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dms525 posted a topic in Fountain Pen ReviewsLast month, I received a Leonardo Officina Italian pen. This was a limited edition (10 made) in redwood ebonite with a 14 kt gold stub nib. It is a piston loader. I posted a detailed review of that pen. (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/334672-leonardo-officina-italiana-momento-zero-ebonite/?do=findComment&comment=4029696) I liked it so much I bought another, but one of the "numbered" (not "limited") editions. This review will be less detailed, emphasizing the differences. Numbered Edition above, Limited edition below Numbered Edition, uncapped The size and form of these pens is exactly the same. The quality of fit and finish is the same also, as far as I can tell. However, the cap of the Numbered edition unscrews, revealing the end of a captive converter. The section also unscrews, giving access to the converter. As far as I can tell, the converter is not removable, at least not easily. It seems to be standard, good quality converter. Another significant difference is that the Limited edition comes with 14 kt. gold nib while the Numbered edition comes with a steel nib. The Numbered edition comes in several materials - Positano (blue), a "Horn" resin and a black resin. I chose the pen in Positano. The photos I saw online made this material look very similar if not identical to the material Montegrappa used in their Modigliani limited edition writing instruments. Rods of this material are available to pen turners, and I had a custom binde made of this material for a Pelikan M600 by Shawn Newton. Putting that pen next to my new Leonardo shows they are almost (but not quite) identical. Pelikan above, Leonardo below As many of you know, my daily handwriting is in italic script, so most of my fountain pens have italic or stub nibs. I found one of the select few pen shops that carry Leonardo pens that had the model I wanted with a stub nib. This was a bit of a gamble for me, but I found it writes almost identically to the gold stub on my ebonite Limited edition Leonardo. Bottom line: I find this to be a beautiful, well-made pen which is comfortable to use and writes beautifully. With a price that is about one fifth of the Limited edition, it is a real bargain, in my opinion. David
I first heard about Leonardo Officina Italiana pens from an Instagram posting by Glenn Marcus. His pen looked gorgeous, and he spoke very highly of it. Looking into this “new” company, I find it has been around for several decades, but, while they have made pens for a number of other well-known Italian pen companies, they only recently began making pens with their own branding. They call the first of their models “Momento Zero,” meaning for them “a new beginning.” Given the recent demise of several highly esteemed Italian pen makers and the rumored distress of some others, it is wonderful to see new Italian pen makers appearing, especially ones producing writing instruments of such high quality. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Leonardo Officina Italiana is making two lines of Momento Zero pens. One line has resin bodies, captive converter inking systems and steel nibs. It is priced in what I would regard as the middle range for a pen with these features. The other line is produced in very limited numbers. It has bodies either of celluloid or ebonite, a true piston filling system and 14 Ct gold nibs. It is priced in the lower range of top quality Italian pens - still rather expensive. The pen I chose was the Ebonite model. This was a limited edition of 10 pens. I found one at Stilograph Corsani in Rome. I had a lovely email exchange with the owner, Stefano Senatore. He had one ebonite pen left, but I wanted one with an italic nib. Stefano determined that he could obtain one from the manufacturer, but it would be outside of the limited edition. It would be numbered “00/10.” That was fine with me. The pen arrived today, and I inked it with OMAS sepia. General appearance/aesthetics The pen is made of a dark, reddish “Rosewood” ebonite. both the cap and barrel have a subtle taper. The ends of both the cap and barrel have slight points. There are two thin gold cap bands, another band between the barrel and the section and another between the barrel and the piston cap. Size/Ergonomics The Momento Zero is about the length of a Pelikan M800 or an old-style OMAS Paragon. Its barrel is significantly bigger around than the Paragon and just a bit bigger than the M800. There is a slight step off to the section, so the sections diameter is probably about 14 mm (my estimate). The ebonite pen is quite light, and it feels well balanced both posted and un-posted. Left to right: Leonardo Officina Italiana, OMAS Paragon, Pelikan M620, Pelikan M800 The gold clip has a roller at the end. It goes into and out of a dress shirt pocket smoothly and seems to keep securely in the pocket. Piston/filling The pen fills with 4 turns of the piston. The piston turns smoothly with a solid, positive feel. I have not measured the ink capacity. Stefano told me that the piston mechanism was modeled after the one used by OMAS. The nib, feed and writing experience The nib is a 14Ct gold, “semi-flexible” stub. I believe I read somewhere that the stub was 1.3 mm. However, it writes a line that is 0.8 mm wide. This is well within the practical range for my everyday italic handwriting. The nib is buttery smooth, but, with smooth Rhodia R paper and OMAS ink, it has very respectable thick/thin line variation. Together with the pen’s excellent balance, this makes for a very comfortable, fluid writing experience. When I looked at the feed, I remarked that it appeared identical to that on my OMAS pens. The nib itself is about the size of a vintage Paragon or 360 nib. Its shape is a bit different, with more flare in the shoulders. Top to bottom: OMAS Ogiva, Leonardo Officina Italiana, OMAS Paragon, OMAS old-style Milord General quality/fit and finish The fit and finish of this pen is flawless. It impresses me as being of very high quality but in no way flashy. This is clearly a pen to use, not one to merely display. That suits me fine! As a rather unique and certainly unanticipated bonus, the pen came with a little package of the swarf from it's turning. A cute touch! Last, a writing sample - my "thank you" note to Sr. Senatore. Happy writing! David