clip is the typical Visconti clip, which is good-looking and perfectly functional. The cap has the magnetic end cap that can be removed and replaced with the “My Pen System” custom piece, such as the owner's initials, or a gem stone. I don't see myself using it, but it's a nice touch.
Despite the pen's being a simple resin CC-filler, like so many pens these days, the addition of metal parts (the grip section and the blind cap) do make the pen feel more substantial and more upscale. I used to have the Edison Nouveau Premiere pen and it was made just as well as the Opera Elements, but it felt somewhat flimsy, and I think the Opera Elements avoids that kind of feel quite nicely.
There's one detail that could be done better – the engraved word “OPERA” on the cap ring. The font simply does not match the rest of the design or the font used on the clip, and seems out of place.
Construction & Quality (10/10)
I would rank the quality of the pen and the manufacturing really high. There's nothing misplaced or misaligned here. Even the converter screws into the section and looks a bit more upscale than most converters these days.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10)
For my hands, this is an deal size and weight, except for the cap not being able to post deep enough. Unposted, the pen is shorter than the Homo Sapiens, but it does not feel smaller in my hand, at least not significantly.
Nib & Performance (9/10)
I prefer fine and extra fine nibs for daily writing, partly to suit my handwriting, but partly due to the practical considerations, such as writing on random paper, copy paper, college notebooks, etc. However, I do love the medium nib on my Homo Sapiens, and this medium nib is no different.
The first thing you notice, compared to the Homo Sapiens, is that it is not as wet under light pressure. This nib is more of a traditional nib, and not necessarily the “Dreamtouch” type of nib that Visconti currently promotes. It's a 14k nib, silver in color, very nicely engraved (stamped?) and nicely complementing the overall design of the pen.
The whole nib/feed unit unscrews from the section, much like the Homo Sapiens nib unit does. This reminds me very much of an Edison pen I used to have - you can easily disassemble the pen by unscrewing the nib unit and converter, thus ending up with a section and barrel with nothing but threads on the inside. I like that. I have not tried removing the nib from the unit, but I would imagine it's not too difficult. The nib is identical in size to the Homo Sapiens nib, as is the feed.
The nib is incredibly smooth. I am typically not crazy about smoothness – I don't mind a bit of tooth, but this nib has none to speak of, yet it is not too smooth. I remember once trying out a 149 with a Medium nib that was so smooth, it skidded across the page. This Opera Elements nib feels just right to me. However, it does feel different than the HS nib. How? Again, I think it feels more traditional. It does open up nicely under pressure, and immediately increases flow, which helps bring out shading in suitable ink. This is a feature of a nib that I like a lot, and neither my Pelikan M800, nor Montblanc 146 have it.
The flow is very good, on the wet side, maybe 6-7/10 (with Waterman's Serenity Blue ink, depending on pressure), which suits me very well. The actual nib width is about the same as the HS, and not too broad. I think it's just a touch broader than my 146 or M800 fine nib.
Compared to the MB 146 and M800 nibs, this nib feels somewhat softer, springier, and it does have some line variation. However, I am terrible at flexing, so I tend not to do that in my normal writing.
Filling System & Maintenance (7/10)
This is a typical CC-filler, but the converter works well, so I can't complain too much. In terms of maintenance, it's easier to clean than a piston filler, and can be flushed with a bulb syringe.
Cost & Value (7/10)
I bought this pen new – in fact this is the decent only pen I bought brand-new, from a retailer. For me, this was a not a terribly good deal, but the pen is very nice, so I guess I have no remorse. However, a CC-filler pen does not have to be so expensive, I think. On the other hand, it does feel like a premium pen, so I guess the price is justified.
Conclusion (Final score, 49/60)
I like this pen a lot, mostly due to its ergonomics and writing performance. This is definitely the flashiest pen I own, but it's not too flashy. Most importantly, I enjoy writing with it.
Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/
Posted 27 January 2013 - 19:51
Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:29
Posted 30 January 2013 - 19:04
Posted 02 March 2013 - 20:50
As much as I liked the 14k Medium nib, I found it too broad for my handwriting. I traded it for an EF Pd nib, and, so far, I am happy with my choice. Yes, the 14k nib is very, very smooth, almost too smooth, but the Pd nib is so unique. It's sort of soft, and springy. It writes a fine line with little pressure and has generous flow. So far, I've only inked it up with Visconti Blue and I am very happy with the flow. I would not call this nib flexible, but you can get surprisingly good line variation with it.
Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/