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Pininfarina PF Two fountain pen -- a first look


Paul-in-SF
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This is apparently a fairly new pen model. There was an announcement in April 2021 that the pen had won some design award (the Red Dot Award 2021 in the Office Supplies and Stationery category). I saw a video first look on Youtube a couple of weeks ago, and I ordered one only because I thought it looked cool (stock photo shot below). 

 

504658820_PininfarinaPFTwo.jpg.adbd77562d22d9f1c85a89f56ba4c336.jpg

 

Boxing: the pen comes housed in a metal case shaped like an auto muffler. You pop off one end, and the pen slides out (hopefully into your hand, not the floor). The muffler pen case is filled with foam, so it's probably a very safe way to ship the pen. The case comes in a fairly flimsy black cardboard box which contains the paperwork and the converter plus a cartridge. If you're going to keep the case, you should probably keep the box too as a place to keep the paperwork at least. 

 

Pen shape: It is a torpedo shape with the ends cut off at what appears to be 45 degrees. The outside appears to be anodyzed aluminum (available in black or blue). There is a chrome clip which nests into the body and which is opened out for use by pressing the top of the clip at the top angle of the pen. The rest of the cap and the barrel have a flat plane running the length of the pen that follows the path of the clip. The cap and barrel are joined at a matching 45 degrees. The cap has a magnetic catch, and due to the angle of the join can only go on in one way. There is no other decoration besides the clip, which has the Pininfarina logotype etched into it (in what appears to me, as a right-handed person, to be upside down, see above). (Note: apparently the black version has all black accents, no chrome.)

 

When you pull off the cap, you see a section with the same material as the barrel and cap, separated from the barrel by an inset chrome band that follows the angle of the join. There is also a chrome ring at the top of the section next to the nib (not angled, thank the designer). The steel nib, which has no breather hole, aligns with the flat section of the barrel (however, it is possible to move the nib/feed/converter within the section so that it is out of alignment, just be aware you can easily move it around to the right position). 

 

The section unscrews from the barrel, and the piston converter screws in place. The nib seems to write quite nicely (mine is a Fine), but since this is a first look I have only done a few lines with it, so more to come at some point on that. I don't know who makes the nib. 

 

Price: shop around, US dealers are carrying this at $236, but you can currently do noticeably better elsewhere. Still, not horrible for a highly-designed and well-engineered pen even with a steel nib. 

 

Pros (so far): it is a zippy looking pen, and it does not appear to have sacrificed usability for the sake of design. It weighs a bit more than I would suspect of an aluminum pen (48 grams filled, compared with my Diplomat Aero at 42 grams) but that weight seems so far to be decently balanced. It is quick to get open and so it might be good for active note-taking. 

 

Cons (so far): since the cap and barrel are seamless when the pen is closed, there is a step-up from the section to the barrel, and it's of that angled shape, so I'm not sure if that will require any adjustment in my writing grip. The clip has to be operated with two hands (at least, I did not find any way to press down on the top angle of the pen with one finger of the same hand that is holding it). Not a big deal for me since I almost never carry my pens around away from home, but others might find it slightly awkward. 

 

Summary (so far): I'm happy to have one of these, I don't know if they are going to catch on, but they do appear to be very well engineered, and the design does appeal. They were available at a couple of the tables at this weekend's SF pen show (however, that is not where I got mine), so if you are going to a pen show soon you will probably see one there, and you can try it out. 

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Additional note: the magnet on the barrel appears to be in the front, in or part of the nib housing. This means it will be exposed to ink and water. I hope the magnet is sufficiently protected from corrosion, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I will be careful not to leave it soaking in water, and to dry it off thoroughly right after cleaning. 

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Paul-in-SF,

 

I saw one of these at the DC supershow.  The seller offered it for $300, which was a no-go for me.  Later research revealed that I would have paid too much.

 

I liked the pen and saw some similarities with the Cross Verve.  I have one of those in blue and thought the color and clip looked like they had something in common with your pen.  I wish the Cross had a magnetic closure on the cap instead of a poor friction fit in the case of my pen.  The seller had us compare the magnetic cap closure of the Pininfarina pen with a Visconti (model unknown) that they had on display.  Regardless of the magnet's location, the closure on the Pininfarina felt more secure.

 

I hope you enjoy your Pininfarina.  If I can find one at a decent price, I may just buy it.  How does it write?

 

Regards,

Craig

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Like I said, just a few lines so far, but it seems good. I'll be interested in whether there are any slow starts, but I don't know yet. I have too many pens inked, so it's going to be a little while before it gets into the rotation. I'll post again when I've had more experience. 

 

I wasn't familiar with the Cross Verve, so I looked it up. I can see some similarity, especially with the pens closed. I haven't been a fan of Cross pens, but that one looks like it might be worth checking out. Thanks. 

 

p.s. yes, $300 was the price I heard quoted at the SF show. That's even over the full retail price. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth when the big dealers do stuff like that, when their own website sells for the discounted price. 

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I am always intrigued by design companies that make pens. There have been really good ones in the past. However I am not a fan of generic inexpensive nibs in expensive pen bodies. However I will still keep and open mind and probably purchase the pen at some point in the future only because Pininfarina is one of my favorite designers.

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I didn't notice before, but the nib I got is not the same as the one in the stock photo (which does appear to be generic and off the shelf). The nib I got is sleeker, the only decoration is a stamped logo (a sort of heraldic crest with an F in it), and there is no breather hole. As such, it better matches the style of the pen. So while I'm reasonably certain they didn't make the nib, they had it fairly seriously customized for them. As for the rest, the nib is firm rather than soft or flexy, and it is not available with any special grinds. I think it's fair to say it's not completely generic. Here's a photo (sorry, there's a reflection and a little ink that makes the slit look odd, but it isn't). 

