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  1. Pineider Avatar UR Review - Riace Bronze – Fine Nib Full Disclosure: I bought this pen because it is the same colour as my cat. She can use it to work on her meowmoirs. Raison d’acheter: I've been trying to reduce/narrow my collection to pens I know I will use on a regular basis at the office, and this one fit the bill. The bronze colour caught my eye and I pounced. I’ve justified purchases with worse reasons than fur colour, trust me. I found a discount code, ordered the pen from Pen Boutique, and got a free bottle of ink, a free vial of ink, and a free leather pen pouch thrown in. They shipped USPS to Canada, which didn't hit me with import or handling fees, where as DHL or FedEx always do. Nice. Pen came in a box with converter, manuals, nothing special. First Impression: Pow! The resin is lovely. This is the Riace Bronze version, and mine lands more in the blue-grey spectrum, with some tan and orange streaks and patches. There is a bit of shine, a bit of depth/translucency, and a lot of swirl. Nothing too distracting though. There are very fine tiny sparkles in the material… maybe this is the mother of pearl? The resin feels thick, solid and sturdy… probably 2mm thick in the body, and 1.5mm in the cap, so I am confident it could take an above average beating. The finish does have some tiny tiny indentations/finishing marks, but it feels like a well-engineered material, and it’s probably worth the hype. The Cap (and here my troubles began…): The cap is loose…up and down, side to side, spins easily, and rattles like a maraca when I shake the pen even slightly. The magnet holds well, so the cap won’t fall off, but the issue is that the cap magnet is loose in its place in the cap. Pen Boutique confirmed that a wiggle of some degree is present on all their pens, and they contacted the distributor Yafa, who said, “a little bit of play on that cap should be considered normal, but if the customer feels it’s excessive please have them send it to me and I’ll take care of it.” I do feel it’s excessive, but I’m not sure if the problem is with my pen or the design itself. Propagations to Pen Boutique customer service on this matter, as they were quick to respond and solution-oriented. GlueLess and ClueLess: So why the wiggle? You can see above they’ve secured the magnet in a ridiculous way… a thin, stamped metal lock ring, that A. can clearly allow too much wiggle, and B. has sharp edges that will scratch anything it touches! I am already seeing small scratches on the section, and scuffs on the body from posting. So the tragedy is they have created this problem in the name of going glueless. They should have used a strong friction fit for the magnet, maybe a rubber coating on the magnet would do it, or else just used some glue! Ironically, I may just tear out the metal lock ring, and glue the bloody magnet in myself. (Edit Spoiler: I did this shortly after writing this review… see following post.) Moving on... The cap band’s imprint isn’t the crispest, and while the metal band feels strong enough, it’s thin, and you can see in the photo above some of the chrome has already chipped off to reveal a copper colour underneath. The band is fit and aligned well on the cap, though (no gaps, no looseness). The Clip: near perfection. Love the design, tension’s good, it’s fit well with almost no wobble, it has the perfect upturn at the end that allows is to slide smoothly onto your pocket, pen pouch, notebook, etc. Notice there are two seams near the top of the cap, running to the clip pin holes. First I thought these were cracks, but they are symmetrical and can be seen in other photos online, so I am thinking they are molding seams of some kind. Overall Fitness: Things are tight, yo! No unsightly gaps, joins between materials are smooth, nothing loose besides the magnet, section threads hold great and tighten very well. Let’s Get Inked: The pen fills with a good quality, snug-fitting, branded, standard international (likely Schmidt) converter. The tip fits perfectly into a generic blunt needle that I use as a snorkel! The ink started flowing after a few taps, and has maintained perfect flow since. I've had a few faint horizontal strokes like on the "t" in the writing sample... could be me rolling my pen though. The fine nib draws a fine line leaning towards western XF, with medium wetness. I don’t have much experience with other Bock nibs, but I would say I prefer this nib’s flow and feel over Jowo fine nibs I’ve used. There is what I would call medium-level feedback (pencil-like), but it is consistent on all strokes and letters, so it never feels scratchy or toothy—impressive for a finer nib tip. The tip appears to be mostly spherical, with a slightly flared out and flattened writing surface. This shape looks and writes like ST Dupont fine nibs I have, and this is a very good thing. I dislike hearing that a nib is excellent or very smooth “for a steel nib,” so without qualifying I can say this nib has a touch of spring, and is an overall fantastic writer by any measure. I like the nib design – it has no breather hole, and an imprint that is deep, crisp and visually