Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze

More than five thousand years ago Homo-sapiens marked the dawn of human history and the invention of writing thus began. The same age discovers metallurgy, allowing the mastery of metals which signified the beginning of human evolution all the way to the invention of the wheel.

Visconti conceived the Homo-sapiens range of writing instruments for real writers, for those to whom the fountain pen continues to represent an essential travelling companion, a daily friend to share the same civilization that writing helped create.

The pen is made from a material that is as antique as the world around us: lava from the Etna volcano. Lava has many characteristics that make it very unique in the manufacturing of writing instruments. Visconti has successfully produced a material containing over 50% pure basaltic lava, catalysed together with resin in a formula that is patented and obviously kept secret. The extraordinary characteristics of basaltic lava practically transform it into a material perfectly fit to writing instruments.

Visconti lava characteristics:
Virtually unbreakable: It has a high degree of resilience
Slightly hygroscopic: allowing it to absorb hand sweat during use
Dense: to the touch, allowing the best possible finger-relaxing grip

Unquestionably new in the range of materials employed in the making of fountain pens

Natural Bronze Fittings

All metallic parts of the pen were inspired by the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age, almost contemporary to the invention of writing, marked the dawn of human civilization. The clip, the decorative rings and the metal accessories, with the exception of the piston, are all in bronze. Homo-sapiens is made with natural bronze like the antique formula that does not require plating or protection treatments which alter its original almost pink colour and which can be easily polished with special products.

The high vacuum power filler charging system is made of titanium, the only material resistant to ink aggressiveness.

Top of the pen has Visconti’s 'My Pen' system incorporated. A rare earth magnetic which allows the user to change cap top for his/her personalised initials. This is a lovely touch. The pen has a twist cap but it’s not your normal twist cap. It has a cleverly designed thread that requires less than a quarter of a turn to uncap the pen.

23 ct 950 Palladium 'Dreamtouch' Nib

With Homo-sapiens Visconti introduced the first ever made 23 ct 950 palladium Dreamtouch nib.
Dreamtouch is the term coined to define a nib that requires no pressure whatsoever in order to write, it traces in a gentle way thoughts and words for dream-like handwriting.

Palladium has interesting physical features that allow the production of fountain pen nibs; its manufacturing is possible today thanks to new metal-fusion technologies and to the welding of iridium tips.

Palladium actually melts at much higher temperatures than gold: 1552°C against 1063°C. It is therefore obvious that this metal has better mechanical features; being more resistant than gold and that any manufacturing process involving palladium becomes a lot more challenging.

The international classification system lists only four precious metals and their related titles: platinum, palladium, gold and silver.

The 23 ct 950/1000 palladium nib is the purest precious metal nib ever manufactured in fountain pen history. In other words, it contains 95% pure palladium against 75% pure gold in the 18 ct nib and 58% gold in the 14 ct nib.

Flexibility and Memory: Palladium has the best possible properties for any type of writing, enhanced by some 30% compared to the same nib in 18 ct gold.

Resistance to ink corrosion has been improved up to 100% thanks to the pureness of the material to an extent to which no protection treatment of the plating is needed.

We think of Homo-Sapiens as a fountain pen that can bring to mind a time-frame: starting from lava as generating material, passing through bronze - recalling the beginning of the act of writing, and ending with palladium – the metal of the future.

Technical Characteristics

Homo Sapiens Bronze
Collection: 23 ct 950 Palladium Dreamtouch nib fountain pen
Material: Basaltic Lava from the Etna Volcano
Nib: 23 ct 950 Palladium Dreamtouch medium nib
Metallic parts: 100% bronze
Filling System: High vacuum power filler

This particular Visconti Homo Sapians Bronze was originally purchased in 2014. It has been fully serviced by Hepworth Dixon and offered for sale in original luxury case, outer card box and original documentation. Visit our website: for details. You will also find many other classic fountain pens for sale. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Aurora 88K Vintage Fountain Pen

Repairing broken piston on an Aurora 88K.

