This Just In: Leonardo Officina Italiana Messenger

Photo - Leonard Officina Italiana Messenger in greenI’ve been seeing a lot of Leonardo Officina Italiana fountain pens as I browse various fountain pen sites. Some of those sites have had positive reviews. In general, I like the look of Italian pens. All this combined to keep the brand on my radar, so when Pen Chalet put the Leonardo Messenger on sale and had one in green, I decided to buy one.

I did so knowing that this might be a rental. The sale price, and the Pen Addict coupon code, brought the price low enough to either be a reasonable rental, or a good deal on the purchase. Why a rental (purchase, followed by a quick sale)? Because it’s a colored translucent barrel, which I don’t like. So why even try? There’s a nice swirl pattern to the acrylic, which could block the translucency enough to mask the converter inside. Plus, the design should prevent it from looking cheap.

Leonardo does limit the number of pens within each acrylic, although there are many acrylics in each line. There are 366 pens for each Messenger acrylic since there are 366 days in 2020. My particular pen is number 157.

I picked green (Verde) for my pen because, well, green. Green is easily my favorite color. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time finding that perfect green pen or ink.

When the Leonardo Messenger arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. When I opened the clamshell box, the visible part of the barrel was heavily swirled, and I couldn’t see the converter through the barrel. Plus, the acrylic looks great. Then I took the pen out of the box and looked at the entire barrel. I was disappointed to find that the other side of the barrel had a large, utterly translucent section where the converter was clearly visible. For me, the straight lines of the converter, and its reflective chrome, destroy the beauty of the acrylic. On the positive side, the pen does not look like it’s made with cheap plastic.

The translucent section is almost hidden when I’m writing with the pen. But not entirely, and I’m unable to not see it because I know its there. There’s metal inside the pen, so eyedropper filling isn’t an option.

I picked Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk ink to inaugurate the pen. The extra-fine nib is a pleasant writer, and it’s true to the expected size of a European extra-fine nib. The pen does come with some thoughtful design choices, such as a screw-in converter. I don’t post my fountain pens and fine the longer than expected barrel to be very comfortable in my hand. The photo below compares the size to other pens.

Photo - size comparison of 12 fountain pens

Size comparison (L->R) Benu Minima, Sailor Realo, Sheaffer Balance Oversize, Sailor Balance Oversize, Diplomat Aero, Pelikian M815, Lamy Safari, Leonardo Messenger, Sailor KOP, Kanilea Cherry Kona, yStudio Classic Desk Pen

The Leonardo Officina Italania Messenger is a very nice fountain pen. That big translucent spot on the barrel may turn it into a rental for me, but that’s due to my personal tastes and isn’t a fault of the pen. The design of the acrylic is gorgeous. I’ll let it live among my other fountain pens for a while to see if I can overlook that translucent gap since I do like the overall look of the pen.