The Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pen is a very unique pen made almost entirely of a volcanic lava and resin mix. The pen is advertised as being virtually indestructible and has a nice soft textured feel to it. It features solid bronze trim pieces, clip, and accents. The pen has a very classy and understated look, while still exuding an aura of richness. I opted to get a Broad (B) nib for this pen, as I like thicker lines.
The pen comes in a leatherette clamshell box with an outer card-stock sleeve bearing the Visconti Logo. The box feels quite luxurious and is very smooth. There is also a small drawer on the left of the box which holds a small brochure about Visconti, a small information DVD, and a bronze polishing cloth. The included DVD is the small size and should not be put into slot-loading DVD slots, like those in iMacs.
The lava and resin barrel has an unexpected "soft" texture to it. It feels like a hard rubber but is actually very solid and tough. The barrel is also hygroscopic, which means that it wicks away sweat from your hands, making the writing experience much more pleasant. The pictures make the material look black, but the color is really a dark grey.
The pen uses solid bronze trim and accents. Those who know bronze and metals should know that it develops a strong tarnish, also known as patina. Mine quickly developed a very strong patina in just one day. Some people people may find the parish to be quite ugly, but I think it is quite nice.
The pen is built very solidly and seems very durable. Every piece fits perfectly and glides smoothly over each other. The cap is a bayonet-type cap. To open, press down slightly, then make a small quarter turn. To cap, do the same motion. It's similar to those prescription pill bottle caps. It makes engaging the pen very fast and the cap will almost never come off accidentally in your pocket or shirt.
This pen fills with a vacuum filler, or as Visconti calls it, a "Power Filler." Why it's called that, I have no idea. You twist the blind cap about 4 revolutions, pull the plunger back, place the pen in ink, push the plunger down, then wait about 4 seconds. It is a very quick and easy way to fill. However, I do have a couple of gripes about filling with this pen. First off, the section is made of the same porous lava/resin material, so if you dip the nib too far into the bottle, you will get ink "staining" the section a bit. This can be prevented by wiping the section with a wet paper towel every fill. However, staining inks like Noodler's Baystate Blue may leave permanent stains.
Flushing the pen with this filler is also a little bit of a pain. You need to push and pull the plunger many times to get the pen clean. It honestly takes quite a bit of time to clean, especially if you are used to using a bulb syringe to clean cartridge/converter pens.
Another little thing I don't like is that there is no ink window. The pen is completely opaque so there is no way to check how much ink is left, how well you filled the pen, and how well you cleaned it. I tend to change inks a lot, so this pen makes it hard for me to see when will be my next ink change.
The vacuum rod is made of solid titanium, so it will never corrode even though being submerged in ink. The plunger does make a very satisfying "click" sound when depressed, much like a Uniball rollerball. To keep the vacuum filler running smoothly, put a thin layer of silicone grease on the rod about once or twice a year. Silicone grease can be found easily at your local hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes.
The nib is a #6 sized nib, so it theoretically could be swapped with other #6 nibs. However, I do not recommend attempting to remove the nib. The nib and feed are friction feed into a nib collar which is then screwed into the section. Both the nib and feed and nib collar are fit extremely tightly into the section so there is a high risk of damage and misalignment. DO NOT attempt to remove this nib yourself. The factory uses a special nib removal tool to extract the nib safely. This tool is not readily available.
The nib that came with this pen is extremely smooth with almost no feedback at all. It was like writing on water, or glass, or whatever the smoothest material in the world is. It is also extremely wet but does not gush or leak. The nib is made of 23kt Palladium Price here. The nib has a good deal of spring to it, but it is not flex by any means. You can get a good amount of line variation from it though. I can barely write flex, so I'm not an expert on it.
Here is a picture of a writing sample. The pen was dipped in Montblanc Special Edition Pink ink and written on HP 32lb Premium Laser Paper.
And here is a quick YouTube video of it!
This pen retails for $695 at most sites, but can sometimes be found for less. I think this pen is quite worth it. It is the most expensive pen in my collection right now!