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Narrowing Down On A Visconti Homo Sapiens Fountain Pen

visconti homo sapiens

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23 replies to this topic

#1 bfischersozin

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:12

I have been fascinated with the Visconti Homo Sapiens. I can't really afford it, but my wife accidentally threw away my Pilot Falcon, and I'm infuriated. Because the pen costs a fortune, I want to get everything right the first time (wow, I sound like a Wells Fargo employee). 

 

Here is my breakdown ...

 

MIDI vs. Oversized: 

 

It doesn't seem that much different in weight, and I can save quite a bit of money by getting the MIDI. Ultimately I decided, however, to get the Oversized, because of the Vacuum fill, which gives about .5 more mg of ink. At first, I felt the smaller pen would be just fine, because I don't write all that often, so all I would have to do is fill it more. However, I didn't take into account that this FP saturates the page. Also, I may end up getting a medium nib.

 

Extra Fine vs Fine vs Medium:

Naturally, I would choose an extra fine. I write on all kinds of papers, being an English teacher, so I thought I would get more use out of it by getting an extra fine nib that won't leak through to the other side. However, I have an extra fine Pilot Decimo that does the same thing, and finer. It also has a vanishing point feature, to idealize it for everyday use. Since this Visconti will be used with great pride, I probably should push this pen for everything that it stands for. It writes pretty wet, so I figured I should encourage that direction a bit more with the largest nib that I can tolerate, which I thought would be a fine. However, I've been reading a lot of interviews, and it seems that the Extra Fine and Fine have a load of quality control issues. All the negative reviews on Goulet, for example, seems to be about the Extra Fine. Other video reviews have complained about defective Fine nibs, so it seems that at the medium nib level, the complaints begin to melt away. So, ultimately, I've decided to embrace the medium nib. A Goulet representative also said you can't really detect a change in smoothness from Extra Fine to Fine, so it's probably better just to go with the medium, which she admits there is some difference in smoothness. Might as well go for the ideal experience writing with the "holy grail" of fountain pens. 

 

Bronze Age vs Dark Age

 

This was a hard one. I do like the oxidized bronze and rock look. It has a classic Italian / Roman look. Just wish the makers chose another Latin name, like Pompeii -- a city covered in lava from Mt. Vesuvius. The Dark Age seems to match with the stone more. It seems very subtle, and I especially like the dark nib (pretty bad ass all way around), but ultimately, won't be as worn in as the oxidized bronze look. I also hear the Dark Age came out after the Bronze and the Silver, so I'm wondering if I'm getting a refinement compared to the older pens. Probably not. My question to everyone out there is, which do you prefer -- the bronze or dark age? One is newer than the other, as I said, so I feel like it's unfair to merely count reviews from each one on Goulet to see which is the winner. 

 

These are my main three considerations. Please give me your thoughts on anything to help me make that final decision. 



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#2 PAKMAN

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 02:10

Midi is too small to me

xf is my choice because these dreamtouch nibs are very wet and tend to be wide for the stated nib size

Bronze is my favorite, just like the style and appearance


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#3 Tinjapan

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 02:28

I have the Bronze age with a 23k palladium extra fine nib. Purchased used, I just love it. I was not aware of a MIDI sized version but doubt that mine is as it is a big pen. The one problem I have is that when purchased the bronze was highly polished. It has now taken on a lovely patina. I am in love with both looks however, polished and patina bronze. I am constsntly torn between polishing the brinze of leaving it with its patina. Guess I just have to get another and keep it polished.

#4 LizEF

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 02:51

I have a London Fog, which I believe is the same nib.  Mine is an EF.  It is very smooth, but has a small sweet spot.  It also feels nicer, to me, when writing on a hard surface with 1 to a few pages rather than writing on a thick pad of paper.  (That's not to say your EF, if you get one, will be perfect, just that my experience was good.)  I got mine at the start of this year (that may matter - one of the reasons I went forward was because some reviewers said Visconti seemed to have gotten the message and had upped their QC).

 

Goulet will test the nib before they ship it, if you ask them to, so you don't have to wait to find out if it's good.


Edited by LizEF, 08 April 2017 - 13:19.


#5 Mulrich

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 05:46

Funny you say EF and F nibs have QC issues and M nibs don't. My experience has been the exact opposite, my EF/F Visconti nibs are terrific while the M and wider nibs are very hit or miss.

#6 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:03

I've never had any problem with any Visconti. It seems like someone said they had a bad nib and every body and their brother jumped on. Visconti makes a great pen. PERIOD.
I'd go with the oversized pen. Medium nib. Dark ages line.

#7 aardvarkbark

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 22:15

Midi is too small to me

xf is my choice because these dreamtouch nibs are very wet and tend to be wide for the stated nib size

Bronze is my favorite, just like the style and appearance

 

ditto

ditto

ditto



#8 Mastiff

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:07

I realise that many users would prefer narrower nib on this pen. Understandably the nib is quite wet. However I have a Broad nib that was modified to a stub (BLS) and I absolutely love it. I often opt for broader nibs as they can be modified at a later stage to anything you want, including F (at times EF) etc.

 

I would be a bit concerned with the Dark Age pen. Visconti plating and enamelling often plate off too easily. I am not so sure how resilent the black plating is on this pen but seeing various 'scratches' and plating offs would be unacceptable to me. On the other hand as you correctly pointed out, bronze patina can be quite attractive. Furthermore, you can polish off the patina (reversible) but you cannot replate lost black paint (irreversible) unless you have a specialist do this at your own cost.



