Monteverde has just released its most affordable fountain pen yet, the Monza. At $16, it’s an incredible value and could be a great competitive option for a first fountain pen. Let’s take a look….
The Monteverde Monza is offered in four different demonstrator colors – Crystal Clear, Gray Sky, Honey Amber, and Island Blue. The benefit of the translucent body is that you can see your ink level!
The Monza fills via cartridge/converter – it comes with a small converter, which is always a nice consideration when it’s included for free. It uses short standard international cartridges.
It is currently offered in two nib sizes – Fine and Medium – and we’re told an Extra-Fine is planned for 2018. The steel #5 nibs are smooth writing, and the clear feed is fun too. You can really see the capillary action of the ink flow at work.
The fountain pen comes in a plastic pen box that you can reuse, either as a pencil box or to store miscellaneous fountain pen accessories in. Each box matches the pen in color.
To make this an even sweeter deal, the Monza is eligible for our free Monteverde ink deal. Now through the end of the year, we’re offering a free 90ml bottle of ink with purchase of all Monteverde pens – Monza included!
Have you tried the Monteverde Monza? What do you think — would you recommend it as a first fountain pen?
Hey there, fountain pen friends, Lydia and Katy here. We are the two resident southpaws here at Goulet Pens. Us lefties are used to being the minority in the writing world and it’s hard to find the right tools for a fun and easy writing experience. We wanted to take a second to highlight some of our favorite pens and inks to help our fellow lefties find their footing in fountain pens. We both have very different writing styles and favor different pens and inks. Hopefully, we are able to give you all some great ideas to try. Check out our recommendations below!
Lydia here, I’m so very excited to share my favorites with you. As a lefty who struggled with hand fatigue and smudging throughout my school career, it was such a euphoric experience to find fountain pens and begin to actually enjoy long writing sessions. My writing style changed when I made the switch to fountain pens and is now probably the easiest adaptive lefty style, an underwriter. When I write, I am holding the pen from below the line I am writing on. I do not have to worry too much about smudging my writing and I do not have to be as careful with wet inks. My personal preferences lean towards smooth, wet, juicy nibs and inks with personality.
Edison Nouveau Premiere & Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts
It’s no secret if you read our Edison Pen Battle that the Edison Nouveau Premiere is the pen love of my life. My Premiere is the first pen I reach for in my pen cup every single time. I could not make this list without including it. The Medium nib is pleasently wet and I find that I can write with it from just about any angle. When trying to mimic other lefty writing styles, I can still get a decent skip-free line. The line width of the medium is perfection for me.
I have recently discovered Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts. I already had a favorite navy blue (you’ll hear more about that later) so I never really gave it a chance. Boy, was that a mistake! 54th Mass. has the right amount of dryness that I can write without concern of accidental smudging, but it flows so nicely in my Premiere. I also love the permanence it offers. It’s not often, in my experience, us lefties can find a permanent ink that works for us with a reasonable dry time.
TWSBI Eco & Diamine Amaranth
Another wet writer that has my heart is the TWSBI Eco. I have one in both medium and extra fine. Unlike Katy, I am not a fan of extra fine nibs because they write too dry for me. I like a nice, juicy line. I was quite pleased with the TWSBI extra fine as it was surprisingly smooth and flowed well, without putting down too much ink. It is the only extra fine I’ve ever enjoyed. The medium is heaven. I can put a dry ink, like a Pelikan 4001 ink, in it and it still keeps up and flows with the writing experience I expect. But when I use a wet, shading ink, it is my favorite for really highlighting what the ink can do.
One such instance is Diamine Amaranth. I am a sucker for the purpley pink hues, like Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, so when I stumbled on Amaranth, I was excited to try it. It adds so much depth and dimension to my writing. Each letter starts out lighter and I love watching the ink become more saturated and darker toward the end of my letter. Amaranth adds so much personality to my already colorful writing and flows so well to keep up with my rapid fire scattered brain.
Pilot Metropolitan & De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes
This pair was my first love and still remains a steady part of my pen rotation in some way. The Pilot Metropolitan in Retro Pop Purple was my first fountain pen, given to me when I started here at Goulet. The fine nib provides a restricted but smooth flow and it was great for my newbie self to get used to the flow of fountain pens without smudging anything. I still rely on this pen nightly for my Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day journaling. The Metro is like an old friend that will be with me forever. No matter what pens enter my life, I will always have use for this pen. It’s especially great for less than fountain pen friendly paper.
