FPGeeks ScoreCard Monteverde Invinceia Stylus

Review Specificaitons

Monteverde Invincia Stylus Specs

Pen Class: Intermediate ($26 to $100)
MSRP: $95.00
Street Price:: $75.95

Body Material: Metal
Nib Material: Titanium Coated Black Steel
Nib Size: Fine, Medium, Broad, Stub
Cap Type: Screw On/Off
Post-able: Yes
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter (3 Cartridges, 1 Converter included)
Ink Capacity: Cartridge 0.75 ml / 00.25 oz – Converter 0.9ml / 0.03 oz
Overall Weight: 40 g / 1.41 oz
Cap Weight: 10 g / 0.35 oz
Body Weight: 30 g / 1.06 oz
Overall Length Capped: 140 mm / 5.51 in
Overall Length Posted: 155 mm /
Body Length (not including nib): 116.5 mm / 4.58 in
Nib Length: 22.5 mm / 0.89 mm
Body Length (including nib): 139 mm / 5.47 in
Cap Length: 61.5 mm / 2.42 in
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 14.5 mm / 0.57 in
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 18 mm / 0.71 in
Body Diameter at Section: 14 mm / 0.55 in
Body Diameter at Blind Cap End: 9 mm / 0.35 in

If this pen were a movie, it would be…

The Dark Knight (2008)

Review Dealer Prep

Eric: 6.5 - The Monteverde Invincia Stylus is presented in a Monteverde green outer box of heavy paper. Open the outer box and the inner rectangular clamshell box, also in Monteverde green, slips out. The Monteverde logo, name and tag line are presented tastefully on the top of the clamshell box.

Open the clamshell box to reveal an almost exclusively white interior, save the silver Monteverde logo, name and tagline on the lid’s underside. The pen rests on a white pillow and appears to be held I place by a white ribbon, but there are elastic bands under that ribbon.

The pen’s pillow is removable and reveals a compartment in which you’ll find ink cartridges. The three cartridges included with the pen come in what appears to be a miniature pen-shipping tube. It’s clever and I like it.

Overall, the presentation of this pen impresses me more than expected.

Dan: 6.25 - Big, thick boxes always make a great first impression with me and while the box for the Monteverde isn’t huge, it is thick. And green. Very green. Other than that, there wasn’t anything about the packaging that will make it memorable. It was of average quality and made from average materials; fitting for a pen in this price range. One thing I do like is that it comes with three cartridges instead of the usual two.

Review Filler Up

Monteverde Invincia Stylus Fill 'er Up

Eric: 5.0 - This Monteverde is your very typical cartridge/converter filler. It uses standard cartridges or a converter. The converter that comes with the pen has threads and screws in place. I like that. The pen also accepts non-threaded converters.

Dan: 6.25 – I didn’t bother with the cartridges and instead immediately dunked the nib in a bottle of Visconti Black and filled the converter. I love that the converter screws into place. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve seated converters completely, but with this one you know it’s solid when you screw it down tight. I’m also very happy that non-threaded converters can be used with this pen just in case something should happen to the included converter it can easily be replaced with another that most fountain pen users likely have on hand.

Review Test Drive

Eric: 6.5 - It took me less than two seconds to realize that my matte black Monteverde was crying out to be filled with some silky smooth Aurora black ink.

The first thing I noticed was that the pen is a bit on the heavy side. It’s not horribly heavy, rather about what you would expect from a metal pen. I found the pen to be only slightly top-heavy when posted, but not as unbalanced as I had imagined. Even though I don’t generally post, I was able to find a comfortable balance with this pen while posted.

The next thing I noticed was the nib. First of all, it’s beautiful to watch, being sleek and black and large. Secondly, for a fine nib (which I have), it is smooth. The Test Drive was fun, overall, but the weight of the pen was one of the most memorable aspects.

Dan: 7.25 - I filled the tank with Visconti Black one morning before I left for work and didn’t get a chance to use it at all that day. It was about 36 hours later when I finally had time to pull it out of the garage, but the engine just wouldn’t start. The nib acted like it was as dry as a bone. I used a piece of tissue paper and ran it over the breather hole and nib slit down towards the tip of the pen to try and entice the ink to start moving. That worked and the system was now plumbed and ready to rumble.

The factory stub I ordered is about 1.1mm in width, very smooth, with great ink flow. And I do mean VERY smooth. Writing as fast as I could I couldn’t find a scratch, a rough spot, or anything close to anything other than a buttery smooth writing experience. I was very impressed with this nib. The section I wasn’t so much impressed with. It decreases in size very quickly and is thinner than I’d prefer. There is some slight texture on the exterior finish of the pen which I really enjoyed. Also, the capacitive tip on the cap worked just as well as my finger on my iPhone, Android device, WP7 device, HP Touchpad, and my MacBook Air’s trackpad. Basically, this pen will work great with anything that uses capacitive input.