unique. It may not be for everyone, but I feel the geometric pattern and mirrored “Pineider” lettering gives the nib a postmodern look that helps keep the overall pen from looking too dainty or outdated. Also, I left this pen uncapped for 15 minutes, and it only missed one stroke (the top of a capital ‘T’) before it picked up writing perfectly again. This is a valuable benefit for note-taking in lectures or meetings. Grip Gripes: Yes it’s metal, yes it’s a bit slippery, but the curved shape helps your fingers lock in a bit. If anything, it’s TOO curvy though, and narrows too much, so my fingers get a bit crowded and feel like they’re gripping a pretty steep angle. If the slipperiness starts to bother me, I may coat this section in ProtectaClear, a semi-permanent brush-on resin coating that improves grip and could help prevent scratches and fingerprints. I wish companies would start to knurl, brush, etch, engrave, or clear coat their metal sections… slippery sections are a deal breaker for many, and a pain to all. If the Avatar’s section were engraved with the same diagonal lines the cap band has, it would be a work of art. I’d even settle for an inexpensive laser job. Dream on, I guess. The balance of this pen is excellent, posted and non. When posted, the balancing point is right below the cap band, where the pen rests on my hand when writing. It’s right on the line of being back-heavy though, so if you have smaller hands you might not like it posted. You can see the Avatar compares to the Safari and Michelangelo in size. Just personal preference, but I would go Avatar over Rembrandt, and call it a draw between Avatar and Michelangelo. Avatar is way cheaper and has a finer nib, but Michelangelo has a sturdier magnet and cap band, and a slight edge in the finishing. Of course, if you’re comparing to Visconti’s newer edition pens with the weak #4 nibs, then it’s Avatar all the way. Wrap-up! Cons: --Loose cap magnet from bad lock ring design --Metal grip section: hourglass shape helps prevent some slipping, but can be awkward to grip. --Cap band could be stepped up in quality Pros: --Fantastic writer --Magnetic cap (despite the loose magnet, it holds well and posts well) --Neat-looking size 6 nib in fine, and overall design that combines classic aesthetics with modern touches --Versatile size, with a good, balanced weight --Reasonable price, costing less than comparable pens and even the previous Avatar --“Unbreakable” resin: If you’ve watched Goulet’s video closely, Dante actually cracks the pen when he hits it with the hammer, but they cut away quickly. So this is not a miracle material, but I am convinced it will have added chip and crack resistance from impacts or time. I also like that Dante is at least paying attention to engineering and trying to advance the craft of pen making by simplifying and strengthening, not just adding frills. Who should buy this? If you’re looking for a mid-priced pen with a superb nib and some stand-out features (great clip design, coolvenient magnetic closure, stylized nib) or a pen that looks classy but can still take some abuse (UltraResin body, simple design, few parts, no glue), then this is the “Pen-eider” buy, if I were you. Final Word: If you're prepared to live with a potentially wobbly cap, or you are game to fix the wobble yourself (very easy to do...see my post below), then I would highly recommend this pen.
  2. fpupulin

    The Arco Photo Thread

    Long due thread... In a page devoted to Italian pens, this topic is calling all the expressions of one of the most recognizable Italian materials ever used in fountain pens: the mythical Arco celluloid! Made worldwide famous by the Officine Meccaniche Armando Simoni (OMAS) in Bologna in their Extras and Paragons, Milords and Princesses and Damas, and proposed here and there by other brands and independent manufacturers, the Arco celluloid is the quintessence of "italianity" in pens: warm, refined, flamboyant and unique. Judging by the prices fetched by Arco celluloid pens in these days, is seems that the "Arco fever" is strongest than ever, and I can understand why... Let me begin with a few photos of some of my Arco:
  3. Astronymus

    Lamy Forecast 2019

    Some forecast for 2019 emerged on the net. New Joy, Aion, Safari, Studio, and the very confusing AL-Star and Lx. See here: https://frankunderwater.com/2018/12/30/a-peak-into-lamys-2019-special-editions/
