Visconti dabbles in mixing new with old. Is it good enough for the Wall Street type?
I’ll confess, I don’t have anything to do with Wall Street. I will say though that I’ve had this pen in use for the last 6 months as my desk pen so I think the time is right to give it a full review.
I had always admired this pen.
It channels one of my favourites, the Parker Vacumatic, with its stacked celluloid design and construction. The rings are supposed to reflect the comings and goings of wall street, an urban, bright lights location. To me though, it has always been more of a modern take on the Vacumatic which is great to see someone have a real go of it rather than pump out rubbish cheap Parker IM’s with a fancy pattern.
Initially I had been looking to acquire one of these pens from the moment it was released some five years ago, however, the retail price of $995 USD had always put me off even with generous dealer discounts (who pays retail anyway?). In the insanity that is the fountain pen world, this was a large sum of money to pay for an Italian brand who make some amazing pens and nibs, but are a little hit and miss with quality. In Australia, they can be had right now for around $1,000 AUD.
I got my opportunity via the ‘bay last year with a near mint example listed for a much more reasonable $300 AUD. In the grand scheme of things, we are still talking about a used pen, but fountain pen enthusiasts will share with you why handing over large sums of money for something you have never seen over the internet strangely is normal.
I snapped it up instantly within a few minutes of it being listed, paid and eagerly awaited the mailman to pay me a visit. This of course, is one of the great feelings in fountain pen collecting with the scarcity of bricks and mortar stores. The wait was excruciating but I finally came home one day to see a package on my doorstep. I eagerly ripped open the parcel and fell in love.
Name – Visconti Wall Street Limited Edition
Colour – Green Pearl. Available in Red, Grey and Blue also.
Nib Size & Material – Fine, 18 Karat Gold 750, Two tone
Filling Mechanism – Patented Double Reservoir ‘Power Filler’
Measurements – 135mm uncapped, 145mm capped, 175mm posted
Price – RRP $995USD Actual $300AUD
Available – Out of production, some new examples still available
Also available in a non LE, smaller, cartridge converter version with metal section.
What Makes It.
The design. The classic opera shape (squared circle) of the pen combined with the striped celluloid provides a well balanced look and reminds you of a time gone by. The celluloid glimmers in the light and provides visual interest, no easy feat amongst other pens. The arched design is the Visconti trademark and represents the bridge in Florence, and I do enjoy this point of curved interest on such a square pen. Combined with the nicely shaped blind cap and ink view window it’s certainly a looker.
The nib is just glorious. This is my first 18k gold Visconti nib, and having fallen in love with their 14k nib I was expecting it to be good, but ultimately not as good as the 14k. Oh how I was dead wrong. The large two tone nib has glorious spring and character to it. Mine came writing perfectly from the get go, though for a fine, it writes like a medium. I think the perfect nib size for me would be a extra-fine in this series. They just don’t make nibs like this anymore and it certainly is worth the admission price.
The celluloid is amazing, and the section is comfortable. The celluloid has an element of transparency and is tastefully created. It is soft to the touch and has a great ‘feel’to it. Unfortunately, many modern pens succumb to the metal section which can be uncomfortable and slippery. Thankfully on the LE unlike the Standard Version, the celluloid continues to the section and is super comfortable. The slide fits my hand perfectly and it encourages long writing sections.
Humongous ink capacity. The double reservoir system can hold a huge amount of ink. I can’t tell you exactly how much ink in ml, however, it is roughly 2-3 times a standard international converter equivalent. A huge bonus if you detest having to refill all the time and it is simply a ‘set and forget’ proposition with the Wall St.
Innovative and different filling system. You will find a lot of information our there about the power filler system which has been used in many Visconti pens, including the excellent Homo Sapiens. Without going through the technical details of how it works, you do need to spend a quick 30 seconds to understand how to fill it before your first time. Once you get the hang on of the downward vacuum and wait, you will be a pro in no time. Indeed I can’t help but draw comparison to the Parker Vacumatic and I love this nod to the past, full marks for that. The double reservoir chamber also makes it safe to travel with on planes and I think Visconti should be applauded for trying something new.
What Breaks It
No pen is perfect of course, and in true Italian writing instrument style, these are some flaws.
It’s a huge pen. You can forget about carrying it anywhere with you for fear of people thinking you are trying to overcompensate. I have mid sized hands and I actually quite struggle with the overall length of the pen, it takes some getting used to. I think those who have smaller hands would struggle with it. The weight isn’t too bad due to the celluloid construction, by comparison though it is heavier than a MB 146. Delicate joints need not apply.
Maintenance. The filling system is a delight to behold but an absolute pain in the bum to maintain and clean. The double reservoir is moderately simple enough to vacuum empty, however it retains a bit of water in the ink view window which is impossible to get rid of without sitting it in a napkin overnight to drain. Not a big deal if you don’t change inks, but if you do, it’s worth considering before you pull the trigger on buying this pen.
Quality control department is having a siesta. Ah yes, this pen no matter the high price does not escape the quality concerns of Italian pens. Whilst the overall construction of the pen is solid and the material is finished well, the clip is not straight! Looking down the profile of the pen it is immediately noticeable and requires adjustment to be ‘straight’ again. To add to this the finish on the clip is easily tarnished and I don’t see the Visconti text going the distance in 10 years time.
Staggering RRP. Get it on discount if you can as you would be mad to pay the full RRP on this pen. Looking at what else is out there for $1,000 USD you are facing a lot of competition including Writers Edition MB’s.
The pen is an absolute beauty to behold and use. It oozes character, style and passion. Despite it’s flaws I am deeply in love with it as a desk pen. If you are looking for something to take on the go with you I would advise to look at something smaller.
The emotion it evokes when I write with it enourages me to keep going, and isn’t that what writing instruments are all about after all?
Attached are some photo’s of the pen including a size comparison and writing sample to help you decide.
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