My love for De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes started shortly after it went out of stock for a few months the summer after I started at Goulet. I got a sample and inked up my Metropolitan and from the first letter, it was love at first sight. Sherlock Holmes is my favorite ink of all time and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. The navy blue makes it a classic ink, appropriate for any circumstance, but I still find it a fun color. I love how well it flows from every pen I own. It’s wet enough to keep my Metro and EF Eco flowing well, but not so wet that it’s impossible to use in my flex pens. Without hesitation, I’d call it my work horse ink.
Honorable Mention: LAMY Left-Handed Nibs
We were recently able to start carrying the LAMY left-Handed Nibs and I fell in love with them. Brian brought a sample around the office for us to try and it was a magical moment for me. I have always thought I was fine using regular nibs, but there must be an ever so slight angle to my writing that makes these nibs really work for me. The Left-Handed nibs are not for every lefty, as I’ve heard in discussion with fellow lefties on our social media channels, but for those of us that it does work for, it is a whole new frontier of fountain pen enjoyment.
Hi, I’m Katy. I was the original lefty with The Goulet Pen Company. Now it’s great to have a friend in Lydia so we can figure out this fountain pen thing together. I am an underwriter and I kick my notepad to be parallel to my body and write sideways. I like to call myself a side underwriter. All of this adds up to me loving extra-fine nibs.
Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo & Monteverde Purple Mist
The purple Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo with an extra-fine nib was gifted to me a number of years ago. Once I had it in hand, I had one of those eureka moments. The extra-nib was so fine which helped remedy any smearing that I previously had experienced with other fountain pens. The nib just didn’t lay down as much ink as say a gushy Lamy broad nib. My favorite ink pairing I’ve written with is Monteverde Purple Mist. The lubrication in the ink allows for a smooth flow and the ink color is spot on with the color of the pen. I don’t typically love a pen and ink match up but when it’s right, it’s right.
LAMY CP1 & Robert Oster Deep Sea
Next on my list is the LAMY CP1 which was the first pen I ever picked for myself. This pen is slender, light, and lovely. My CP1 started with a left-handed medium nib but over time and with the ease of nib swapping, it now has an extra-fine nib. The left-handed nib didn’t do much for me. I actually had some skipping issues. But every other nib has been a pleasure to write with. I even tried a 1.9mm stub once which was so broad. Once again this extra-fine line of ink saves me from smearing and making a mess of my notes. If I had to choose an ink to pair, I’d say Robert Oster Deep Sea. My teammate Anna and I think there should be more talks surrounding this ink. Deep Sea is beautiful and I like that the Robert Oster inks are slightly drier but still rich in unique color.
Kaweco Perkeo & Diamine Golden Sands
My final pick is the Kaweco Perkeo, which really caught me off guard when it showed up in the office. I love each of the colors that came out of this pen model. Indian Summer with a medium nib is a stand out for me. Maybe that is because I have a china cabinet in that same warm yellow color but who knows. What I like about this pen is the triangular grip section. It is less pronounced than the Lamy Safari but still nice to have when orienting my nib to the page. In the Perkeo, I like inking up Diamine Golden Sands because well, sparkles. I find that the shimmer inks tend to feather less making it more friendly with different types of paper.
We hope that these picks provide some useful tips for our left handed fountain pen friends out there at all experience levels. Each writer has their preferences and factors they look for in their next writing tool. The key to enjoying fountain pens as a left handed writer is having the patience and persistence to enjoy the journey until you find your perfect pen and ink pairing. Happy hunting!
What are your go-to pen and ink pairings that work best for you?
Lydia & Katy
Hey there, everybody, Jenn here, bringing you another fun Monday Matchup drawing. This week, I’m trying out the TWSBI Eco in Broad with J. Herbin 1798 Amethyste de l’Oural. I love my TWSBI 580AL; it’s definitely one of my favorite pens. I was excited to get the chance to use the Eco because I hadn’t tried one yet and I wanted to see if it would hold up to the standard my 580AL had set. Read on to hear how I created my piece and what I thought of the pen and ink.
I was inspired to create another mythical, magical piece because of this gorgeous ink. I love shimmer inks; I keep at least half of my pens inked up with shimmer inks at all times. I was fascinated by the deep purple shade and silver shimmer of Amethyste de l’Oural and wanted to create a piece as magical as the ink. What’s more magical than a unicorn?! I couldn’t think of a better fantasy creature to show off this fantasy ink.