Review Under the HoodMonteverde Invincia Stylus Under The HoodEric: 7.0 - The Monteverde Invincia Stylus nib rates a very solid 7, the highest score I can give a steel nib. This nib scores high for it’s beauty and its craftsmanship. Made from black steel and coated with titanium, the nib is striking. It’s also on the larger size, which I confess to liking. Staring at the nib’s beauty, I imagine that it’s made from the same material as Darth Vader’s hemet.

If I tell you that the Monteverde name is stamped on the nib twice, that the logo is stamped front and center, that the Monteverde mountain range is stamped across the nib at its widest point, that USA is stamped close the the section and that the nib size (F) is engraved on one side, you’d likely conclude that the nib is quite busy. But it’s not. Everything fits and works well. The nib is beautiful.

Under the nib is a feed with graceful lines and enough wings to convey the obvious message, “I mean business.”

Dan: 9 - Anyone who’s familiar with my nib preferences will know right away that I’m going to like this nib. First of all it’s black, and second, it’s a stub. My two favorite things combined into one nib. How could this possibly get any better? Oh, I don’t know. How about by making it one of the smoothest nibs I’ve ever used? Yeah, that’ll do. Add to that one of the better imprint designs I’ve seen and this nib is quickly becoming a favorite. I really appreciate that there’s absolutely no scroll work on the nib and instead Monteverde has created an original nib design. Along the edge of the left tine is stamped “Monteverde”, on the right shoulder is stamped “1.1″ indicating the width of the stub, the logo is below and breather hole, and “Monteverde USA” below that.

Review Performance

Eric: 6.0 - The Monteverde Invincia Stylus performed nicely, but not perfectly. As you’ll read in my Road Trip, the flow of my pen is quite dry. Additionally, the nib is a lazy starter. When left unused (and capped) for as little as an hour, it takes a number of coaxing strokes on the paper before ink will flow. It makes no difference if I rest the pen upright in a stand or horizontally in the desk. If not used for even a short time, priming is necessary.

Dan: 8 - The factory stub nib on the Monteverde Invincia Stylus is really where it’s at for me. I really don’t think I’d be as enamored with this pen if it had a regular round point Medium or Broad nib in it. When you find a pen with your nib in it you can overlook a lot of faults the rest of the pen may have. Not that this pen has a lot of faults, it’s just a tad short for me and the balance is a little off. I’ve already exclaimed the nib is as smooth as anything I’ve ever used. I really don’t know how else to describe it. I never experienced any issues with flow except for the very first time writing with it for the Test Drive. No hard starts. No skipping. No variation in flow while writing. No complaints about its performance.

Review Design Notes

Monteverde Invincia Stylus Design Notes

Eric: 8.0 - The Monteverde Invincia is a good looking pen. The lightly brushed metal finish adds interest for both the eye and the hand. The smooth portions of the pen’s body (the band just under the stylus, the “built-in” cap ring, the barrel end) are easily identifiable yet merge seamlessly with the overall design. Monteverde took the high road by deciding that their name and the pen’s name, which appear in raised letters on the cap band, would also be in black.

I’m not a fan of most clips on fountain pens, but I understand their purpose, use and obvious need, so I try not to be overly harsh on their design. Unfortunately, even while allowing leeway in this area, the clip on this pen is the one design feature that strikes me as out of place. The overall sleekness of the pen is diminished by the jarring curvature found just below the clip’s attachment point. The two raised attachment point circles make the clip look like an aftermarket add on rather than something integral to the original design.

Remove the cap, however, and you’ll immediately forget about the clip. Just above the smooth black section you’ll find a stunningly beautiful black steel, titanium coated nib glinting a flirtatious, “Hello!” No one will accuse this nib of being small. And I’m guessing that most would agree; it’s gorgeous.

I’ll note here that this pen sports a dome of conductive rubber, which turns the pen into a stylus for capacitive touchscreens. Living in Southern California where gloves are rarely needed, I won’t find much use for the stylus feature of the pen, but I’ve tested it on both an iPhone and an iPad. It works. I can’t say that it works as perfectly as my finger, but it works well.

Dan: 7.75 – Design Notes is an area that’s completely subjective and probably the place where Eric and I have the most conflict. I completely disagree about the sleekness of the clip. While I could do without the fake rivets as well, I very much like the design of this clip. It seems to rise smoothly from where it attaches to the cap and the radical curvature is required to provide enough clamping pressure to hold the pen in place. It’s certainly far sleeker than many other clip designs I’ve seen.

