Well, here goes. My first Visconti:
I never liked Visconti’s bridge clip, though I admit it is practical and easy to use. In fact, the thing that swayed me on getting this pen was the gold trim; Visconti Medicis in palladium trim were already out on the market, and I had found myself thinking that the grey-on-brown colour scheme was a pity. Well — the rose gold was announced and I was excited enough to preorder one. It was a real beauty out of the box!
And of course the nib was in terrible shape, as I expected.
But first let’s talk about some of the good points:
The material is stunning. It ranges in colour from light gold to black, and the swirls go deep under the surface, with a shiny pearlescent effect catching the light beautifully. Visconti calls this Acrosilk, and it looks good enough to give Omas’s Arco Bronze a run for its money.
The cap does away with screw threads, instead opting for a slightly bulkier mechanism, pictured above. Uncapping this pen takes almost no time, and it’s a very good innovation which also avoids the cap unscrewing in a pocket. The bridge clip on the cap is hinged, and its bulk allows it to be lifted easily to slide over a pocket, but it’s just too loud a design and in my opinion the worst part of Visconti’s usual feature set.
The pen itself, though, is very comfortable to use. The octagonal body rests nicely in the crook of my thumb, and the weight is pleasant enough, with not a single hint of heaviness toward front or back. The section is long enough such that the fingers do not rest on the cap-locking portion of the body, and the slight concavity means that the grip point is not overly wide. I’m used to narrower pens and have found this a pleasure to write with.
The Oversize is a vacuum-filler pen, and the plunger mechanism is so slickly designed that I initially mistook it for a piston-filler! (The smaller Midi is a cartridge/converter pen.) The metal threads and lining in the knob guarantee durability, but also add weight.
When fully filled, the pen holds 1.1ml of ink — nowhere near as much as Visconti’s power fillers, which begs the question of why they didn’t go with a simple piston filler; Pelikan’s smaller-sized pens hold that amount without all that metal in the barrel anyway.
And the biggest bugbear:
Now, it is well known that Visconti’s cost-cutting measures included getting rid of their gold nibs, opting for palladium instead. The result is a slightly soft, sluggish writing experience, one that beggars belief considering the excellence of their 18k gold offerings.
Of course, mine needed loads of work before it would write properly. It came as a fine, which was both too broad and too dry at the same time, and was scratchy to boot. I ended up getting fed up with trying to smoothe it out, so I ground it down to an EF. The feed works well, so it’s now a juicy writer, and the point is fine enough for my regular handwriting. Having shaved a little material off the underside as well (to get rid of the slightly asymmetrical blob of tipping), the natural sponginess of the nib has become a productive bounce, visible in the title below.
I can firmly say that Visconti fans would find this a must-have, considering it’s actually a beautiful specimen. In any bright light the pen literally sparkles, though it never goes beyond eye-catching into being vulgar. For non-fans, the usual issues apply: nib QC is a lottery and the bridge clip is big and bulky. I bought mine based on looks alone, fully anticipating having to work on the nib. If one has to factor in the cost and time involved in sending the pen to a nibsmith, then it might very well tip into firm “no” territory.
After all that, here’s a photo of the pen when it first started writing properly, well on its way to becoming an EF:
View this post on Instagram
Newest obsession: @notbillwurtz's new track! And finally, here's a writing sample from the Visconti Medici Oversize with a rose gold-plated 23k palladium nib — I'm still not thrilled with my experience, but I've tuned it to write well and it's all good now 👌 Written in a Muji notebook, what good paper! #fountainpens #penandink #visconti #muji #medici #oversize #rosegold #carandache #cosmicblack #handwriting #lyrics #billwurtz #print
Visconti renamed this model to the Rose Sovrano sometime last year. It’s not a particularly pretty name, and I’ve stuck to calling it a Medici, since sovrano means “sovereign”, and we all know which other company already has that word as their signature…