A little bit of history The ancient Italian art of distilling pomace brandy is so deeply ingrained in the culture of the Veneto that there is even a town named after it, Bassano del Grappa, and here in 1912 a pen firm was founded. Montegrappa has been through interesting times since, including a period under dubious corporate parentage (which they now seem to have escaped from) and an unintentionally hilarious collaboration with Sylvester Stallone, but is now one of a number of European ‘luxury’ manufacturers. We’ve been meaning to get around to reviewing one of their fountain pens for a while, but they didn’t want to help so we had to wait until someone bought one. Then this happened:
How it looks Yes, that is rather colourful, isn’t it? ‘Terrifically well-packaged, too.
How it feels Large-ish, but still comfortable enough.
How it fills With a cartridge, or a converter, one of which was provided with this pen – but it was broken. Lose a mark, Monty.
Crucially, how it writes… Here we had rather different views, ranging from ‘OK’ to outright damnation. It just goes to show how individual our writing experience can be.
Pen! What is it good for? Staring at lovingly, brandishing on a Pride march, or pointing admiringly at rainbows. It’s not, honestly, the absolute tops for writing though – at least not in its standard form.
VFM Even if you really love the material, £230 for a mass-produced pen with a steel nib is pretty much indefensible. If you can find it on special offer, as the owner of this very pen did at TK Maxx, then you might be more tempted at around £130 – still a lot for a pen without even a trace of gold dust, but moderately less absurd.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… Get one as cheaply as you can and fit a better nib – it’s a #6, so there are plenty of options. Alternatively, ask a custom pen maker to find you some similarly full-spectrum material.
Our overall recommendation If you love the look, and can find it on special offer, go for it – then switch to a JoWo or Bock business end.
Where to get hold of one If you want to spend £230 on this steel-nibbed pen – and, admittedly, get a pashmina thrown-in to the deal – then try Andy’s Pens.
This meta-review references: