An evolution in pen design…
Visconti has created a few designs based on their Homo Sapiens model – some quite subtle, while others are a visual feast – and this definitely falls into the latter category. The limited edition Florentine Hills (this is 457/1000) is a beautiful pen, with a great mix of acryloid colors and a fantastic 23k palladium “Dreamtouch” nib. The double reservoir power filler provides a massive ink capacity of roughly 1.5ml, which will come in handy as the nib is very wet and has some flex, allowing those sheen and shade inks in your collection to really sing.
One of the first things you notice about this pen is the size – easily one of the largest I own at 145.5mm (5.76in) capped and if you dare to post it 173.6mm (6.84in). At the section the diameter is a beefy 11mm (0.43in) and the body runs about 14.3mm (0.56un) expanding to 16.5mm (0.65in) at the cap. Now while I did measure it posted I can’t imagine needing to – this thing is perfect uncapped and posting makes it feel very unbalanced – or like you should be leading a marching band in a parade. As for the weight, it is lighter than it looks at 40g (1.42oz) and so while physically big it’s still easy for me to write with for long periods of time.
The acryloid is stunning with swirls of green, white, brown and tan mixed into the clear demonstrator body while similar swirls are mixed into the green cap and section. This effect is a result of carefully layering the celluloid colors in the acrylic base. The acryloid is layered in such a way as to give the pen an amazing depth and almost liquid-like effect as the light plays off the surface. The manufacturing result is never predictable and so the pattern on each pen is unique.
The cap features Visconti’s trademark bridge clip and two cap bands all done in sterling silver. The finial features a magnetic silver Visconti logo medallion that can be swapped out for other designs in the MyPen system (initials, gemstones, zodiac animals, etc…). The cap attaches to the section using a wonderful hook and latch system – just push down and twist slightly and the cap comes right off – a nice compromise between the security of a threaded and ease of a snap style cap.
The Dreamtouch nib is amazing – easily in my top 5 favorites. The 23k Palladium EF is a blast to write with – offering smooth wet lines with no hard starts or skips, and while quite fine it has a fantastic flex that feels more like a broad when you push it. That huge ink reservoir comes in handy here as this pen will tend to blow through ink like a Ferrari does through fuel. The upside to this is you tend to see a lot of shade and sheen even on the thin lines from this pen. The nib design and crescent breather hole are standard Visconti fare and and a nice match for the sterling silver trim.
The Visconti dual-reservoir power filler on this pen is easy to use – simply unscrew the blind cap and extend the piston then place in your favorite ink of choice and push the piston back in. As the piston travels back toward the nib a vacuum is created behind it and once the seal hits the base the vacuum is released and ink is sucked into the barrel. The seal serves a second purpose – keeping the nib reservoir separated from the main barrel reservoir. With the blind cap unscrewed the ink can flow past the seal and into the barrel. With the blind cap then tightened the ink is locked in, and whether taking on a flight or just bouncing around in your bag, there is no chance for it to come pouring out. When you are ready to write just reverse the process and fill the nib reservoir and your good to go. The added bonus of a titanium piston bar means no issues with corrosion over time.
The only issue I really have with this filler is cleaning it. The complicated system and lack of easy disassembly (without voiding your warranty) is unfortunate. I have spent two to three times the effort cleaning this over other pens in my collection as the ink gets into a lot of hard to reach spots around the piston. I would avoid any inks that stain or have mica/pearl in them (J. Herbin 1670/Diamine Shimmertastic) to keep the cleaning difficulty to a minimum.
While I don’t usually dwell on the packaging too much it really does deserve some coverage in this case. The high gloss wooden box looks like something out of a fancy furniture store with the Visconti logo etched in the top. Inside the pen is wrapped in a white leatherette tray. The tray lifts out to reveal the warranty paperwork, bookmark and enough space left over to hide Jimmy Hoffa.
This all comes at a price though – retail on the pen is $995 though you can find it for a LOT less. The problem is Visconti uses MAP (minimum advertised price) with their authorized vendors so you need to do a little work to see what the real price is. Other than the cleaning this pen is a beauty to write with, a visual masterpiece, and highly recommended.