I started by looking up images of horses so I could get a good idea of the shape of the unicorn’s head. I went with a “super close up” view, which I found easier to perfect. I really liked the look and thought it added a little mystique to the feel of my drawing. I began my drawing by outlining the unicorn’s ear and jawline. I knew I was going to use a water brush to add some depth, but I didn’t want to do the entire area because I wanted the end result to look like actual hair (or as close as I could get!). Having learned my lesson about wet ink with my mermaid drawing, I let the ear start drying while I moved down and worked on the unicorn’s eye. The ink was quite wet, and using it with a broad nib meant it was coming out fast and furious. I made sure to be very careful to keep my hands off of newly-laid ink, and I put the paper away several times to let it dry.
Once I was happy with the ear and eye, I used the water brush to lightly fill in the white space and created that fade look. Though unintentional, I liked it the result so I left it. I then went to work on what was, for me, the most intimidating part of the drawing – the horn. I was determined to do my best to get the horn to look like bone, as opposed to a cone with stripes. I drew the striations first, without outlining the horn, since I felt like that would give it a more natural appearance. I followed that by connecting each curved line to the next, going up the right side and down the left. To try to get more of a bone feel, I traced the whole horn, line-by-line, multiple times, to give it as much depth as possible. I finished up by using a clean, almost dry water brush to add a tiny bit of color.
I finished the drawing by adding the mane. I thought the broad nib might be problematic here, but it turned out that I didn’t need super fine lines to create the mane. The close-up nature of the drawing lent itself to thicker hair. The last step was to add the quote by Roald Dahl. I love this quote! I wanted something that went with the theme of shining and magic, and I think this quote was the perfect fit. The drawing didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped so I might choose a different subject if I were to do this piece again, but I enjoy the end result.
This pen and ink combo was a home run for me! The Eco is lightweight and comfortable to hold. The piston filler is easy to use and the pen holds so much ink. Sooo much ink! Being a demonstrator was a big bonus; seeing the spectacular silvery shimmer of the J. Herbin Améthyste de l’Oural sloshing around inside the barrel made me smile every time I picked the Eco up. It really turned a somewhat understated pen into a stunner. I prefer broad and stub nibs, and this broad nib did not disappoint. It laid down ink like that was its job. (Oh wait … I guess that is its job … ha!) It didn’t matter how many times I set the Eco down, it started back up again each time with absolutely no problems, never once having a skip or a hard start. On top of being so pretty, it really was a super reliable, workhorse of a pen.
This would be a fabulous pen and ink for letter writing! Can you imagine getting a beautifully penned letter in this gorgeous, shimmery ink? That would make anyone feel good. Depending on your journaling style, this pen and ink could work for that as well. If you BuJo, this combo would add a pop of color and a bit of pizzazz. If you write pages and pages, though, this ink is likely going to be too wet for you (although it might do okay in a fine or extra fine nib … try it out and let me know!). It’s also not the most professional of color choices, so using it in a work setting might not be the best choice. Obviously, it’s wonderful for drawing, fancy lettering, and that sort of creative artwork. I love this pen and ink and would use them again in a heartbeat.
Enter to win this fountain pen and ink by following these directions!
- Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
- Take a picture of your pen and ink matchup.
- Find the entry details and instructions below on how to share your picture with us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or as a blog comment*.
- You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
- Confirm your entry via the Rafflecopter widget below which will record your entries. This is how we’ll draw a random winner. Since it’s totally random, you’re eligible to win each week!
- *Due to recent changes with the Disqus platform, you must register for a Disqus account in order to post a photo entry in the blog comments.
The contest is open Monday, October 16, 2017 at 12 pm EST until Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 12 pm EST. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Pilot Converters, Lamy 14k gold nibs, and how he breaks down his pen/ink/paper budget!
- Lego Brickfest!
- Rachel’s parents were in town
- I was sick the last two days, ugh
- we launched the Monteverde Monza, big hit
- done some live video stuff on Insta and FB, got Drew on there, it was fun!
- Bonfire really took off! sold out, getting one more shipment in that I suspect will also sell out fairly quickly…this one is hot (pun!)
- Robert Oster African Gold is coming in
- TWSBI Mini AL Gold in next week!
- Lamy Aion will be in about two weeks, I’m told
- Flash sales and giveaways on Instagram, Facebook, and our newsletter so make sure you subscribe to those
- Free silk Visconti pen case with a Medici
- Next week through Thanksgiving free Iroshizuku with any Custom 74 or Stargazer
- We’re working out a cool thing for Fountain Pen Day, stay tuned in a couple of weeks for that
- More to come, we’re going to be doing all kinds of cool stuff through the end of the year!
