Since they were founded in 1988, Visconti has been at the forefront of design and innovation for fine writing instruments and watches. Many of their products are functional pieces of art, meant to inspire and wow every time they are seen and used. My review today is of the Visconti Pininfarina Disegno fountain pen in black with a Smartouch nib in Fine. This is one of my first experiences using a Visconti pen and this pen was loaned to me for review by my friends at Bertram’s Inkwell.
9/10 Packaging: The outer box is light beige with the Visconti Firenze logo both in the center and on the box flaps. There is a diagonal design repeating across the box with the word Visconti in alternating white and brown print. One box flap has a sticker with the model, color, writing mode, and nib size on it reading, “Pininfarina Disegno Black Fountain Pen F”.
Inside this box, is a dark leather clamshell box with a magnetic closure and an Visconti Firenze logo embossed in the middle of the box and on the inside of the lid. The pen is inside a plastic sleeve that says, “Made in Florence Italy”, and is clipped in place on a bed of soft white leather. A serial numbered information booklet containing company information and product photos is included, as well.
8/10 First Thoughts: The design of the packaging ensures you know this is not an ordinary product and it feels like a luxury item. The contrast of the black pen on the bed of white leather really makes the pen design pop.
9/10 Design: The pen is a combination of beautiful black glossy resin with steel accents. Weighing in at 35 grams, it might be a bit heavy for longer writing sessions. The overall design definitely takes inspiration from its namesake and their history with Ferrari, and it looks like a racecar in your hand. The cap finial has a slant to it, which looks like the sloped hood of a racecar, and the letter “F” engraved, which I believe is either for “Firenze” or for “Farina”. The cap is black like the body, but has a raised emblem with the words “Pininfarina” engraved on both sides.
The clip’s shape is inspired by the well-known Ponte Vecchio bridge with “Visconti” engraved on both sides. This model does not have the normal “Hook and Latch” cap closure that many Visconti pens have, but instead has a magnetic closure. The magnet is strong enough to keep the cap tightly on, but light enough to remove the cap one-handed. You can post the cap, but it makes the pen back weighted due to the amount of steel accents on the cap.
7/10 Nib Performance: The nib on this pen is the Visconti Chromium 18 Smartouch tubular nib. It has an appearance that reminded me of the Sheaffer Touchdown nib, as it wraps around and covers half the feed. The only branding on the nib is on its side, which says “Smartouch Visconti F”. When I first filled the pen, it would not write. After noticing there was a slight gap in the tines, I lightly pushed the tines towards each other and lessened the gap. After this, the pen wrote like a dream with no skips or hard starts, even on cheap paper.
The nib is smooth, but not over polished and is very enjoyable to write with. With little pressure, you have a consistent fine/medium line and with a little added pressure, it increases to a broad line. Reverse writing is possible, but the nib gives a fair amount of feedback and is scratchy.
8/10 Filling System: The pen utilizes either a standard international converter or ink cartridges.
7/10 Value: The retail price is $395. The resin is stunning and the steel accents give the pen a wonderful contrast. The magnetic cap is unique and makes a satisfying capping sound. The nib is expressive and gives a bit of line variation, which was unexpected. However, the nib is Chromium 18, which is a grade of stainless steel containing 18% Chromium and 8-10% Nickel. It is also a cartridge converter pen instead of a piston or power filler. The pen is beautifully made with some interesting design decisions; however, when you boil it down, almost $400 for a c/c pen with a steel nib is a high price point.
48/60 Overall: This is my first experience with Visconti pens. The design of this model definitely grabs your attention and is a pleasure to use. The magnetic cap is an interesting feature and since there are no threads, the smooth grip section is enjoyable. For the price point, I would have expected it to write right out of the box. But a little tinkering is not a big deal and it may have just been a QC miss on this specific pen. $395 to me seems high for what you get; there are a number of piston filled gold nib pens in this same price range.
Name: Visconti Pininfarina Disegno fountain pen
Design: Black resin body and cap with stainless steel accents
Length: 5.5 inches (140mm)
Posted: 6.75 inches (171.45mm)
Diameter: .61 inches (15.5mm)
Weight: 35 grams
Nib: Chromium 18 Smartouch Tubular nib
Filling System: C/C
Pros: Beautiful resin, magnetic cap, expressive nib
Cons: Had to adjust the nib before use, stainless steel nib, C/C
In the same price range:
Pelikan M400 Tortoiseshell
Montegrappa Fortuna Mule (copper)
Lamy Dialog 3
“Make your mark”
Eric Aycock (Pengeek13)