I decided to get a holiday gift pen for myself, at least that’s my excuse. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age, with an extra fine nib, will be my eleventh new pen this year. It will be my last too, unless the Edison Group buy arrives very, very early.
This fountain pen has been on my radar for a long time. It, or it’s Silver Age sibling, have come and gone from my watch list many times. At first I dismissed the lava material as a gimmick, but I still liked the look. The pen has many causes for concern, some of which I consider a positive. In any event, this was a pen I needed to see and hold before shelling out a significant amount of money. It was back on my list and I finally got to see and hold its smaller sibling, the Midi Silver Age. (The Midi is smaller and only available in the steel trim. The Bronze Age is only available in one size, which is the same as the Maxi Steel Age.) The pen made a good impression although I wasn’t able to write with it.
As I mentioned, there are several problems, or potential problems, with this pen. Dr. Deans, the Fountain Pen Economist, who is a fan of Viscontis, including the Homo Sapien, wrote about its foibles and described it as …
…quintessentially Italian: utterly, hopelessly beautiful and deeply flawed.
Amanda, at the Purl Bug borrowed one (from a fan) and did a video review. Her concerns/dislikes don’t bother me but that’s personal preference. They are valid and should be considered before buying the pen.
I debated between silver and bronze trim. I don’t like gold trim and while bronze isn’t gold (duh!) it is gold colored when shiny. The steel was very nice and has a very classy look. I like it when a pen develops it’s own personality from use and I’ve liked the way my other bronze pens have tarnished over time. (Patina would be a nicer way of saying tarnish.) I could toss a coin to decide and not be disappointed with the result. But I picked bronze and do plan to let the it tarnish over time so won’t be polishing it. This should dull the shine which will be more to my liking.
My first impression? Holy cow!!! (or other less family appropriate words) I love writing with this pen. It arrived Monday the 7th. I picked Pelikan Blue-Black as an ink to tame the wet nib and inked it up that night. I wrote it dry on Wednesday, literally on my last word of the day. Unless I need a waterproof ink, or a different color it has been the only pen I’ve used since then. When taking notes for work I use big words since they take longer to write. When I’m not taking notes I’m doodling. At night I look for things to write. I wrote the pen dry again and switched to my favorite ink – Montblanc Bordeaux.
I did have ink ooze from the section a couple days after filling, even after being wiped dry. I’ve read about hacks to stop it from happening but it doesn’t bother me and I can live with it. It’s only happened that one time so far.
The pen has a nice feel to it. I’ve heard the feel compared to ebonite. While it does feel like rubber, the ebonite pens that I’ve had have been polished and the comparison isn’t exact in my opinion. The Homo Sapien has a softer feel to it.
I like the cap threads but I’m still getting used to the squishiness of capping and uncapping the pen. It’s a solid lock, but the process makes me feel like something is broken as the cap slides off. My brain still expects that my hands should be turning the cap more. At times my brain thinks it’s a pull off cap.
I don’t like the Visconti clip design in general. I have gotten used to opening it a bit when sliding it into my pocket and can now do it smoothly. I’m wondering how long it will be before the Visconti lettering will rub off the clip. If I was the type of person who needed to shine the brass I’d be even more concerned about rubbing it off.
As for the Dreamtouch nib – I thought it was a marketing gimmick until I wrote with it. It’s not a nib I would normally consider. It’s wet and springy (not flexible). It’s not a nib begging to be flexed so I don’t feel like it’s wasted on me. I like the look of a nice large nib on a pen and this nib is huge. I was concerned about the two-tone gold on a large nib but it isn’t gaudy at all. The gold is very subdued. When I look at the nib as I’m writing the gold gives the nib an angelic glow.
The pen is heavy, 43 grams in total although the cap alone is 17 grams. The cap does post securely and this is where it gets really weird. The Homo Sapien is clearly big enough for me to use unposted, as I use all but my smallest pens. When posted it nearly 7″ long, yet I’ve been using this pen posted for everything except short notes. The balance is great and the weight hasn’t bothered me even for long writing sessions.
The filling system is a vacuum filler similar to the TWSBI Vac 700 or Pilot Custom 823. Visconti calls it a Power Filler. I was a little surprised there weren’t instructions included since it’s an uncommon filling system. (There were instructions for the polishing cloth.) Unlike my other vacuum fillers it’s not necessary to open the blind cap to allow ink flow into the section, so there is a difference.
I’ve seen the ink capacity listed as 1.5 ml but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting that much ink in a fill. I’ve been getting 10 to 12 A5 sized pages of solid writing. I’m using the same filling technique as my vacuum fillers which both get good fills. Also, there’s no ink window so it’s hard to tell when the ink is low.
To say I’m happy with the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age is an understatement. It’s caused me to ignore my other fountain pens. It’ll be a few months before I do a full review since I need to give the giddiness time wear away.