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Visconti Van Gogh Crystal

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14 replies to this topic

#1 wil



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Posted 26 July 2005 - 03:40

My Van Gogh crystal arrived after close to a two month wait. Iíve been so impressed with it since I got it in the mail today that I just had to share with everyone. Enjoy!

First Impressions
I was first introduced to the Van Gogh Crystal by a friend on mine on Flickr. Since Iíve never had a Visconti, I thought Iíd begin with a relatively affordable model. I placed my order with Pam Braun back in early June as a little something for my birthday back on July first. After a few mix ups at Visconti sending a unit with the wrong size nib to Pam, it took almost two months for the pen to arrive. Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.
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Appearance / Finish: 5 out of 5
The pen arrived in a very nice faux (possibly real) alligator/snake textured box. I really didnít know what to expect as I have never handled a Van Gogh in person. Taking it out of the box, I was blown away by the beauty of its design. The textured metal against the smooth and clear resin is not only pleasing but I find the two to be a great contrast and compliment. The textured metal motif can be seen from the knob of the converter, the ring around the cap and on the section, within the cap.
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This is complimented by the one of the finest looking clip designs in my opinion (along with the Aurora Optima clip) - a simple curve accented by the Visconti nomenclature on black, offsetting the inverse of that with the Visconti nomenclature in black on silver in the converter. In terms of function, itís has a spring mechanism and given the shape of the clip, itís very simple and satisfying motion to grab the clip, pull it away from the cap, insert to your shirt pocket and release. The same can be said about unclipping it from my shirt pocket.
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Uncapping the Van Gogh was a smooth process. Perhaps, just one turn too many as I find pens that require too much turning to uncap harder to use for everyday writing at work. It took a little over 1.5 turns, definitely less than the 2 turns on the Duofold but not as quick as the 1/2 turn of the Optima.

Design/Measurement/Weight: 4 out of 5
Capped: 5 ĺĒ
Uncapped: 5Ē
Posted: 6 ĹĒ
Dimensions are very similar to a Pelikan M800. Weight wise, I have a feeling that itís a hair heavier than the Pelikan. So far, Iíve enjoyed writing with it both posted and unposted. However, I will most likely write uncapped as it could be a hefty pen after a long writing session. There is also a hint of top heaviness when its posted, probably due to the clip.
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Another surprise was the fact that the metal section didnít bother me one bit. I find the gradual reduction in circumference very comforting unlike some Stipulas where the section thins out too much.

Nib: 4.5 out of 5
Again, having never experienced a Visconti before played a major role towards the excitement when I was using this pen for the first time. Continuing with the smooth lines, the 14K two-tone nib has a very tasteful design, not too loud and not too plain.

Since Iíve had my share of poor writers out of the box, it was such a sweet surprise to find that the Van Gogh was a winner. Unlike many moderns, the flow might even be a little too generous and the nib is probably one of the softest or ďspringiestĒ, right up there with my Lamy 2000. Because of the generous flow, my medium felt a bit wider than most mediums.
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Filling Mechanism: 4 out of 5
You might be wondering, how can a C/C get a 4 out of 5? Iíve stayed away from demonstrators in the past because I was afraid of staining of the body/barrel. A C/C demonstrator made so much sense for me. If staining does happen, itís only the converter and to me, thatís okay.

Cost: 5 out of 5
I thought the Van Gogh has great value. Again, I made the purchase through Pam Braun for $184.00 with shipping and there are not all that many moderns today with such attention to detail and great design, fit and finish.

Perhaps, I could be jumping the gun a little since this is my first day with the Van Gogh crystal. After possessing a few pens from most of the major brands including MB, Pelikan, Aurora, Delta, Omas, and Parker, I find the Van Gogh crystal very refreshing, functional and at a good price. My only concern is, I am not sure how well the finish will hold up after prolonged use. That could be its only weakness but then again, wouldnít all clear demonstrator suffer from the same fate? I am very happy and excited the upcoming time that I will spend using this well thought out and designed writing instrument.

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#2 Stompy



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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:10


Good job and thanks for sharing.

What ink are you using in it? Any chance of a written example?

I'm not a big fan of demonstrators myself; I think the material of a pen is part of whole experience. I own a Lamy Vista - the demonstrator version of the Safari. While it writes well and feels okay in the hand, it just doesn't call to me. What really bugs me about it is that the twist mechanism of the convertor is a sickly red colour, which just looks plain ugly in a see through pen. I think the metal convertor in this pen looks far classier.

