Visconti pens are typically known as a luxury brand. And while they don't come in at the very highest end of the price spectrum, they're not inexpensive, either. But the Rembrandt collection changes this slightly by placing this premium brand in a more affordable price bracket. But that lower-level entry point comes with some caveats.
This pen was sent to me by the awesome folks at Appelboom Pens. They just celebrated a new store opening, so I figured this week would be a good week to review and give away an awesome product from them. If you want to read more about their opening, the always awesome Azizah Asgarali wrote about it on her blog at GourmetPens.
So what about the pen? First off, it's gorgeous. The Rembrandt collection is offered in a few colors, all of which are made from a variegated resin, giving them a visual texture reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique so popular with the pen's namesake. I ended up with the blue model, which has lovely deep blues and some lighter tones. There's plenty of depth, but it's all very subtle which is perfect because the hardware on this pen is rather flashy. If blue ain't your thang, you can snatch this guy in red, black, ivory and a sort of red/white/blue swirl. There's also a special edition in an olive green color with ruthenium trim which has been dubbed "Special Ops." I find this rather funny as I can't see a "Special Ops" guy whipping out a Visconti Rembrandt on the battlefield to make a quick note on his super top-secret map...
The colors are beautiful and the material is smooth and shiny and lovely to look at, especially in great light. The hardware on these pens is... well, it's flashy. It's a bright chrome with lots of beautiful details reminiscent of Rembrandt's artwork. In my opinion, it's a little too flashy, but I typically don't buy stuff with lots of "bling" because it's just not my style. In the right setting, I'm sure it'd be very welcome, but for me, it's a little ostentatious. There's a little dollop of chrome at the end of the barrel and a magnetically-attached cap finial that can be swapped out with any number of semi-precious stones. More flash for your cash! Finally, it's all rounded off with the iconic Visconti clip. Which I hate. It's big and bulky and, yes, it's supposed to be a nod to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, but on a pen this size, it's over-the-top. Perhaps that's what Visconti was going for. And if it was, they nailed it, but I think this resin is lovely enough to stand on its own and I'd love to see a version without so much pizzazz.
The grip section is metal, which I typically don't like. This one's not much different, but they did add a little bit of a "step" at the end, which gives your fingers a little purchase. However, it's a fingerprint magnet and if your hands are even a little sweaty, or even too dry, the grip swiftly becomes slippery and uncomfortable. For shorter writing sessions, it was perfectly fine and is actually very comfortable as they've given it a nice shape and size, but add a little perspiration during your novel-writing marathon and you'll be reaching for something with a little more tactile grip to finish off those later chapters.
Perhaps the biggest saving grace for the section is the lack of any threads. Because the cap is magnetic, there's no need for threads meaning you can grip the pen in any number of ways that's most comfortable for you. Up close, far away, tri-grip, fisted, etc. You can do it with this guy because the grip is pretty flexible. It's still metal, though so keep that in mind.
The magnetic cap is a nice touch as it provides an easy way to cap/uncap the pen. It makes for a really satisfying little "snick" when capped and you never have to fumble with threading. Sitting in a meeting or classroom, you can quickly slip the cap off one-handed to jot a quick note. And the cap does post. I personally found the pen a little back heavy when posted, but it's possible if you prefer a little more length. Unposted, the pen felt great to me and I never found the need to post it, but your mileage may vary.
The thing I like best about this pen is the nib. Sure, it's steel, which is how Visconti was able to get this pen down under the $200 mark and still add all that bling, but it's a really nice steel nib. This one is a Fine and it wrote wonderfully, albeit slightly dry, with a hint of subtle feedback and a tiny bit of spring. It made for a comfortable, slightly bouncy writing experience that I really enjoyed. And the nib itself features plenty of engraving and stuff for you to ogle over (in case the flash on the rest of the pen leaves you wanting). Oh, and the crescent breather hole is there, which is fun and unique and I don't care that it's purely ornamental. I like it.
So I guess that about wraps things up. I like this pen. I don't love this pen. I probably wouldn't buy one outright with my own money, but I've enjoyed the opportunity to use this one. These are gorgeous pieces, albeit a little too flashy for me. And the steel nib rivals some gold nibs I've used. I think if Visconti could tone down the jewelry a little and maybe give me one with a resin section instead of metal, I'd own one in a heartbeat. But if you like a little pizzazz and don't mind the metal grip section, this would be a lovely addition to any collection, especially if you're a fan of the arts.
Be sure and check out Appelboom online to see their selection of pens, papers and inks. And give these Visconti Rembrandts a look. They just might float your boat. In the meantime, you can enter to win this one by commenting below. Head over to my Instagram profile @heymatthew for a second chance to win. I'll do the drawing on Friday, 29 April at Noon. Shipping is on me and this is open worldwide.
Thanks for reading and a very special thanks to Appelboom for sponsoring this review and giveaway.
All the best,