caramel swirl: visconti rembrandt eclipse
Roar of the engine and the buzz of the tires on asphalt fill your ears. The window is down, the warm wind slaps your face, tangles your hair, cools your skin. It’s hot and sunny, even in the early morning. People still go out for their walks to the market, sit under the trees, drive in their cars. They all rush past. I spent most of my life going through these same roads, yet they seem different every time. New buildings spring up, all in different stages of being built. Short skeletons, tall skeletons, half panelled façades, almost finished buildings. I remember there being fields instead of skyscrapers upon skyscrapers. But now, I cannot recognize the city I grew up in. The first city I loved.
If you have lived through the 2005-2012 era, you probably remember the craze about Twilight. The books, the movies… I was in middle school when the last movies were coming out and fell straight into it. All of my friends were suddenly obsessed with vampires and weird romance stories. One of those friends even made me watch the whole series in a day. Friends that wouldn’t read a single book devoured them (and promptly returned to never touching them). I was mostly weirded out. I didn’t understand why it was so wildly popular. But still, with its moody colours and the name Eclipse, this pen does remind me of that. It doesn’t help that one of the other colours is called Twilight.
I got this pen second-hand and it was only labelled as Visconti Rembrandt. This is the reason why I like buying second-hand pens, even if they are not necessarily vintage: the detective work. I like looking up pens and trying to find what exactly it is. I like the thrill of cleaning and inking it up for the first time, not knowing what that pen went through.
I find myself preferring European made pens these days and my curiosity got the better of me while looking at this pen. The Visconti company is based out of Florence, one of the most beautiful cities. In the few times I’ve been there, I only managed to walk the halls of Uffizi only once, but the Duomo was and always will be the highlight of my trip. I love the artistic revolution of the Renaissance. A big part of my childhood was spent going to Italy and basking in the works of great masters. I even went to see some paintings again and again, even when they came with a traveling exhibition to my hometown.
This brings me to pretty much only criticism of this pen. Visconti’s lower-end, artist-inspired pens are named after Dutch artists: Van Gogh and Rembrandt. When you have so many important people in the city you’re based out of -even- and when you proudly brand your pens with “Made in Italy”, I do not understand why you would use Dutch masters’ names. It’s okay though, one of the only reasons why this pen stuck with me -over the Breeze for example- is the name Rembrandt. I also love Rembrandt and try to visit some of his paintings in the neighbouring Mauritshuis.
I went off in a million tangents, but I have finally found my way back to the experience of using the pen. The colour of the resin is a deep purple that almost looks like the moody backgrounds of Rembrandt paintings. On mine, most of the swirls are subtle and almost lost in the abyss, except for a shiny streak of caramel and white. It reminds me of the smooth insides of seashells. The resin lacks the depth of some of the other pens I have, but the shallower swirls are still quite striking. Visconti calls this material “vegetable resin” and I couldn’t find anything on how its made, but the only difference I could tell was that the feel of the resin is softer, almost rubberized. Metal section is a cool contrast to the warmth of the resin body. The metal section also brings the balance of the pen forward and towards the nib a bit. It’s still a light pen, and I appreciate the careful balance. My section and threads are a little stained due to unknown reasons to me.
The best part about this pen is the cap and the nib. The cap has a wonderful magnetic closure that makes my fidgeting fingers happy. I’ve also been playing with the clip a little, and it did not lose any springiness. Even though it’s a polarising cap design, I do like it.
My only hold up about this pen was the nib after hearing so many horror stories about the quality control problems. Mine turned out to be a lovely steel nib with a slight hint of springiness. The first fill of the ink was not quite as smooth, but the second fill seems to have flushed out any scratchiness. The nib writes a line on the wetter side, showing sheen and shading nicely on suitable papers. It feels like writing on silk. Quite enjoyable. A good nib, combined with a quick cap, makes for a great note-taking pen.
The size of the pen is on the smaller side than what I’m used to these days. The section isn’t too narrow, but the length of the pen looks quite small in my hand. The pen looks about the same size with a Lamy Safari when it’s capped, but it’s shorter when uncapped. I guess that’s due to a large cap. When I looked at the photographs online, the proportions seemed to hint at a larger pen, that’s why I was surprised to see it so small in real life.
To sum it up, it’s a great pen, though I’m not sure I’d ever pay the full price of it. I mean, I never did and it’s rarely out of stock anywhere. It reminds me of funny stuff, and it’s always great to have a chuckle while you’re writing.
Thank you for reading!