Fountain pen

Monteverde Monza Signature Set Review.

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Executive Pens sent me the Monteverde Monza Signature Set to review here on the blog. I would like to thank them for sending me this to play with. All thoughts shared in this post are my own.

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The set.

The Monteverde Monza Signature Set comes with a medium nibbed fountain pen, four ink colours and a pen flush from Monteverde. There are a few different fountain pen choices when buying the signature set. You can chose from several demonstrator barrel colours and I chose the Amber pen as I thought this colour was the most attractive.

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These items are packaged nicely in a presentation box. This presentation style is nice as a gift or as a starter set, and while not important to the performance of the items, it’s always nice to know.

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The fountain pen.

The Monza fountain pen was the initial pull of this set for me. I really like the amber colour of the fountain pen, it reminded me of images I’d seen of the Pilot Custom 823 (completely unfair on the 823).

The Monza is an entry level fountain pen and as such I have tried to compare how it stacks up against the Lamy Safari, Kaweco Sport, Pilot Kakuno etc. I keep coming back to the fact that using this fountain pen isn't that enjoyable and that there are better choices out there.

A look at the clear feed from nib through the grip section. 

A look at the clear feed from nib through the grip section. 

When I started comparing it to these other established and well-known fountain pens the Monza just feels like it is lacking in many ways. The nib is very stiff and rigid. When you’re writing there is too much feedback and resistance against the paper. There is zero flex and it can feel very scratchy. It isn't a great experience for an entry level fountain pen and especially for a new user.

Nib detailing with the Monteverde logo.

Nib detailing with the Monteverde logo.

My time with the Monza hasn’t been very fun. It hasn't been a pen I have been reaching for, it’s more one I am forcing myself to use for this review.

The sets components. 

The sets components. 

The ink.

The ink in the signature set is unexciting (a little like the pen). There are four colours, Valentine Red, Malibu Blue, Brown Sugar and Midnight Black. These colours are no doubt run of the mill, standard ink colours. Safe. But they are flat with no depth, shading, tone...anything really. I could be using a ballpoint pen.

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Overall thoughts.

I have been disappointed with the Monteverde Monza and ink. This is an entry level set coming in at £50 but there are far better ways you could spend £50. It’s not the best experience for anyone and there are a ton of better choices out there.

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Thank you again to Executive Pens for sending me the Monteverde USA Monza Signature Set to review here at The Finer Point.

Mid-Week Mini: Lady Safari 2019 Special Edition: Mint Glaze review.

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When the 2019 Lamy Safari limited edition was announced I was really happy with the colour choices. To have three different options in the series is brilliant and really works for this years pastel theme. The Pastel colours are Powder Rose, Mint Glaze and Blue Macaroon. The mix of colours is spot on and captures popular pastel colours. I have the Mint Glaze because I love anything Mint coloured and also it feels like a little bit unusual as a fountain pen colour.

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Today’s review is a 2019 limited edition discussion only and not an in-depth look at the specifics of the Safari. If you would like this detail click here for my Safari review.

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The Mint Glaze is the same Safari as any other. It has the same build, shape, feel and finish. There is one small exception that I have had with this edition and that is an issue with the threads. The threads that screw the nib and grip into the barrel don't tighten sufficiently. I am forced to regularly re-screw them. This is a little annoying and it sounds like I have a faulty pen.

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The Mint Glaze colour is subtle. In some photos I have taken it appears almost white. I think this could be a little more minty but regardless it is such a nice colour Safari. Every element is Mint too giving it a complete colour cover. The end gap, the screw into the barrel, everything is complimented. The clips is chrome which compliments the pen nicely.

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Overall thoughts.

I really like this colour and I think this Safari will be one I reach for regularly among all the other colours I have. I am a little disappointed with the dodgy screw grip, I have contacted the seller to see if they are experiencing issues with this elsewhere. If you enjoy pastel shades and like Safaris this is a winner. It’s also the perfect starting fountain pen for people and with these fun colours could really appeal to a broad base.

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Sailor Shikiori Hisakata - Stardust Fountain Pen Review.

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The Sailor Shikiori Hisakata used to be known as the Sailor Procolor. I was lucky enough to be bought this pen as a gift from my husband. It's my first experience with a Sailor fountain pen and I think it's a great introduction. It comes in at a good price, approx £55 and is a great size. Plus there are some of the distinctive Sailor features available in this pen.

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My Shikiori Hisakata gets its Stardust name due to the barrel design. It has a resin body in a navy colour and throughout the barrel there are flecks of silver and blue that looks like Stardust or the night sky. I really love this design which is hard to emulate on a screen. In person and in the light the flecks within the pen body look wonderful. They really shine, but they’re not too bold and glittery. I’m not a glittery girl, but this works beautifully.

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The finish on the Stardust is chrome which compliments the colour nicely. Around the base of the pen cap there is quite a thick chrome ring which has the Sailor branding. Thee other chrome accents come from the pen clip and a ring around the top of the pen cap. Overall the amount of chrome detailing feels right.

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I have a fine nib which was purchased through The Writing Desk. This is the only nib size they have and as this is a Japanese brand the fine is very fine. The nib is small but the perfect size for this pen and it has some beautiful detailing that can be found on other Sailor fountain pens.

Sailor flourishes on the nib

Sailor flourishes on the nib

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This is a screw cap pen so your cap shouldn’t remove unnecessarily from the pen. The grip section has the same resin finish as the pen body which means that lovely design isn't broken up. It's comfortable to grip and I haven't experienced any slipping from the resin finish.