1) Nerissa D.- Facebook (4:42)
What is the most thorough way to flush a Pilot pen that has a squeeze converter?
- Pilot’s moving away from squeeze converters now, though there are a lot of you that still have them out there
- everything’s going to be moving to either the Con-40 or Con-70
- I personally find the best way to clean them is to remove the converter, and flush it either with a solid “shake” or ink syringe
- flush the pen with a cut-off bulb syringe, there’s nothing more effective
2) Vicki N- Facebook (9:30)
can you fully disassemble a pilot con40 converter for cleaning? i haven’t been able to find anything online and can’t figure it out on my own.
- Unfortunately they’re not made to be disassembled
- If you take it apart, you’ll likely damage it, it’s not worth the risk in my opinion
- the best way to clean it is like I just described with the Pilot squeeze converters, either use an ink syringe or shake the heck out of it full of water
3) suannp8- Instagram (14:00)
Now that Lamy has gold replacement nibs… for my first gold nib pen, would you recommend getting that nib for my Safari or buying an entry level gold nib pen. Which pen would you recommend?
- Great question! you’ll pay close to the same price for both
- it’s purely going to be a matter of personal preference
- If you go with an entry-level gold nib pen like the Pilot VP, Lamy 2000, Pilot E95s, or something similar, the pens themselves may have a little nicer fit and finish than a Safari with a 14k nib
- One of the really nice things about the Lamy 14k nib is that you can swap it, so you can put that nib on any of your non-2000 pens!
- the 14k nib with the Lamy is a little more of an incremental step into gold nibs, and I really love the way those nibs write
- I still think you’ll need to evaluate it on a per-pen basis, as many of the entry-level gold nib pens are pretty different from each other
4) hobbysgirl5741- Instagram (19:10)
Any more previews of the Monteverde Monza?
- I’ve gotten to play with it a little more, and it’s a pretty cool little pen
- you’ll notice how similar it is to the Jinhao 992, that’s undeniable
- I pointed that out to the folks at Monteverde, and they recognize the similarities too
- I don’t exactly know the arrangement of the pens, but I do know the QC, nib, and feed are different from Monteverde. and you get full warranty support on them
- The pens themselves are surprisingly solid
- Pen caps well, posts well
- very light overall
- clear feed is really cool!
- fine and medium nib, and write quite well, especially given the price, write slightly wet but not gushing, pretty comparable to most European nibs (not as fine as Japanese)
- #5 size nib, so you can even swap it if you desire
- does come with a converter…it’s not THE BEST, but it’s okay
- replaces with the Monteverde clear converter, slightly shorter than the Standard International
- take SI short cartridges
- 4 different demonstrator colors, $16, with free $15 bottle of ink now through the end of the year
- pretty dang good pen for the price in my opinion, it’s definitely worth a look especially given the ink deal
- we’re running low on them right now, but we’ll get restocked soon
5) Ryan D.- YouTube (26:11)
My question is, why aren’t all fountain pen inks permanent? I love the colors De atramentis and Diamine inks has to offer, but their not permanent! What’s the deal? Does it have to do with pen cleaning maintenance or ink production cost? Thanks for doing QandA.
- it’s funny, because I often have other people ask me the exact opposite, why there is so much fuss around permanent inks!
- the reason there are both is because people have different needs
- the dyes and components used to make permanent inks are more limiting in terms of colors and properties, so that’s a huge reason why non-permanent inks exist
- it’s also that the chemistry wasn’t really around (or at least not used) to make ink permanent except in blues or blacks for a long time, so other color inks were only available as non-permanent
- still look at many of the more vibrant colors, like pinks, reds, oranges, purples, greens, etc, they’re all mostly non-permanent
- I think a lot of it has to do with that components are available with permanent qualities in which colors, cost (probably), as well as maintenance and performance
6) Kevin G- Facebook (33:41)
If you were to divide your stationery budget (I know you probably don’t have a budget, but work with me) into three for pen, paper and ink, what percentage of the whole budget would each one get?
