Here is my take on a Visconti Homo Sapiens maxi with an 23k Pd EF nib. I hope you find the review fun and enjoyable. Wish you a prosperous and fun-filled new year with loads of new pens and paraphernalia.
In case there are any problems with pictures you can also view the same review in my blog:
Somewhere in late 2009, Florence-based luxury pen maker Visconti announced
a nib made out of a 95% Palladium (23k) alloy, in a press-release. Most of the nibs that were commonly available were 18k/21k Gold with a few exceptions (Sailor, Danitrio among others), and this was the first of its kind. And the other side of the snippet showcased a pen christened with the name of ‘Homo Sapiens’ (HS), forged from an almost equal mix of basaltic lava and resin, adorned with bronze and protected from competitors with a patented formulae. The lava came from Mt. Etna (an active volcano) on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. I came to know of this pen three years later while watching an ebay sale though
. Visconti (estd. 1988) promised the HS lava to be unbreakable, flameproof (upto 100°C), with a slightly hygroscopic body, fitted with bronze parts with a highly-corrosion resistant titanium power filler. The versions available these days are HS-lava/bronze or steel, a lava/bronze (by Mazzi) 388-limited edition
(LE) and a 1000-LE crystal swirl
(made up of Acroloid/Sterling Silver). Besides, fountain pens there are also roller-balls and ball-point pens in the HS range, but those are of course not our primary interest.
An Italian Job
Visconti does pay a gentle homage to the evolution of mankind by attaching significance to the Bronze Age, predating by around five thousand years. That’s the period when humans began smelting and mixing of metals like copper and tin to produce alloys like bronze. Also during this period, a system of writing had evolved, however it was majorly through symbols, to convey information. The trim-fittings including the clip are all made out of bronze, for this version of the pen. The variants are steel or sterling silver trims for the other HS pens.
Out of the well-protected box, this pen comes out with a spring-loaded clip made of bronze, holding a paper-flyer, which tells you the nib specification on one side (23K Pd – 950) and expresses ‘dreamtouch’ as – ‘Do not press! The nib will follow your dreams’. The name of the company VISCONTI is embossed on both sides of the clip on a black background. The bronze in my case has a slight patina developed over the rose-gold sheen, and I am happy with the dated-look. Alternately, there is a deep yellow bronze polishing cloth provided along with the pen to clean the surface-oxidation. The complete capped piece is a bit heavy weighing around 45 grams and is 14.4 cm long. For carrying it in your shirt pocket, you might have to lift the spring loaded clip by a bit, as the clip end does not slip easily. There is a bronze ring at the power filler end and two in the cap itself. Other reviews would tell you that the HS-Steel comes with a piston filler instead of a power-filler (vacuum-plunger). There is a large bronze centre-band at the start of the grip section which says HOMO SAPIENS.
The next thing one would notice is the unique locking system of the cap. The quick-locking grooves enable (un)locking with a slight twist (counter) clockwise (fourth of a complete turn). A little twist will reveal the fantastic 23 karat Palladium nib and an inherently earthly grip section. A click sound is heard once you correctly twist-lock the cap.
The finial mentions‘Visconti’ with the company logo. This can be customized using their My Pen System
to customize a finial with either your initials, zodiac sign or even a gemstone.
HOMO SAPIENS can be seen imprinted on the thick bronze centre-band which starts the cap-locking threads and subsequently the grip section of the pen. I would rather say that the pen is very intelligently designed apart from wielding materials hard to master.
The filling system is a vacuum plunger power-filler system with a titanium rod making it highly resistant to ink corrosion. You can unscrew the blind-cap counter-clockwise to the end-stop and then pull out the vacuum plunger if you wish to fill it with ink.
The length of an uncapped pen reads a comfortable 13.2 cm with a 25-26 g weight.
The nib has a leverage of around 2.6 cm and is a size#6 nib. There are many reports that these dreamtouch nibs being manufactured by Bock, but I am not certain of that. Made up of palladium and adorned with gold, the nib of HS-bronze makes a distinctive statement. Embossed is the company name VISCONTI near the lunarly-eclipsed breather hole . Below around the tail end of the nib, imprinted is the nib width above which lies the mesmerizing specifications ‘23k Pd 950’ and FIRENZE. Firenze refers to Florence, Italy which is the birthplace of both Italian Renaissance and Visconti Pens, thereby, the tagline ‘The Writing Renaissance’.
Nib is screw-fit into the grip section but I did not try to take that out. The nib has a bit of flex although there is not much difference for an EF nib when it comes to line variation due to pressure. My nib being an EF was a QC-victim and needed some smoothening with a 12000 Grit buff-stick and 0.3 µm lapping film to get to its true dreamtouch state.
And now it’s truly one dreamtouch pen.
Comparison – m805 & c823 (PS-It’s a m805 not a m800, quoted as a dimensional reference only, felt very lazy to correct it )
Capped the VHS maxi seems to be longer than a m800/5 but shorter than a pilot custom 823.
Uncapped all of them roughly have a similar length.
Post nib-adjustment – butter-smooth, wet-flow and ‘dreamtouch’.
Sometimes, it dries up and has somewhat of a hard-start if cap is left open for sometime.
The writing is super-smooth with a wet and free-flow. The EF nib lays a line tad thinner than a pilot 14k medium nib. So, if you want an M you might go for a F nib.
Overall, the cost of the pen defines the value you place on this unique piece. Though it retails at USD 595 it’s easily available at heavy discounts in both online and offline markets. I also guess the problem of sweating of ink at the edge of the grip section has been fixed and there is no need to grease the nib-threads anymore. I did not notice any sweating of ink at all.