Monteverde Invincia Grand Prix Unboxing and Review Video

Last year, we introduced our first limited edition set of Monteverde Pens called the Invincia Grand Prix. The Grand Prix is an exclusive collection of racing-inspired pens available in twist-action ballpen, smooth-writing rollerball and old-fashioned fountain pen with a black stainless steel nib. It only took us a few months, but we've got our dedicated video reviewer Mike Jones to produce a video of his unboxing and review of the Invincia Grand Prix fountain pen in Laguna Seca Blue.

In this video, we review :
  • The exclusive Monteverde Invincia Grand Prix white box sleeve.
  • The Invincia Pen materials, body shape, nib and design.
  • Included Monteverde fountain pen ink cartridges (2 Black, 2 Blue)
  • Writing sample text using the supplied black ink cartridge.
Please check it out and feel free to drop a comment to let Mike know what you thought of his video.


The Introducing the ACME Hatch Pen - As Featured on WSJ

Although we could have used a product like this a few months ago when the flu was making its rounds across the country's schools and workplaces, the new ACME Hatch Pen ($104 on Goldspot.com) is a great writing instrument for those who take great care in minimizing their exposure to germs and other nasty microbes that can send you to the doctor. This antimicrobial pen is designed to kill bacteria and microorganisms that may linger on our hands. Surprisingly, it accomplishes this task with a very low-tech solution.

Much like how the traditional writing pen accomplishes the same written word as using a stylus on a fancy new tablet would, the Hatch Pen is designed around the innate properties of raw brass to kill microbes. No fancy polymers or nano-robots here, just simple, raw brass. See, within a few hours of contact with brass ions, bacteria and other unwanted microbes die. Simple as that! You can read more about the Hatch from the Wall Street Journal.

The product's designer, Karl Zahn, is known for creating products that combine contemporary materials and, often-overlooked, historical technology to build modern hybrids that solve problems of necessity using simple solutions that are more beautiful and sustainable.

The ACME Hatch Brass Antimicrobial Rollerball Pen is now available for Pre-Sale on Goldspot.com. Orders are estimated to be filled by mid-March.


New Spring 2013 Cross Edge, Townsend and Classic Century Designs

A new year and a new crop of Cross Pens are due to arrive to expand upon the success of their most classic and popular designs. Due to become available the beginning of March, we will start to accept pre-orders for the following new additions to the Cross Catalog of fine writing instruments.

The compact and convenient Cross Edge collection grows by two new finishes. The polished chrome finish is a gleaming, shiny retractable gel ink rollerball while the anodized red style is a nice complement to the existing bright colors of the Edge series.

The slim-profile Cross Classic Century line is being refreshed with the addition of capped rollerballs and fountain pens. The caps are twist-off and are capable of being securely screwed-on to the back end of the pen while writing. The new Classic Century rollerballs and fountain pens are to be offered in the Classic Matte Black with Gold Trim, Black Lacquer with Silver Trim, Chrome and Medalist (Chrome with Gold Trim) styles.

The elegant, professional Cross Townsend model is celebrating its 20th anniversary in style with this Special Edition Brushed Platinum finish. The distinctive, wide-bodied pen profile is plated in Platinum that is diamond-cut to create a stunning guilloche pattern that spans the length of the barrel and cap.

Initial shipments will be arriving the week of March 4th.


Sneak Peek - New 2013 Parker Limited Production Jotter Pens

The infamous click-top Parker Jotter is getting a few new colors for 2013 and Goldspot has an exclusive sneak peak preview just for you. This is the first time in a few years that Parker has released a new, colorful edition of their ever-popular Jotter ballpoint pen. This limited production set of pens are said to be blistercarded and due out on the (digital) shelves in April, so you won't have to wait very long to get your fingers on these pens.

As you may notice in the above photo, each color is a metallic, anodized aluminum finish with a chrome clicker mechanism and clip. On the chrome silver top section, there is a subtle pattern of line engravings, along with the updated Parker Pen arrow logo. Each pen will be accompanied by with a genuine Parker-style ballpoint ink cartridge installed in the pen. The predicted MSRP on each pen will be $25, which is a bit on the high side for a Jotter. However, after considering the metallic construction and the engraved design on this limited production pen, it seems like a fair price for what will be a very popular collector's item amongst Parker Pen enthusiasts.


Conway Stewart by Diamine Kingsand Ink Review

Renown British maker of fine pens, Conway Stewart, in concert with UK ink manufacturer Diamine, released a set of exclusive fountain pen ink bottles that just arrived on US shores in January 2013. There are six colors total - Bodmin Jet Black, Edgecumbe Lavender, Kingsand Ochre Brown, St Blazey Red, Tamar Royal Blue, and Tavy Denim Blue-Black. If you're scratching your head over the names, each color is dedicated to a landmark that is around Conway Stewart's Factory in Devon, UK. Each 80ml glass ink bottle is handsomely packaged and the inks themselves are fantastic as well. I tried Kingsand Ochre first and was really impressed with the flow, saturation and the hue.

Conway Stewart Kingsand on InkJournal Paper

Writing with Kingsand in my Aurora Optima has been an absolute pleasure. The one characteristic that is unseen in any writing sample scan is that this ink actually changes color slightly as it tries. As the ink travels from the point to the paper, it delivers a Terra-cotta color. Within the next 2 seconds, that color darkens to a warm brown. Perhaps if it were a thicker nib than the extra-fine that I used, it may alter the result of the color change. My theory is that with a thicker, wet nib, the color change would even be more noticeable. This is a theory that needs to be tested!

