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Do you recommend Leonardo pens?


FountainpenGraphy

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Hi, 

I have different types and brands of fountain pens and I know my taste in pens, I love the pens that are very smooth, with just a hint of feedback if any, 

I don't have any Leonardo pens, but I'm considering getting one from appelboom, the thing is I know that Leonardo uses Jowo nibs for their steel nibs, 

I want to know you opinion on this, shall I go for it ? I've watched a lot of reviews, but want to also know your opinions as well. 

do you think I should get one ? will it be much different than the Esterbrook Esti, I have ?

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I can’t compare Leonardo pens to Esterbrook as don’t have Esterbrook pens (yet). But I have 3 Leonardo’s and I love them all. Yes they use JoWo nibs and those (the steel ones that is) can be a bit hit and miss some times. The design and the ergonomics of the pens are great especially the Momento Zero Grandes with the thicker sections. 
But next to the pens them selfs the customer service from Leonardo is superb IMHO. 
 

As for buying: try before you buy is the best advice I can give you

"Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity." – Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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Leonardo pens seem very well made, and the Grande models have good ink capacity. I have found their nibs to be very well tuned, including the stainless steel ones. The nibs are smooth, with just a hint of feedback that stops the nib skating across paper.

 

The "stepped" section is slightly different to most pens, but seems quite comfortable to me. I cannot say how this compares with Esterbrooks, as I don't have any.

✒️ :happyberet:

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thanks guys, those were very helpful, 

and I must add, I'm mostly thinking of the Memento Zero, the smaller version. 

and if anyone could compare the writing and built o the Esterbrook, that will really help to make my mind.

 

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I have an Estie and a Momento Zero, and find them pretty comparable in terms of build quality finish and performance. However, both of mine have 1.1 stub nibs, so I don't have any experience of either in finer sizes. 

 

For writing comfort, the Estie slightly has the edge - I find the section shape and thread placement/sharpness more comfortable, especially for longer writing sessions, but I slightly prefer the aesthetics of the Leonardo.

 

I think both are slightly let down by being c/c pens in their basic iteration. I have a piston filled LE Momento Zero and much prefer it (though I wish it had an ink window). But that's probably mainly because I like piston filled pens. I do admit that the converter on the Estie does mean that I happily use shimmer inks in it (they suit the resin of mine), which I wouldn't with a pen that was less easy to clean.

 

That's probably not much help!

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I'm sure I've said things like this before, but you shouldn't buy one pen over another just because you're looking for a smoother writing experience. Nearly any nib can be made to write as smoothly as desired by appropriate adjustment and polishing. You can do this yourself with fairly basic skills and materials, or send the pen to a nibmeister for tuning.

 

Of course some special nib types, such as needlepoints, crisp italics and untipped dip nibs are exceptions that by their design will always feel at least somewhat "scratchy."

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1 hour ago, mizgeorge said:

I have an Estie and a Momento Zero, and find them pretty comparable in terms of build quality finish and performance. However, both of mine have 1.1 stub nibs, so I don't have any experience of either in finer sizes. 

 

For writing comfort, the Estie slightly has the edge - I find the section shape and thread placement/sharpness more comfortable, especially for longer writing sessions, but I slightly prefer the aesthetics of the Leonardo.

 

I think both are slightly let down by being c/c pens in their basic iteration. I have a piston filled LE Momento Zero and much prefer it (though I wish it had an ink window). But that's probably mainly because I like piston filled pens. I do admit that the converter on the Estie does mean that I happily use shimmer inks in it (they suit the resin of mine), which I wouldn't with a pen that was less easy to clean.

 

That's probably not much help!

 

Oh, thanks it really does help. 

thanks a lot. :)

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26 minutes ago, BlueJ said:

I'm sure I've said things like this before, but you shouldn't buy one pen over another just because you're looking for a smoother writing experience. Nearly any nib can be made to write as smoothly as desired by appropriate adjustment and polishing. You can do this yourself with fairly basic skills and materials, or send the pen to a nibmeister for tuning.

 

Of course some special nib types, such as needlepoints, crisp italics and untipped dip nibs are exceptions that by their design will always feel at least somewhat "scratchy."

 

Exactly, and so true. 

what I meant was, I don't want to repeat myself in buying pens. and the reason to mention the Estie was, for me (that haven't experienced the Leonardo pens), they both are basically acrylic pens with a Jowo nib. 

so I want to be sure before buying one, that they are different enough to be considered. 

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5 hours ago, FountainpenGraphy said:

I want to know you opinion on this, shall I go for it ?

 

In a word, no. That is my opinion in regard to your closed question that demands a yes-no answer.

 

32 minutes ago, FountainpenGraphy said:

… both are basically acrylic pens with a Jowo nib. 

so I want to be sure before buying one, that they are different enough to be considered. 

 

Then start from candidates that are greatly different in form and material, if your “taste in pens” are primarily concerning the smoothness of the nib and/or writing experience. Get a Graf von Faber-Castell, a Diplomat, a Pineider, a Scribo, a Santini Italia, …

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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2 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

In a word, no. That is my opinion in regard to your closed question that demands a yes-no answer.

 

 

Then start from candidates that are greatly different in form and material, if your “taste in pens” are primarily concerning the smoothness of the nib and/or writing experience. Get a Graf von Faber-Castell, a Diplomat, a Pineider, a Scribo, a Santini Italia, …

 

Thank you, although I would appreciate to know your reasons if I may ask, the question wasn't supposed to be a closed question for sure :)

 

and yes, although I really enjoy the aesthetics of my pens, I must say, more than 70% of my taste in pens comes from the writing experience. and you just named my most favorite pens:thumbup:

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3 minutes ago, FountainpenGraphy said:

Thank you, although I would appreciate to know your reasons if I may ask,

 

Part of the answer was already given: I think you're considering Leonardo Officina Italiana pens because of their similarity, or conformance, to a certain pen prototype (and, by that, I don't mean one of a small, limited number of units done outside of full-scale production, either as a proof-of-concept for a new design, or to test the new production process) to which the Estie is also close. If you want different rather than similar, then start with different (while still meeting all other criteria of acceptability), instead of similar, familiar, and comfortable aesthetically.

 

The other part of the answer is: I don't like Leonardo Officina Italiana. I usually don't buy pens at full price, but I was so taken by the the styling and material of the Momento Zero Blue Hawaii, and convinced by favourable reports of how well the Leonardo steel (Bock-made) nibs wrote, I ordered one of the first-release units of the models at full price. I was sorely disappointed by the nib with the lopsided tipping, and ended up having to pull the nib from the section, then spend a long time removing excess material from the tipping on one of the tines, to make it somewhat symmetrical and usable.

 

Many, many months later, I decided to give the brand a second chance, and ordered a piston-filled Momento Zero in celluloid (at a discount) from a friendly retailer with whom I've had many repeated dealings. The boss there knows my preferences in nibs, and told me that on closer inspection that he didn't (or doesn't) think the gold EF nib on hand would meet my requirements for fineness and symmetrical finish, but he would order a replacement nib unit from Leonardo and fit it on the pen before dispatching the item to me. After repeated chasing on my part over a period longer than four months, allegedly Leonardo failed to deliver a good enough replacement nib unit, so ultimately the order was cancelled.

 

Another many months passed, and I ordered an even more expensive limited edition Leonardo from a different friendly retailer. The pen was sent to me, and I could see straight off that the tines were (slightly) misaligned out-of-the-box, and the tipping was once again asymmetrical. I contacted the retailer, and then Leonardo directly (on the retailer's suggestion, not because he wanted to shirk responsibility, but to “see what Leonardo has to say” about it, so I cc'ed the retailer on it), about the issue; the reply from Leonardo customer service was prompt but outrageous. The retailer was apologetic, paid for return of the pen by international DHL service, and voluntarily offered me a steep discount on any Italian pen I wanted instead to make things right for me. (My normal preference is for Aurora, but already had 19 of them by then; so I nominated to get a Scribo FEEL instead, in spite of it being an untested — and, in my opinion, overpriced — brand for me, because I didn't trust Visconti or Pineider to have much better nib QC than Leonardo, and I certainly wasn't going to buy another Leonardo, even though the retailer did also offer me one of the units in his allotment of the Primary Manipulation limited editions.)

 

So, any time someone who isn't already committed to or successfully wooed by Leonardo asks whether they should get one, my typical response would be, why not Tibaldi? Why not Edison Pen Company? They all make pens in pretty acrylics fitted with German steel nibs (i.e. not produced in-house), and in my experience they haven't given me nib problems with a failure rate of two-out-of-two (or should I say three-out-of-three). Why not Santini Italia? Why not Scribo? if someone specifically wants a ‘high-end’ Italian pen. Why not Sailor? Why not Platinum? if someone is after a super-reliable workhorse; for the price of a steel-nibbed Leonardo, I can get a Japanese pen with a superb gold nib that suits my taste, even if it may not have the pretty swirly or ‘cracked ice’ acrylic. Why not PenBBS? Why not Moonman, Delike, or HongDian? if someone is more interested in colourful, pretty acrylic bodies.

 

Anything but Leonardo Officina Italiana.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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@A Smug Dill thanks a lot for the very thorough answer and for the time you spend on it. 

I really appreciate it.

