Visconti Homo Sapiens (Bronze Age)

This ‘oversize’ pen (146mm long and weighing in at 45 grams) without doubt falls into the luxury pen category. Produced by the Italian pen maker Visconti in Florence, this model has a number of very unusual features. Firstly, the body is made from a mix of resin and basaltic lava from Mount Etna, which gives it a matte and sometimes slightly pitted surface, an unusual feel to the touch, being slightly hygroscopic, and is almost indestructible. Secondly, the cap fixes to the body not by the traditional screw thread or ‘push-click’ methods, but rather by a quick twist release based on a spring and bayonet fixing. Until recently, its third feature was the nib being made not of steel or gold, but 23K (95%) Palladium. This made the nib rather flexible and very smooth but some reviewers suggested that it was too flexible and produced an overly wet line. This may be the reason why they have switched to an 18K gold nib, in a rose colour.

The body is decorated in uncoated bronze which should develop a patina over time. The sprung clip, like all Visconti pens is formed in the shape of a bridge, said to be modelled on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, though to my eyes it looks nothing like it. The company merely says the bridge represents a ‘symbol of friendship, a union between the people’.