  4. Review of the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze 1.3mm stub Note: Higher-res photos available here This week I finally gave in and purchased a Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze with a 1.3mm stub nib. Ever since I first saw photos of this stunning pen, I've been wanting to own one. Lava, bronze, palladium and titanium? Yes, please! This is my second fountain pen. This January I got myself a Waterman Carène with a fine nib, followed by a stub nib about two months later. While it is a very nice pen, I just couldn't resist the even wider nib, the unusual look and materials, and the supposedly very smooth and wet Dreamtouch nib of the HS. So a few days ago I finally went to a very nice store called La Couronne du Comte here in the Netherlands to get the pen, along with a metal traveling inkwell by Visconti. What I noticed when testing it out in the shop was that it took some effort to initiate the inkflow to the paper. Once it got going it wouldn't stop until the pen was lifted from the paper, but I found I had to push a little to get it to write. Not being sure if this was due to dipping the pen rather than actually filling it, I decided to go ahead and take it with me anyway. When I got home and filled the pen I got roughly the same results. It didn't take long to diagnose the nib with a mild case of baby-bottom, as applying no pressure when writing showed two ink trails from each of the tines. A small push down and the (copious) flow started and stayed intact for as long as the pen touched the paper. After tracing some figure eights on a fine nail file, the problem is virtually non-existent and the nib has retained its deliciously smooth operation. I am now truly delighted with the way it writes! ______________________________________________________________________ Appearance & Design (9) - Just plain awesome! This is about 90% of why I bought it. I absolutely loved the way it looked on photos and it does not disappoint in real life. The lava mixture is a very nice matte black, with many small pores and some even smaller reflective flakes. This contrasts in a very nice manner with the bronze parts of the pen. The two rings around the cap are significantly less shiny than the other parts and I guess that these also will look like that eventually. I like the font Visconti used for the text on the center band. The clip has a nice spring to it, but it will have to be lifted if you intend to use it as it runs flush with the barrel and there is no rounding going on to allow it to slip on by itself. The nib looks gorgeous! The two tones and the decorations match nicely. It says Visconti, 23k Pd 950, Firenze and 1.3 on the nib. The breather hole is crescent-shaped, with the tips pointing towards the barrel. This pen uses the Visconti My Pen system, which means that the Visconti logo shown above can be removed and replaced by two initials or gemstones for instance. I may at some point replace the logo but for the moment I'm happy with how it looks. The final aesthetic aspect I would like to point out are the indents between the grip and the section. These are part of the locking mechanism: you're supposed to push and twist simultaneously to uncap, but in practice you can simply twist without pushing and the cap will still come off. This doesn't bother me but it's something you should be aware of. Don't expect it to uncap by itself though, I can't see that happening at all. Visually, I really like the grooves as I find they resemble some kind of Greek pattern which fits right in with the general theme of the pen in my opinion. Construction & Quality (9) - Very good, but... Quality of construction is excellent for the most part, but I do have three issues I want to mention. Firstly, the fact that this nib required pressure to start writing is something that really bothered me and absolutely had to be remedied before I could enjoy using this pen. I applaud Visconti for wanting to give their users the smoothest experience possible, but having to deal with baby-bottom is not my idea of Dreamtouch. Fortunately I was able to resolve it but I think this should simply not happen to such a high-end pen. I have read that Visconti's stub nib is more prone to this defect than their other nibs. Secondly, and thirdly, Visconti needs to work on their printing/painting process as this leaves something to be desired: the black on the clip looks like it is printed using some kind of dot matrix, but on one side the entire printing is very slightly misaligned with where it's supposed to be, whereas on the other side some dots have not printed. Also some of the letters look a bit jagged because of this process when looked at closely. This should be clearly visible in the high-res photos on Flickr. Moreover, on the band that reads 'HOMO SAPIENS' the text is colored black, but the m is not entirely colored. This is also visible in this photo. Fortunately however, none of these issues affect my daily enjoyment of the pen: the nib problem has been cured, and the paint anomalies are too minor to notice without really inspecting the pen or looking for it. As a side note, I should add that the traveling inkwell I was first shown featured quite ugly misprintings and even some scratches, almost like it was a secondhand prototype or something. The seller said that this was the way the newer, plastic inkwells all looked and then offered me the metal one from a display case for the same price, an offer I gladly accepted! Weight & Dimensions (10) - Perfect! The size of the pen is perfect as far as I'm concerned. Capped it is as long as my Carène, uncapped it is slightly longer. The big difference is in the circumference of the pen. It is a much fatter pen, which I really appreciate. The section has a very comfortable shape and the fact that it is also fairly wide means it is a pleasure hold. This together with the smoothness and wetness of the