I don’t have a ton of experience with Montegrappa pens. In fact, in the ten years I’ve been reviewing pens and ink, the Montegrappa Elmo is only the second Montegrappa I’ve ever reviewed (The first was the Montegrappa Felicita). Needless to say, I don’t have an extensive knowledge of the brand. The Montegrappa Elmo 01 Fantasy Bloom Edition in Blue Cross Gentian (B Nib)($200) is a reissue based on a 1920s model. The Elmo has been updated with bright, swirly resin material (also available in Iris Yellow and Black Star Calla Lily). It features a stainless steel nib in a range of sizes from Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Stub 1.1mm, and Stub 1.5mm.
Montegrappa treats its pens like royalty. The packaging is posh, almost to the point of excess. But Italians are nothing, if not excessive.
There is a paper wrap around the glossy paperboard box.
Then, there’s the branded paperboard box.
And inside the paperboard box is a embossed, leatherette box with an engraved metal branding plate.
Then, inside all that is the sueded interior and behold! The Montegrappa Elmo under a satin ribbon. Inside the pen is the cartridge converter but two cartridges are included. Lifting up the pillow reveals the Montegrappa information booklet.
The Elmo 01 is a smooth, cigar-shaped pen with the understated Montegrappa clip with the rolling ball at the end.
The pen and grip section are all in the resin material. Only the threads, clip and nib are in a contrasting stainless steel/chrome silver.
A close-up of the material reveals the layers of undulating swirls of color, even the peek of pink/purple.
The nib is embossed with the signature octagon pattern which is perfectly aligned so that the diamond in the center of one of the octagons is the center of the breather hole.
The one aspect I found less appealing was posting the cap. While it does post, it seems to do so kind of precariously. I think the pen itself is long enough not to need to post it but if you are inclined to post your cap on your pen, the Elmo 01 might not be the pen for you.
Oof! What can I say about a pen that makes my handwriting instantly look better? Yes, please.
As a lefty, I tested the pen writing both over-handed, under-handed and side writing. I wanted to make sure the pen performed in many angles. I even tried writing with it right handed (but I am not posting photos of that. My right handed writing is horrific.).
With the large, expressive B nib, this particular pen is not for ye of tiny writing. Any time a pen nib creates filled centers on your letters (like the “a” and “e” in the sample above), it’s time for a finer nib or larger writing. For a B nib though, the Elmo 01 does have a good deal of line variation. I often find B nibs to write more like blunt crayons than fine writing instruments. The Elmo 01 B nib is definitely an exception.
Pictured above from left to right are Lamy AL-Star, Platinum 3776 Kumpoo, Opus88 Koloro, the Montegrappa Elmo 01, Franklin-Christoph P45 and Kaweco Sport. I’ve included these to show size comparison. The Elmo is 5.5″ capped. It’s probably most similar in overall size to the Platinum 3776.
Posted, the same pens from the previous photo, show how the Elmo 01 is much longer posted than the Platinum 3776. It’s almost the same length as the Lamy AL-Star which is a much lighter pen.
The Elmo 01 is 31 gms filled and capped and 24 gms uncapped. It’s not a heavy pen overall but posting it puts a lot of weight on the back of the pen.
The Elmo 01 is a beautiful pen and a chance to do some pen traveling to Italy while our bodies must stay confined due to the current pandemic. So, I sit with my travel books and Montegrappa Elmo 01 and imagine the faraway places I will go… someday.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 16 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pen: Montegrappa Elmo 01 Fantasy Bloom Fountain Pen in Blue Cross Gentian with B nib ($200)
- Ink: Lamy Pacific ($12 for 50ml bottle)