Fair warning – I’m calling this a This Just In Post even though it’s completely out of character for this type of post. It’s not exactly “just in”, arriving back on March 9th. Plus, I didn’t use the pen to write the draft of this post since it was already written dry. So while this is a bit more than a first impression I haven’t had the Visconti Brunelleschi long enough to do a full review.
I was enamored with the Visconti Brunelleschi from the moment I saw the first photos of it. It triggered a buying spree of terra cotta themed inks. It’s a pricey pen and I had some faint hope that the ink would satiate my desire for the pen. When it comes to limited edition pens, which this is, I find the ones I want the most are the ones that aren’t hugely popular for one reason or another. So I didn’t pre-order the pen, preferring to wait and see if the initial pen lust subsided. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t talk myself out of the fountain pen and I placed on order when it became available at Goulet Pens. (Brian also showed it in a Q&A video.) The pen is still available, although specific nibs may be harder to find.
While this is a limited edition (of 388 numbered pens) I did find that the pen, or at least one that’s very similar, was available as a Fountain Pen Network member pen. This actually made me feel a little better about the pen. I don’t really care about the exclusivity of a pen but I was concerned that this was a new material and therefore could have some issues. The fact that a pen using this material has been in use did alleviate my concern a bit.
The pen is inspired by the Brunelleschi Cathedral. While I like a pen with a story, this particular story didn’t move me to buy the pen (but it didn’t need to). The story of the dome is interesting and I did learn something as I ventured down a rathole reading about it.
The Brunelleschi is very similar to the Homo Sapien Bronze Age, which is among my favorite fountain pens. While the material and aesthetics are different, the pen size, weight and nib are nearly identical. Only the cap is noticeably different with the Homo Sapien being slightly fatter. The difference is enough to make the Homo Sapien too wide for one of my pen sleeves, while the Brunelleschi slides right in. This similarity was both good and bad. On the negative side it’s a lot to pay for a pen which handles like one I already have. On the positive side it’s a pen I know will be perfect for my hand. At this price I wanted a fountain pen that would break into my rotation and stay there, but I didn’t want it to replace the Homo Sapien. So I decided that a medium nib, added to the aesthetics, would make it different enough so that both could coexist. I’ve enjoyed medium nibs a bit more in the last year or so, and I made a point to try a few medium nibs before I ordered the pen. I decided it would be good choice and did order the pen with a medium nib.
Rose Gold trim is also typically a negative for me, especially since there’s a lot of trim on this pen. But the more I looked at pictures the more I agreed that rose gold is the perfect complement to the terra cotta material. While I did say there’s a lot of trim on this pen it’s not overdone or gaudy in my opinion.
Since the Visconti Brunelleschi was delayed from it’s initial release date I had plenty of time to work through my doubts and concerns and was eager to order once it became available.
As you can tell from the pictures the Brunelleschi arrived with more than just the fountain pen, so I might as well start with everything that’s not the pen.
The packaging is elaborate, described as “luxury eco-leather” although that term has no formal meaning, it has a multitude of implied meaning. It looks nice and adds to the impression that this is an elegant and quality product. But it adds no value to the actual fountain pen. It’s main benefit is that it keeps all the extras from bouncing around during shipping. The box did arrive in a cloth drawstring bag with the Visconti logo on it.
A bottle of ink was also included, although the bottle could be described as an inkwell. There’s no mention what the included ink is. If this was a custom or limited edition ink I’m sure Visconti would have promoted that fact. So I think it’s safe to guess that this is Visconti Brown ink (which I’ve also seen called Sepia), although I don’t have any Visconti Brown/Sepia to compare it to. It’s in a custom bottle, although the cap seems to be the standard Visconti plastic screw-on cap that identifies the color. The bottle is wide and shallow. I expect it will be hard to fill the Brunelleschi once the ink level drops a little.
A Visconti Traveling Inkwell is also included which could solve the filling problem. The inkwell is made of the same material as the pen. Unlike their standard traveling inkwell it doesn’t include a nib cleaning pad (cloth?) hidden in the cap. The inkwell has a gold finial similar to the pen. I’ve yet to use the inkwell because I’ve been unable to commit to an ink. I find the decision significantly harder than picking an ink for a pen. Plus it seems like a power filler pen, such as the Brunelleschi, could turn the inkwell into a weapon that’s even more accurate (and messy) than a champagne cork. Brian Goulet does have a video on how to use the Traveling Inkwell with various types of pens.
An eyedropper for filling the inkwell is also included along with a “Brunelleschi” decorative plaque and a information booklet.
I received Brunelleschi #143/388 As I mentioned, the Visconti Brunelleschi is nearly the same size and weight as my Homo Sapien. So I expected it to be perfect for my hand. And it was. It’s a faceted pen, with 8 sides. I don’t really notice the facets when writing. I’m not bothered by the corners at all since they are subtle. The material has a nice feel to it. Like the lava in the Homo Sapien, the terra cotta is blended in with the resin. It’s slightly smoother than the Homo Sapien but that could be since the pen is newer. It’s supposed to have the terra cotta’s resistance to damage and fading but not it’s tendency to shatter. While the Homo Sapien has developed a patina over time the terra cotta is supposed to resistant an patina or other signs of age. It’s been less than three months, but the pen still looks new. I haven’t tested it’s resistance to shattering or scratches beyond normal use. No drop tests yet, either accidental or on purpose.
I’ve heard complaints about Visconti’s lack of quality control related to their nibs. This is only my second Visconti, but like the Homo Sapien’s extra fine nib, this nib is perfect as far as I’m concerned. Unlike other pens at this price level I didn’t buy from a seller that will tune the nib, or at least test it, prior to shipment.
Medium nibs aren’t really in my wheelhouse and I’ve tended to avoid them until recently. But I’m trying to expand my horizons and this nib presents medium nibs in a good light. It’s not a nib I’ll use for note taking, I’ll stick to extra fines or fines for that, but I really like it for longer sit-down writing sessions.
The longest session with this pen was about 90 minutes, with a short break midway through. The break was more to stretch my legs and back as my hand wasn’t fatigued at all. The pen is one of my heavier pens, at 27 grams unposted. The weight is well distributed so I don’t need to grip the pen hard or fight with it when I’m writing.
The Visconti Brunelleschi is a nice companion to my Visconti Homo Sapien. I won’t have any problem having them both inked at the same time. My main problem will be do I give them each the same ink or different inks? I’m very happy about the Brunelleschi and my choice of a medium nib. I’ve avoided re-inking it until I empty a couple more currently inked pens. I have to say it’s killing me to not have this pen inked, both because I really like it and also because it’s my newest fountain pen. I may be forced to flush out one or two pens early to give me an excuse to ink it up.