In the UK I do not believe the DreamTouch nib is available as standard on the van Gogh although you can buy it separately (around £119 for the van Gogh size).
Personally I do not like the DreamTouch nibs at all, finding them too soft and "soggy" feeling, with a reputation for being easily sprung. I believe they were introduced to be different from the competition and because they are cheaper to produce than equivalent 18k gold nibs. Not to my taste I'm afraid.
Palladium is definitely not cheaper to produce then 18k.. But cost of materials do not necessarily make a nib perform better (14k is superior to 18k despite the latter costing more). Palladium is a superior material then gold as far as regular nib materials are concerned, it resists corrosion better and lets the ink travel easier, hence "dreamtouch" read Richard Binder's nib material article about palladium Visconti are not the first to use it as they claim.
also 18k is more expensive then 14k, but is inferior. 18k nibs are no where near as good as 14k. Palladium 23k Visconti nibs have been sprung in the past because idiots think they are flex nibs, they were never meant to be flex nibs and have not been marketed as such. They are very soft being 23k yes, but that is even more reason not to flex them because they will not return to their shape. (just like 18k was never meant to be flexed) when gold is flexed it does not return to its shape particularly the more pure it is. They write with no pressure and you are not meant to put any pressure on a dream touch nib. Biro convertees thinking they are flex masters spring palladium nibs because they have no idea what they are doing.
Gold is superior to palladium where flex nibs are concerned, palladium does not flex and return to shape well. Notice that 23k palladium dream touch nibs come with a sticker on them Do Not Press! 14k gold can be made to flex, 18k gold and palladium can not. However the majority of modern gold nibs are not meant to flex anyway so palladium would be a better choice of nib material.
Most high-quality nibs are made of gold. But pure gold (24K, or 1000 by European measure) is no good; it is too soft, malleable, and ductile. But when it is alloyed in appropriate proportions with suitable combinations of other elements (silver, copper, nickel, etc.) it becomes harder and exhibits other desirable properties such as the ability to be tempered.
It happens that there is a gray zone in the range of alloys when measured by gold content. That zone falls around 14K (585). Alloys containing significantly more gold tend to lack some desirable qualities, most especially flexibility (the resilience to bend significantly and return to the original shape over and over again). Many 18K (750) nibs, for instance, are springy (“soft”), but that’s not true flexibility. People who believe the sales hype frequently end up sending their 18K nibs out for repair after they’ve sprung them by applying more pressure than the nibs could handle. As a rule, 18K alloys are too soft — bending too easily and staying bent — or too hard, resisting until the point of catastrophic failure. This is why responsible nib technicians refuse to add flexibility to 18K nibs.
Alloys containing less gold, such as 9K (375), can be made to exhibit even better flexibility than 14K alloys. But these low-karat alloys suffer from a greater potential for corrosion, so there is a balance. That balance falls at about 14K; 14K nibs can combine both superb writing characteristics and good corrosion resistance.
Why, if 14K is better than 18K, do pen makers insist on using nibs made of 18K or even 21K gold? Beginning with a centuries-old antifraud law in France, there are now laws in many countries that restrict what can, or cannot, be labeled as gold, and 18K is the break point. It is illegal in these countries to sell an object as gold if it is made with less gold than 18K. The result is that a higher gold content has unfortunately become associated with quality and, because gold is precious, with luxury. Manufacturers market it that way, and we’re stuck with inferior nibs that cost more than better ones would.
Edited by Sham69, 10 January 2014 - 02:25.