The Momento Zero is the first pen I’ve tried from the Leonardo Officina Italiana brand. From what I’ve read, the Leonardo brand is the latest incarnation from the father-son team responsible for making pens for Delta and later Armando Simoni Club before branching off to create Leonardo Officina Italiana.
The packaging is appropriate to a pen at this price point. There is an outer dust sleeve and then an inner “coffin box” with a creamy suede-like lining. The only odd detail is that the pen is pinched into place by clips under the fabric rather than under a band or elastic like most boxes. It reminded me a bit of the monsters book from Harry Potter. I felt like I needed to grab the pen from the ends quickly and slap the box shut before it tried to snap back. There was an information booklet included as well. The converter was thoughtfully in the pen upon purchase. There were no cartridges included though the pen should accept standard international cartridges.
It indicated that the Momento Zero Blue Positano models are open, numbered editions. There was a place in the back of the booklet for a seal and signature from the shop where the pen was purchased to indicate date of purchase and note the number of my pen. Since I acquired the pen via online, I suspect the box was never opened before shipping or only cursorily to verify that the info on the outside of the box matched the contents before shipping.
While I don’t own any of the Armando Simoni Club pens, I’ve seen them at pen shows and the design of the Momento Zero is similar to that of the ASC pens, including the disc design on the clip and the wide conical tip on the ends of the pen. Where the ASC pens have a decorative Greek Key band around the edge of the cap band, the Momento Zero pens have three metal rings. The Momento Zero is smaller in scale than the ASC pens I’ve seen which is fine with me. I am, as you may realize by now, petite of hand.
The model I got is the Positano with Rhodium trim and a broad nib. I don’t normally favor broad nibs but I think, in this case, fate played a hand because I was very pleasantly surprised with this nib. While it is a steel nib, it has a lot of spring and bounce to it making it a hugely pleasurable writing experience. I’d compare the feel of the nib to a Pelikan M200 nib in terms of springiness. It did write perfectly out of the box, unlike many M200 series nibs so consider that in my comparison.
The only branding on the pen body itself is the name engraved into the acrylic along the barrel along with the specific number of the pen purchased.
One of the most unusual features of the pen is multiple access to the converter. The pen features a cap on the end to access the converter without unscrewing the whole barrel. You can also access the whole converter from the nib section.
The assembled pen is shown above with just the end cap removed to access the end of the converter.
- Weight: 27gms Capped/Posted and 19gsm unposted (with converter filled)
- Length: 5.5″ (140mm) capped, 5″ (127mm) unposted and 6″ (152mm) posted
The Momento Zero is not heavier than a Metropolitan when filled and posted and just a little heavier than an AL-Star unposted.
For size comparison, from left to right, the Aurora Optima, Pilot Custom 92, Lamy AL-Star, the Momento Zero, Pelikan M205, Pelikan M605, Opus 88 Picnic and a TWSBI Eco. Below, the same pens, posted. The Momento Zero is about the same length posted as a TWSBI Eco and just a little longer than the Pilot Custom 92.
What I was most surprised to discover is how well-balanced the Momento Zero was to use posted. I almost never say that. Actually, I think that’s the first time I’ve said that in a review. I’d actually write with this pen posted. Not that I need the additional length but it did not throw the balance off. Amazing.
Now, for what you really wanted to know… how does this pen write? Frickin’ beautifully. I was blown away. Like I said at the beginning of the review, I don’t usually got for broad nibs because they usually write like blunt makers for me and that just makes me say, “meh”. This nib… this nib had a crispness to the broad that made it more… stub-like? Something wonderful this nib brings. (Yes, I butchered a Shakespeare quote… this nib makes me feel badly poetic.)
Any flaws in the writing above is due to a slightly drier ink and not a fault of the pen. I have adjusted the ink since writing the review to verify this and can say unequivocally that the pen and nib are perfect and the ink was a might bit dry.
So my final take away? The acrylic material is pretty for a larger commercial manufacturer selling a pen for under $200. The filling system is overly fancy for a cartridge converter but I appreciate the effort of making a banal element something “extra”. And the nib is ROCK STAR level for a steel nib. If you were waiting to see whether the Leonardo pens were worth the price, I’m telling you, yes.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 16 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pen: Leonardo Officina Momento Zero Positano ( €122.31)
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Book ($10) & Col-o-dex Rotary Cards ($15)
- Ink: Robert Oster Carolina Blue ($17 for 50ml bottle) with one drop of White Lightning Ink Additive ($5.95 for 1oz bottle)