Pen Review: Stipula Adagio Seaglass

By Jessica Coles

I recently fell in love at first sight with a pen – the Stipula Adagio and specifically the Seaglass variety. I fell in love with it just from the photo but then I started looking into the details a bit. Stipula, in my mind, is a rather expensive pen manufacturer – one that can charge higher prices because of the brand name rather than charging more for higher quality. I do have to admit, however, that this was an opinion created from looking at their pens rather than trying them out.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the price more in line with the current market once I fell in love with the Adagio. At Dromgoole’s, the pen has a list price of $175 with a discount making the pen $140. But looking at the pen online, there seemed to be a strange bump just above the metal section of the pen. In my mind that bump could be a deal-stopper even with the lower price and amazingly beautiful material. Larry Dromgoole allowed me to borrow one of the pens for a review so I could see if the invasively designed bump was actually bothersome or not.

The pen arrived in a very large box covered in a coordinated sleeve.

A BIG box.

However, the pen looked rather comfortable in the box – a soft bed perhaps.

The first thing that struck me as I picked up the pen was the weight. The Adagio weighs 42g closed and 22g uncapped. I’ve included our Common Pen Weights chart below. The Adagio uncapped is the same weight as a TWSI Eco that is capped and filled with ink. The cap alone of the Adagio is 20g. The cap can be posted (it will fit and stay), but doing so makes it very back-heavy. Don’t post.

Pen Weights

The material is as impressive in-person as it looked online. Swirls of green, turquoise, silver with small inclusions of a rusty orange-brown that look like specks of sand or rock. All trim is chrome and sets off the colors quite well.

I was also surprised when I uncapped the pen. The cap is nearly half the weight of the pen and seems to mainly come from the finial, cap band and clip. The clip has the ability to clip even a jeans pocket and stays tight to any thickness – paper or clothing.

Then came the all-important question about the offensive bump. With my grip, the bump is directly under one of my fingers. Honestly, I never even noticed it. What I did notice, however, was the metal grip. Some individuals don’t mind a metal grip, others won’t use them at all. I personally don’t mind them as long as they aren’t too slippery. The Adagio has a grip that is more to the slippery side and could become a problem. Then I realized the bump kept the section from being a problem for me. It acts a bit as a stop for fingers to prevent slipping too far up the pen. It also acts as a tactile reminder of where my fingers are on the pen. Hard to explain but I didn’t mind the bump – rather the section was the thing that could be a deal stopper.

Sorry for all the tiny particles on the pen. Too many animals in the house make it impossible to get rid of it all. The barrel is actually smooth and not dusty. I was surprised at the opacity of the silver vein through the material but it makes the depth of the material much more apparent. So once again, Stipula’s decision is better than the one I would have made!

The cap band is one I would only expect on a much more expensive pen. The engraving makes the band look almost liked aged silver.

The Adagio is a piston filler, controlled by the metal back finial – again I was surprised at the feeling of quality to the piston – very smooth.

Holding up the pen to the light, the material is translucent – you can see the ink level through the barrel. When the pen isn’t backlit, however, the material is very hard to see through.

I had a bit of confusion at the end of the first day using the pen. I was turning off the lights in my office and noticed something glowing a bit on my desk. It wasn’t an after-image of anything – the pen glows very faintly in the dark! Not much, but enough to be noticed and make you think you are seeing things at first. Or at least that’s what I thought.

Size-wise, the Adagio capped is about as long as a Diplomat Aero or Lamy 2000. Uncapped, it is noticeably shorter. The section is comparable to the Aero as well although the Aeros that I own each have a matte coating to the section.

The Adagio that i used has a medium steel nib but it can be upgraded to a gold or even titanium nib (Stipula is known for their titanium flex nib). The steel nib was very pleasant to use, though. Smooth writing, no skipping and no adjustment was needed. I did notice that the pen had a tendency to dry out more quickly than most of my other pens. Now, I do live in an incredibly dry location, so it may not be as evident to others. However, the Adagio does lack a good seal when capped.

Overall the Stipula was a surprising pen. The features I thought would bother me actually helped. The pen materials and weight were very surprising. The overall quality of the pen was much higher than I expected. The Seagreen material surprised me several times (it GLOWS in the dark!). I think the Adagio is an amazing deal for the price being charged and the pen could actually be priced well over $200 but I’m very glad it isn’t! This is one pen I’m going to need to purchase for myself!


DISCLAIMER: The item in this review was provided on loan for the purposes of this review by Dromgoole’s. Please see the About page for more details.

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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I agree with your assessment of the Stipula Adagio — I purchased a purple one from Goulet Pens when it first came out a month or so ago and was blown away by the beauty, craftsmanship, and functionality of the pen. Mine is a stub nib, and it’s well ground and produces nice line variation. My only bit of dissatisfaction with the pen is that the filler doesn’t seem to hold very much ink. Mine will only fill to about .3 to .4 ml of the 1.0 ml capacity. On the other hand, the stub nib doesn’t really eat up the ink, so I don’t have to refill that frequently (unlike, I’m sure, if it was a flex nib!). The pen comes in several colors, and they all look scrumptious!

  2. These are lovely pens. I also purchased mine shortly after they first came out – in the blue. What a beautiful pen! I purchased it with a 1.1 stub nib. The nib, unfortunately, was the deal breaker for me. It refused to start at the beginning of each line, and railroaded terribly. I seriously considered sending it to a nibmeister because the pen was so lovely, but I just decided to return the pen.

  3. I got the sea green version in fine from Pen Chalet and the purple one in stub from Goulet (exclusive). When I went to clean them, the entire piston of the green one slid out. Inside is just an all clear but for the piston international standard converter that is glued to the knob and supposed to be glued at the ink chamber from adhesive traces, mine just didn’t stay glued. The internal converter unscrews for service of the piston. I don’t mind this, it actually makes it easier to clean. When the nib is screwed in, it does hold everything in place, I just make sure I’m careful with the knob like not over turning or tugging on it. The only disappointing thing is that they didn’t do a custom form factor on the converter to be able to hold more ink. I’ve also got a tocco ferro so also surprised this isn’t a true piston pen as Stipula does have models that are (although converters are mini piston fillers). Both are good smooth writers. I put noodler’s purple mtn majesty in the purple one and monteverde emerald in the sea green one.

  4. Hey there! It is a lovely pen. I got the amber version. Might have liked sea green better. What I don’t like now is that I had to ship it to California from my home in Ohio, and have the Yafa people ship it then to Italy, for repair because something about the hybrid piston fill/cartridge-converter fill system failed, filling the barrel with ink that would not write, but would do a good job of leaking out at the piston nob. I hope that the artisans in Firenze can fix this, but fear that I am stuck with a good idea that fails in execution. I guess we’ll see in a few months.

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