Penetralia ~ Fountain pen review ~ Leonardo Officina Italiana Furore

Boy do I enjoy this pen! This was within that first batch of pens I bought (another being the Pilot Custom 74) and I’m really liking it. Just like the Pilot Custom 74, there’s no shortage of reviews out there for this pen, so I’m not going to waste text on basic features, measurements, size comparisons and other aspects of the pen you can easily find in YouTube videos by other content creators. I want to give you my personal thoughts.

In this review, I’ll go over my favourite features of this pen and what I don’t like. I’ll picture some writing samples with different inks, to give you a feel for how it handles various types of ink. In summary, I’ll discuss why this pen is in my collection and whether this pen is truly worthy of being a GP’s pen!

The way the light falls on the nib makes it look 2-tone. Its not. If only…

Pros

I’m new to the fountain pen world, so I’m a little careful when I express my opinions online, but what Italian fountain pen makers do non-fountain pen people know? I bet most non-fountain pen people think the Montblanc company is French, because that’s a French sounding name right? Or the mountain is near there, right? No, it’s German.

For me, the first Italian fountain pen maker I came across was Leonardo Officina Italiana, and I was blown away! Yes, Italian manufacture is known for luxury products. Whether it’s bags, cars, watches, clothes, jewelry or pens, the Italians know how to do it right.

When I was shelling out for my first batch of purchases I wanted something just one price bracket up from the Pilot Custom 74, but didn’t want to break the bank either. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing, but I came across some European online pen stores that looked promising. I filtered my search to my preferred price bracket and boom! There it was and I was mesmerised. I probably watched the same few YouTube reviews like 50times before I pulled the trigger on this one and I’m so glad I did.

From the moment you remove the outer mailing packaging and see the box this thing comes in, you’re in for a huge surprise!

At this price point (I paid 230AUD shipped from Europe), you can’t go wrong. The grey shimmering resin is truly standout. It looks like a different pen every time the lighting changes. Small details like the unique clip design, the double cap bands, the bands at the beginning and near the end of the barrel and the branded convertor, just give it a more opulent feel. Without a massive price tag. I honestly have no idea how they produce such a beautiful writing instrument at this price!

really cool looking convertor

I’ve said before, I really enjoy a pretty nib. The Pilot has some beautiful engraving work on their Custom 74, but the simplistic design of this nib is just wow! Despite it being a gold coloured no. 6 Bock steel nib, I think it looks gorgeous. I think Leonardo picked a beautiful and elegant logo for their brand (the wings), so in my opinion all the heavy lifting in creating a beautiful nib is done by this iconography.

They obviously do something magical to the nib too, because it is just so damned smooth! It’s a little bouncy but I’m not someone who pushes down hard when writing so I’m not exactly trying to get line variation but you can if you try. I kept hearing that this was smooth compared to other steel nibs out there and I have to say its true. I’m not a fan of feedback/scratchy writing experience, as a rule of thumb I don’t want to hear my pen, and I don’t with this pen.

the magical steel nib. left: that’s gold shimmer flakes on the feed from diamine shimmertastic firefly. Right: nice nib

I love the feeling of “limited edition” or exclusivity as much as the next guy. I think I’m a bit of a sucker for this marketing tactic and often have to stop myself puling the trigger every time my favourite brands come out with a new limited edition. No, this pen is not limited edition, but there are limited edition versions of this model. The acrylics are always changing and new interesting stuff is always coming out with this line, I almost wish I’d known this fact and I would have waited to get a “limited edition” version. Not that it makes any difference to the writing experience. However, to make EVERYONE feel special Leonardo Officina Italiana number all their pens! thank you!

I just think this is such a special and unique touch. I have number 3642. Clearly, a very special number!

Finally, I love the smooth threads. I know this sounds odd but I find myself spending most of my day playing with screwing and unscrewing the barrel and cap to see how many times I can do it, in one flick, in a row. I’m up to 3 before my finger slips! Flipping smooth high quality acrylic!

Cons

My nib seems to have a clear metallic “Bing” sound every time I write with it. It must be my shitty laminate desk and the crappy copy paper that I mostly write on but it’s there and can be annoying when I’m writing. Its noticeable enough that I layer pages under the page I'm writing on. Such a minor point though, and it’s probably just mine, so I can ignore it most of the time.

Why does the end of the barrel screw off? I don’t know. I tend to hold the barrel from the tip when I'm playing (my flicking game) or when I'm due for a refill. I keep unscrewing the stupid end all the time! So annoying.

It is a little lightweight for my taste. This is obviously my personal taste and I realise most people will like a light pen especially if you’re doing long writing sessions.

The board nib is wet, I can’t do anything more than signatures with it. To be honest this is what I bought it for, so I can’t now complain. However, when I can’t just change to my fine nib, I have to write with this pen and all the ink just feathers everywhere on crappy copy paper and you can’t read shit. I literally use it in reverse writing if I’m stuck — which is an exceptional experience too by the way.

Again, it’s a 2-handed pen twisty cap to get armed in the first place, so not ideal if handling notes and running around on a ward, frantically writing as your consultant speeds away from you. I use a crab pen holder from Ahnitol Japan on my desk, so this issue doesn’t usually affect me. The clip is STIFF. It literally ripped my shirt pocket one time as I tried to quickly store it on the move. Yes, I was a bit sad about my shirt. No, I just bought another one, so I was happy to throw out that pile of old crap I was wearing. So thank you again, pen, you saved my life again.

Writing Samples

Left: 90gsm copy paper. Right: Clairefontaine 90gsm paper. Sorry, I realized afterwards that I shouldn’t advertise my signature!
Clairefontaine 90gsm paper — shimmer and shade in heaps!
90gsm copy paper — even here there’s gorgeous shimmer and shade, no feathering

I really like how this pen lays down ink. It’s very smooth, despite the incredibly stiff nib. It’s broad enough to show some shading with any of my inks despite what paper it’s on and the shimmer is fantastic, again, despite the paper.

The line width is consistent, reverse writing is smooth too and there’s no dramas with fast writing/signing. I think I may go for a more italic nib one day for signatures? See how that feels, but for now, this is lovely in my hand and gives a great impression to patients too.

Why is this pen in my collection?

It looks great. It shimmers beautifully, I love playing with it. Its easy to clean and I just put whatever ink I want in it without worrying. Oh ye, it writes fantastically too, even on crappy copy paper.

I do like a collection of limited editions — I’m a total sucker for it! So maybe next I’ll get a crazy Limited Edition version one day, but for now I’m very happy with this resin, look and feel.

Is this a pen fit for a GP?

Yes, most certainly. If you are office based and like a smart pen on your desk then, yes! Not so much if you’re on the move on a ward or doing house calls. I really like that Leonardo go the extra mile with their nibs, convertors and numbering of their pens. This not only personalises the pen somewhat but reassures you that a lot of love and attention has been put into this pen by the artisans at work here. You can see the passion in the company shining through every time you write with it and it’s a great conversation starter/ice breaker with so many of my patients who have gotten to know me now.

Overall, I would recommend this pen. I wish it was easier to clip to my shirts if I on the move but this is not exactly a deal breaker (like the Pilot 74 section issue!) Definitely, one of my favourites in my collection.

Thanks so much for reading and remember no matter who you are, “first, do no harm.”

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An Australian GP with a love for fountain pens, writing, gaming and gardening, throwing in an occasional rant along the way!

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GP_Gen

GP_Gen

An Australian GP with a love for fountain pens, writing, gaming and gardening, throwing in an occasional rant along the way!

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