Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visconti Voyager

Have in my hand here another fountain pen that belongs to a friend, a Visconti Kaleido Voyager in red marble acrylic resin. It’s definitely a good-looking pen, and worthy of the name Visconti has given it. The root of ‘kaleido’ is in two Greeks words, ‘kalos’ and ‘eidos’ which put together have the meaning, ‘beautiful form.’ And while it certainly does boast a beautiful shape, it is a big fountain pen, or at least what I call a handful. The best thing about the size, in my mind at least, is the pen’s balance. It’s hard to imagine anyone complaining about a clumsy or uncomfortable feel or grip in writing with a Visconti Kaleido.

The pens measures 5.7 inches closed, and 7 inches posted. The diameter is 0.5 inches, and the fine balance might just be in these proportions. It is made of an acrylic resin called Acryloid, a resin considered tougher and more flexible than ordinary acrylic resin. In the ‘red’ marble finish I have here the Acryloid is a beautiful burgundy, not red at all, and handsomely highlighted by the silver cap band and pocket clip. The band is broader than usual, at least an eighth of an inch and repeats a pattern of cut-out ‘V’ shapes, alternating up, then down. The pocket clip has an unusual shape or design, the top portion set back from the cap. Interesting design, for sure. The top of the cap carries the trademark Visconti silver disc showing the name, Visconti Voyager.

My favorite part of the pen’s look is the very large 18k gold two-toned nib. Here again Visconti has hit upon an unusual design. It’s a little hard to describe, but looks almost like golden drops of ink fountaining out of the ink hole, resembling up and down fleur-de-lis. Again, beautiful. But here’s the rub; the nib on this Voyager is a B, and what I have to call only eighty percent of what we all want in a nib, and that’s one that doesn’t skip. Too often the downstrokes on this pen skip. In a test I found that it skipped seven times in the space of six lines, ignoring even the smaller skips. I consider that number much too high, and were the pen my own I would quickly have the problem investigated. Not being my pen, I can only recommend in this case. Who doesn’t like a beautiful fountain pen? As it happens, a nib with a problem can spoil it all. Especially on a pen as expensive as the Visconti Kaleido Voyager no one expects nor wants a nib that skips seven times in six lines.

Handsome, comfortable in the hand, but the nib problems on the Kaleido knock down my overall evaluation. A nib change seems in order this time.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America