Friday, September 2, 2016

MONTEGRAPPA NEROUNO FOUNTAIN PEN REVIEW

Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
I've had the Montegrappa NeroUno on my radar for over five years now, ever since I tried it at one of the first editions of the Tilburg Pen show I ever went to. The super classy design and solid construction, the unique inlaid nib, down to something as trivial as the smoothness of the cap threads, I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, at that time, my pen budget didn't even come anywhere near its' retail price, so I slowly forgot about it. Until recently! A few months back, it came to my attention that Montegrappa was about to change the nib design to match the rest of their current collection. That was about all it took for me to get one.

The Montegrappa NeroUno has been living in my 'daily carry' for the last four or five months now. In fact, it hasn't been uninked for a second, which is quite rare if you're like me and switch pens every five seconds!
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
Montegrappa makes pretty pens, that's no secret. It's hard to put a finger on the exact style, but I'd say this one is definitely a classic, more conservative looking pen. The octagonal profile that runs along the entire pen's length (including on the finials and center band) isn't too uncommon on Italian pens (Omas immediately comes to mind with their dodecahedral designs), as is the traditional clip with the rolling wheel, a design element that has pretty much become a trademark for many Italian pen manufacturers.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
But even more so than the octagonal profile, or typical clip, one of the most prominent design features of the NeroUno is the metal cap finial, It's a feature that can be found on a number of Montegrappa pens. It has the same octagonal profile as the rest of the pen, and for some reason it's remniscent of a crown. Across the finial is the brand name Montegrappa in black enamel. The flat top of the finial is made of a slightly pointed piece of black resin. It's the center of attention, and with reason! It's easily the most elaborate finial I've ever seen on a pen, and it gives the pen its unique character.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
L to R: Conid Minimalistica, Pelikan Souverän M805, Montegrappa NeroUno, Lamy Imporium, Lamy 2000, Montblanc M
Something I didn't expect from pictures online, is that the NeroUno is actually a fairly large pen. I'd almost call it oversized if it were a bit wider (it narrows down considerably near the back end of the pen). With a closed length of 14.3cm and 13.3cm uncapped, it fits right in between the Pelikan M800's and M1000's.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
Despite its rather large size, I think the Nerouno is a one of those pens that could work for a lot of people, even those that aren't really 'into' larger pens. Reason for that is the rather average girth. Especially around the section it isn't nearly as bulky as the Omas Paragon or Delta Dolcevita, even though they are quite similar in length. Instead, it measures in at 10 to 11mm around the grip section, a normal and comfortable girth for everyday writing.

The nib is somewhat of a difficult story, but not because of the way it performs... As I mentioned earlier on, Montegrappa was supposed to gradually phase out the old nibs and transition to a new nib design with the characteristic montegrappa octagon pattern on the nib face, yet so far there's little or no info on wether that's actually happening. So far I can't find retailers that explicitly sell the new version, but that's a good thing because I honestly like the old design a lot better.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
The semi-hooded/ inlaid nib is small (especially for a pen this size) and pretty much identical in shape to the nibs Lamy uses. The words 'Montegrappa' and '18k750' are stamped along the length of the nib (not across like on most nibs). It's such a simple design, but it just works.

All the design features together, while clunky at first sight, actually make for a really attractive, elegant pen overall. The nib plays a big part in the design of the pen, which is why I'm glad that I got one with the old nib design.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
Performance-wise, the Nerouno is definitely a reliable pen. It's not the smoothest nib, in fact it has some noticeable tooth to it (similar to Aurora nibs). It's made for writing, and that's exactly what it does best: it offers a very balanced, consistent writing experience as soon as you pick it up. The benefit of not being overly smooth is that it writes all the time, it doesn't skip or hesitate. The 18k nib is ever so slightly soft, which gives it some bounce, but you don't get much line variation out of it. For a fine nib, it has a prety rich flow, definitely on the wetter side. I'd say it lays down a fairly average 'european' fine line, but that's quite relative. It's definitely not comparable to japanese fine nibs, you'll have to look elswhere for those.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review
Believe it or not, the NeroUno is actually one of the more affordable offerings from Montegrappa. Does that mean it's cheap? Well, no. Not at all really, but if you want to get a luxury Montegrappa pen with a gold nib, this is the most economical starting point. The way I see this pen, it could be a strong competitor for Montblanc if you want a classy 'business' pen. It should definitely be on your shortlist if you're looking for that kind of pen!

Prices on the NeroUno vary wildly here in Europe, ranging from 325 to 450EUR (or around 475USD). Depending on what you pay, I think it definitely delivers in quality and performance, but of course it's still a high-end pen no matter how you look at it.
Note:Fontoplumo is a sponsor of this blog. I received a discount on this purchase, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared here are completely my own! This review does not contain any affilate links.
Montegrappa NeroUno Fountain pen review

2 comments:

  1. I've been looking at this pen for almost two years. It looks stunning buit I just can't justify the proce. I've tried three Parolas on the other hand and while fine and medium nib were extremelly thin (I would say japanese style) and gave feed back, Montegrappa Parola's broad nib is amazingly smooth. Not really broad, more like Waterman medium / medium + but it glides across the paper.

    ReplyDelete