FPG Scorecard Giuliano Mazzuoli 4 Tempi

Review Specificaitons

Pen Class: Premium ($200 to $499)
MSRP Price:: $325
Street Price:: $255

Body Material: Aluminum
Nib Material: Steel
Nib Size: Medium
Cap Type: Screw On/Off
Post-able: Yes
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter
Ink Capacity: 1.0mL
Overall Weight: 51g / 1.8oz
Cap Weight: 14g / 0.5oz
Overall Length Capped: 138.8mm / 5.46″
Overall Length Posted: 172mm / 6.77″
Body Length (not including nib): 107.7mm / 4.24″
Nib Length: 16.3mm / 0.64″
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 15mm / 0.59″
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 19.7mm / 0.78″
Section Diameter: 7.6 – 11.5mm / 0.3 – 0.45″
Body Diameter at Ink Window: 15mm / 0.6″
Body Diameter at Blind Cap End: 12.2mm / 0.5″

If this pen were a movie, it would be…

Transformers (2007)

Review Dealer Prep

Dan: 9.25 – Giuliano Mazzuoli sure knows how to package a pen. There’s not a whole lot of flash with the packaging but there is a whole lot of usefulness, and with all the pieces included in this kit, that’s a good thing.

A black and white photograph is printed on the outer sleeve showing a man named Renato, Giuliano’s grandfather, and a little girl (Giuliano’s mother) in front of Renato’s machine shop where he made bicycles. The box that holds everything is well made and has a magnetic clasp to keep the lid closed. Inside, a thick (~0.3”), dense, foam sheet keeps things packed tightly. Under that is a tray that’s filled with the same material and has cutouts for each individual part. The Officina comes assembled as a lead holder with two pieces of lead on each side of the pen, each a different color.

This tray can be removed to reveal an eraser, a ballpoint refill, five different colors of rollerball refills, the tip/section for the ballpoint/rollerball refill, the converter, an ink cartridge, and the section/nib unit for the fountain pen. There’s also an open space for the lead holder when it’s not in use.

The cutouts for each piece in the foam keeps things very organized and also does a really good job keeping everything in place. I couldn’t imagine trying to find a better way to keep everything organized and secure. Giuliano Mazzuoli has done a great job keeping the box compact enough to make traveling with the entire kit pretty convenient. So, needless to say, I’m not going to be throwing the box out anytime soon.

Review Filler Up

Dan: 6.5 – The Quattro Tempi Officina, while able to easily swap between multiple writing systems, is only being reviewed on it’s fountain pen filling system.

Whether purchased in this set or on its own, the 4 Tempi Officina utilizes the cartridge/converter filling system and includes one international cartridge of black ink and one converter. The system works just as well here as it does on any other c/c pen. It’s not very unique, it’s not a whole lot of fun, but it is convenient and it just works. No complaints here. Oh, and the barrel will easily hold a spare cartridge.

Review Test Drive

Dan: 9.25 – I found my first experience with the Quattro Tempi Officina to be a lot of fun. There’s a lot to play with since it contains four different writing modes and takes quite a bit of time to get familiar with it all. I’ve always very much enjoyed the first moments with any new product, that time when you have to go through all the bits and pieces and learn how everything works. This extended moment of exploration and experimentation contributed to the excellent score during for the Test Drive.

The lead holder is what comes installed in the Officina and includes five 5.5mm leads: graphite, green, red, blue, and yellow. At the rear of the lead holder is a sharpener that can be unscrewed from the unit to sharpen the leads. The unit can be removed by first unscrewing the sharpener and then unscrewing the section. The unit then easily slides out.

Using the ballpoint or rollerball is as easy as installing the tip and dropping the refill in from the rear. Since there’s now a hole in the rear of the pen a chrome plated screw is provided to keep the refill in place and make the pen complete.

Switching to the fountain is equally as easy. Leaving the rear screw in place, remove the section and the refill should come out with it. Attach the cartridge or the converter to the nib unit and screw it to the body of the pen. Each process is very simple and can be completed in a matter of seconds.

