I think this should be called the year of the demonstrator pen. Everybody has one. I mean everyone. So it came of little surprise to me when I saw the announcement that Monteverde was going to bring their own offering to the table, the Monteverde Artista Crystal. The Monteverde Artista Crystal offers something a little different that other brands don’t however, and this is what interested me most about this particular pen.
First off, the Artista Crystal is offered in the standard Clear transparent, but also in six other transparent colors: Turquoise, Pink, Lime Green, Yellow, Orange, and Purple. All more of a pastel shade than other manufacturer’s demonstrators. This is a nice touch. While I like Clear, the Turquoise was just so pretty, neither Lisa nor I could resist. The minute we had a spare pen we inked it up and put it to use.
Another nice feature of the pen might happen to be an annoyance for others. The pen opnly comes with a medium nib. No pondering over which nib choice to get, you get one choice. While for me a medium nib is perfect, I realize for others this may not be ideal. If you typically lean towards an extra fine, well, then this pen might not be for you. I suppose you could get the nib ground down to your desired style. This might be overkill for such an inexpensive pen, but I guess it is an option. The nib is a plain steel Iridium Point Germany nib and it writes smoothly. It writes like a steel nib. No flex, no spring, just a hard steel nib, but smooth. The feed is also unusual in that it is clear. No black plastic or ebonite here.
The pen sports a smooth metal section. Again, this may be a turn off for some, but not for others. I’m getting used to seeing metal sections on pens these days so it is becoming less and less of a bother. The cap is threaded so it screws off, which I think is a nice feature given the low dollar value of the pen (Street price $36). I would have expected to see a friction fit cap on a pen this inexpensive.
The pen is 5-1/16″ capped, 6-1/8″ posted, has a barrel length of 4-9/16″ and a barrel diameter of 1/2″. Because of the metal section I hold this back a bit and as such, must be posted for me. The pen posts very well. The plastic feels very thick and sturdy. Not like some pens where you feel like you’re going to crack the cap when you post it.
The clip is nice and tight, and tasteful, only sporting the small round Monteverde logo at the top of the clip. The cap band has Monteverde USA on it and for a nice touch, the top of the cap has a metal jewel. The overall shape of the pen is pleasing to me, sort of a streamlined flat top pen, nicely tapered towards the barrel end. I guess the vintage collector in me likes to see this classic styling in modern pens. It’s really hard to go wrong with a flat top styled pen. The cap also does something a bit different than most other pen caps. There is no traditional inner cap at the top of the cap. Instead, Monteverde places a sleeve at the bottom of the cap which adds thickness when posting, as well as seals off the pen. There is a smooth ridge at the end of the metal section that makes this seal, and the result is a nice clean cap design. You can clearly see the nib and feed, and the pen doesn’t dry out.
The barrel threads on about 5-1/2 turns to the section, but because of the smooth section, can be a bit difficult to get open if you’ve either screwed it on hard the time before, or if you have any kind of perspiration on your hands. It’s not really a huge deal, but if you didn’t get the pen because of the metal section, then this becomes a non issue anyway. :) Inside we find the Monteverde international convertor, which is a push on style. The pen does come with two cartridges, but I always prefer the convertor. One minor beef I have about the cartridges is they put them in a box large enough to hold about four or five of them. From a retailer’s point of view this just looks odd, and there’s really no place to put the cartridge box other than right next to the pen. I think they could have been like every other manufacturer and placed two cartridges underneath the pen in the box and it would have been a nicer presentation. But, then again, this is more of an issue for the retailer, not the end user. But, I digress.
Lisa and I inked this one up shortly before heading out to the Columbus show in November this year. At the show we try to keep track of what items get sold in a log book. This helps us update inventory on the website when we get back, and helps determine what sells and how good a show was. This log often becomes a colorful notebook depending on which pens we used to write in it. During the Columbus show we were drawn towards the Artista Crystal and almost every time we picked it up we each had the same comment, “This pen writes really well!”
While this pen may never replace your expensive Omas, Aurora or other gold nibbed pen, at this price point, this is a great extra pen to keep around just in case. I’ve never dropped it, but I could imagine with the thick plastic would be nearly indestructible. This is also a great pen for someone looking to upgrade from the under $10 Platinum Preppy/Pilot Varisty and other league. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s also an inexpensive gift. Oh, and did I mention the Turquoise is pretty?