The Monteverde Invincia Stylus is available in Matte Black and Matte Chrome finishes with my personal preference towards the black. I appreciate the subtle wood-grain texture on the exterior of the pen not only for the way it feels, but also for its appearance. Remove the cap by turning it 1 1/4 revolutions and you’ll find the black section and black, titanium coated steel nib that’s available in Fine, Medium, Broad, and 1.1mm Stub.

I’m slightly conflicted about the shape of the pen. I like the shape of the clip and the low profile where it attaches to the cap. But, I’m not crazy about the two ribs around the capacitive tip and the three near the end of the barrel. I just think something better looking could have been done there. I also wish the pen was a little bit longer and a little bit thicker. I do like the look of the section, but feel it’s too thin.

Then there’s the capacitive tip on the cap. I really like this and don’t think it’s a novelty at all. It’s one reason I really wanted to review the Monteverde Invincia Stylus. I’ve come up with two practical uses for it: outdoor, cold weather use when gloves are mandatory, and keeping fingerprints and smudges off my tablet. And when laptops start shipping with capacitive displays I’ll keep this pen around just for that too. I can’t stand seeing fingerprints and smudges on my screen. The tip is soft and squishing and worked exceedingly well on everyone of my devices that accept capacitive input. A bit of pressure is required to register input, but not so much to cause concern for the display of your beloved gadget. I just wish you could touch it as lightly as you can with your finger.

Review Detailing

Eric: 9.0 - As would be expected of a pen machined on excellent equipment, detailing flaws are few and far between. With the naked eye, I can spot one errant unknown fleck of an object caught under the clip’s coating. With a 10x loupe, I can spot several more. Also with the loupe I notice one very small flaw in the barrel’s threads for the cap – a flaw that does not hinder the cap’s travel in any way. Even the rubber dome appears to be attached in such a way as to instill confidence that it will not soon be falling to pieces.

Dan: 7.5 - The detailing on this pen is very good. The majority of this pen is metal so there’s not a lot of plastic parts where you’ll find traces of the injection molding process. The only plastic parts are the feed and the collar inside the section that the nib and feed fit into. Unfortunately, there are two little tabs on the collar where it was removed from the parts tree. A quick sanding would have removed these, but instead they stick out on each side of the nib like little tiny horns.

My only other concern is the durability of the plating on the pen. Monteverde did a great job in making sure every inch of the pen was covered in black. But, I can already see some wear on the section threads where there’s constant metal-on-metal contact.  There’s also a small spot on the cap lip that has little, if any coating on it. The spot looks more gray than black and I’m not sure if it came that way or if I accidentally chipped it. Hopefully, no other parts of the pen will experience any metal-on-metal treatment as the slightest scratch will stand out like a sore thumb.

Review 21 Minute Road Trip

Monteverde Invincia Stylus Road Trip

Eric: 6.25 - My Road Trip started with my pen not wanting to write. Not until I was at my fifth word did the flow finally appear. A pen that “dries up” after just an hour of non-use is one that I would consider suspect when thinking about overall reliability. However, once the Monteverde Invincia begins to write, it shows little sign of wanting to stop.

I did notice one skip during the Road Trip and my particular pen is a dry writer overall. I had to slow my writing pace quite a bit so that the flow would keep up with my ascenders and descenders. If a flow adjustment proves successful, however, this pen will be quite fun!

As stated above, the black steel nib is very smooth indeed, especially for a fine. It’s also such a looker that I enjoyed simply watching it slide across the paper. So captivated was I with the nib that the heaviness of the pen didn’t even begin to register until about the eight minute mark. Once noticed, however, the pen’s heft can be distracting. If you love heavy pens, this pen is for you. I, however, could not use this pen for long writing sessions.

Although I generally do not post, I found this pen to be a bit more comfortable in the hand when posted. This would be helpful for anyone wanting to double-task between paper and a touchscreen.

Dan: 7.5 – I wholeheartedly agree with that last sentence. I love my gadgets and technology, but I don’t think they solve every problem. Sometimes you just need a pen and paper. For me, this is the perfect pen to go in my tablet case along with a small pad of paper.

The rest of the Road Trip went well for the most part. The nib was the star of the show but the section was trying really hard to push its way into the spotlight. It decreases in size too rapidly from barrel to nib and I just couldn’t find a comfortable spot to hold the pen. I usually hold pens on the part of the section closest to the barrel, sometimes even on the threads. I tried that with the Monteverde Invincia Stylus but it just didn’t feel right. I think if the step just before the barrel threads had been a little wider then I might have been able to get a better grip on the pen.

The nib and feed performed flawlessly. No complaints whatsoever. The pen felt good in the hand. I wish it was a little longer and that the cap was a little heavier. The balance just wasn’t there for me. I mean, I can certainly get past those things to use that nib, but it’s just not the perfect size for me.