Review Under the Hood

Dan: 6.5 – The Officina comes with a #5 stainless steel nib available in only one width: medium. While I would like to see more sizes available, what really bothers me is the use of the #5 nib in pen of this stature. I think a #6 size nib could fit in the pen with little to no modification to anything other than the section and would actually reduce its severe slope, which is the other thing that really annoys me.

The section tapers from 11.5mm at the barrel to 7.8mm at the nib. That’s a drastic reduction in size that is in no way helped by its smooth chrome surface. Even though it looks pretty, it’s not enough to make up for the fact that it’s difficult to hold unless your fingers are clean and dry. Even the tiniest bit of moisture or oil will cause problems.

Returning to the nib, I believe at some point in some review I asked for a completely blank nib just to get away from the cheap scrollwork so often found on nibs. Well, I got what I asked for and am actually afraid to say that there may be such a thing as too plain of a nib. How about a nib with just a logo? That should work, right?

Review Performance

Dan: 8.5 – Overall, the Officina performed extremely well as a multi-purpose writing instrument. But, since we’re mostly interested in fountain pens, that’s what we’re going to focus on.

The Officina still performed very well as a fountain pen but I almost think that its design as a multipurpose writing tool may have hurt it slightly because its focus is spread across four different writing modes rather than solely as a fountain pen. My basis for this being the design of the grip section. I think a lot of the comfort of the section was sacrificed because of the versatility required from the pen. The inability to maintain a solid grip has a negative impact on writing performance, and it certainly did here.

The nib, however, was a solid performer, like it had been practicing for a lifetime to show off its skills. After filling the pen with some Organics Studio Uranium Green, the nib was ready to step on stage. It didn’t disappoint. The flow was spot-on perfect. Not dry nor wet, and the nib was smooth enough to comfortably glide across the page without being rough or scratchy. I’m glad to see GM’s focus didn’t waiver here as a nib that doesn’t perform is about as useful as a toilet that doesn’t flush.

Review Design Notes

Dan: 8 – The Officina comes in three different designs: End Mill, Micrometer, and Thread. I received the End Mill version and after having used it for several weeks I think I would have preferred the Micrometer. The reason being that the edges along the spiral design can be a little rough in the hand and even rougher on the straps of a pen case. It makes inserting and removing the pen a little more of a hassle than it should be.

Design wise, I think each one clearly falls within the design goals set out by Giuliano Mazzuoli. Being milled from solid aluminum and having a brushed chrome finish all help to achieve that industrial, machine shop look. The two piece clip is riveted together and the shiny, polished part of the clip provide a nice, subtle difference to the rest of the matte finished cap. The clip has a lot of tension and does very well holding the pen in place, but the ramp could use a redesign to make it easier to use one-handed. Most of the time I had to use two hands to clip it to my shirt or pocket.

The cap is plain and smooth with only the word “OFFICINA” printed near the cap lip, centered below the clip. The cap is removed in only 1.5 rotations and if you like to post the pen, that can be done in 1.5 rotations as well. Even though the pen is quite heavy, it’s still very usable when posted. My only problem with it is that the clip doesn’t line up with the nib slit when posted. Instead, the clip sits 90 degrees counterclockwise from the slit. This was more than enough of a reason for me to use it unposted.

The fact that this writing instrument can be used as four different tools is a testament to its clever design. The only small niggle I had while changing writing modes, and I’m really nitpicking here, was that the section requires just over 7 rotations to be removed from the barrel. If you’re switching modes often, that can be a bit tedious.

Review Detailing

Dan: 8 – The fit and finish of the Officina is top notch. With so many interchangeable parts one would almost expect at least one piece to be slightly out of tolerance and wiggle a bit. But there’s none to be found. Everything fits together perfectly and makes for a very solid fountain pen. Or ballpen. Or lead holder. Or,…well, you get the idea.

My only complaint with the End Mill version we received is with the consistency of the placement of the many short grooves within the spiral along the barrel. The majority of them are centered perfectly, but there are a few that seem out of position and clip the edge of the spiral. Click to embiggen the image above to see the details. I guess I was just expecting a little more precision. However, the chrome plating of all the parts, whether brushed or shiney are phenomenal. I couldn’t find a flaw anywhere.

