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Tibaldi Iride


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21 replies to this topic

#1 RichardS

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 16:39

I posted a pic of this pen a little while ago, but thought it was best to hold off from a full review until I had got to know it better. Since then, the new Tibaldi company has unveiled its new range, to a less-than-rapturous response. So now, three or four refillings later (this pen has a LARGE ink capacity!), it seems a good time to give it the full review treatment.

Posted Image

Design

Well, isn't design what this kind of pen is really all about? At an original MSRP of £800 ($1400), you have to be paying for something rather more than a cap, barrel, feed and nib. I honestly can't justify this sort of amount, but I can justify the £137 ($240) plus VAT that I paid for it on Ebay. At that price, I think it's a bargain in anyone's terms. Especially given the design!

First, the material. This is absolutely fantastic celluloid, the highest quality I have seen on any pen of any vintage. At first sight the colour appears to be brown, but look closer in the right light, and you'll see that it's actually a deep, dark red. You'll also notice that the flecks of material contained in it are actually three-dimensional; iridescent chunks trapped like flies in amber within the translucent celluloid. My photographic skills are nowhere near good enough to capture this. But if you've had the chance to see one in the flesh, you'll know exactly what I mean. The effect is almost hypnotic as you turn the pen in your hand, watching the chunks shimmer in what looks like a rich, viscous fluid; an activity best avoided, I find, in serious meetings!

The dimensions are what's called full-sized today, and would have been called oversize by Sheaffer in the 1930s. At 5.5 inches capped, 6.5 inches posted, it feels a substantial pen in the hand, especially as its width is quite broad. I find it one of the most comfortable pens I've ever used, the relative warmth and softness of the celluloid combining with the girth to make it a pleasure to use for hours on end. What's more, the shortness of the section places the screw threads fairly low, which also suits me as I like to hold a pen relatively high on the barrel.

The limited edition number (266) is engraved just below the threads in the same line as the makers engraving "Tibaldi" on the barrel.

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Internals

The Iride uses a vacuum pump filling system, which I think is similar to that of a Parker Vacumatic. You unscrew the spring-loaded blind cap, which pops out about half an inch, dunk the nib in the ink, and pump the cap three or four times. You can feel (and hear) the ink being sucked rapidly into the barrel. Once the pen's full, slowly push the cap towards the barrel and screw it back into place. The spring pressure is quite fierce, so it's important to have a good grip and use both hands.

I like this system very much and it's an interesting change from piston systems, converters and (ahem) cartridges. Fun to use too!

With no internal sac or container, the pen holds plenty of ink, and as the celluloid is translucent (just) you can monitor your ink usage.

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Nib

The Tibaldi nib is monotone 18 kt gold, which as I may have said before, I prefer in many ways to the current fashion for duotone gold nibs. This type of nib has a more vintage appeal; it's also quite large and to my eyes, extremely handsome and well-proportioned. The point is a true "F", and it writes a medium-wet line. Starting is never any problem and after giving the pen a good flush after I first received it, I've found no problems whatsoever with any skipping. It's a fairly firm nib, though probably not as firm as a Duofold for example. At the other extreme, it is nowhere near as springy as the F nib on my Visconti Van Gogh maxi.

As I understand it, the first Irides to be issued had duotone gold nibs, with later production being switched to this type. If this was some sort of compromise, I can't see any evidence of it affecting the nib's writing characteristics. This is one of the nicest nibs I've ever used and I'd put it alongside my favourite (though very different) Visconti F, Stipula 1.1 and Pelikan OB for sheer writing pleasure.

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Conclusion

The Tibaldi Iride is a fabulous pen, and the current pricing puts it well within many more people's reach. Unlike some Italian pens that I love (did anyone say Stipula 991?) it's quite unostentatious. To see its sheer class (and to justify its original expense!), you have to look closely. But if you do, you will be rewarded by discovering one of the most stylish and capable writing instruments ever. Perhaps the lack of 'bling' appeal was why the luxury market didn't take to it in the first place, thereby contributing to the company's failure.

The market's loss, our gain.

My opinion, anyway. ;)


Edit: stark insensibility on filling systems

Edited by RichardS, 28 February 2006 - 17:33.


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#2 Blade Runner

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 17:37

Richard,
Glad to see the beauty again and read your review.
The celluloid is amazing even from my monitor.
I love the modello 60 as well.
Although the original company is no longer around, I believe
Lex and others would be more than capable to provide service if you ever need it.
Congrats!
J

#3 chainwhip

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 19:00

Thanks for the great review RichardS!

I've been eyeing the Iride ever since I got my Modello 60... Your review is making my head spin

;)

The Iride looks a great deal like the Transparente to me - I suppose the big difference between the two (aside from the color) is the filling system?

In any event, thanks again for the review and the tasty pictures.
Geaux Tigers! Visça el Barça!
WTB: MB Kafka, Lamy Safari 2009 Orange, Pilot MYU (Black or Clear/White Stripe), Seiko FrankenTuna SKZ253 / SKZ255

#4 southpaw

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 21:59

Great review of a beautiful pen. Superb pics.

