I have a checkered history with Visconti. My very first Visconti and I didn’t get along at all, in short, I hated the thing. It writes, it’s pretty (but not my taste), it just doesn’t fit my hand and the captive converter filling system left me feeling cheated (I’d certainly paid enough for a real piston filler). So it was with a bit of trepidation that I bought my second Visconti. I probably wouldn’t have at all, but a fellow pen geek was selling an Opera Elements Air for a price that was frankly ridiculously low, and it already had a Pendleton Brown butter line stub grind. The nib sold me.
(Click images to enlarge)
So I bit the bullet and bought my second Visconti. And from the moment I opened the box it was a different experience. This pen is gorgeous, stunningly, delicious, beautiful. Amber is one of my favorite “gems” and the Elements Air could have been made of crushed amber and quartz. It’s the color of deep gooey honey, or darkest amber. The white lines that break up the signature color are just as alive and interesting as the amber material and they complement each other perfectly. It is warm and graceful and this time the proportions are right. While my first Visconti’s section felt awkward and slippery and the balance was all wrong for my hand, the Air (unposted as I use all my pens) rests perfectly balanced in my hand.
It is not a light pen (by my standards) but it’s so well balanced and the girth of the section is just right so that it causes no fatigue while writing.
The clip is springy and slides easily in and out of my pen pouches. I don’t use clips as anything but a roll stopper so it’s important to me they aren’t so tight as to get in the way of easily sliding them into and out of the pouches and rolls I use to store my inked pens. The best feature of the Air? The capping mechanism, you see it doesn’t have traditional threads, there’s no turn-turn-turn to open or close the pen. Instead it has a turn and click solution. One little twist and the cap clicks into place or clicks off. It’s fast and convenient while still being incredibly secure. I’m totally sold to the point that when looking at other Visconti I’m no longer willing to buy one that doesn’t use this capping system. It’s that good. I wish more pen companies would adopt it.
The nib started life as a typical Visconti nib, pretty blunt, and boring. But when I bought it, Mr Pendleton Brown had already worked his magic on it which means it is in a word: sublime. Writing with it is a joy, the flow is perfect, the line variation is pleasing, and it’s so well ground with nice soft shoulders that this really is an everyday writer. If you see a pen with a Pendleton nib, buy it.
This has become one of my all time favorite pens, it has a permanent place in my small collection and spends more time inked than not. The rest of the “Elements” collection fall short for me. The colors don’t seem to work nearly so well with that white stripe, the blue in particular is surprisingly unappealing to this blue loving woman. Perhaps once you’ve held such an elegant pen the rest simply pale in comparison. This pen redeemed Visconti for me, though I remain wary about the brand in general I would happily add another pen with such lovely design.