Review 21 Minute Road Trip

Dan: 6.25 – There was one thing that bothered me about the Officina during the entire Road Trip: the section. There’s no getting around it. If Giuliano Mazzuoli wants to build a better pen he needs to redesign the section because it’s horrible. The only thing that saved this writing session for me was the fact that the barrel is so tactile. With my grip position my thumb rest on the barrel while my index and middle fingers are positioned on the section. There was enough grip from just my thumb to keep the pen from sliding or turning. If you happen to hold the pen where your entire grip is on the section then I can’t see this pen being very usable for you.

If, however, metal sections don’t bother you then you’ll be thrilled to know that the nib performed very well. It was difficult for me to focus on the nib for very long because of my constant frustrations with trying to maintain a solid grip on the pen. But, what I do recall is that the nib was smooth and the flow was consistent. It wasn’t uncontrollably smooth but offered good feedback. It really allowed you to feel the different textures of different papers.

Review The Checkered Flag

Pros: Cons:
Multipurpose design Section design
Ease of use Attention to detail

Famous Last Words:

Dan: The Giuliano Mazzuoli Quattro Tempi Officina is like the Transformer of fountain pens. It easily switches between ballpoint, rollerball, lead holder, and, most importantly, fountain pen. The great thing about the Officina is that if you don’t need or want all those other writing modes, then you can just purchase it as a fountain pen. That is, if you like heavy pens and metal sections don’t bother you.


This pen was provided by the Bromfield Pen Shop, courtesy of Giuliano Mazzuoli.

Share →
  • Dirck in Saskatchewan

    On the topic of nib size– I think you’re right with relation to the barrel’s ultimate diameter, but the way the section slopes it harmonizes better with the smaller point. A #6 suddenly erupting out of that conic section would look funny in a different and possibly more fatal way.

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Dirck,

      I’m not sure a #6 size nib and feed would even fit in the current section. My suggestion, perhaps poorly worded, was to replace the section with one that would accommodate a #6 nib and feed. The opening would need to be larger, thus reducing the slope of the section and making it more comfortable as an additional benefit.

      I hope that clarifies my thinking.

      Dan

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Dirck,

      I didn’t mean for them to just shove a #6 nib and feed into the current section. I’m not even sure that’d be possible. The thought I was trying to convey is that the section should be replaced with one that has a larger opening to accommodate the larger nib and feed. This would reduce the slope from barrel to nib and make it easier to grip.

      Sorry for the poorly worded section in the review. I’ll try to clarify it.

      Dan

      • Dirck in Saskatchewan

        …or I’m not reading properly; re-reading the article proves that’s pretty much EXACTLY what you’d said, and I fixated on nib size alone. Having not handled the item, I can’t speak on the ergonomics of the steep section slope, but as it’s an Italian design I suspect that’s a secondary consideration to the looks (see also, walking any distance in Italian shoes or reversing a Lamborghini without opening the door), which are extremely striking.

    • http://manoeuver.blogspot.com/ Tim Hofmann

      “possibly more fatal” is a term I’m going to try and work into conversation tonight.

  • Jon

    Thanks for the review. I would have the same issues with that pen that you did. the small section and lack of other nib widths would probably be a showstopper for me. I hate buying new pens knowing that I’m going to have to wait until I can have the nib reground to use them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vikram.4819 Vikram Shah

    That sure looks like a cool writing instrument. Thanks for the review!

  • http://monkeyphotomcr.blogspot.com/ John_the_Monkey

    A bit of a digression, but re: plain(er) nibs, have you seen Faber Castell’s steel nibs?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholasyeo Nicholas Yeo

    Wow, this is solid! I’ve never heard of the brand though.

  • Penfancy

    I picked one up, of all places, Tuesday Morning, for $45. It is a solid performer! Excellent pocket pen! I ground mine to a fine point as it’s always paired with my Rhodia web calendar.