Pineider is one pen company I have wanted to investigate for a while but the opportunity never presented itself. The pens are beautiful, the packaging is thoughtful, and the quill nibs look amazing.
Appelboom recently sent several items for the Well-Appointed Desk team to review and among this batch was a Pineider LaGrande Bellezza fountain pen.
First of all, the packaging. The first layer protecting the Bellezza is a cardboard box. This box protects a beautifully designed but oddly shaped box that is covered in leather or leather-like material in a dark forest green.
This inner box opens in two places – a top flap covering the pen and a bottom flap that opens to reveal a bottom shelf containing the product information and stationery.
The stationery turned out to be 5 matching card and envelope sets. The cards are single piece card stock – not a folded card. I did not test the cards since this is a review copy, but I would expect no ghosting or bleed-through with the weight of the cards.
The pen I received is the Tiger Eye color. Looking at various images of this pen, I have seen the colors show in everything from a bright yellow-orange to a smoky grayish brown or even bits of green. Pineider describes the pen material as a resin embedded with marble dust – chosen because it closely imitates the celluloid used in vintage pens and for the depth of color in the material.
The large variation of color between individual pens could be an issue for people who like to choose the color of their pen. However, this is easy to avoid with communication before the final purchase. I appreciate pens with such a wide spectrum within a particular name, although purchasing can be easier at pen shows where you can see the actual pen.
In order to try to show the depth and variation within my review pen, I’ve taken photos in various lighting arrangements. This pen varies from a bright yellow-orange that moves from bronze to a pale yellow. A streak of brown-gray-green runs through the back of the pen and a bit into the cap. The aspect that is difficult to capture here is the depth of the swirls and the slight metallic-like sheen in certain colors. I assume that is the marble dust since the effect has nothing to do with an actual sparkle.
The trim is silver in color – I could not find any information about the material used for it, however. The clip is shaped as a quill and has a lot of movement. It is spring loaded but the spring is inside the cap so the clip is kept thin on the outside. The clip slides onto paper or a pocket easily although it slides off if clipped to only smooth paper. On a leather notebook cover, the pen stayed very securely fastened even with a lot of jostling.
The cap has a patented magnetic closure that is interesting. The magnets cause the cap to snap into the correct orientation with respect to the pen every time. Once the pen was capped, I couldn’t knock it free at all. Only when I pulled or twisted the cap did it release from the magnet. When the pen is closed, an inner seal keeps the nib ready to write.
For those who post your pen, the pen contains a corresponding magnet on the back so it can post securely. However, the posting magnet allows the cap to post in any orientation.
Now for the nib! I found the quill nib to be delightful to use. At first I tried no pressure when writing. The pen is well tuned and writes before I even feel it touch the page. I did not experience skipping, hard starts, or slow flow. I also didn’t find any gushing or blobs. The flow was just… perfect. My attention was never drawn to the flow because it was never an issue. This was also true when flexing the nib.
This pen came with an extra fine quill nib, 14kt. The unflexed nib performed exactly as I would expect an extra fine gold nib to perform, perhaps slightly finer than others. The flow from gold nibs seems to be a touch faster than steel nibs making an extra fine line difficult to achieve. The thin lines below are using no pressure. Thicker lines are mid level pressure.
The Bellezza pen possesses a few special touches that could be missed. The silver grip has a small roughened patch to help a user grip the metal section. The uniquely shaped breather hole on the nib. The cap band that carries the saying “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” in raised letters – the saying many pen users write when testing a pen since it contains every letter in the english alphabet. These little touches, along with the box details, make the pen feel more luxurious in my opinion.
I only used a Lamy 2000 and a TWSBI Eco to compare the size of the Bellezza. The diameter of the barrel is exactly in-between the two other pens and the same length as the Eco.
Uncapped, the Bellezza shows the unique shape of its section – the curve felt very comfortable in my hand. The section did not feel like my fingers would slip off – an issue I occasionally have with a Lamy 2000. But it didn’t feel as demanding as a TWSBI Eco grip – Ecos sometimes annoy me – they like to control your grip posture.
The huge difference between these pens is the weight. The Bellezza comes in at 38g when capped and 22g without the cap. That’s equal to a filled, capped TWSBI Eco.
The Bellezza does carry this weight well, however. I could easily use it for long writing sessions (30 minutes or longer) without it tiring my hand. I prefer to use it unposted but even for my small hands, using the pen while posted was not out of the question in terms of weight or length. In my opinion, the weight added to the feeling of worth overall.
Appelboom lists the La Grande Bellezza for $382, a price which qualifies for free shipping. Do I think the pen is worth that price? Yes. The pen feels luxurious in every way I know. I would compare it to pens from Visconti, Montegrappa, Aurora with the attention to detail, original materials, and nib quality. I would predict Pineider’s pens rising in price as the name gains more attention in the fountain pen world. Name recognition is the biggest difference I see between these brands at the moment – the brands I mentioned above are charging $450 to $750 and even above for a similar level of quality. I’m interested to see what else Pineider has in store.
Pen: Pineider La Grande Bellezza Tiger’s Eye Yellow Fountain pen ($383 at Appelboom)
Paper: Tomoe River refill notebook (Musubi $30-$35 US)