|WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW|
|Model||Memoria Silver Pinstripe|
|Nib Material||18k gold|
|Nib Sizes||Medium only|
|Filling System||Cartridge / Converter|
|Dimensions||Capped Length: 142.6mm / 5.6″
Posted Length 157mm / 6.2″
Uncapped Length: 127mm / 5″
Barrel Ø: 9-12.6mm / .35-.5″
Section Ø:8.3-9.8mm / .3-.38″
|Notes||Available in 6 different styles (see here for details)|
|Price||MSRP $995, Street $750|
Montegrappa makes a wide variety of fountain pens, many of which become hidden in the dark shadow cast by some of their more outrageous creations that easily sell for six figures. If we flip the switch and remove the spotlight from these über high-end pens, we’ll see that Montegrappa offers 10 different models that sell for less than $1000, starting at $225 (MSRP prices). Many of these are actually great looking pens that are highly functional, which is a description I wouldn’t give to some of their more “creative” offerings.
The fountain pen that I’ll be reviewing here is the Memoria all silver pinstripe. The Memoria is available in six different styles combining silver caps with silver or resin barrels at two price points. See our post of the product announcement for all the details. As soon as I saw this pen I was instantly attracted to it. Subtle elements such as the crown on the top of the cap, the roller clip, the nib imprint, and the ’1912′ logo on the end of the barrel all work very well together in creating a pen that I think can be summed up in one simple word: elegant.
The all silver pinstripe Memoria features a cap and barrel constructed entirely out of .925 sterling silver. The silver construction makes this relatively thin pen (barrel Ø: 9-12.6mm) a bit heavier than you might initially expect (41g), but I wouldn’t call this a heavy pen by any means. I actually welcomed the weight and found the pen to very usable for extended periods of writing whether posted or not.
Most of my writing time was spent using the pen not posted because the cap simply failed to post. I could occasionally get the cap to stay posted but with the slightest nudge it would come loose. I spoke with the rep at Kenro and they checked several they had in stock. They reported back that they all posted properly so it seems like it just may be this particular pen that has a problem.
The pinstripes look great and feel even better, adding some character to the pen. Even though the section and barrel are metal, and the section is smooth, I never had a difficult time gripping the pen. It’s odd how some pens with metal sections are almost uncontrollable while others, like the Memoria, pose no problem at all. I wish I had an explanation for it, but I don’t. The rear of the barrel is finished off with Montegrappa’s ’1912′ logo, 1912 being the year Montegrappa was founded.
The one thing I think I like most about this pen, other than the nib, is the cap. The crown on the cap really appeals to me and I like it here even more than I did on the Espressione. On the front of the cap just above the clip is ‘Montegrappa’ and on the back side is ‘Italia’, both done in a cursive script that’s pleasant and discrete. There’s a lot tension in the roller clip which will require two hands to operate, but should give you peace-of-mind knowing that it’ll stay exactly where you put it.
Examine the clip a little closer and you’ll notice some marks left over from the manufacturing process. Shown in the image to the upper left (click to enlarge) is the edge of the clip where the marks can be found. They’re also on the other side as well. What this looks like to me is that after the clip is stamped and formed, it goes straight to the plating process rather than to a finishing process where it should be smoothed and polished. This is a huge oversight, especially on a pen with a MSRP of $995. For this kind of money I expect perfection and Montegrappa simply failed to deliver.
Moving on to a more pleasant subject, the nib is no doubt the star of the show here. It’s made from 18k gold, then rhodium plated and stamped with one of the best looking imprint designs I’ve ever seen (Aurora, are you taking notes?!). Unfortunately, it only comes in Medium width, but there’s enough flex to it to easily add some flair to your writing. The feed is tuned a bit on the wet side and never failed to deliver a consistent flow of ink to the tip. The tip was also insanely smooth but not free from problems of its own. At least once per sentence I would experience a hard start. After checking out the nib with a 10x loupe I was able to see a slight ‘baby’s bottom’. A ‘baby’s bottom’ is created when the inside edge of the tines are rounded in an effort to increase the smoothness. The side effect of this is hard starts and it doesn’t take much to push it too far.
One odd thing I did run into with the nib was that it would make a squeaking sound on cross strokes. From left-to-right or right-to-left, it didn’t matter. But, it never made a sound on vertical strokes. I wouldn’t call it annoying, but I know plenty of people who would.
It’s a shame that such a beautiful pen is plagued with such deal-breaking issues as manufacturing marks on the clip and a cap that fails to post. While the nib is a lot of fun, it’s not without its own issues which may by a huge turnoff to some users. Personally, I could fix the nib and wouldn’t hesitate to send it back as many times as needed to get one with a perfect cap. But, for as much as this pen cost, I shouldn’t have to.