Overall, I'm impressed with the ink and am looking forward to trying the other colors. We have the bottles available on Goldspot ($12.95 USD for 80mL bottles) or on RefillFinder (same price, but quantity price discounts apply).


Monteverde vs. Lamy M16 Ballpoint Refills

Fans of Lamy Pens know that their beloved ballpoint pens are only filled using the Lamy M16 (or M22 in cases of the mini-sized Pico and other mini- or multi- style pens) refill. These types of refills have been traditionally made proprietary by Lamy, Germany, meaning that a common Schmidt or Parker-style refill would not fit inside of a Lamy Safari. That means Lamy fans are at the mercy of the manufacturer when it comes to the available choices of colors, point sizes and *gasp* the prices they set. In comes Monteverde to help by providing an alternative at a lesser cost and more variety.

Based out of California, Monteverde is the largest manufacturer of third-party refills that are made to fit pens like Lamy, Parker, Waterman, Mont Blanc, Pelikan and Sheaffer, to name a few brands. Their Lamy M16 ballpoint refill is engineered with Soft-Roll ballpoint technology, Swiss-made writing tip and low viscosity ink that produces excellent flow and smoothness.

Besides the usual Black and Blue ink colors that Lamy offers, Monteverde opens up the color palette with 8 additional hues, including turquoise, orange and blue-black.

The reputation of the Monteverde M16 refills grows with every piece of feedback we receive from our customers. The consensus has been overwhelmingly positive. Talk of the Monteverde M16 refill outperforming it's OEM competitor is apparent even on Fountain Pen Network. Have you made the switch? Please comment below. We'd love to hear your thoughts.


Sheaffer Celebrates 100 Years with Two New Limited Editions

100 years is a tremendous milestone for a company that has built their reputation on quality and customer satisfaction over the century. For Sheaffer, it validates the renown "White Dot," a symbol of quality craftsmanship on all Sheaffer products. The fact that the company continues to produce pens that are highly desirable among collectors and new pen enthusiasts alike shows that they are still a relevant, valuable brand. The Ferrari by Sheaffer collection is a perfect example of how the company succeeds to be current with the trends of the luxury market. To celebrate this historic milestone, Sheaffer is releasing two exquisite limited editions that showcase the brand's heritage and their modern manufacturing prowess.

The Sheaffer Centennial Legacy Heritage Sterling Silver Fountain Pen
This pen is finely engraved in sterling silver, producing relief images of the first Sheaffer Factory and founder Walter A. Sheaffer on the .925 sterling silver barrel and cap. This edition is limited to 1,913 pieces worldwide, signifying the first year Sheaffer was started. The 18K solid gold, rhodium plated nib (in medium point only) is inlaid in the black front section of the pen. The tapered profile is taken from the high-end Legacy Heritage design and feels like a solid, yet comfortable pen to write with.  The Centennial Legacy Heritage is packaged in a high gloss, elegant "Sheaffer Red" lacquer gift box, complete with a commemorative booklet, certificate of authenticity and complimentary ink.

The Sheaffer Centennial Limited Edition Sterling Silver Fountain Pen
The Centennial Limited Edition is a specially designed, "vintage"-style fountain pen that features a cylindrical barrel and cap. The finely engraved sterling silver cap and barrel feature images of the first Sheaffer Factory and pay tribute to founder Walter A. Sheaffer and his son. Feeling this pen in-hand, the heft and grand size of his pen really makes striking impression of luxury and value. Might be a bit unwieldy to write with casually, but this is the type of collector's item you probably would want to keep new, unused and in the original deluxe gift box.

The Sheaffer Centennial Solid Gold Fountain Pen
Now, we're talking!  Barrel and cap feature the relief design in solid 18k gold with gold trim and clip. Only limited to 45 pieces worldwide, this is certainly the centerpiece to an impressive Sheaffer collection. The white dot atop the clip is replaced by a 2mm diamond. Fair warning, the price tag is not for the faint of heart. Start saving now!


Mechanical Pencils with an iPad / iPhone Stylus

Question from Malcom :
"Do you have a mechanical pencil that also has a stylus suitable for the iPad, iPhone etc?"

Although no fine writing manufacturer has made a mechanical pencil that has a capacitive touch screen stylus option, the Cross Tech 3+ is your best option, since it is a multifunctional + stylus tip pen that has two ballpoint choices to accompany a 0.5mm mechanical pencil mechanism. Write in ballpoint ink (black or red), in erasable pencil or use the capacitive stylus tip to interact with your smartphone or tablet device with ease and precision. In my humble opinion, having those other pen options make the Tech 3+ a better choice than searching for a mechanical pencil + stylus alone.

More stylus-top pens are debuting in the fine writing industry every year and it would not be a surprise to see a mechanical pencil that also has a built-in capacitive touch stylus soon. Monteverde is currently the only manufacturer to have a fountain pen that uses a stylus on the top of a fountain pen cap and ACME offers an interchangeable stylus tip and front section for their classic designer rollerball pens. As the popularity of tablets and other touch-screen devices explode, the desire for pen manufacturers to be compatible with such technology will result in a more diverse selection of writing instruments that can also work double-duty as touch-screen interactive devices.