The unneeded introduction aka "How I stopped worrying and learned to love the pen" (you can absolutely skip this part )
It took me so long to put down to words last weeks of reflections and considerations about the pen, the universe and everything. But first things first... let's go back to some time ago, when a (not so) young Italian pen lover (who actually is lucky enough to live in the same city where the major Italian pen makers are located) was sinking under a work that, even though very satisfying, was increasing by a lot, leaving almost no time nor spare serenity to sit and enjoy fountain pens.
Not to mention he was moving, family had increased in size (by two kittens, the third coming in few days) and all of a sudden he realized he hadn't held a fountain pen in ages.
Ok, switching to first person, it is getting tiresome.
So, I had been out of the fountain pen loop for a while till one day I received a message from good old DDV, also known as "the Pen Grand Master", also known as Dante Del Vecchio. I was a fan of his works of engineering, design and art, loved the crazy, visionary and innovative pens he used to create. I used to bother him with mails, messages etc asking this and that about pens...and here we are.
We updated each other about everything, turned out he had been placed in charge of the Pen Department in Pineider 1774, the historical Florence based Italian brand.
By sheer accident he had with himself a "La Grande Bellezza Forged Carbon" fountain pen, sporting the new Quill Nib he had designed.
From the grin on my face, you can see I appreciated the writing experience
I appreciated it so much I decided to get back in the fountain field pen, starting exactly with that pen I had tried. But that's part of the review, so...
The brand name was well known to me, as Pineider is an historical stationary shop located in Florence. It is one of the Italian excellencies, producing high-end paper, notebooks and leatherwork.
Recently the brand has undergone a major rebranding, completely revamping and revising its business while keeping the centuries-long know-how.
The new management's visions are ambitious, wide-ranged and innovative... that's why they put the Pen Master in charge of the pen research and design department.
I think that this choice perfectly matches the company's visions: to link the traditional past (which you can see on some of the pens' elements) to the "new world", as in new technological materials, mechanisms etc. They are in my opinion relentlessly advancing among the pen makers major players and as I like to invest my soul and resources in fresh things... here it goes
Here come's the pen
As I said in the beginning of the post, I'm lucky enough to live in Florence, so this beauty I'm displaying comes straight from their boutique, in Florence's historical center. As I like to leave the juicy stuff in the end, let's talk of the box.
I was amused and nicely surprised to see that their pens come in a neatly writing-desk shaped gift box. I love this kind of attention to details and even though of course this is just the "surface", I kinda dislike when super-bombastic pens are presented in anonymous cardboard boxes.
As you can see, a pen filler is also included along with the instructions on how to use it (but I'll make another post on the matter, maybe).
Peculiarities - the material
The pen is part of the "La Grande Bellezza" collection, the suffix "forged carbon
" intuitively refers to the material. I didn't know much about it before I saw this pen, I will try to explain (please engineers, everyone, don't be too hard on me
Basically, carbon fibers are usually processed laying layer upon layer (which allows the characteristic design, I guess). The forged carbon is created by a different procedure, involving one single layer in which carbon fibers are melted by a heat press. The resulting composite has a very particular look: as the fibers interweave with each other, swirls are created with the effect I tried to capture in the pics. It's an innovative technique, used for the first time in the pen industry. It is used in some of the racing super cars' parts (the Lamborghini Huracan spoiler for example is made of forged carbon).
The material is very light and the pen feels solid and balanced both capped and uncapped. Forged Carbon is also known to be super strong BUT I won't test its resistance on my pen, so I guess I'll just trust the maker's word on that.
What is indescribable with words, tho, is the tactile feeling. You can somehow feel the "unevenness" of the body's surface, as the swirls are sort of three dimensional. At the same time, and this is the peculiarity I love the most in this pen and which makes me never want to leave it behind, the sensation is ABSOLUTELY SILKY
. I could say that it even adds more grip to the hold, but that's secondary and it's not cause of the grip that it never leaves my hand
I hope to see more of this material used in this field, this is not a break-thru I would like to see left behind... So please Pineider, don't abandon this material
Some pics to display the swirls.
Little of this and that
Some other things that caught my eye...
The clip represents a feather, the very ancestor of our fountain pens. Along with the detail of the writing-desk box, it conveys the message (at least it conveyed it to me
, but I don't think I'm over-thinking) that in their creations there's an evident tribute to writing itself. I like this, as I've always considered the Pen a tool, an instrument, no matter how cool and fancy. It needs to write, it needs to write well, I need to carry it with me. Of course I don't mind flamboyant designs but I've noticed how some brands descended into the "pen as a design item" philosophy... might make sense, not my cup of tea, though (I still have bad dreams of a gummy "fish-pen" made by a super-cool-fancy-archistar because "hey, the pen has to be just a design item, you don't use pens in your life anyway"
On the cap you can read the pentagram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog". There you go: another tribute to writing.
Yes, all cool and everything, but does it write?
Yes, it does write. It definitely does. Right at the start of this post I was mentioning the fact that this pen is the one that got me back in the "fountain pen tunnel". What made me pull the trigger was the writing experience.
What made it for me was the nib, the so called "Quill Nib", which is pretty flexible (at least for my standards, I'm no calligrapher) as there is a nice line variation. At the same time, the nib is great and somehow springy (I reckon that's a personal sensation though) for a fast and smooth daily writing (it is how I use FPs: quick notes while working mostly). I think the flexibility is due to its design, with its peculiar side cut-outs (which btw is also a cool and sleek design).
I had no hard starts, no skipping. My nib, fine, is pretty juicy (btw, it's a 14kt gold nib) and the ink flows smoothly. I have been out the pen loop for a while, but I have to say that this might be my favorite writing experience so far.
Here some samples (quotes from Murakami's books Killing Commendatore and Kafka on the shore).
And this is what happens when you're convinced you can mind your own stuff unnoticed and unperturbed.
I tried to capture the beauty of the nib.
I'm sure there is more worth mention, so far these are the highlights I wanted to share with you guys.
I'll go back to enjoying my pen, leaving some more pics of my LGBFG posing for you
Aesthetically great, writing-wise perfect, conceptually unique. That's all I can say about it. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.
I have another Pineider on its way home