Montegrappa is a brand that we’ve really only recently begun to carry on our site. They have a pretty wide range of pens, with a number of them being themed limited editions that get pretty fancy. So far we’ve carried the Montegrappa Copper Mule and Fortuna, and we’re honored to add the gorgeous Passione to our lineup.
There are a number of things that make this pen special. Without getting into any of the details, you can just look at the pen and tell that it’s not your everyday pen. The design, the balance, the smooth, flowing lines…the Passione has really taken me.
It has an 18kt gold nib with rhodium plating to give it a silver color, and the nib is one of the nicest writing nibs I’ve used. My personal previous experience has only been with Montegrappa’s steel nibs on the Copper Mule and Fortuna, which is entirely different. These 18k nibs are incredibly smooth, with a consistent flow that’s just slightly on the wet side (about a 7/10), and it has a bit of softness to it that allows the nib to bend ever so slightly with increased pressure to ride out the variances in your pressure while you write. It all works together to make for a writing experience that matches up (or dare I say, exceeds) the aesthetics of the Passione!
It’s available from Montegrappa in a number of nibs, and we’re starting off with fine, medium, and broad. Being 18kt nibs, they’re just a little wetter than most steel nibs, especially if you write with a heavy hand. I find the nibs to write pretty similarly in width to most other European nibs, particularly gold nibs. Not as wet as Visconti (those really push the envelope for wetness), but more like the Aurora Optima, Delta Dolcevita, and Omas pens.
One thing I absolutely love about this pen is the sterling silver trim. Granted, it looks a lot like rhodium plated trim, but the silver is brighter, and as a slight glow to it (with almost a yellow tinge) that polishes brighter than rhodium does. Montegrappa even includes a polishing cloth to keep the trim looking its finest. Being sterling silver, it will tarnish over time so some regular polishing will keep it looking its finest.
Another detail I have really appreciated is the small band of matching celluloid just behind the threads on the grip. This is covered when the pen is closed, and when you open it to reveal the grip of the pen, it’s a nice little pop of color you don’t quite expect. This piece elongates the grip so that you have a little more space before your finger would hit the step of the pen. This makes it so even those with larger hands (like me) won’t hit that step when writing with the pen. The threads themselves are fairly rounded too, not sharp, so if your finger falls on them they will not be disruptive to the overall writing experience.
There are some nice logo details on the cap finial and centerband. The 1912 logo marks Montegrappa’s founding year, and the name is engraved subtly on the centerband in a nice script font. A nice touch is that there are two thin lines of color on the clip that match the color of the pen. And the roller wheel clip assists in sliding the pen on and off your shirt pocket. The clip is a tad stiff, something good for shirt material, I wouldn’t clip this onto your pants pockets, though.
The material is a beautiful, deep celluloid that’s available in four colors: Mediterranean Blue, Zebra, Cinnamon, and Orange.
Celluloid is a very expensive and complicated material to manufacture. Much like the nitrocellulose film that used to be used in the movie industry in the early 20th century, celluloid is a derivative of natural cellulose that is difficult to manufacture and takes upwards of two years to cure before it can be used to produce a pen.
Why go through all this trouble? It allows you to get some unique colors and patterns in the material, for one. It also has a very smooth feel to it, and actually has a bit of self-healing properties to it. What I mean by that is that your own hands can act like a polishing cloth for the very fine scratches and natural wear that can occur just from daily handling of a pen in use such as putting it down on the table or sliding it in and out of your case or pocket. Celluloid is also very impact resistant and not as brittle as acrylic, and it has a warmth to its touch that you will feel when you touch it. It’s far less commonly used in pens today, and typically only seen on more expensive limited edition pens.
The Montegrappa Passione is a pen that has been around for a little while but recently got on our radar due to a pretty serious price drop. The pen used to sell for around $1400 MSRP, and now we have it available for $716. When I asked them about this drop, they said they are intentionally making moves to make some of their finer pens available to more of the fountain pen community. While this price point is still probably in “holy grail” territory for most, I certainly can justify this pen at this price (and I did, I chose the Mediterranean Blue in a fine nib for myself).
If you have any questions about it, just ask us here in the comments, we’d love to hear what you think!
Brian Goulet and the Goulet Team