nib are what constitutes the Dreamtouch I think. Nib & Performance (9) - Wet, smooth, some feedback Over the last few months I have learned that I like my nibs wet and smooth. The HS delivers in both respects, and when looking at the current performance it is all I hoped it would be! The wetness is there not just after filling the pen, it remains virtually constant afterwards contrary to my Carène which alternatively writes wetter and drier as I wait for for the feed to draw more ink from the converter. However, when considering only stock performance, I would give the nib about a 6: it would write, but only if I apply some pressure first. This would be a major issue for me, but perhaps you don't mind or wouldn't even notice. Filling System & Maintenance (8) - Power filler! The HS bronze uses a power filler mechanism to suck up ink. I love using it and think it's much cooler than a converter. Just unscrew the blind cap, pull the titanium rod back, submerge the pen up to the section and push the rod back in. Near the end of the travel, the vacuum will be released and the pen will suck up quite some ink. For optimal filling you should use the traveling inkwell as that allows for a full fill by inverting the pen whilst filling. The big downside of this mechanism is the fact that cleaning can not be carried out by using a bulb syringe, and thus is much slower than usual. This is especially annoying when using e.g. Rouge Hématite as all you can do is repeatedly suck up water and expel it again which can take ages! Given the fact that the pen is just so nice in virtually all other aspects, I can definitely live with this but you should consider it when buying this pen. The nib can only be removed using a special tool that I saw the seller use, I wouldn't risk trying to remove it without this tool. Cost & Value (8) - Alright, I guess.... Going for about €450 in the Netherlands, this is not a cheap pen. Whether or not it is worth it is as always a very subjective matter. For me it clearly was or I would have returned it, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were other cheaper pens that write (almost) equally smooth and wet. As for looks, you really don't have much of a choice but to pay up, or pay even more for the limited edition Mazzi version of the pen. Since I will be using this pen for just about any writing I will do, which, being a college student, can include quite a bit of note taking, I simply consider getting a pen that writes awesomely the same as any other time you buy a quality tool for something you do on a regular basis. The fact that I can couple this with the visual appeal of something like a wrist watch in one object and stand out from the herd of cheap ballpoint users just adds to my personal enjoyment! Conclusion (Final score [53/6]: 8.8) - Not perfect, but excellent The few issue that my specimen of this pen has have either been resolved or are too insignificant in the grand scheme to significantly affect my appreciation for it. When a pen can couple stunning looks and writing performance, that is a winning combination for me and I do not regret the purchase at all. I look forward to lots of writing with it and feel no desire to purchase any other pen after this one. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Homo Sapiens as well as the brand Visconti to anyone looking for a good looking, smooth writing pen. Do make sure to test it out at a shop though so you know what you're getting, especially in terms of nib performance.
  5. I just picked up one of these about a week or so ago. Ive been trying to get one for almost 6 months now and out of nowhere, one was available from Bryant at a fair price these days. I jumped on it and pulled the trigger! Ive only started collecting Omas pens about 2 years ago and have had to make up ground quickly. First impression. This pen is extremely elegant with the diamond like carbon purple/bronze color and rose gold trim! Very exquisite! The nib and trim is a pink gold instead of red gold and very fitting for the look of the whole package. When I first saw it, I felt that it was a pen that would fit well in an older pen collectors private vault. I didnt feel like I was a seasoned enough pen collector to have such an exquisite pen. I have a fair amount of Omas pens in my collection, but this pen is on another level. The body and cap are media blasted so you get these amazing satin reflections in the light across the facets but the edges of the facets are laser sharp. Not rounded at all. In low light the pen is a sort of light plumb/purple. Really interesting colors from this pen in different lights. It rarely looks just bronze. Despite the media blasted finish, it does show finger prints easily. The box had an outer cover in a soft touch black with kind of rose gold embossed text. The main box is standard Omas for a Paragon and came with a bottle of Omas black. Omas black is a nice ink but I dont really use it much and find that its mild, and tad light and dry. Its a very safe ink in my opinion and I typically use it to run a fill to completely clean out highly saturated inks out of piston fillers. Its very easy to clean at the end