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Overall thoughts.

This is my first Sailor fountain pen and it is completely lovely. It’s a really nice pen to use, the nib is smooth and you get a super fine line. The pen is comfortable to write with for long periods of time and the weight balance is good. It’s a £55 Sailor pen and I think a great entry into Sailor. There are cheaper Sailor fountain pens you could try such as the Lecoule but the Shikiori Hisakata is a much prettier design.

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Pelikan M400 Special Edition Brown Tortoiseshell fountain pen review.

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The Pelikan M400 brown tortoiseshell has been a prized possession of mine for two years and for some reason I haven't reviewed it. In today’s post I will give you my thoughts on this fountain pen but also a little background into my buying experience.

My buying experience.

This fountain pen is the nicest fountain pen I own. I bought it at my first London Stationery Show in 2016. I went the show curious to see what a pen show would be like and what pens would be on offer. I was on the hunt for a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 which I didn't find. Instead I was lured in by the beautiful Pelikan fountain pens and took advantage of being able to test out the different pen sizes and nibs. This proved invaluable.

Initially I was looking at the 2016 limited edition M205 in Aquamarine but holding this it felt too small and more plasticity than I had expected. I was really disappointed because I’d loved the look of this online, but getting it in hand it didn’t feel special enough and I knew I wouldn’t be happy with this purchase long term. I quickly upgraded to the M400 enticed by the Pelikan Souveran in green. I had a budget in mind and this maxed it out but buying one high quality fountain pen was worth it.

My husband and then newborn actually joined me at this show. This isn’t something I would normally do because I like to concentrate on my stationery shopping trips but this was a unique time. We probably thoroughly irritated everyone pushing a huge pushchair around the show but it turns out having them with me proved really useful. (My then four month old son was also given his first fountain pen, now tucked away in a drawer for future use.) My husband was the person who upsold me to the brown tortoiseshell M400. I had seen this pen from Liz’s blog posts and had already thought how beautiful it looked. The colours are classic and simple but the design really made this fountain pen look stunning. But it was out of price range for me so I'd ignored it.

My husband convinced me (this part wasn’t very hard) that this was the better buy. There was only one left and it was a limited edition pen, I could buy the green any time. He sealed the deal by offering to buy the pen for me as a pushing present. (Small side note here because I am not sure if this is a common thing or a British weirdly phrased thing. So a pushing present is something you’re bought after giving birth. This can be in the form of an eternity ring or jewellery.) My eyes lit up immediately because for a stationery addict what better way to celebrate a huge life event than with stationery. This fountain pen was beautiful and would forever be associated with my son. So I bit his hand off and handed the seller my husbands card immediately.

Buying at the pen show was invaluable. I was able to touch, feel and use the fountain pens I was interested in which showed me that the M205 wasn’t the pen for me at that particular time. Testing out the different nibs, trying a gold nib and looking at the different widths all really helped me feel confidant in my purchase.

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The Pen Specifics.

Now let’s get into the actual review itself and discuss the specific features of this fountain pen and the things I love.

Size of the M400.

The M400 is a small pen. I had no concept of the size progression on the Pelikan pens and honestly I would have assumed they were bigger. Comparing this to other fountain pens I own its far smaller than the Lamy Safari/AL Star/LX, smaller than the Sailor Sapporo but larger than the Kaweco Sports.

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It fits almost perfectly in my hand and unposted the barrel is still a good length making it comfortable to write with.

Barrel design.

The barrel design on this brown tortoiseshell special edition is stunning. The tortoiseshell design has deep dark browns, golden tones and light almost pearly white sections.

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On top of the special barrel design and the gorgeous colouring there are also the other typical Pelikan elements to this fountain pen. There is the Pelikan bill style clip which I have always thought looked really attractive and makes these pens so distinctive.

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There is the Pelikan logo on the cap of the pen, again very subtle. Around the pen cap etched on the gold section is the name of the pen. The cap in general is really nicely designed and the graduated cap is really nice.

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Filling mechanism.

The Pelikan M400 has a piston filling mechanism. It has a good ink capacity and is really simple to fill up. As its not a demonstrator pen it does make it a little tricky to see how much ink is left in the pen, but I hold it up to the light to give me an idea of how much ink I have left.

Nib.

The brown tortoiseshell has gold furniture. I have a 14K gold extra-fine nib. The nib has the iconic Pelikan design and is a two-tone. As this is a German fountain pen the extra fine is actually not that fine. It’s a really nice width but feels a lot more like a Japanese medium nib.

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The nib really is very different to anything I have ever used before. This is my first gold nib and my first Pelikan nib. I’ve really enjoyed the softness of the gold nib. It really changes the writing experience making it feel almost luxurious. The nib is wet too which means you get a good amount of ink on the page and if you pair this with a nice ink the results are magical. I have mine inked up with the Sailor Waga-Uguisu and its a match made in heaven.

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Using the M400.

Buying an expensive pen comes with a lot of expectations. You want it to live up to the price and therefore the writing experience becomes more important than it would on entry level pens. The M400 is smooth and light in the hand. In the two years I’ve had this pen I have had it inked the whole time and use it regularly. It’s such an enjoyable pen to write with, especially for long form writing.

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Overall thoughts.

It may seem obvious but I love this pen for all sorts of reasons. I love the design of the pen and its colour. I love using the nib and how it writes, it’s just so smooth. Being my only gold nun pen it makes the M400 stand out against any other I own. I love the size of this pen, it works perfectly for me, but I also love what this pen means and what it represents.