I got my answer:happy: 

 

I must also say, every one were so helpful, and each of you guys gave me one piece of the information I needed. 

and I know I don't want a Leonardo now. as I have some beautiful acrylic pens that write beautifully, and for similar experience I know it would be a waste of money, and the most important thing is the QC, and I just can't tolerate a pen I know there is a good change of having such problems. 

 

thank you all  

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wise decision for your requirements - if qc is of utmost importance, there are better qc pens out there for a fraction of the price.  i am also waiting for a consumer backlash against pricing for its extra swirly acrylic limited editions

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  • 4 months later...

@A Smug Dillthanks also for those notes on your first hand experience. I had been contemplating getting a Magico, but I had a sneaking suspicion that, when all is said and done, they are just some purty acrylic (ok, real purty), with a relatively bog-standard Jowo nib (at least the steel versions) with a (possibly) sticky piston. I’ll just sit patiently for my Hong Dian 100 to arrive. 🙂

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There are only two Italian brands you can trust: Aurora and Santini. The rest all range from hit-and-miss to disgraceful, with Visconti taking home the gold medal for the most horrendous QC known to mankind. Actually, Visconti either performs no QC or deliberately damages its nibs before shipping them out. Probably the latter.

 

AVOID VISCONTI. I repeat, AVOID VISCONTI.

 

As for the rest of Italian brands, make sure you buy from a retailer that has a good return policy.

 

P.S. This bears repeating, AVOID VISCONTI.

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8 minutes ago, by78 said:

There are only two Italian brands you can trust: Aurora and Santini.

 

While I don't think I'd put it that way exactly, … those two are the only Italian fountain pen brands I'd recommend to fellow hobbyists and friends alike.

 

For what it's worth, I think Scribo is OK to ‘trust’, but its pens aren't exactly competitively priced, in my opinion.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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FWIW, I'm glad that I disregarded the negative reviews in this thread and got a Magico that I'm very happy with.  Its Jowo nib in F writes beautifully, and the piston mechanism works perfectly.  I did buy it in-person from a brick-and-mortar shop (Novelli in Rome), but I did that mainly because I wanted to see the colors/finishes in person, and to have a souvenir of my visit.

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I had the pleasure of seeing the Tibaldi range and confess to having been very impressed. They are a little lighter than Leonardo and therefore feel a bit cheaper, but they are in reality slightly cheaper but the acrylics in the Tibaldi pens are far superior to Leonardo and I like the Ogiva shape.

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Leonardo moved from Bock to JoWo because of the high ratio of failing nib units. JoWo nibs are generally good nibs, and on higher priced models the nibs are paired to in house made ebonite feeders. I cannot say that all Leonard writes out of the box, nevertheless on all mine (20+) I only had an issue and Leonardo customer support was more than exceptional. Sometimes instead of complaining a better solution would be to contact the customer service.

 

Moreover Leonardo on higher end models used to pair the JoWo nibs with in house made ebonite feeders, which I found to be very good. Few weeks ago they started to install the new in house made nibs, they are stunning!

 

Few words on Visconti, I have some, all perfectly writing; I have old 14K Gold, 23K Pd and new in house made 18K Gold, which is another great nib. And again I contacted Visconti customer support for a Wall Street, it was a pre owned pen with an odd issue, the nib and barrel facets were misaligned when capped, they fixed it for free in two weeks. 

 

I have the feeling that many Italian brands having issues with Bock and JoWo nibs decided to start making their own nibs... which is something that in the past Italian firms used to make quite well.

 

17 hours ago, Uncial said:

I had the pleasure of seeing the Tibaldi range and confess to having been very impressed. They are a little lighter than Leonardo and therefore feel a bit cheaper, but they are in reality slightly cheaper but the acrylics in the Tibaldi pens are far superior to Leonardo and I like the Ogiva shape.

Tibaldi is owned by Montegrappa, which recently started to use acrylics already used by Leonardo (e.g. the Golden Rule), not sure in what the Tibaldi is far superior: better converter? better JoWo nib? Better metallic parts like clips and rings?

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1 hour ago, francoiacc said:

Tibaldi is owned by Montegrappa, which recently started to use acrylics already used by Leonardo (e.g. the Golden Rule), not sure in what the Tibaldi is far superior:

 

I like the acrylics used in the Tibaldi Bononia Bora Bora (when done right), Seashell Mist, and Martini Olive. I also have a Modello 60 Retro Zest on order, just on account of how pretty the acrylic is. Does Leonardo use those acrylics as well, in either the Momento Zero or the Furore? I wouldn't have a clue, since I lost interest a long time ago.

 

As for Tibaldi's nibs, which are no doubt made by either JoWo or Bock, three out of three so far wrote just fine out-of-the-box, even if the nibs themselves are uninspiring. That's better than two-out-of-two fails I got from Leonardo pens.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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