This is my own pen. I did not receive any compensation for this review. This pen is available to hire through pensharing.com.
Looks, description, build quality, dimensions
This is my limited edition (number 14 of 25) Delta Fantasia Vintage. It's made completely from turquoise blue celluloid, has a fine number 6 rhodium plated steel nib (there is an option to have a gold nib, at additional cost), and rhodium plated clip and cap band.
The cap band is fairly slim and carries a "Greek key" pattern. The clip has a little scroll work and a rollerball and is firm but not overly stiff.
There are chrome rings just behind the threads and below the blind cap at the end of the barrel. The finial is in a cone shape whilst the end of the blind cap is rounded off. The nib carries the simple Delta logo, name and nib size, with no other markings or engraving.
The celluloid is absolutely sensational, the turquoise colour is gorgeous. As you rotate the pen in your hand there appears to be four distinct sections to the celluloid - on two of those, the celluloid has a deep 3-D stripey effect; on the other two it's more muted but still lovely. You can spend hours just rotating the pen in hand, waiting for it to catch the light in a certain way.
The pen comes in a variety of celluloids, all limited to 25 pieces:
- Brown (the only pen which comes with gold trim
- Green (with black marbling - verde variegato)
- Turquoise (now sold out)
- Red (with blue marbling)
- Green (verde scuro)
L-R, the colours described above, from the cover of the accompanying booklet.
The build quality is fabulous, it feels beautifully made. The only minor disappointment is the clip: from the front it's a nice shape, with the roller ball and scroll work, but side on it looks rather thin and flimsy, compared to say a Montegrappa clip.
- Capped 135mm, 28g (Lamy Safari 139mm, 18g)
- Uncappped 123mm, 18g (Lamy Safari 128mm, 10g)
- Posted 148mm (Lamy Safari 164mm)
- Other: barrel width 14mm (at its widest point just behind the threads), section width 11mm (at its narrowest concave point), section length 21mm (including threads), nib length 23mm
Story behind the pen
I first saw this on Instagram, on Edwin PG's feed (@fountain.gem). He had just purchased 3 different ones: the turquoise, the brown and the marbled red.
Photo credit: @fountain.gem on Instagram
I instantly fell in love and knew that I had to have one..
I didn't realise this before purchasing but the pens are made by Salvatore Matrone in collaboration with Stefano Senatore (owner of Stilograph Corsani, retailer of fine writing instruments since 1924, in Rome). Salvatore is, of course, the founder of the sensational new pen company Leonardo, and is the son of Ciro Matrone, one of the founders of Delta. So the pedigree of the pen is impeccable!
I emailed Stefano to enquire about the pen and he responded to all of my questions quickly and with great enthusiasm and we established a great rapport. Once I placed the order it arrived extremely quickly. Awesome customer service all round!
Feel in the hand
Celluloid is a beautiful, silky smooth material which is warm to the touch so naturally the pen feels great in the hand. And because the section is also celluloid it means that you benefit from that same feeling whilst you are actually writing.
The circumference of the section is slightly larger than I prefer (and the same with the nib size at number 6, I find number 5 is my sweet spot) however I knew this before purchasing the pen is not in any way a hindrance to getting a comfortable grip.
It's quite a light pen unposted so no fatigue from long writing sessions.
Filling / refilling
I believe the term for the filling system on this pen is "captive converter". It's essentially a cartridge converter except that the twister is longer than on a traditional cartridge converter, is metal rather than plastic, and can be accessed by unscrewing the blind cap at the bottom of the barrel.
The barrel also unscrews so you can fill it as you would a normal CC if you prefer.
So you have the look and feel of a piston filler and the convenience of a cartridge converter. Clever!
The one minor downside is that because the "piston knob" is not an integral part of the barrel, it does have a slight rattle if you tap the pen in that area.
Nib feel on the paper / ink flow
The steel nib is absolutely superb and wrote beautifully straight out of the box. It's got enough feedback that you can feel you're actually writing but does feel lovely and smooth.
Flow is on the wet side, in fact perfectly so.
Line width / variation
The steel nib is firm and doesn't offer anything in the way of line variation.
It's a genuine fine line. Here's the comparison to the Lamy Safari F. They're pretty much identical:
Top: Lamy Safari F; Bottom: Delta Fantasia Vintage
How does it make your handwriting look
I love the slightly wetter flow. Maybe this contributes to me slowing down my writing pace a touch, which means a bit more care. Whilst I don't have particularly "nice" writing, it does contribute to it looking its best.
Value for money
At the €300 mark, the choice is almost limitless: Pelikan, Montegrappa, Visconti, Sailor, Aurora, Pilot - all the great names have lots to offer in this price bracket. Many will be gold nibbed piston fillers but I haven't seen any other celluloid pens out there (you might be lucky and pick up a used celluloid Montegrappa from eBay at that price).
The really hot celluloids to have right now are:
- Leonardo Momento Zero (piston filler, gold nib)
- Montegrappa Colori Del Mare (based on the Extra 1930, piston filler, gold nib)
But both these pens command a much higher price: the Leonardo at around €700, the Montegrappa at around $800.
So if you just want the material but not the piston filler or gold nib then this really is the only choice.
Conclusion / recommendation
The celluloid on this pen is the undoubted star of the show. It is stunningly beautiful. It is hand made by one of the leading lights in the fountain pen community, Salvatore Matrone. It was also amazing value for money at €300 and the buying experience from Stefano was smooth and handled with care and charm. For that price though, you have to sacrifice the gold nib, sterling silver trim and genuine piston filler, but they are sacrifices well worth making.
Overall, I love this pen - I'm delighted to have been able to have obtained one of such a limited run of pens and I would buy them all if I could!