Nice to see a comparison shot with the Pelikan - really shows the size of the pen. I must admit that I, too, thought it would be smaller.

#3 grasshopper


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 09:30

Great review, Wil. B)

That is quite a classy pen, indeed. (When you mentioned in your earlier post that you were getting a Van Gogh, I somehow imagined it to be one of the marbled versions - seems I missed the "crystal" part.) I have 1 demo pen myself - Sailor 1911 - and it has not yet left my rotation since I bought it.

Look forward to reading an update after you've spent some quality time with it. ;)

You can't always get what you want... but if you try sometimes... you just might find... you'll get what you need...

#4 southpaw


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 17:06

Thanks for the nice review and the look at a great pen. ENJOY!!!
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#5 Karin


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 18:36

Great review Wil,
I still have my black Van gogh. I tried to sell it but now I`m just as glad that I didn`t.
See you on Sunday, I hope.
I`m a large, (beautiful) woman with short grey hair. I`ll have a huge grin on my face and I`ll be clutching a Mikado in its kimono. (That sounds kind of strange doesn`t it?) :blush:

Karin :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
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#6 wil



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Posted 26 July 2005 - 19:30

Stompy, when I left my previous job, my employer was kind enough to have purchased a Visconti travelling ink pot along with lots of ink. I have some some Visconti black in the Van Gogh right now. As for writing sample, I am a tad shy about my penmenship so I might hold off on that :lol:

Grasshopper, I brought my pen to my work today and a few got a chance check it out. The general reaction was that they were all surprised at the heft and percieved quality of the Van Gogh Crystal in person versus images online.

Karin, I am glad my little review revitalized your interest in your Van Gogh. About Sunday, feel free to click on my flickr link below and you can see a few images of me. I'll be there bright and early with Queenie as I have a few pens that I'd like Richard to look at. See you Sunday!

#7 Stompy



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Posted 26 July 2005 - 20:30

Stompy, when I left my previous job, my employer was kind enough to have purchased a Visconti travelling ink pot along with lots of ink. I have some some Visconti black in the Van Gogh right now. As for writing sample, I am a tad shy about my penmenship so I might hold off on that :lol:

Don't be silly. I've seen your handwriting in your pictures of the Aurora Optima and M-805, and there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it looks quite striking in those pictures.

It isn't about judging your handwriting, it's about seeing how the nib puts down ink in use and writing shows that better than lines and doodles.

And, anyway, nobody likes their own handwriting. Most people like my handwriting (I say this with all humility, really), but I think it could do with some work.

Anyway - lucky you going to the pen show!

#8 Karin


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Posted 26 July 2005 - 20:44

Great Wil,
Now I know who to look for. I too, will be standing in Richard's line. Looking forward to meeting you and Queenie.

Karin :D
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#9 wimg


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Posted 27 July 2005 - 00:10

Hi Wil,

Thanks for a great review and nice pictures to go with it. I enjoyed reading it!

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever

#10 Ann Finley

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 00:26

Wil, that's a very pretty pen. (I'm one that likes demonstrators.) :)

Thanks for the detailed review.

Best, Ann

#11 cmeisenzahl


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Posted 29 July 2005 - 15:59

Cool, nice pen!

#12 Compulsion



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Posted 29 July 2005 - 18:30

I've had my eye on one of those for a while now. Beautiful pen.

I really appreciate your point of a C/C in a demonstrator instead of a piston fill. I hadn't thought about staining, but you're entirely correct. Thanks for that tip.


#13 Maja


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Posted 29 July 2005 - 22:09

A big thanks from a fellow Canuck (Vancouver) for a wonderful review of a classy pen. Love the photographs!

Have fun at the Toronto pen show :) (you too, Karin!)
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#14 CS58


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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:40

Thanks for the review. I've owned a VG Crystal Maxi Demo with F grade nib for about 18 months. You paid a bargain price for your pen :-) and I certainly agree with your assessment of the hardware--the texturing is real attractive and finish top-notch. The high quality convertor must be one of the best looking ever and hasn't stained to any significant extent. The pen is great fun to look at or use and I'm really glad to own it, especially as it is no longer produced and the Van Gogh range has since seen some shape changes and even introduction of steel nibs.

#15 breaker



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Posted 07 April 2013 - 13:11

nice review!
Cogito ergo sum

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