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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mini Review: Bortoletti Dip Pen

Me thinks it’s about time I get back to blogging now, so we’re kicking things of the right way with a review! At the suggestion of one of my favorite readers, I decided this would be the best way to jump back in. No introductions needed.

That being said, give me some slack, because it’ll take me some time before I get as good as I was at my reviews and photography. :)

Read on to find out about my new favorite fountain-pen-related writing instrument…

This Italian-made (hand-made!) dip pens screams quality all over. Not being a huge fan of dip pens, I had high standards, and low expectations. When I was gifted this pen, I didn't know what to expect. Upon opening the decorative box, this pen matched my high standards and exceeded my expectations in an amazing way. If you’re into dip pens, I’d say this is almost a must-have. If you’re interested in trying one out, definitely do yourself a favor, and buy a real one, like the Bortoletti.

The good:
• Fantastic Quality
• Beautiful design and hand-blown glass. It’s lovely to stare at…
• The nibs are not modern – they are recovered/reconditioned vintage dip pen nibs! And they write very well.
• It’s Italian, and it’s hand-made – need I say any more?

The Bad:
• Well, it’s a dip pen. If you don’t like dip pens, you’re out of luck my friend.
• For what it is, it’s not overpriced, but it sure isn’t cheap either.
• Availability is sketchy. The only way to get one is to Google “Bortoletti Dip Pen” and see what comes up. They are randomly available for around $60.00-$70.00 at different online gift/pen shops.

I would LOVE to see these carried by a good FP retailer, such as the Goulets. I might just shoot them an email and see if they'd consider it…

The ugly:
• Sorry, but the word ugly cannot be associated with this gorgeous pen in any way, shape, or form. Just not happening.

Now onto the details!!! (I know you’re as excited as I am, right? :)

Here's the important end of the pen - the part where you'll be touching it, and writing with it. Hand blown glass, and gold dust swirled inside. It's lovely. The grip-section is metal, and has a delightful "tarnished" look to it. The nibs are easy to change out, and the pen comes with three. My favorite is the one currently in the pen - a flexible nib. There is a stiff "normal" nib, and a stub-type nib. More on how the nibs write later.

The set comes with a lovely bottle of ink, and a real wax-covered cork cap! I was worried about ink leakage, but I left the bottle sideways for 9 weeks, and not a single drop ever leaked. Impressive for a piece of cork...

The ink itself is nothing too special, but it works better than fountain pen ink on this pen. I believe this is because most dip pen inks are "thicker" than fountain pen inks. Thus, they cling to the nib better via surface tension.

This pen is quite comfortable to write with. It's balanced, not too light, and has a great grip-section to hold onto. I will caution - it's long! Not big, but long. This is not an issue for me, as the "tail-end" is very light, and it's not back-heavy at all.

This was done with one dip, using the ink that came with the pen. Not bad at all, though my handwriting with it could use a lot of help. :)
The nib pictured here is the semi-flexible one. It's my personal favorite one out of the three. Compared to all other dip nibs I've tried, this one is far above them. It's very smooth for a dip nib. Mind you, dip nibs have no tipping, so they're naturally not going to be like a fountain pen. I believe the slight tooth only adds to the experience though. The slight flex makes writing fun, and, as you can see in the photo below, one dip actually gets you pretty far.

Last photo - a comparison shot. Yep, I told you it was long. But as you can see, the tail-end is thin and light, so it doesn't affect the very nice forward-balance of the pen.

All things considered, I can't stop using this pen. I really don't have anything bad to say about it. Sure, it's expensive, and yea, it's a little hard to find. But if you can get a hold of one, this is the premium dip pen experience. If you're a dip pen fanatic, buy one - you'll love it. If you're looking to get into dip pens, don't get a cheap one like I originally did - it will ruin your opinion of dip pens. Get a good one, like this Bortoletti, and enjoy the experience like it's supposed to be.

This pen looks so elegant sitting out on my desk, it's practically become a permanent accessory. Best part is, it's not just an accessory - it actually works, and works very well too.

That there concludes this mini-review. If you have any further questions about the pen, please do drop me a comment below and ask away. I'd be happy to fill you in on any information I may have missed in the review.

Oh yea, it's good to be back to blogging again too. :)

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