Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren

Thank you to Appelboom for lending me this pen for review! It was definitely a fun experience being able to use it!
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (7)
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (16)
ABOUT

Body Material: Nanotech avional
Trim: Titanium
Length (retracted): 136.4 mm/5.36''
Length (extended): 153.5 mm/6.04''
Barrel Diameter: 11.5 mm - 14.4 mm/0.45'' - 0.57''
Section Diameter: 12.5 - 14.2 mm/0.49'' - 0.56''
Nib material: Chromium 18
Weight (all): 54 g
Fill type: Converter
Price: € 1,900.00 (excl. VAT € 1,570.25)
Where to buy: Appelboom Pennen (code below does not apply to Montblanc)
Appleboom
PACKAGING
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (1)
First, there is a silver cardboard box - not all that exciting. Inside, in a foam bed, there is a mosquito filler tip, and a dark grey tube that weighs a fair amount. It is round with a shiny base and lid. The tube is a little gritty feeling, made of the same 'nanotech' material as the pen.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (2)
There are two buttons on the sides that move up, lifting the lid, and the platform inside that holds the pen is raised. It's a heavy case with a low center of gravity, so it won't just fall or over. This is one 'box' you'll want to keep. It's great for showing off your pen when you're not using it, too.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (3)
APPEARANCE

This Nanotech Pininfarina is certainly not going to appeal to everyone. I think pictures make it look much less cool (and uncomfortable) than it really is. It is a thick, round pen with blunt, flat ends. The finish of the body is matte silver - I think it's a pretty finish, nicely complemented by the titanium trim.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (4)
The end plug is etched with the Pininfarina logo. The center band is thin and indicates the point where the magnetic barrel separates from the section. There are three small screws that hold the inner sleeve in place.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (15)
The clip is screwed on, and is the classic arch clip with black enamel - although I think this one is more pronounced of an arch than those on the regular Visconti pens. The space around the Visconti lettering is filled with black enamel. The sides of the section say Pininfarina. The bottom has a smooth plate screwed into place, which is also engraved with the pen's number - 163/930.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (13)
The front of the pen is angular and blunt. Retracted, there is a shutter inside the section that conceals the nib. Extended, the tubular nib and feed sit on top of the extended shutter, which slides under them.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (12)
In a way, the pen is simple - the shape and color scheme is consistent and not complex. Most pens do not have screws holding things in place though (except the Karas Kustoms INK comes to mind, much more affordably...). I like how the pen looks. I think it's really neat, and ignoring the price, I enjoy that aspect of it. It's not a classic design, but it's cool. It has cool factor. This falls into 'toy' category though, doesn't it? High-end toy.

NIB & PERFORMANCE
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (5)
This medium nib is a tubular ''SmarTouch" chromium 18 nib. It is thin and wraps around the feed on the underside. There are two lines cut into the sides of the nib that go down to the feed - they are symmetrical and look interesting. The side of the nib says FlexTouch Visconti M.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (6)
The nib wrote a very wet, very juicy medium line - I quickly drained the converter. Drying times were on the longer side, since the nib was so wet. It was smooth and pleasant to write with. I felt like it gave a few hard starts and skips that shouldn't have been there (especially on a pen at this price), but I think my expectations of nib have left me at the point where I'm surprised when a nib doesn't do that. That's a really terrible expectation. I wanted this nib to never hard start and never skip. At a low writing angle on smooth paper, I found the nib most skippy. At a higher writing angle, there were no skips or hard starts. Once the ink was flowing, the writing experience was positive and consistent. It was troublesome probably 5% of the time. A quick tuning would have fixed it, but it was to be returned.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (17)
True to its name, the FlexTouch definitely offered some line variation and I was surprised at how soft it was. It didn't feel so soft that I could easily spring it though, it was the kind of soft that gave a little when I was writing. I imagine the two lines cut into the nib are to make the nib a little easier to 'flex'. It is quite easy to squeeze line variation out of the nib in that not too much pressure was required. I definitely prefer this nib in terms of how it felt to the SmarTouch nib on the Visconti Opera Crystal.

IN HAND

The clip is springy and easy to operate. This one was snug enough to hold the pen in place on your papers or in a pocket.

There is no defined section to speak of here. Although I found the section on the thick side, I ended up holding it in a strange manner anyway, which I usually do for most pens. All the trim around the section is very smooth - there are no sharp edges at all. The section is rounded off and even the clip didn't get in the way of my grip. I did grip low on the section and found that quite comfortable. The bottom of the section angles upwards, and this worked out well for me. There was nothing poking me and nothing felt uncomfortable, except the girth. I found the Lamy Dialog 3 section far more uncomfortable than this section.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (19)
I think the filling system falls short on this pen. I don't really mind that the pen takes a converter, but you cannot see the ink level. Also, you cannot ink it directly. You have to remove the converter and either ink that, or use the mosquito filler so you don't get the converter inky then put that into the section and get that inky. Should you wish to use the included mosquito filler, be aware that it will take approximately 15 seconds to fill your converter, and you have to hold the knob as you turn it because the vacuum is strong and it will just pull the piston back down if you don't. It's not the most efficient filler this way. That sucks. That could have used some more thought.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (14)
In terms of being a retractable nib, it took me two full twists to extend and retract the nib completely. This mechanism felt robust, and was pretty quiet. There was no way to twist so far that you would unscrew the barrel (such as the case with the Lamy Dialog 3) as this mechanism clicks, then stops. I really liked the magnetic barrel - easy and quick to access the converter, which actually required filling more often than I expected.

I noticed that if I primed the feed via the converter, some ink could get smeared on the top of the inside of the section - which would then smear on the nib each time it was retracted/extended. No big deal, but it made the top of the nib look messy.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (11)
I was really surprised how this pen felt in hand. The material was very smooth, but not slick. It never felt greasy, and it did not pick up any fingerprints. I love that. It always looked pristine and new, which fits well with its design and concept. It was well-balanced and warmed up nicely in my grip. All the parts felt so flush and smooth together, so that was great.

This isn't a huge pen, but it's on the thick side.
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (8)
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (9)
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (10)
PROS & CONS
Review Visconti Pininfarina Nanotech Fountain Pen @AppelboomLaren (18)
OVERALL

This is certainly a pen that is something you should try. I am far more interested in it than I was after just reading about it or seeing pictures of it. It's cool - yes, it's a cool pen. Unfortunately, it's also very expensive. That alone puts it out of my league. If it was more affordable, it would be a heck of a lot of fun. High end novelty, maybe gimmicky, but fun. It's on the girthy side, but it is well-made... aside from the nib's quality control. Lately, Visconti's nibs are really irking me. I couldn't bear to actually buy this pen, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to review it.

I was loaned this pen free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.

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