It's been a while since my last review, but I need to take some time now to review the fruits of a collaboration between my desire for a beautiful work and a FPN member! I have been writing, for over a year, a large scale piece of music dedicated to the life of Leonardo da Vinci. He is a great person hero of mine (and rightly so). It's near completion, and is a good 40 minutes long. I am excited for it's premiere this coming year in New York. I was fascinated with the "Leonardo" by Montblanc, but a hefty $3,600 price tag held me back. HOWEVER,
When I emailed a gentleman by the name of Tim Self, of our own Fountain Pen Network, he explained to me that he could create a truly custom piece for me. I will explain details as we move along.
(Before we begin, I will note that there is some degree of bias in my review. Tim and I discussed what would be on the pen, how it would look, etc.. I will not be offended should you disagree with my review, but I will defend this bad boy!)
The pen is visually dazzling. The amount of care and craftsmanship are amazing. Every time I look at the pen, it's a new adventure. Due to my musical background, Tim had explained that he could take the "Flying" melody from my work (and from da Vinci's fascination with flight) and print it right onto the pen cap! The body says Leonardo da Vinci and has gold inlay over the metal. Opposite that there is a print of the wing Leonardo used to study flying, and a small backward inscription from the corresponding codex. I wish I could award a 11/10 for this exceptional work, but alas, I can only offer a 10/10.
This baby is heavy. But, the cap does not post which is good for balance. The pen sits quite comfortably between my index finger and thumb. As for the use of the pen, the ink is delivered evenly, precisely, and very cleanly. I have had no trouble with bleeding with even the lightest of manuscripts.
Nib: Tim fitted her with a Bock nib. Stainless steel, very sturdy, yet still elegant. I'm very happy, indeed.
Filling System: I was told that this pen will accept universal cartridges. Being a stickler for tradition, I enjoy bottled ink or a well. I use Waterman ink almost exclusively, unless a brand (i.e. my Parker) specifies using another. The converter Tim gave me was long and very easy to fill. It is quick to suck up ink and remains leak free. Converter leaks have been an issue lately, unfortunately, so this is nice.
Not surprisingly, I will award 10/10. Though she is heavy, I could still use this pen on a daily basis. It is VERY comfortable. I'll just need an insurance plan, first .
Below, you can see the "Wing" and the writing from the journal on flight.
Below is the name of the hero honored by this pen!
Here is the melody of flight from my piece "The Da Vinci Trail" expertly placed about the cap.
And here, pay attention to the curvature and lines drawn out by the pens body and converter. It may just be me, but I particularly like the dynamics of width. It adds character
Cost, Value and Cost/Value
This beauty only cost me about $500, yet it is priceless due to the fact that it is MY pen, and it is the only one like it. I must say that I had VERY high expectations when receiving this pen, and they have still be far exceeded. In point, I should tell you directly that it obviously does not matter if the pen maker is a large company, or a small operation like Tim's. Having used a Montblanc on several occasions (executive series), I can safely say that there is no reason for a $3,600 cost, and works of art just as beautiful and just as well made (or better) are out there. I wouldn't trade MY pen for anything. Thanks for the many years of happy writing I will enjoy, Tim Self!
Value: Much more than that.
Cost/Value ratio: Since this is a priceless possession of mine, the cost to value ratio isn't quite fair to say
Overall Rating: Due to the wealth of beauty in my new piece, the unique qualities it shares, and the general excellence in it's writing, I award 10/10 for this pen. Again, I wish I could award more so I'm sure you see my point!
Thanks for reading, and please, if I missed something, or you have questions, don't hesitate to ask! I have all good things to say!
Kevin E. Phillips II