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Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel Midi (Broad) Review

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Hello Everyone,

I recently purchased a Visconti Homo Sapiens Steel (Midi) Fountain pen in Broad. The Homo Sapiens (Steel) fountain pens come in two sizes: Midi and Maxi. I chose midi, because it fits my hands better, and there's no reason to hold a heavier pen if I don't need it. I chose the Broad nib because I tend to write in a larger font, and I love wet pens. This pen delivers on all fronts, and then some! I highly recommend it. Below I will support my enthusiasm.



I'm going to give a quick review of my thoughts concerning the pen. Before I do, I'd like to share my unboxing video:


The pen comes in a relatively large leather-covered box. There's a small sliding shelf in the side of the box. It contains a mini catalog of their other fountain pens. There's nothing else in the box other than the pen, itself. The pen came covered in a plastic sleeve. Personally, I didn't like that Visconti covered this piece of art in plastic, but it's not a big deal.


The pen is about average size for a medium sized pen. Below I have a lineup of my black pens. It's about the same length as the Pilot Falcon.


The pen is reasonably heavy. It's not as heavy as a fully metal pen like the Lamy Dialog 3 or Monteverde Regatta, but shares the same weight class as the Lamy 2000. Overall, the size and weight are near perfect for me. I can write comfortably with the pen without posting.

The Body

This pen is beautiful! The body, section, and cap are all made of a special resin containing lava rock. This material is very smooth; it feels like hard rubber. It's a matte color, but still glitters in the light. It's also a water-absorbant material, so with sweaty hands, I don't feel uncomfortable writing with this pen for an extended time.

This pen is in the Homo Sapiens 'Steel' family, so the trim is made of steel. The piston turning nob, the center band, two smaller bands on the cap, the clip, and the finial (top of the pen) are all made of steel. I think the black and steel elements give the pen a very classy look.

The Cap

The cap is fastened to the pen in a unique way. This pen is neither a screw-on, nor a snap on. It's a sort of hybrid.


In the above photo you can see what appears to be gaelic knot symbols right below the section, and rectangular hooks in the cap. To remove the cap, push the cap in, and then turn the cap about 90 degrees counter-clockwise ( from the prospective of looking directly at the finial).

The hooks in the cap will disengage from the grooves, and release the cap! This is a great system. Not only do you get the quick deployment of a snap cap, but you get the security of a screw-on. There is no way this cap will come off (under normal use) without intentional disengagement. Honestly, wonderful cap!

The Clip

The clip is the typical Visconti 'bridge clip'. It is spring-loaded, and has very little lateral give (like the Lamy 2000). It is designed to allow the pen to be held deeply in your pocket, regardless of the thickness of your pants. One of my complaints with the Lamy Dialog 3 is that there is very little clip stand-off, meaning the clip won't slide very deeply in your pocket if the pocket is made of thick material. This is not a problem with the Visconti. I have no complaints with the clip.


The Nib

Honestly, my favorite part of this pen is the nib.


What a beauty! The nib is made of 23k Palladium. Sure, it looks like a steel nib, but it has the semi-flex that you'd expect with a Gold nib. The nib is a broad, and it puts down an incredibly wet, broad line. Push the nib a bit, and I can easily double the line thickness. This gives my handwriting some personality, while not requiring me to cut into the paper fibers (see Noodler's steel nibs, Pilot Falcon F or smaller).

This pen REALLY dumps the ink on your paper. In its current state, there's no way I'm going to write on cheap copier paper with it. It'll soak throat at least the first sheet, might leave some marks on the next. Honestly, this does not bother me. Visconti Blue dries in a reasonable amount of time, and I appreciate the dark line it puts down. I'm willing to wait the 2 or so minutes until my puddle of blue dries.

**One important note**

The pen came to me with the nib not fully balanced on the feed; the feed was slightly off-centered The nib also had fingerprints on the nib, which leads me to believe that my eBay purchase was a store demo pen. I pulled the nib and feed from the section, aligned them and reinserted the pair before inking the pen. I cannot give any comments about how it would have written with the misalignment.


Gmax correctly pointed out that this nib is a stub! The picture below shows the line variations when writing in various configurations. The nib says 'B' on it, so either Visconti uses stubs instead of broads, or this was a returned pen. In either case, I'm a happy camper. I appreciate the line variation.


The Feed

If there was one part of the pen that I had to complain about, its the feed. Not because of its functionality; this feed keeps up with the fastest writing I can throw at it. I just don't like the plastic look. These plastic feeds are made using an injection mold, and you can still see the taps where the hot plastic was pushed in. Honestly, I would have expected Visconti to clean the nib up a bit, or make it from ebonite. These are minor gripes.


Upon removing the pen, I inked it up; I have a short video of me doing that here:


The Homo Sapiens Steel fountain pen is a piston filler. Because the barrel is made of an absorbent material, I read that the designers used a captured-converter nested in the barrel. I don't think this feature subtracts from the quality of the pen. The converter is _incredibly_ smooth. Twisting the cap of the pen moves the piston up and down, allowing the pen to pull up ink. For my review, I chose to use Visconti's own Blue ink. It's a fairly wet ink that is easy to clean and looks great. It's a dark, saturated blue with a red sheen. I highly recommend this ink. My only complaint with Visconti Inks is concerning the bottle. The bottle design is great, but they are made of plastic. Personally, bringing back the glass would be much appreciated.


On to the writing. I chose a lineup of pens for easy comparison. The video and writing samples have been recorded in my video:


What should be apparent from the video is that the Homo Sapiens pen is _incredibly_ wet and a smooth writer. Although the audio might pick up a scratching sound, there is no feedback whatsoever from this pen. I can honestly say that this pen stands out above the rest. Of course, it also costs more than the rest, but I would consider this pen to have a high bang/buck ratio.

The Cost

In terms of cost, this pen MSRPs for around $450, but it's not uncommon to run into it for around $350. If you're looking for a first-class pen in the ~$350 range, I highly recommend this pen.


I would like to conclude my review with two simple questions that I usually ask myself before I purchase a pen: Where would I use this pen? Is it a reasonable EDC?

For the first question: I would use this pen at my desk at work or at home. I will store it in a safe place, and never let anyone I do not trust borrow this pen. This pen delivers a writing experience like none of my other pens can, but I cannot afford to have this one walking away from me.

For the second question: This pen is far too wet to be my EDC pen. I need to write on receipts, write my signature on cheap paper, and take notes quickly with no time to wait between page flips. The Lamy Dialog 3 or Lamy 2000 will remain my EDCs. This pen will rule my desk.


Edited by tjt7a
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Thanks for your review :thumbup:


The nib looks stubbish in the photo. Would you describe it as stubbish, or can you provide a writing sample?

✒️ :happyberet:

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Thank you. You're right! This nib is very much a stub. I have edited the nib section to include a writing sample.

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I never know which pen will be my next, but I'm seriously considering the HS. I feel like I should wait until I can try it out in person, as I don't know whether the midi or maxi, or even if I will like the material. Oh well, I'll save until I'm ready!

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