Monteverde Invincia 1.1 Stub writing sample

Review The Checkered Flag

Pros:
- Wonderful Nib
- Well Made
- Black, black, and more black.

Cons:
- Might be Too Heavy
- May need a flow adjustment.

Famous Last Words:

Eric: If you like black pens – and I mean pens that are all black – then the Monteverde Invincia is a no-brainer in this pen class. I would opt for the non-stylus version, but that’s a personal choice based on touchscreen use and habits. While my pen is slightly on the dry side, I know that a small flow adjustment will make me very happy to keep the pen in my rotation. The most important part of the pen, the nib, is both beautiful and a extremely functional. Good job, Monteverde! [Note: Yes, I performed just the smallest and easiest of flow adjustments on the nib and now I would say the flow is excellent.]

Dan: This pen has so much black on it, even Darth Vader would be impressed. If you’re looking for an affordable, all black pen and nib then the Invincia is the only option you should consider; and if you like stubs, you can’t go wrong with Monteverde’s factory stub nib. There’s also the standard Invincia line available in gloss black or carbon fiber that doesn’t have the capacitive tip.


This pen was purchased for review.

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  • Brian

    Great review guys. I do have a comment about the slow starting. I would love to know about your adjustment. I have an older Monte Verde from about 10 years ago and ever since I have owned it it does exactly the same thing. Slow to start when left along for a little bit of time, but once it gets going it its a joy to write with. I am curious as to it's durability as well. Mine has a carbon fiber strip covering the barrel. And while nice, you can see where it wasn't quite cut right. Not to mention the barrel of mine was slightly warped from the get go. Just wondering if their QC has improved.

  • http://monkeyphotomcr.blogspot.com/ John the Monkey

    It's a nice looking pen, no doubt (I think I agree about the clip – a simpler, single curve rather than the ramp/step curve/ball affair on there now would be better).

    There does seem to be an Invincia without the capacitive tip too in the same colour, for people who don't need the stylus function.

  • http://manoeuver.blogspot.com tim

    How much more black could it be?

  • Nigel Tuffnel

    I'd say the answer is none more black, but the Invincia Stealth is blacker. Nice pen, too.

  • Gordon Tillman

    I have been considering getting a stylus for use with my first-gen iPad, something like the Wacom Bamboo, but it doesn't also double as a fountain pen.

    Thanks for the awesome review. This pen looks very interesting.

  • http://www.hisnibs.com/Invincia_Stylus.htm His Nibs

    A terrific review guys! The Stylus is based on Monteverde’s flagship Invincia line — which has been out for more than 10 years — so the clip is part of the original design.

    I too am very happy with the Monteverde and Conklin stubs. I’d been pushing Yair Greenberg (owner of YAFA and both aforementioned pen brands) to produce one for several years. I originally introduced him to a number of my personal stub pens (he’d never used one), and he took several to use as the basis for Monteverde/Conklin’s endeavor. After testing early versions, I was most happy with the end product, and happier still to introduce the stub first, to my customers.

    I’ve enjoyed your other reviews as well!

    Regards,

    Norman Haase

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Norman,

      Thanks for the kind comments. And thank you for getting a stub introduced to those brands!

      • http://www.hisnibs.com/Invincia_Stylus.htm His Nibs

        My pleasure Dan. Now think of all the other pen companies that we’ve got to work on, to produce a stub nib!!! :-)

  • Michael D.

    Hello,

    If it’s not too much trouble, I’d very much like to know the diameter of the screw section of the nib.

    Thanks,
    Michael

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  • John

    I’d also like to know how you adjusted for the hard starting and dry flow please. I just got this pen, and it was very hard to get primed, and I find that I continuously have to wind the converter in as I use it to keep the ink flowing.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      John, the first thing I’d recommend doing is flushing the pen with a very mild solution of water and dish soap. If you can, pulling the nib and feed and scrubbing it with a soft brush and that same solution is a better option. What this does is cleans the feed of any mold release agents which are usually very ink repellant.

      If that doesn’t work, check the gap at the top of the nib. You should just barely be able to see though the gap when you hold it up to a light. If the tine are touching, you’ll need to adjust it.

  • Breck

    [Note: Yes, I performed just the smallest and easiest of flow adjustments on the nib and now I would say the flow is excellent.]
    And what might that be exactly? Or am I supposed to know?

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      There’s no way you could know because Eric doesn’t mention exactly what he did. There’s no reason to do that here as it’s outside the scope of this article and would only apply to the specific issue(s) he was having, which most likely are very different than issues, if any, experienced by others.

      I’m sure Eric wouldn’t mind stopping by and letting us know, if he can remember that far back…

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  • Cee Betterchoice

    What is the history of the monteverde pen company?