After the formal announcement that Italian pen manufacturer Visconti would be producing their 14 karat and 18 karat gold nibs in-house, which was back in August 2020, I was intrigued. Instead of using German nibs like JoWo or Bock, this signified that Visconti’s writing instruments would be completely made in Italy.
It would not be until November 2020 that I would see the new in-house nib in person and then early December 2020 until I owned a Visconti Homo Sapiens Lava Color in Sandstorm and got to consistently write with a Broad in-house nib. What an attractive combination that the earthy Sandstorm proved to be, paired with ruthenium appointments and a large ruthenium plated 14 karat nib. The new in-house nib also features two new modernized Visconti logos that are placed on either side of the nib slit, which evokes a beautiful art nouveau pattern that recalls designs of the 19th century Glasgow School. Looks are not everything though. The true testament of the new Visconti in-house nib would be whether this new nib wrote well.
Prior to Visconti’s decision to manufacture their own nibs, they placed Bock nibs into their pens. In fact, the switch from Bock nibs to the new in-house nibs is ongoing and at this point, the Visconti pens that feature the new nibs are their newest models including Homo Sapiens Lava Color and Homo Sapiens Demo Stone pens, their new Opera Demo Carousel pens, and their Voyager pens. My experience with the Visconti Bock nib extends as far as my Divina Bordeaux that has a very smooth Bock 18 karat stub nib that features the old nib design that looks like a version of the fleur-de-lis. A side-by-side comparison of the new and old nibs is striking. The new nib possesses a modern flair, from its departure from the old filigree pattern to the new sans serif typeface Visconti now uses—not just on their nibs, but on their packaging too. Some may find the new design a bit austere. Not me, this new look is extremely contemporary and attractive.
Now to address the main concern—how do the new Visconti in-house nibs perform? To fully describe this process, Coles of London, the Visconti distributor for the United States was kind enough to lend me a set of Voyager fountain pen each possessing a different nib size. Each pen is inked with a Private Reserve Black Infinity ink and the paper I used is a Cosmo Air everyday notebook I picked up from Galen Leather.
I decided to try each nib in ascending order to best judge the line variations between each nib as the widths increased. Beginning with the extra fine nib, I found that the line placed by the nib was not as extra fine as expected. In fact, this line width looks more like a fine. I do find the nib performance to be pleasantly smooth with a bit of bounce.
The line width difference between the extra fine nib and the fine nib is very small. At first glance, the variations could easily be overlooked. A closer inspection reveals that the fine nib when compared to the extra fine nib does lay down a slightly thicker line. I find the fine nib to have a bit more bounce with a slight flex when a small amount of pressure is applied.
If you prefer wetter nib performance compared to the extra fine and fine Visconti nibs, the medium nib is where it is at. As soon as the medium nib touched the paper, this writing experience became a smooth ride. While writing with this nib I notice that the bounce is still there without the slight flex.
When you need a nib that writes like a black Sharpie marker then you will absolutely adore the broad nib. This nib was intended to lay down a nice thick wet line. If your handwriting is large or you prefer inks that shade and shimmer, this Visconti broad nib will showcase all these attributes. I am noticing that with the broad nib the bounce has diminished significantly.
My favorite attribute regarding stub nibs is that they make bad handwriting or just regular handwriting look nice and give it a little flair. The in-house Visconti stub writes a lot like the old Bock stub, the only difference I am noticing is that the new in-house nib writes a bit smoother. To better identify the two writing samples between the in-house nib and the old Bock nib, the Bock nib is inked with a different color. I love the way both nibs write but dare I say that I enjoy the new in-house stub nib more because I really do! The stub is a wet and smooth writer that lays down ink much like the broad nib, only it has that little something extra.
After much experimentation writing with the various Visconti in-house nibs, I have concluded that I really enjoy the fine and stub nibs the best out of the entire line. Yes, even better than the broad nib that I have consistently used since December 2020. As for the entire nib collection, each nib is a solid writer. Your nib choice would completely rely on what kind of line you prefer while writing or scribbling.
All photos by Vanessa Langton
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