Aurora 88K Vintage Fountain Pen

Image above is the fully restored Aurora 88K. This pen when received, had first to undergo major repairs to the piston filling system by Hepworth Dixon.

The piston filling knob rotated, but the piston itself would not move within the barrel, visible through the ink level viewing window.

Removing the piston filling knob and retracting the piston assembly through the section end of barrel, it all became obvious what had happened. The hexagonal piston was broken away by approximately 5mm at the rear end. The worm screw drive was disengaged from piston, preventing any forward or back movement.

The chances of finding a replacement hexagonal piston were very slim. Drastic action had to be taken.

The Repair:

First the damaged end of piston was turned down on a lathe to remove damaged end section. With the piston now shorter, the length of the worm screw would need to be increased. The worm screw drive was cut in half, the sawn ends turned flat, both ends drilled and tapped with a 10 BA internal thread.

Careful measurement of modified piston travel determined the length of required shaft extension insert. The extension piece was turned up in brass and externally threaded both ends.

Using a thread locking compound the modified worm screw was assembled.

Operation and piston travel checked. This was also a good time to fit a new piston seal, comprising of two neoprene 'O' rings.

Piston re-assembled into barrel and secured with new brass drive pin. Piston turning knob replaced with original locking screw and screw access hole plugged. Piston travel again checked once nib section was replaced.

Overall a very pleasing restoration to what initially looked to be a more parts destined for the spares box............  It should be noted that the ink volume held in barrel when filled, has a slightly lower ink capacity due to reduced piston travel.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Montegrappa "Tribute to Ayrton Senna" Limited Edition

Solid gold fountain pen limited to 161 pieces (#43)

Montegrappa "Ayrton Senna" Limited Edition

Ayrton Senna's philosophy of setting lofty goals, meeting the challenge and striving to be the best is what made him a legend. It was this philosophy which inspired the creation of a writing instrument which would honour this great achiever and motivator. 

The "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" Limited Edition reflected a new turn in MONTEGRAPPA's manufacturing history for it was the first release to combine two techniques unique to Montegrappa: low relief engraving and high relief hand enhanced die cast. 

The solid gold cap and barrel are delicately adorned with low relief engraving. The engraved patterns, with strong sporting personality, reproduce a shower of the sinuous double "S" SENNA brand logos alternating with a tyre tread design. 

High relief hand enhanced die cast is used to produce the components fitted to the cap, namely a spring loaded clip reproducing the design of a F1 car in solid 18 carat gold, plus a "rain" tyre fitted to the top of the cap, also in 18 carat gold. The tyre is laser engraved with the MONTEGRAPPA trade mark. The SENNA brand logo appears on the central band as does the pen's individual serial number (43/161), the name of the circuit (MONZA) and the date of the particular race (07.09.86).

This "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" is provided with an 18K gold medium nib chiselled with the Senna brand Logos and the laurel leaves witnessing Ayrton's victories throughout his three time F1 world champion's career. Continuing Montegrappa's old traditions, the feed is fashioned from ebonite. The fountain pen features a solid gold grip section designed to provide comfort.  

The pen is presented in a large perspex display case reproducing the design of a F1 car. It allows one to view the pen through the cover which accentuates the beautiful details of this inspired writing instrument. `this display makes a bold statement about the pen it encases as well as a magnificent desk top accessory. A cleverly befitting double-pouch to store the pen and its accessories (convertor or cartridge) manufactured in Nomex, a fire-retardent material used for the manufacture of F1 driving gloves, completes the compliment.

The "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" Limited Edition collection consisted of:
1960 sterling silver fountain pens
1960 sterling silver rollerballs
161 solid 18K gold fountain pens
41 solid 18K gold rollerballs
These quantities have a special significance for Ayrton's friends and fans. 1960 was the year Ayrton Senna was born. 161 was the number of races in F1. 41 was the number of his victories.

This stunning fountain pen is available from It is un-used, boxed and complete with all dated paperwork