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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk



The Vision

I had the privilege to help design the new Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk, which is the first matte Carbon Fiber pen Monteverde has produced. When I was first told about the fact that Monteverde was in the process of developing a matte finish for the carbon fiber that they use on the Invincia Deluxe line of pens, I jumped all over the opportunity to develop a pen around it and be the first to introduce a Monteverde pen with this finish. I envisioned a super-stealthy pen, with all matte black accents to complement the carbon fiber. I knew that it could be done, but it would take a bit of petitioning to make it happen because it required Monteverde to do some tweaking to components of their pens that they hadn't done before. I was fighting a bit of an uphill battle at first, but I had a champion on my side at Monteverde who saw my vision and advocated for a lot of the changes I envisioned.

Designing Each Component

The first thing that was a must was to have this pen come with a black nib. No biggie, Monteverde does that with several of their pens and they have black nibs at the ready. That was an easy choice. Monteverde is the only company I know that regularly offers nibs with a black finish. That's something rather unique to their line, and works very much in favor for this pen.

Black Monteverde nib on the Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk


Seeing the sleekness of the matte carbon fiber, there was just no way this pen could have sufficed with glossy trim. The current Invincias all have glossy trim, like the Invincia Deluxe Black Chrome, and it looks good because the body of the pen is also glossy. But I knew that to get a stealthy look, we'd have to get a matte trim on the Invincia Deluxe pen, something that Monteverde hadn't done before. I knew it could be done, in theory, because the Invincia Stylus in Matte Black had matte black trim. Granted, all of the components of that pen, though similar to the Invincia Deluxe, are slightly different and can't simply be put onto the Inivicia Deluxe as they are. Monteverde would have to do a custom matte black finish on the trim specifically for this pen. Thankfully, they were able to make it happen and the pen started to come together.

Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Black Chrome, with glossy everything

Invincia Stylus Matte Black, which has a similar look to what we wanted, but with a brushed aluminum body instead of carbon fiber.


The next challenge was to then consider the logos on the pen. On all of the other Invincia Deluxes, the Monteverde name and pen model name are engraved/etched onto the center band, which shows kind of a dull silver color through on the Black Chrome center band. The prototype was shaping up to be a completely black pen. The thought of having the name engraved in silver and standing out, as subtle as it is, would have seriously detracted from the stealthiness for me. I saw that the Invincia Stylus in Black Matte had a different logo on the center band, a black raised screen printing instead of engraving. That's what I had envisioned for the pen, so I requested that the screen printing be adapted to the Invincia Deluxe center band (which is a different design than the Invincia Stylus). I wasn't sure if that would be able to happen, since it was once again a first for Monteverde, but they came through.

Screen printed Monteverde name on center band

Normally, there is the Monteverde "M" mountain logo on the top of the Invicia pens, but in white. That just wouldn't do. I asked about changing this to screen printing it on the top just like the center band logo, but this had never been done on any Monteverde pen, since the Invincia Stylus has a stylus on the cap finial instead of a logo. The cost would have been pretty high to develop this custom for the Nighthawk, and when Monteverde said they would be okay with leaving the logo off altogether, I was just as happy to do that. I really wanted to keep the pen the same price as the other Invincia Deluxes. Paying for all the tooling/sampling for the screen printed mountain logo on the cap finial would have driven up the cost and delayed availability of the pen significantly, so it just wasn't worth fighting for. I think it worked out for the best, because leaving that off the cap just adds to the stealthiness of the whole design.

No Monteverde logo on the cap, to keep the look sleek


The other thing we opted to omit was the "Invincia Deluxe" label on the back of the center band. The other Invincia Deluxes all have this, but once we had the blessing to leave the logo off the cap, we thought we should just make the branding as minimal as possible. Factored into this again was cost and time, and it just wasn't worth sacrificing either to get that put on there. Just having a subtle black screen printed Monteverde USA on the center band does the job, and doesn't at all distract from the look I was going for this this pen.

At this point, the pen was shaping up to be almost exactly what I'd envisioned, and I couldn't have been happier. Well, okay, I could have been….I did inquire about doing the nib itself in matte black, but the quantities needed to make that happen were astronomical. I knew that one was a long shot, because I know what kinds of quantities you need to deal with when working with nibs. Still though, a shiny black nib gets the job done, and this is still arguably one of the stealthiest pens on the market.

Naming the Pen

Now it came time to name the pen. It's actually much harder than you might think to come up with a name for a pen like this, and we considered many of them. We had a lot of freedom to come up with what we wanted, but it had to still match with the general vibe that Monteverde has, and they had to like the name since it is literally sanctioned by them to be used in promotion with their own brand name. Rachel and I bounced around some ideas, and we asked folks on our team around the Goulet shop for input, too. Lots of names with "stealth" were considered, but there are already a couple of Monteverdes with stealth in the name, and that would be confusing. We wanted to have something that would really stand out, and we debated for days. Then, like a lightning bolt, the name Nighthawk struck me and I immediately yelled it out loud! I knew that name sounded familiar to me, so I immediately searched on the web for the name Nighthawk, and sure enough, Lockheed developed the F-117 Nighthawk (also known as the Stealth Bomber) when I was a kid, and it was the first production stealth plane ever made. It worked out perfectly as a name for this pen, because Monteverde already has several other plane names in their Invincia lineup, like Spitfire Red and Thunderbird Blue. Nighthawk just seemed to fit right in to the brand, and it definitely conveys stealthiness and the righteous attitude I think this pen carries.

Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Stealth Fighter 

The Packaging

Everything came together, with one small detail missing, and that was the pen case. Monteverde normally uses a green and white pen case for their pens, which is actually pretty nice as most pen cases go. But the color didn't quite mesh like I thought it should. I asked about doing a custom case, something like the box that Pilot had been using for their matte black Vanishing Point (up until a recent change). Much like the nibs, a custom case wasn't very feasible because of the cost and minimum quantities needed, and I had sort of come to accept that it just might not be possible. But lo and behold, Monteverde had some extra red and black cases left over from a previous limited edition pen they did for a different model a couple of years ago. And it just so happened that the black exterior of the box has a cross-hatch pattern to it that matches the braided carbon fiber on the pen, how sweet is that? They had about 150 of them, so we snagged them up and we'll be using them for the first 150 pens we sell. Beyond that, the pens will come in the green and white boxes you see with other Monteverde pens. I don't know when that change will happen, it will all depend how quickly the first 150 sell. But we'll change over all our pictures and description on our site when that does happen.

Special box for the first 150 Nighthawks

Pattern on the box matches the braided carbon fiber of the pen body


Monteverde's green/white box used for other pens, which the Nighthawk will switch to after the first 150.


So there is the journey (or migration, if you'll forgive the pun) that the Nighthawk has taken to exist as it does today. I am particularly thankful to everyone at Monteverde for giving me the opportunity to design this pen, and for being so cooperative despite some of the challenges we faced.

The Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk is selling exclusively at GouletPens.com for $108, and it comes with a threaded Monteverde (standard international) converter, ink cartridge, and pen case. The Nighthawk is available in fine, medium, broad, or 1.1mm stub nib, in either black or steel color (but why would you want steel?).

I had an absolute blast designing this pen, it was really serendipitous that it all came together as it did. I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave me a comment below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

22 comments:

  1. How much more black could this be? None. None more black.

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  2. I love the look of this but have a question. Compared to my lacquer Color Fusion, the edges of the body (where they meet the metal fittings) look a little bit rough. Is this a QA thing, or did you photograph a prototype, or is this a common thing with carbon fiber cutting?

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  3. Nice pen! On an ornithological note, though, I must remind you that the nighthawk is an insectivorous bird related to the whip-poor-will. It is not a raptor and does not make the hawkish screaming sound used in your video.

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  4. Gorgeous pen, and great story! So glad you were able to do this. One more point of information: the F-117 isn't the Stealth Bomber (that's the "flying wing"-style B-2, designed by Northrop Grumman) but the Stealth Fighter. After so many details, I figured one more couldn't hurt, right? ;)

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  5. Looks fantastic. I got my order in today. Hopefully I'll get in early enough to get one of the black and red boxes. :)

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  6. Well done Brian! Is the transparent part of the converter glass or plastic? BTW, the box reminds me of a coffin, perhaps in-keeping with the dark theme ;-)

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  7. haha...well, we did ask about making the nib matte black...wasn't feasible, but that would have been pretty sweet :)

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  8. I think it's more of a common thing with carbon fiber. It's really tough to get a 'clean' edge. MV does a pretty good job of it on a pen for this price, the Stipula DaVinci that I show looks cleaner at the edges, but then it's $750....

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  9. Well, for that matter, pens don't make any kind of noise :) I believe the sound effect I used there was a red hawk, but it's the exact sound I wanted :)

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  10. Sooner@the beachMay 31, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Nice work, Brian. Looking forward to receiving my Nighthawk next week. For your next collaboration with Monteverde consider the Nighthawk with stonewashed stainless steel furniture, section, and nib (think Spyderco knives or Sinn watches from Germany...sort of an industrial vibe). Write On!

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  11. Oh dang, you're right! (rushing to go edit my post)

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  12. You definitely will! All the ones we have right now are in the black and red boxes, it won't be until we do up our next run that the boxes will change.

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  13. The converter is plastic. I agree, the box does have kind of a vampire/coffin look to it! Like I mentioned in the post, the boxes were already made so we went with them, if I had the time and resources to do custom ones, I would have done a black interior :)

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  14. Well, there's already the Invincia Stylus in Brushed Chrome, is this the look you're going for? http://www.gouletpens.com/Monteverde_Invincia_Stylus_Matte_Chrome_p/mv41179.htm

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  15. Sooner@the beachMay 31, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Visualize a "negative image" version of that brushed chrome Stylus. Start with an Invincia Deluxe Chrome (with the glossy black carbon fiber cap and barrel), switch the cap and barrel material to the Nighthawk matte black carbon fiber, and then replace all the shiny bits ( clip, section, cap and barrel ends, and the band) with unpolished stainless steel, which would create a dull gray titanium look without blowing up the budget. Can you picture that? Don't make me bust out Photoshop =;7)

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  16. FYI, Here are a couple of links about the Common Nighthawk and what it sounds like. I found them interesting. (But then again it doesn't take much to get me going)...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qpsyjmda5Q
    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Nighthawk/sounds

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  17. I really like the red! It's really evocative to me of what the lights inside the cockpit would look like in the middle of a night-time raid!

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  18. Does anyone know a low-volume source for stylus tips? So I could have a hybrid of this and the Stylus!

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  19. How many turns does it take to cap and uncap the pen? Are the body and the cap metal or resin underneath the carbon fiber? Thanks.

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  20. To be even more nit-picky, the F-117 should have been tagged as an A-series aircraft, since it's used solely for attack, it's got none guns nor missiles.


    But seeing as how AF attack pilots prefer F-designated rides as more sexy, or something, that would never fly.


    The pen is still pretty slick.

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  21. Guille RodríguezAugust 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    I'm the kind of guy who likes the long lasting, never-say-die actitude in everything. This pen has everything I was looking for in a $100+ FP. I'll buy it as soon as possible! :D

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