And so I thought until I finally tried them out. They are the pens I reach for more than all others and refill the most. I love mine.
Absolutely right! I wonder how many people think that Italian pens are all pretty design and crappy performers with QC issues because they never tried one. This is probably aggravated by internet shopping where you can't try a pen before buying. The pens I'm interested in are not mass produced and thus hard to find to try out. You can find a Montblanc 149 at every airport and probably most cities worldwide.
I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a stunning Italian pen I bought many years ago. Here's the story: My Montblanc, which I bought while at grad school, finally broke down after 10 years even after MB fixed it once. I was quite disappointed with MB and looked for something different. We had a fantastic store in town with great knowledgeable and helpful sales people who singled out the models which would suite my taste and writing habits. The two finalists where a Waterman and an OMAS, a brand I had never heard of before. The Waterman was a great pen but the OMAS was fascinating. I didn't buy it in the end because it was three times the price. I had several quality issues with the Waterman and the people in the shop were very helpful to fix them more or less. Life moved on and many years later I moved for job reasons. While exploring the new city, I stumbled over a store selling off it's last few OMAS pens because they didn't sell well. There were two pens which knocked me out of my socks, a 360 Burkina and a Paragon Arco brown (both are celluloid). The people in the store were unbelievably kind and allowed me to fill the pen and write with it as long as I wanted. I filled 10 pages because I couldn't put down the pen before it was empty! I knew this was my pen for life and it still is.
And here is the downside of the story: Ever since I'm fascinated by high quality fountain pens and particularly by OMAS and other Italian top makers. This cost me a pretty penny! I have many pens by Ancora, Aurora, Delta, OMAS, and Stipula and every single one is an outstanding writer. Out of all these pens I had ONE baby bottom nib which I fixed and two semi-vintage pens where I had to replace the nib collars. Note that I don't own any Visconti and thus cannot speak for them.
Yes, the chance to get a lemon may be bigger with certain Italian pen makers compared to others but I didn't have any more trouble than with the rest of the flock.