 

357005691_pininfarinanib.thumb.jpg.142c351e89230f52ac2e5e90f1369baf.jpg

 

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I'm back with more about this pen. I have been using it for the past couple of days, and so I am going to call this post a continuation of the first impression. These are additional observations, I have seen nothing since I wrote it to contradict anything I said in the first post in this thread. 

 

First, I am very impressed with the nib. It is smooth with just the right amount of feedback, just enough to let you know that you are touching the paper with the nib. Also, I should note that because the magnetic attachment is between the very front of the section and the inner part of the cap, the seal seems to be very secure against drying out. I will have a more definitive statement about that after it has sat for a couple of weeks before my next use of it. 

 

There are a couple of things about the writing experience that I don't like, at least so far, although it's possible that I may become accustomed to them.  One has to do with the curved step-up and the weight distribution. The pen's weight seems to focus right at the step-up, which would probably be fine, except that the curve of it makes me feel like it wants to rotate in my hand counter-clockwise. It's a difficult feeling to describe, but it is made worse for me by the second thing I don't like: the surface treatment. It is a matte application of something to the aluminum body, and my skin has no traction on it at all (this is the same problem I have with the Lamy 2000). Smooth plastic pens (resin, acrylic, whatever) give just the slightest traction to my skin, such that I feel in control. Without that traction, and with the unusual-seeming weight distribution, it makes me focus on keeping my grip on the pen and keeping the pen at the proper orientation, rather than just writing. You know the expression and probably the feeling of how some pens just seem to disappear in your hand; this pen seems quite far away from that feeling, for me. 

 

This is a very individual reaction, and so my bottom line, at this time, is two-fold: if you don't find the Lamy 2000 comfortable to write with, you may well have the same feeling about this pen; and by all means, somehow, if possible, find a way to give this pen a good test write before you buy it. Borrow one from a pen friend, find a shop that carries it, go to a pen show, or buy it on approval, and do some actual sit-down writing before you pay your money. 

 

More to come in the form of final review comments in a couple of months. 

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  • 6 months later...

I've had one of these for a fair while now and absolutely love the way it writes.  I agree with the comment about the clip -- it's a definite two hander.

I'm not crazy about how it posts so I usually don't -- which means the pen is prone to rolling if you set it down.  That happened to me the other day and of course it fell nib first with the substantial weight of the pen behind it leaving me with an off-center, bent nib -- my fault, not theirs.  Awaiting word from Pininfarina on how to remove the nib.  It appears to be friction fit.

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I apologize for not following up with the promised more-thorough review. That's not going to happen, because I ended up selling the pen on. So my only review is that I don't miss it. 

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Paul-in-SF:

Thank you for the review. I like the design but if it is heavy I will pass. The other thing is about the price that is to heigh for a SS nib pen even if it a designer pen.

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  • 1 month later...

Very interesting thread here, and I wanted to add my impressions.  I purchased the black Pininfarina at the BWI Pen Show (near BWI Airport, between Baltimore and Washington, DC) during the March 18-20 weekend.  It definitely is an attractive. cool-looking pen.  I forget what I paid for it, but it was considerably less than the $300 some of you have mentioned here as the price asked; I think I paid in the high $100s or low $200s.  The BLACK Pininfarina's accents, unlike that of the blue version ("chrome" accents), are in a shiny black color.  My pen has a BROAD nib, which I chose, as I tend to prefer at least a medium and frequently opt for a broad, stub, or cursive italic.

 

I agree completely with Paul-in-SF about what he calls the "step up" of the section to the barrel.  I usually call it a "step-down" from the barrel to the section, but we mean the same thing.  I find these kinds of step-downs annoying, and this pen's section step-down is no exception; it produces an awkward feel.  The awkward feel, however, isn't so much from the smaller diameter of the section, which does not involve that much of a step-down.  The awkward feel originates from the shape of the barrel surrounding the step-down of the section; the barrel at that point has an elliptical shape, and it interferes with the grip below which one's middle finger rests.  I'm fine with the matte finish, and I have no problem with the Lamy 2000 either.  The stainless steel nib, especially in broad, is very smooth when writing.  I used Private Reserve Black Cherry ink.  The pen wrote immediately after filling, and it continues to start up and continue consistently with a wet line.

 

In summary, the Pininfarina is a cool-looking pen, and mine with a broad SS nib writes smoothly, but the pen feels awkward when writing.  I'm unlikely to use this pen much, as its awkward feel interferes with the pleasure of writing.

 

Below are photos of my Pininfarina.  The last photo best shows the location of the grip issue.

 

1463481978_boxlabel.jpeg.d4c1d663ca12b64e9d7dfed2a7b890ff.jpeg    1931341134_contentsofbox.jpeg.f02028c8ec31f385f20f403706111b2a.jpeg

 

 

 

405990560_penandmetalcontainer.jpeg.7b38fe11be63455852fcf4cfe2b15bab.jpeg  64457559_pencapped.jpeg.f32d13690b398af2cd7b5bdaafa84768.jpeg

 

 

 

721217571_pen-3parts-1.jpeg.85613237a416218209d04ba0a7585043.jpeg  2078132270_pen-3parts-2.jpeg.18065fd10677165151d916b7378f5d9c.jpeg

 

 

 

376629707_Awkwardbottomgrip.jpeg.952e95987d85aaf2b57bba0be5de434a.jpeg

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@donnweinberg I bought the same pen, maybe a month ago.  
 

Out of the box I found the grip set-up was okay but occasionally annoying, most noticeable where my thumb contacted the step.  I've resolved it for the moment by rotating the nib and feed 180o -  now the crease of my thumb rests over the step, with less skin contact on the ledge it feels far less pronounced.  As I recall, sbrebrown showed this alternative in his review.  

 

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