of a refill. The paperwork had the standard QC card along with another soft touch black folded card with rose gold text about the titanium series. Also had the same brief booklet about Omas. The whole presentation was very nicely done. This pen feels like its absolutely bomb proof! It has a nice weight to it and the DLC finish feels very rugged. Im not sure how hard the titanium alloy actually is on this pen but it feels incredibly solid. Its such a beautiful pen but the way its built is beyond just durable. I feel like it would just last forever and be completely unfazed even with daily use over decades. The weight feels different than a brass pen. Its hard to describe but the feel is very unique. When you first pick up the pen, it feels cool to the touch but not cold. Its winter right now here so I imagine its a little cooler than usual. The pen heats up quickly and retains a nice warmth to it for a long time. I usually dont pay attention to these things honestly but it was immediately noticeable with this pen and very pleasant! The section is black resin with the serial number embossed into the material opposite the top of the nib. I have a feeling this pen would make an excellent EDC pen if the situation was a little different. Ive been using it daily at work but Im obsessively careful with the pen due to replacement parts being scarce. I think its really the most impressive overall Omas Ive seen or handled based on aesthetics and build quality. Its writing very well these days too after some work! Writing experience needed some effort to optimize. The nib was rotated on the feed and the tines were misaligned a little. This is pretty standard in my experience with modern Omas pens save for the one pen I received that was tuned at Omas, a Paragon Ludovico Einaudi Signature in broad. That pen is my best writer and has never had a problem. Epic pen! The rest of my Omas collection made past 2004 are pretty much all tuned the same from Omas. Maybe I should say not tuned. Nib slightly rotated on the feed with some unique feedback. I was only able to get a fine nib these days on this pen in 18kt. The nib was rotated on the feed as usual and the tines a little misaligned. The misaligned tines was not usual though. I pulled the nib and feed to re-seat it correctly. I had to heat set it and then align the tines. I ground the nib and polished to a 6k micromesh finish that still maintains the spirit of the original feedback but is tuned correctly for my hand. The pen writes more like a medium now and has a nice wet line. Im very happy with the nib after working it for a good amount of time. I had to heat set it one more time as it broke in also. Might need to heat set it a 3rd time as its on the edge of ink pooling up when writing. Overall, Im very impressed with this pen! The writing experience is nice but there isnt a novelty to it like a stub or italic. Its just a good medium-ish writer now with nice feedback. I find myself staring at the pen kind of a lot. Its not as crazy as a brown arco, but the reflections are really cool over the facets! It must have taken a long time to make this pen. Its the best built Omas Ive seen by far. Its a very striking pen but verges on being understated until you really start looking at the details. From 10 feet away, it just looks like a brownish-bronze pen, but if youre writing with it, its quite spectacular and flashy in a very refined way. I would say its a must have in any Omas collection!
  6. namrehsnoom

    Robert Oster Signature - Bronze

    Robert Oster Signature - Bronze Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: “Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It’s a joy to share it with you.” Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks. In this review, the center stage is taken by Bronze, a fascinating olive-green ink with a noticeable old-rose undertone that is present just behind the surface, and that gives the ink a really nice vintage look. The name “bronze” is spot-on for this Robert Oster creation – the colour reminds me of these ancient bronze pots with lovely patina you can find at your local museum. This is an ink that really stands out from the crowd – in a good way. The ink contrasts nicely with the paper, but – unfortunately – looks a bit flat when writing with an EF-nib. Starting with F-nibs though, the ink opens up and shows its character, with strong shading in the broader nibs. To show you the impact of saturation on the ink’s look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. On heavily saturated parts, Bronze shifts from olive-green towards more of a brown-green colour, with those tantalizing old-rose undertones just beneath the surface (the scan seems to lose these old-rose undertones somewhat, but trust me – they are there, and they are what makes this ink so special). Like most Robert Oster inks, Bronze totally lacks any water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving only some old-rose smudges. This is evident from the chromatography – the ink detaches easily from the paper, as can be seen in the bottom part of the chroma. The ink is reasonably smudge-resistant though… there are some greenish