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Montegrappa Desiderio Vs Espressione (Original)

montegrappa desiderio espressione

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#1 ParkerBeta



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Posted 15 November 2017 - 16:06

Shortly after I read a review of the Montegrappa Desiderio here: http://www.fountainp...view/?p=3916037

I acquired one myself, in the brown/red color: 



I thought it would be interesting to compare it to an original-generation Montegrappa Espressione, to which I feel it bears some resemblance. 


Note that there was a later edition of the Espressione that looks somewhat different from the original, and substitutes the 18kt gold nib of the original for a steel nib (at a reduced price), but here I'm only comparing the Desiderio to the original Espressione.


Montegrappa has always had pens with resin and celluloid barrels, and for each material, pens with faceted versus circular cross-sections.  To me, the (original) Espressione was meant to be the resin-bodied counterpart of the celluloid-bodied Miya.  Both pens have cylindrical non-faceted caps and barrels, but otherwise both have 18kt nibs (though the Miya's is two-tone) with ebonite feeds and sterling-silver sections and trims.  The Espressione's section bears the sterling silver hallmark but appears to have been further plated with rhodium in order to keep it from tarnishing, whereas the Miya's section has the characteristic matte sterling silver appearance and requires regular use of the polishing cloth that Montegrappa helpfully included in the box. 


But enough about the Miya.  Let's get back to the Espressione (and the Desiderio, of course).  With the Espressione no longer made, I guess Montegrappa figured on filling the present opening for a resin-barreled, circular cross-section pen with 18kt nib with the new Desiderio, but built it to a price point (not the original absurd list price but the later much more reasonable one).  This entailed the following compromises:


  • 18kt nib on the Desiderio all right, but the tiny #4 size (top) instead of the #6 size 18kt nib on the Espressione (bottom)
  • fpn_1510759803__desiderio_nib.jpg


  • fpn_1510759854__espressione_nib.jpg


  • Plastic feed on the Desiderio, ebonite feed on the Espressione
  • Resin section on the Desiderio, sterling silver section on the Espressione
  • Little rolling ball on the sterling silver Desiderio clip is made of the resin barrel material (looks cute, though), whereas it is also sterling silver (like the rest of the clip) on the Espressione
  • Espressione barrel has sterling-silver threads on bottom to post cap securely, Desiderio barrel has no threads at all.  This makes the Desiderio shorter than the Espressione when posted (top), though when capped both are almost exactly the same length (bottom)
  • fpn_1510761628__desiderio_espressione_po
  • fpn_1510761677__desiderio_espressione_ca


  • Unkindest cut of all, in my opinion: the lovely raised "1912" (the year the company was founded) on the top of the Espressione cap (bottom), and a feature on lots of Montegrappa pens including steel-nibbed ones like the Parola, has been dropped in favor of a new abstract design on the top of the Desiderio cap (top) that means nothing and looks cheap.
  • fpn_1510761422__desiderio_cap.jpg
  • fpn_1510761481__espressione_cap.jpg

On the other hand, the Desiderio nib, incongruously small though it is compared to the general dimensions of the pen, wrote smoothly and wet right out of the box.  This is (unfortunately) a big deal, because both my Espressione and Miya nibs refused to write when they first came to me, and they both needed work by a nibmeister before they would write (they both write splendidly now).


If you can find an original Espressione in good condition today, you should expect to pay no more for it than for the Desiderio on clearance, but the Espressione is definitely the better-made pen.  On the other hand, the Miya (which is the celluloid-bodied counterpart to the original Espressione) seems to have a true heir: the celluloid-bodied Passione, which was also initially priced just as absurdly as the Desiderio (but even more expensive), then re-priced at a slightly less ludicrous level. 

Edited by ParkerBeta, 15 November 2017 - 17:18.

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Waterman Man 100 Patrician Coral Red 18kt factory stub nib
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Posted 15 November 2017 - 16:47

Wow, both beautiful pens! Thanks for the comparison!


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Posted 16 November 2017 - 12:01

Interesting.  I'm afraid I haven't kept up with Montegrappa's new pens.

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#4 Honeybadgers


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Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:43

The nib looks too small for me to like the proportions.


I also think Montegrappa has been far too ambitious with their pricing.

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#5 kdv



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Posted 20 November 2017 - 17:22

Nice to see somebody else mentioned this underestimated fountain pen. Perhaps due to its small nib. No Freud talk here but:


I must admit that I bought this pen because the offer was so much lower than the regular price.

But having used it for 4 months I think the original price is not that bad at all.

I don’t own that many pens, but the Desiderio “competes” with: MB 146, Aurora Optima, Omas Paragon old style, Omas Milord new style, Pelikan 400 nn, Sheaffer Targa, Sailor 1911 and Pelikan M1000.

The desiderio has become quickly my almost favourite one. The M1000 is a class on its own, but the Desiderio is very close in some – for me – important aspects. It’s the one I use most frequently (and yes, I tend to be a bit economical about my m1000)

Here is why.


- Ergonomics. I prefer the aurora Optima and the Desiderio for their ergonomics.  Both have (uncapped) about the same length and section grip/with. Just well for me. Weight and balance of the Desiderio feels for me slightly better.


- Smooth. Out of the box: no smoother nib than the Desiderio, except for the M1000.


- Ink flow. I like ink to flow. The M1000 and the Montegrappa Desiderio are comparable. Usually I prefer a medium nib. After having read lots off information about the M1000 I decided to go for a fine for the M1000. Right decision. Now I think I should have chosen also a fine for the Desiderio, because of its rich flow and wide line.


-Flex/writing comfort. The M1000 and the Desiderio are not meant to flex (both 18K). So, I don’t! But the fact that they just can indicates “writing comfort”. I mean both are potentially very pliable/flexible which makes them comfortable writers. No other pen in my modest collection has a flex capability as the Desiderio has. I illustrated this in an earlier post; see copy below.


For me the combination of great inkflow-extreme smoothness and flex (call it comfort) makes the Desiderio a pen to use. What other reason could there be to buy a fountain pen?: Looks!


Nothing wrong with the disign for me. Not overdone anyway (Montegrappa considered). The two-tone resin (?) has a unique depth, like many celluloids. All right, the silver band on top of the cap is a jewel on its own, but he it’s Italian yeah. I like that. Just the nib: it’s small but works perfect.


As mentioned in your post regarding the Espressione: the silver on the Desiderio also needs to be polished with a silver cloth (provided in the packaging). Mine already had a few black spots before I found out! And: a silver clip easily bents out of position.











Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: montegrappa, desiderio, espressione

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