Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen Review

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

The Visconti Van Gogh was one of the very first gold nib fountain pens I owned.  I purchased this pen new from World Lux in 2002 for just under $200.  I should note that this is the original Visconti Van Gogh and it differs from the newer versions in a variety of ways.  First off it only came in the “Maxi” size at a 14.5 cm capped and was simply called the “Van Gogh”.  Other differences include a solid 14kt two-tone nib (instead of steel) and a “3 K” locking mechanism on the cap (instead of being magnetic) and a round (instead of faceted) body.

Appearance

The Visconti Van Gogh is a stunning pen, especially in the vanilla resin; it works beautifully with the two-tone nib and the silver trim.  This is a large and shapely pen that attracts attention.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

The pen is somewhat translucent allowing you to see into the barrel and the cap.  I picked this one over a couple of other vanillas because this had an unusual “crystalized” part on the top of the cap.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

One of the things I dislike about this pen’s design is the screw on the back of the cap…I cannot think of any other pen in this price range with an exposed screw.  To me it’s a bit of an odd choice.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

Score: 3/5

Build Quality

The Van Gogh is not a cheaply made pen; the fit and finish on the pen (including that exposed screw) are very well done.  Visconti built the Van Gogh with high quality materials and used a large highly modified ( read expensive) Bock nib.  In the last 12 years the silver trim has aged a bit and is in need of a good cleaning.

The “3K” locking system was developed by the automotive industry and it allows you to secure the cap with a short twist.  You can take off the cap with one hand; something you wouldn’t be able to do on a normal threaded cap.  To my knowledge Visconti discontinued the use of this locking system because it put too much stress resin causing the caps to crack.  This is an oversight that Visconti rightly corrected though I am sure proper testing would have avoided this whole debacle.

Score: 3/5

Size & Weight

The Van Gogh is what I would consider an oversize pen, measuring a whopping 14.5 cm capped and 13.75 cm uncapped.  At it’s widest point it is 1.5cm and it weighs 31.5 grams.  This pen has a heavy cap and for me it is most comfortable to use uncapped.  Uncapped the pen is a bit nose heavy but I have found it comfortable to use for long writing sessions.

Score: 2/5

Performance

 The 14kt gold nib has been a strong and reliable performer for me.  The nib has been prone to “singing” which some people will find annoying.  The medium point is quite fat, even for a European pen.  The ink flow is wet and definitely not suited to cheap papers.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

Score: 3/5

Filling System

 The Van Gogh uses a standard size cartridges and converters, though the converter does need to be threaded.  Somewhere along the way I lost the Visconti one and have replaced it with a threaded Waterman converter.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

Score: 3/5

Value

When I bought this pen in 2002 for under $200 it was an excellent value as you got a beautiful large Italian fountain pen with excellent fit and finish in addition to a large 14kt gold nib.  I am not sure I could recommend anyone buy one of the original Van Goghs because of the cracking issue…mine has lasted but other’s have not.

Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Fountain Pen

Score: 2/5

Bottom Line

The Van Gogh is a big an beautiful Italian pen but a design flaw in the cap’s locking system makes it hard to recommend.

Final Score 16/30

 

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Nakaya Desk Pen Stand Review

Nakaya Desk Pen Stand with Nakaya Naka-ai Cigar Negoro Shiro-tamenuri
Nakaya Desk Pen Stand with Nakaya Naka-ai Cigar Negoro Shiro-tamenuri

Last year I purchased my first Nakaya, a Naka-ai Cigar Negoro in Shiro-tameuri.  I tried using the Naka-ai at work and found that it was a complete pain to use for a number of reasons.  Being a cigar model it has no clip; I would have to use the pen with a Nakaya pillow so that it wouldn’t roll off the desk.  That was annoying.  The second issue is the threading on the Naka-ai; because this pen is designed to be finished with complex paintings and designs there is a lot of threading so that you cannot accidentally misalign the artwork (or in the case of the Negoro model, the scars).

These two “annoyances” make the Naka-ai unusable for quick notes.  To remedy this issue I purchased a Nakaya desk pen stand and now my Naka-ai is a pleasure to use at work.

Nakaya Desk Pen Stand

I had read that Nakaya desk pen stand is compatible with a lot of other common non-Nakaya pens so I opted for the basic plain black Urushi lacquer finish with gold trim as I thought this would work well with more of my pens.

with 1950s Montblanc 146
with 1950s Montblanc 146
with OMAS Paragon
with OMAS Paragon

I have found that the stand works very well with my Montblanc 146, my Aurora Optima, my OMAS Paragon, my OMAS Ogiva, and my Visconti Van Gogh (original model with the K locking cap. It may not work with the smaller more recent models).  Nibs.com (no affiliation) lists many more compatible pens that I have not had the chance to try with the stand.  Sadly it does not fit a Montblanc 149.

with Aurora Optima
with Aurora Optima
with Visconti Van Gogh
with Visconti Van Gogh

The fit and finish is as good as any other Nakaya product.  The lacquer is gorgeous.  The stand is sturdy and will hold your pen at any angle you choose.

Nakaya Desk Pen Stand

The base is made of wood and the bottom is not finished in lacquer as the top is; this prevents the base from sliding around.

Nakaya Desk Pen Stand

Overall, I am really happy with the desk stand as it has made a number of my favorite pens more usable.  The utility it provides makes the $140 price tag well worth it for me.  I definitely recommend this stand to Nakaya Cigar owners as well as anyone that gets tried of uncapping their pens.

Morning Glory Passion Notebook Review

Morning Glory Notebook

The Morning Glory Passion notebook contains 32  7.5″ x 5.1″ sheets of lined (7mm rule) red paper.  Morning Glory calls these notebooks “Colored Inner Paper Mini Notebook”.  They come in other colors such as blue, green and yellow,.  The different colors have different sayings on them; I saw a a blue one that says “diligence” on the cover.  The notebook looks great with a bright red cover and pinkish red pages.

Morning Glory Notebook

The notebook is bound with two staples. The paper handles fountain pen ink very well.  I only saw bleed through and feathering with my Visconti Van Gogh combined with Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang.  The paper is thick and smooth.  I there was little ghosting; you can easily write on both sides of the paper.

The pages are much more red (pink) than the pictures show.
The pages are much more red (pink) than the pictures show.

Morning Glory Notebook

I really didn’t care for the Morning Glory Mach 3 but if you can handle colored pages this notebook for $2.00 is a complete home run.  The notebooks look great, handle fountain pen ink well and are ultra cheap to buy.

Morning Glory Notebook