smudges when rubbing a line of text with a most Q-tip cotton swab, but the text itself remains perfectly readable. I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturationAn ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain penThe name of the paper used, written with a B-nibA small text sample, written with an M-nibDrying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)Robert Oster Bronze behaved perfectly on all paper types, and even wrote surprisingly well on Moleskine paper (although with very noticeable show-through and bleed-through). The ink is equally at home on both white and more yellowish paper. While writing, the ink lays down a rather wet line, but still dries quickly within the 5 to 10 second range (with an M-nib). The initial wetness means that you have to look out for smudging while writing – as such it’s not an ideal ink for lefties. Inkxperiment - bronze landscape I’ve recently started to experiment with ink drawings, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract due to my lack of drawing skills (which can use lots more practice). But I find it to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found single-ink drawings a nice challenge. In this drawing I started with completely wet 300 gsm watercolour paper, and applied Bronze with a brush. For the sky I used lots of water while spreading the ink. The highlights in the sky were obtained by blending in some bleach (thank you Nick Stewart for pointing out the possibilities of using bleach on inks). With the background almost dry, I added in the trees, letting the ink spread a bit. When the paper was almost completely dry, I added the fence and some details to the trees. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece ;-) , but the drawing does show what can be obtained with Bronze in a more artistic setting. ConclusionRobert Oster Bronze is a great olive-green ink with a strong vintage vibe – mostly due to the old-rose component that shimmers beneath the surface. The ink looks good in all nib types, and can handle even low-quality paper fairly well. Unfortunately, the ink has zero water resistance – but I can live with that. Overall, I liked Bronze a lot – it certainly stands out from the crowd. Recommended! Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  7. Dear FPNers, Here is my take on a Visconti Homo Sapiens maxi with an 23k Pd EF nib. I hope you find the review fun and enjoyable. Wish you a prosperous and fun-filled new year with loads of new pens and paraphernalia. In case there are any problems with pictures you can also view the same review in my blog: http://iwonder-thecartographer.blogspot.in/2015/01/visconti-homo-sapiens-bronze-maxi-review.html Main Motivation Somewhere in late 2009, Florence-based luxury pen maker Visconti announced a nib made out of a 95% Palladium (23k) alloy, in a press-release. Most of the nibs that were commonly available were 18k/21k Gold with a few exceptions (Sailor, Danitrio among others), and this was the first of its kind. And the other side of the snippet showcased a pen christened with the name of ‘Homo Sapiens’ (HS), forged from an almost equal mix of basaltic lava and resin, adorned with bronze and protected from competitors with a patented formulae. The lava came from Mt. Etna (an active volcano) on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. I came to know of this pen three years later while watching an ebay sale though . Visconti (estd. 1988) promised the HS lava to be unbreakable, flameproof (upto 100°C), with a slightly hygroscopic body, fitted with bronze parts with a highly-corrosion resistant titanium power filler. The versions available these days are HS-lava/bronze or steel, a lava/bronze (by Mazzi) 388-limited edition (LE) and a 1000-LE crystal swirl (made up of Acroloid/Sterling Silver). Besides, fountain pens there are also roller-balls and ball-point pens in the HS range, but those are of course not our primary interest. An Italian Job http://s25.postimg.org/4e5nas59r/DSC_1752.jpg Visconti does pay a gentle homage to the evolution of mankind by attaching significance to the Bronze Age, predating by around five thousand years. That’s the period when humans began smelting and mixing of metals like copper and tin to produce alloys like bronze. Also during this period, a system of writing had evolved, however it was majorly through symbols, to convey information. The trim-fittings including the clip are all made out of bronze, for this version of the pen. The variants are steel or sterling silver trims for the other HS pens. http://s25.postimg.org/ghayycgbz/DSC_1753.jpg Out of the well-protected box, this pen comes out with a spring-loaded clip made of bronze, holding a paper-flyer, which tells you the nib specification on one side (23K Pd – 950) and expresses ‘dreamtouch’ as – ‘Do not press! The nib will follow your dreams’. The name of the company VISCONTI is embossed on both sides of the clip on a black background. The bronze in my case has a slight patina developed over the rose-gold sheen, and I am happy with the dated-look. Alternately, there is a deep yellow bronze polishing cloth provided along with the pen to clean