- I think it’s very wise to budget! My stationery budget is likely greater than most, but it’s also what I do…
- Whatever your budget is, say it’s $100 because it’s a nice round number
- I think if you’re JUST starting out, go with $40 for pens, $35 for ink, and $25 for paper
- Over time, your paper budget will likely go way down, as you’ll learn what you like and you’ll find things like journals actually go pretty far
- Down the road, you’ll likely be more of a $55 pens, $30 ink, $15 paper
- I’m personally more in something like a 80pens/12ink/8paper these days, just because I use about the same ink and paper but my pen budget has grown quite a bit
7) @ExiledTexan86- Twitter (38:50)
I enjoy the business Q&As. Has Goulet Pens ever experienced a make or break moment for the company’s future? If so, how did you face it?
- oh my gosh, have we! many, many times over, yes
- first one was taking on the first corporate pen order when it was just a hobby…aka, starting at all
- deciding to go “full time” with it about 2 years in – not easy, Rachel had to pull our financial wagon
- deciding to go full into fountain pen retailing and stop making pens, that was both tough and easy (because it was obvious it needed to happen) – this was hardest for me personally, as I saw myself as a craftsman in my mind’s eye, and I knew this would divert me away from that path
- Rachel quitting her job and both of us going full-time into it, that was the single biggest “do or die” moment with a mortgage and a new baby – we faced it with an appropriate dose of fear and apprehension, a lot of gumption, and the mentality of “we have to do this now while we’re too young and ignorant to truly understand how hard this will be!”
- we’ve faced more scenarios since, like our first hire, moving the business out of our house, moving up every time since then, upgrading our website, it’s all been and continues to be a series of “make or break” moments
- because you’re never truly “settled”, never really “there”, you are constantly making these types of decisions as a business lives on, which is why so few are able to stick around for the long haul, you have to be a special breed to take that on
QOTW: What’s your pen/ink/paper breakdown look like? (50:51)
News can happen in a flash and you’ve got to have the right tools to catch the latest scoop. Thursday Things: Photojournalist is a collection of sturdy, ready for action products perfect for any would-be reporter working a story. Whether you’re looking for a rough and tumble pen that can go anywhere, like the Karas Kustoms Fountain K, or the quick draw clickable Pilot Vanishing Point for fast note taking, you’re bound to find something here. Add in a perfectly proportioned notebook that you can easily slide out of a back pocket or camera bag, such as the Field Notes Front Page, and you’re ready to go. Worried you’ll miss out on something? Check out the Leuchtturm1917 Planners to keep yourself in order. No matter what type of tools you’re looking for, Thursday Things: Photojournalist is bound to have a choice for you.
Featured products from left to right:
- Field Notes Notebooks – Front Page Reporter’s Notebook (2-pack)– $12.95
- Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – Black– $3.95-$4.98
- Noodler’s X-Feather (3oz. bottle)– $12.50
- Noodler’s Zhivago (3oz. bottle)– $12.50
- Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Notebook- Black– $13.95
- Traveler’s Notebook Olive- Regular– $44.95
- Karas Kustoms Fountain K- Tumbled Raw Aluminum– $80
- Pilot Prera Fountain Pen- Black– $56
- Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen- White Matte w/ Black– $148
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium Weekly Planner- Metallic Silver– $23.95
- Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen- Black– $25-$27
What would be your go-to pen and notebook for jotting down a story?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Some of your favorite fountain pens have hooded nibs, like the Lamy 2000, but does it serve a purpose? While it can be aesthetically pleasing and allows for incognito fountain pen writing, it’s not necessarily the main intention when integrated into a pen design. So what other reasons might there be? Brian tackles this in a previous Q&A:
One reason to go with a hooded nib is the nib doesn’t tend to dry out so often. That’s because less of the nib is exposed to the outside air. So if you leave your pen sitting out uncapped, it doesn’t dry out as quickly. This is a major perk for those using it in a classroom setting that requires quick notes, as you don’t have to cap and uncap each and every time. The nib will remain wet and ready to write when the need arises.
Another consideration is it allows the ability to hold your pen closer to the nib. With a standard fountain pen, this would lead to really inky fingers, but with a hooded nib, not so much! While not necessary for everyone’s grip, some do push up very close to the nib for comfort and control when writing. The hooded nib allows for this without the worry of ink-covered fingers.
The last purpose of the hooded nib is that the filler hole is much closer to the nib than a traditional fountain pen. So what? Well, that allows for easier filling with low ink levels. You don’t have to twist and angle the bottle a specific way like you would do to accommodate a higher filler hole fountain with most other pens. This helps you use nearly every last drop a bottle or sample has to offer!
Where do you stand with hooded nibs? Do you prefer the traditional look? Let us know in the comments below!
The Goulet Pen Company Team