Thanks,
southpaw (who is eagerly awaiting the return of his Modello 60 from Lex for a piston refurb)
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#5 davyr

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 02:01

a stunning pen, richard - can't imagine what it looks like in person...(no reflection at all on your superb pictures, but as you say, some pens demonstrate an ethereal beauty in real life which can't be captured in pics :).)

that simple nib is one of my favorites amongst modern pens...
"i love the smell of celluloid nitrate in the morning...you know, the smell, that camphor smell, it smells like...victory."

#6 RichardS

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 09:32

Jeen, thanks for the servicing info. I had wondered what I might do if there was a problem with that fancy filler mechanism.

Chainwhip, I've only ever seen pics of the Transparente (and doesn't it look great?) but yes, I believe it's a piston filler.

Southpaw, DavyR, thanks for your kind words. Nice to know I'm in such good company of Tibaldi fans!

#7 chainwhip

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 21:48

Richard-

Do you know if the Iride has a diaphragm?
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#8 Roger

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 23:33

Totally gobsmacked, Richard! Absolutely beautiful pen!

That nib looks far better on that pen than a duotone would. The quintessence of good taste. Must find one of them pour moi!
Roger
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#9 RichardS

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 10:52

Do you know if the Iride has a diaphragm?

I'm afraid I don't - it's too tough to see through the celluloid. But I think it must have, given that filling system. The spring is a great deal stronger and it fills a great deal faster than a Vac though! :huh:

Must find one of them pour moi!


Roger, buy now (from Regina/Ebay?), while stocks last! You won't regret it. (well, I haven't!) ;)

#10 DrPJM1

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 23:35

Great Review! Tibaldi is one of the brands I have never seen in person. The Iride seem like a winner. Thanks for making me lust for yet another pen!
Pedro

Looking for interesting Sheaffer OS Balance pens

#11 Roger

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 00:16

Roger, buy now (from Regina/Ebay?), while stocks last! You won't regret it. (well, I haven't!)  ;)

I'll look, Richard. Is that Regina Martini's ebay name..."Regina" or something dfferent?

I guess I can just search for "Tibaldi Iride". Thanks.
Roger
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#12 chainwhip

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 05:04

Roger, buy now (from Regina/Ebay?), while stocks last! You won't regret it. (well, I haven't!)  ;)

I'll look, Richard. Is that Regina Martini's ebay name..."Regina" or something dfferent?

I guess I can just search for "Tibaldi Iride". Thanks.


Pedro-

It's a wonderful pen :) Mine's coming back from Dillon.

Prices have been going up, but here's one from Regina:

http://cgi.ebay.com/...item=6618084882

She's been listing them at $399 lately - hopefully, she'll let it ride w/ no reserve & low starting bid again.

Edited by chainwhip, 09 April 2006 - 05:23.

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#13 JRodriguez

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 09:07

What a gorgeous pen! And great review. I can imagine from the pictures that this must be truly mesmerizing in person.

#14 MarcShiman

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 09:19

I just got my Iride, and I'm getting used to a VERY wet medium nib. I do love the color (its really spectacular, the manual calls it a mother-of-pearl embedded celluloid) and the weight and feel is perfect for me.

A few interesting points - I got mine for $150 on ebay without the crystal box and ink. There is no serial number and no "Tibaldi" etched into the pen. I've heard these are limited editions, but I have seen so many on ebay the last few months I'm beginning to question that.

I doubt its a copy, because it does have the fabulous celluloid and nib and fit and finish. I don't really care about it being a limited edition, I really want to use the pen daily.

#15 omasfan

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 01:55

I want to have one, too. It looks absolutely gorgeous!

#16 MarcShiman

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 08:23

A few days later: I just can't get this pen out of my hands. There is something just right about the size and shape of it and I love the Tibaldi nib (my Impero has the only EF nib I've ever loved).

I was using a Private Reserve Sherwood Green and it was feathering and bleeding in a journal I've never had that problem with in the past. This pen writes so wet. If there was a ink guzzling tax on a pen, this would be the one that gets it.

I used up the Green and have switched to the Tibaldi Black that came with the Impero. Much better.

These pens are all over ebay going from $150 to $250. This is no bargain (ignore the $1500 retail price) but it is a fantastic pen.

#17 saintsimon

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 15:32

QUOTE(MarcShiman @ Nov 30 2006, 10:23 AM)
... have switched to the Tibaldi Black that came with the Impero. ...

You lucky man! My Impero came with a bottle of Tibaldi Magenta sick.gif

#18 omasfan

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 23:18

Now I got them all three: the Impero, the Modello 60, and the Iride. And each of these high-class pens bespeaks immaculate workmanship.
I have heard from my local dealer that they were made by Stipula. Can anybody confirm this?

One has to be a little careful with tiny scratches, though. I've put my iride in and out of my leather pencase a couple of times, and it has little scratches where the broad cap hit the lining of the case. Nothing unattractive in my eyes since I like to use my babies.

#19 mholve

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 00:33

That is a handsome pen. I really like the size/shape of the nib - looks great in combo with the rest of the pen. I would say you got your $250 worth. Definitely a keeper.

#20 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 20:38

very nice review wink.gif , wonder how many of those were produced and how much do they cost now.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time






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