the surface-oxidation. The complete capped piece is a bit heavy weighing around 45 grams and is 14.4 cm long. For carrying it in your shirt pocket, you might have to lift the spring loaded clip by a bit, as the clip end does not slip easily. There is a bronze ring at the power filler end and two in the cap itself. Other reviews would tell you that the HS-Steel comes with a piston filler instead of a power-filler (vacuum-plunger). There is a large bronze centre-band at the start of the grip section which says HOMO SAPIENS. The next thing one would notice is the unique locking system of the cap. The quick-locking grooves enable (un)locking with a slight twist (counter) clockwise (fourth of a complete turn). A little twist will reveal the fantastic 23 karat Palladium nib and an inherently earthly grip section. A click sound is heard once you correctly twist-lock the cap. http://s25.postimg.org/ao0wxs4of/DSC_1756.jpg The finial mentions‘Visconti’ with the company logo. This can be customized using their My Pen System to customize a finial with either your initials, zodiac sign or even a gemstone. http://s25.postimg.org/pzapye20f/DSC_1757.jpg HOMO SAPIENS can be seen imprinted on the thick bronze centre-band which starts the cap-locking threads and subsequently the grip section of the pen. I would rather say that the pen is very intelligently designed apart from wielding materials hard to master. http://s25.postimg.org/mxfcaozhr/DSC_1760.jpg The filling system is a vacuum plunger power-filler system with a titanium rod making it highly resistant to ink corrosion. You can unscrew the blind-cap counter-clockwise to the end-stop and then pull out the vacuum plunger if you wish to fill it with ink. The length of an uncapped pen reads a comfortable 13.2 cm with a 25-26 g weight. http://s25.postimg.org/jruqkhgvj/DSC_1763.jpg The nib has a leverage of around 2.6 cm and is a size#6 nib. There are many reports that these dreamtouch nibs being manufactured by Bock, but I am not certain of that. Made up of palladium and adorned with gold, the nib of HS-bronze makes a distinctive statement. Embossed is the company name VISCONTI near the lunarly-eclipsed breather hole . Below around the tail end of the nib, imprinted is the nib width above which lies the mesmerizing specifications ‘23k Pd 950’ and FIRENZE. Firenze refers to Florence, Italy which is the birthplace of both Italian Renaissance and Visconti Pens, thereby, the tagline ‘The Writing Renaissance’. Nib is screw-fit into the grip section but I did not try to take that out. The nib has a bit of flex although there is not much difference for an EF nib when it comes to line variation due to pressure. My nib being an EF was a QC-victim and needed some smoothening with a 12000 Grit buff-stick and 0.3 µm lapping film to get to its true dreamtouch state. http://s25.postimg.org/4x656b7an/DSC_1767.jpg And now it’s truly one dreamtouch pen. Comparison – m805 & c823 (PS-It’s a m805 not a m800, quoted as a dimensional reference only, felt very lazy to correct it ) http://s25.postimg.org/xytbi227j/DSC_1771.jpg Capped the VHS maxi seems to be longer than a m800/5 but shorter than a pilot custom 823. http://s25.postimg.org/hd2v020mn/DSC_1775.jpg Uncapped all of them roughly have a similar length. Writing Post nib-adjustment – butter-smooth, wet-flow and ‘dreamtouch’. Sometimes, it dries up and has somewhat of a hard-start if cap is left open for sometime. http://s25.postimg.org/kzd9qfwdr/DSC_1783.jpg The writing is super-smooth with a wet and free-flow. The EF nib lays a line tad thinner than a pilot 14k medium nib. So, if you want an M you might go for a F nib. Ratings http://s25.postimg.org/tqyj9b0rz/VHS_rating.jpg Overall, the cost of the pen defines the value you place on this unique piece. Though it retails at USD 595 it’s easily available at heavy discounts in both online and offline markets. I also guess the problem of sweating of ink at the edge of the grip section has been fixed and there is no need to grease the nib-threads anymore. I did not notice any sweating of ink at all. Thanks, Sonik.
  8. I scored a gross of vintage Gillott 404's at a local antique store a few weeks ago for AU$10. A straight holder from Japan turned up today so gave the 404 a go for the first time. There's not much that comes up for a search on FPN re these nibs so here are a few minor observations. Something I found fascinating was that compared to my Aikin Lambert gold dip nib, this Gillott 404 vintage (one of the bronze ones) could use standard modern fountain pen ink without any thickening agent added. My gold dip nib needs slightly more viscous fluids to work well without flooding. So it raises the question: does this marvellous ink retention have to do with the ultra fine abrasions on the nib? I'll see if I can get a few shots through my loupe for you all. I've seen comparisons of old and new Gillott nibs online before and noticed that the old ones have ultra fine abrasions a bit like what steel wool might make on certain portions of the nib (upper and lower sides of the nib but in different directions), whereas the newer ones appear to have horizontal lines stamped/grooved into them.