#9 bfischersozin

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 22:02

Thank you everyone. I hadn't got a notification of these responses by email, so I decided to check online right now. Odd that FPN doesn't notify you when you get responses like everyone else.

 

I got a lot of good feedback. I'm thinking about having the supplier I got from eBay dip test it, and maybe I'll ask for a smaller nib. I want to ask for Bronze instead, but to say plating or enamel happens on the Dark Age seems like the same thing can happen on a Bronze around the Visconti letters. The black can chip off just as well. 



#10 bfischersozin

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 22:26

Okay everyone, I just made my final order. 

 

I did get a Bronze Age. It does seem like you can have more fun with the tarnishing, and overall, it does seem to have a complete museum look -- the lava resin with the tarnished bronze. Overall, I'm looking for something that will age well. And I did give the last post considerable thought, and even though the black around the Visconti letters can wear off (I've seen it in a review), it is true that it would be even worse with the dark plated ones. And all scratches on a dark plated Dark Age will not age well compared to the same scratches on a bronze antique. So that settles that.

 

I didn't get a smaller nib, because I have always wanted to work on a writing style closer to arabic letters, Zildjian, Tolkien-type signature, or even a Neil deGrasse Tyson signature. Somewhere in that direction. And I think the finer nibs won't give that boldness or line variation. Also at some point, I'll probably have my nib idealized by Michael Masuyama. I probably live no more than a few miles from him. Maybe I can shave a few days off the huge turnaround time when he responded to my pen inquiry. And worse comes to worse, I can always have him reduce the nib to a fine or extra fine. So it's a good point: you can start with medium and go finer, but not finer to medium. 

 

I hope I'll be happy with my pen. I requested the seller do a dip test. I bought it on eBay. Dude has 100 percent feedback with hundreds of reviews. I got it for 495, no tax free shipping. Don't really need the free ink. Hopefully it turns out well. If he doesn't do that, and if I get an imperfect nib, I'll send it in to Masuyama just to get everything perfect.


Edited by dyoneda1, 10 April 2017 - 22:30.


#11 Mastiff

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:32

Congratulations. Good choice, I hope you enjoy your pen.

 

By plating off, I meant that in a dual sense. Yes, enamel is already widely know, but I have seen enough examples of black PVD coating on the metal sections on these 'stealth pens' coming off to be convinced to avoid these. Of course, other may see that as part of aging and adding to the story and personality of the pen. To each his own.



#12 Martinsroom

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:50

Very interesting thread, this has certainly helped inform me in advance of the day I finally have enough to invest in one of these handsome pens.

#13 bfischersozin

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:42

Yeah, I believe Pilot Vanishing Point Black Matte is having a similar problem. In my opinion, we have associations that many can relate to. Bronze can be tarnished and worn looking, but not so much something more contemporary, like the dark age. 



#14 bfischersozin

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 04:05

Okay everyone,
 
I did indeed receive the item. And just when I was thinking that people were fear mongering by spreading the idea that Visconti has quality control issues, it turns out that it's absolutely true. So I receive this pen in the mail, happy as (bleep) to open it early, and I discover this grail of pens does indeed have a great look in general, but in detail, it's a disaster. The black around the Visconti logo on the clip is actually feathering -- LOL. And the black around the letters has an odd texture, as if an adolescent took a marker and tried to color it in. Just see the picture. It's equal to a thousand words. 
 
Now, the biggest problem is the writing. It can barely write a horizontal line. Even 1 out of 5 vertical lines is thin. I basically need to write really slow to get it to write. The seller gave a ton of excuses, and I shut it down quick, saying I went to the oldest family owned fountain pen store in America (in Monrovia, CA), and his Visconti pens were wet, generous, and smooth. The logo had clean letters. Overall, I feel this pen was an original. You can't fake this kind of pen, but it was probably reconditioned. I guess you can't trust eBay's 5000+ reviews at 100%. Dude is going to get a negative. Sorry.
 
I asked him to dip test it. Seems like he didn't even look at it. He asked me to send it back in original condition with no ink in it. I say never mind, I'm going through eBay then. Money back guarantee, homie. And a negative. No problems here. 
 
I'm going to Goulet. Have them dip test. Good stuff. Damn, forget about the pic. I don't have time to try to figure out how to link a pic to here. I'm used to just attachments.


Edited by dyoneda1, 14 April 2017 - 04:06.


#15 Mastiff

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 04:11

I am sorry to hear that. I am sure you will be adequately covered by the ebay/paypal related protection scheme.

Aesthetic imperfections aside, nib is the heart of a pen and you indeed cannot accept a pen that will not write properly. I have purchased from Goulet before and I am sure they will look after you there.



#16 MHBru

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 04:28

This pen remains on my short list..... so nice looking.

#17 bfischersozin

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 05:28

Yeah I thought about taking this to Michael Masuyama who lives a few miles away, but his wait time is 3 months. I am confident he can fix it, but I don't want to be stuck with a bad product outside of any money back guarantee. I should have went Goulet and spent a little more. 



#18 bfischersozin

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 06:10

Anybody want to see some pics of what I'm talking about, email me at yoneda.dave.77@gmail.com. I'll respond with pics.



#19 aardvarkbark

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 22:38

I'm envious of your access to Mike Masuyama.  Have you communicated with him recently?  I knew he was heading over to Japan sometime in Feb/Mar, but he's been unresponsive to my emails asking him to confirm that he's back prior to my sending him a handful of pens to work on.



#20 abstract49

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 23:43

Love my Bronze Age full size, F nib, right out of the box. I will never sell or trade it for anything else!







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