I wrote this review for Betram’s Inkwell last year, hence the darker pictures prior to my new camera setup. I am working on a new review of the Monteverde Monza Flex for them and since I didn’t post the original review on my page, I thought you all might be interested in reading it before the new review goes live. Enjoy!
The Monteverde Pen Company has been creating fine writing products, cases, and inks since 1978. They are known for their wide range of products and designs from classic to modern styles. The review today is of the new Monteverde Monza in Honey Amber. This pen was recently introduced, and comparisons have been made to expensive Sailor fountain pens and inexpensive Jinhao fountain pens.
Packaging: The pen comes in a frosted plastic box with the Monteverde logo on the bottom right-hand corner. The boxes are tinted to match the color of the pen. This specific box is amber tinted, but the pen also comes in Gray Sky, Island Blue, and Crystal Clear, with boxes to match. There is an orange outer band wrapped around the middle of the box that says, “Monteverde USA Monza Fountain Pen”. On the back of the band, there is information about the Monza series, the nib size, and the company contact information. Inside the band has filling instructions and an explanation of the Monza design and name: “The pen was named after the Italian city of Monza, known for its brilliant architecture, ever-green wineries, and its famous racetrack.” The pen is held in place in a foam insert that also holds two ink cartridges and a converter. The box can also be used as a pen case, which is a nice bonus and good thinking by Monteverde. (Picture 1)
First Thoughts: I really like the color on this demonstrator pen, as many demonstrators are simply clear. The white foam bed holds the pen and accessories snuggly in place. (Picture 2)
Design: The pen has a cigar shape, tapering from the finials to a wide cap band in the middle. The clip is tight, but easily slides onto fabric to hold securely in place. The cap screws on and posts securely, and it has an inner cap that seals off the nib, similar to Twsbi pens. The threads on the grip section are almost unnoticeable and smooth, even if your grip is higher on the pen body. The feed is cool; it is clear, so it picks up a tint from the color of the ink you are using. The threads on the body are plastic and there is a small O-ring, which allows the pen to be eyedroppered if you prefer, I would just suggest adding a bit of silicon grease to ensure a good seal. I like the Honey Amber color on this model, and I can use this at work meetings, as it looks professional, while its translucence still satisfies my desire to see how much ink is left. (Picture 3 and 4)
Nib Performance: The big question – how does it write? This model came with a stainless steel medium nib. The nib has some scrollwork embellishments and the letter “M”, showing it is a medium. On the box, Monteverde states the pen has a “flexible stainless steel nib”; the nib is stiff, but flexes from a medium to a broad. It takes a bit of pressure and is by no means a vintage flex nib, but it does offer a bit of line variation. The nib is smooth and wrote right out of the box with no adjustments needed. I had no hard starts or skips, even after leaving the pen unused for almost a week. Reverse writing did not work when I tried, but it may be due to the ink, which was Lamy Blue – a “wetter” ink may perform better. (Picture 5)
Filling System: A converter and two ink cartridges are included with the pen. The seal on the converter is tight, so you have to apply a bit of pressure when you first insert it into the pen. Since the pen has a plastic body and plastic threads, you can eyedropper it, as well. (Picture 6)
Value: The retail price for this model is $20, which I think is a great price for a solid entry-level pen that writes beautifully with some flex right out of the box. Many entry-level brands sell the converter separately, which can be an inconvenience; however, Monteverde includes the converter and two cartridges so you can start writing as soon as you open the box. The dual-purpose box/pen case is a great idea since pen packaging is normally just thrown away.
Overall: I was impressed with the Monza as a whole package. Many people are saying it’s a rebranded Jinhao 992; as such, I did a few comparisons. The 992 is 16 grams and the Monza is 17 grams, so it’s possible the Monza’s material is thicker or a different composition, giving it a slightly heavier weight. The Jinhao pens dried out fairly quickly when I let them sit, but the Monza doesn’t appear to have had any ink evaporation. I think this might be due to a better inner-cap which makes a nice seal against the grip section, preventing air from getting to the nib. The designs are close, but are “night and day” different when you get to the nib and feed. The Jinhao pens I have are severely over polished, and three out of the four had baby’s bottom. The Monza’s nib has a bit of flex and writes every time I pick it up; however, the Jinhao pens’ nibs are nail hard and I have had skips and hard starts regularly. Lastly, the Jinhao pens have black feeds and the Monza’s has a clear feed. If they are made at the same facility or with the same molds, then I think that is where the similarities end. I think the Monza is a great gift or entry-level pen for someone getting into the wonderful world of fountain pens, but it can also be appreciated by someone who has been using pens for decades.
Name: Monteverde Monza Honey Amber
Design: Amber tinted demonstrator
Length: 5.3 inches (134.8mm)
Posted: 5.7 inches (144.6mm)
Diameter: .5 inches (15mm)
Weight: 17 grams
Filling System: C/C
Pros: Great package for the price, fun to look at demonstrator, nice color, light body, writes beautifully out of the box.
Cons: Light materials may be prone to cracking.
In the same price range:
Noodler’s Ahab flex
“Make your mark”
Eric Aycock (Pengeek13)