  9. Howdy Pilgrims, So I've been searching for an EDC case/pouch - ah that old gem BUT My system involves carrying something like my Visconti HS Bronze (sometimes something else, but not often) and a Rotring 600 mechanical pencil. My issue is, that any pouch I've found falls short in either one of two criteria: - quick access - securely housing both a fat fountain pen and a thin mechanical pencil (without rubbing) My current system is this (oh yeah, livin' the dream)... The zipper means slow access and the bit of cardboard falls out all the time, but at least keeps my two pals from bashing each other up :/ And yes...that's a bit of tubing from a breast pump machine that came home from the hospital with our baby...it stops the point of the pencil being crushed in the zipper... Can anyone say dodgy? Can anyone offer a suggestion for my needs?
  10. Hi everybody, There is something wrong with my pen' s "HOMO SAPİENS" writing on the bronze trim. When I hold my pen to write, "HOMO SAPİENS" writing on the trim isn't parallel with the nib. photo is attached. I unscrewed the nib section but it doesn't work. I can't take the "HOMO SAPİENS" to the front part. Please advise... Cengiz
  11. Hi everybody, There is something wrong with my pen' s "HOMO SAPİENS" writing on the bronze trim. When I hold my pen to write, "HOMO SAPİENS" writing on the trim isn't parallel with the nib. photo is attached. I unscrewed the nib section but it doesn't work. I can't take the "HOMO SAPİENS" to the front part. Please advise... Cengiz
  12. I thought that these two fantastic pens deserved a proper go at each other. http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/834/vavm.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/845/hiyp.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/841/jl0d.jpg And boy does that nib take a pretty picture http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/845/dq7g.jpg And lends itself to shameless renderings of fine art: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/838/fwfu.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/842/3mev.jpg And the challenger http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/845/ot0h.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/842/x9so.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/842/i6ffl.jpg http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/835/cgco.jpg The Visconti never stood a chance. 'MURICA!
  13. Hello all! Newcomer here! I thought I'd come here and ask for some advice from some of you who may have some experience with this pen and similar ones. I am very new to this pen obsession and I have been doing as much research as I can about what to get, how to maintain, what to look for, etc. For some reason I have been drawn to the Visconti brand. I like a lot, if not all, of their designs, their aesthetics and history. Keep in mind prior to two weeks ago I knew little to nothing about fountain pens and less about companies like Visconti, Namiki or Lamy. So as I researched these pens the Visconti HS Bronze started to peak my interest more and more to the point I now feel this may be the pen I want to get. Though I do have some reservations and would like to see if owners that have had these pens for a while could pipe in and advise yay or nay. Some of the Pros for me are of course the look of the pen. I know there is the Silver Age sibling out there, but the Bronze to me has a special look I like. I like the filling system that it has, I like that if I am not mistaken you can unscrew the feed and nib assembly easy and potentially swap it out for another size relatively on the fly as opposed to other pens where this is difficult or not even possible. ( Please correct me if this is not the case!). I like the material it is made out of and what people say it feels like and how sturdy and strong it is. What I don't like or am worried about though are some of the reviews that talk about Visconti less than stellar quality control. I know the original run used to have some sort of bleed through issue that has since been corrected. But many of the older reviews talk about faulty nibs, low quality control on the Nib coloration, on the machining of the cap latching groves, skipping on some nibs, railroading and failures to start. (See! I have been doing my homework!). Something I also wonder about, since the material is quite porous and absorbing (I forget the correct word they use for this), do you find the pen gets a permanent stain down at the section where you hold it? Does the pen do well with washing and cleaning? One comparison that I have come across regarding these quality control issues with these pens and the Visconti brand that I think may fit well, albeit a shame, is Italian cars. Stunning to look at while sitting in the garage, but finicky and a nightmare for everyday use. Is this too generalized a statement? I would love to hear from owners of this pen, and maybe Viscontis in general. People that have maybe had these for a while and could give me a rundown of what they think of their pen after some time. Basically, would you buy this pen all over again after living with it and using it? I like pens that write a fine line and I think I would go for the EF nib on this. Anyone have this nib, how do you like it? Am I over reaching myself here a bit as a first fountain pen choice? I know I could get tons of probably more reliable and less expensive alternatives. But I don't know, Visconti speaks to me for some reason. Before closing this out, I did get in touch with Bryant at Pen Time and I mentioned some of these things to him. Really cool guy and helpful and he said he could go ahead and test it out for me for nib issues before sending me one. So that makes me feel a lot better about purchasing something without being able to see it first, as I have no shops close by where I can see these pens in person. But still, owner stories are greatly appreciated! Excuse this loooong post with so many questions, I'm being a total newbie here! Cheers!

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