This week, Pen Boutique owner Leena asked me to write about the Monteverde Regatta Sport Blue fountain, rollerball, and ballpoint pens. We are newly offering a special set with the fountain and ballpoint beautifully paired together in the same box, and you can also purchase the ballpoint and rollerball from us individually. This is a retired edition and they are all being offered at a huge savings for a limited time (50% off for the individual pens, and over 50% off for the set!). I was excited to be able to try all three pens, and was given the three to bring home with me and play with.
These bold pens are very striking to look at, and I was a little overwhelmed at first. They are much larger and heavier than any of the pens I own, and aren't the type of pen I would choose for myself, so I decided to ask my visiting family to share the experience with me and get everyone's opinions on the three pens!
First, I did an unboxing of the fountain/ballpoint set with my brother, sister-in-law, nephew Hunter, and nephew's girlfriend Sophie, a fellow pen lover. We were quite impressed by the packaging. The box is exceptionally nice and this set would make an amazing gift. The box is very solidly constructed from soft dark green faux leather with a sturdy hinged lid and cream interior also made from soft faux leather. The pens rest beneath a band of the same material on a removable tray that hides lots of goodies underneath--1) a Monteverde USA International Limited Lifetime Warranty booklet, 2) a card with fountain pen refill instructions (explaining how to use the included converter and cartridges), 3) a very thorough Collection Guide showing all Monteverde's products including all their different pens, ink colors, Fountain Pen Flush cleaning solution, etc., and 4) two short standard international Monteverde ink cartridges--one with blue ink and one with black! Very nice. Installed in the fountain pen is a threaded piston ink converter, and the ballpoint has a Parker style refill.
After our unboxing, we took turns trying all the pens and sharing our observations. The ballpoint tip extends by grasping the front of the pen and twisting the rear section, but this isn't immediately obvious because the clever and well-machined construction of the pen's body hides the division between the two sections. The fountain and rollerball look identical when capped, and also make use of this clever streamlined design. The hidden division between the cap and the body looks just like the division between sections on the ballpoint, but the cap is held on by a strong magnet and is removed by firmly pulling. The caps can be posted on the ends of the pens with this same strong magnet, and Sophie remarked that it was a "very satisfying post." We were all fascinated by this satisfying feeling when the cap clicked firmly into place on either end of the pen, and couldn't resist doing it multiple times!
Hunter, an engineer, noted that the machine tolerances on the pens are quite good--meaning that the smoothness between sections is very consistent. This detail is especially key, given that the pen is divided into seven segments of alternating resin and knurled diamond cut rings, with bands of black carbon fiber and bright azure blue.
We were very pleased with the way the ballpoint version of the Regatta Sport wrote, although we had differing opinions of the feel of the pen in our hands. Sophie and I found the pen a bit thick and heavy for our smaller hands, and my brother, a left-hander, found it too slippery for his unusual grip. Hunter, on the other hand, said the thickness caused less straining than with a thinner pen and really enjoyed the feel. Later I asked my father to try it, and he liked the way it fit his hand and said it was very comfortable and that the weight felt good to him. We all agreed the ink was very nice and that the ballpoint pen felt well-balanced.
Our first big challenge came when it was time to test the fountain pen. I tried and tried, but was unable to unscrew the section to install a cartridge! It was very tight! Finally, my brother, with a stronger hand than mine, was able to unscrew the two parts of the pen by grasping the grip section with a rubber band for more traction. Once he opened the pen, I had no problem removing the threaded converter and installing a cartridge, and the pen was easy to unscrew after that. But, just be warned: it might be difficult the first time you open the pen, so do not give up! The separation is between the smooth metal grip section and the silver band immediately behind it.
We all thought the fountain and rollerball felt too heavy to us with the caps posted on the backs of the pens, but this is a matter of personal preference and people with larger hands often prefer weightier pens. Hunter, who is not experienced with fountain pens, had problems getting the fountain to consistently write for him; the nib needs to be held at the correct angle and has very little tolerance for a rotated grip. The proper position came pretty naturally to Sophie and me, and also to my dad, so this was not an issue for us.
Sophie and I had fun experimenting with using the three pens to draw. She made a very nice variation on Mona Lisa with the roller, while I drew hilarious bad Mona sketches with first the ballpoint and then the fountain!
The nib on the fountain is stainless steel and is available in extra fine, fine, medium, and omniflex. The one we tested was a medium and it was very consistent in line, with a smooth firm feeling that reminds me a little bit of writing with a very high quality colored pencil. It has almost a "waxy" feeling that I really enjoyed, with a pleasing amount of audible feedback and no scratchiness. I noticed that when I wrote the alphabet with this fountain, my handwriting was particularly precise and neat!
In the end, we all agreed that the ballpoint version of this pen is especially nice, that the magnetic caps on the roller and fountain are fascinating and very pleasurable to use, and that this is definitely not a pen that you would lose! It has a bold and powerful look, and the gorgeous shade of azure blue is mesmerizing when paired with the knurled diamond cut metal rings. The pen looks especially beautiful in a dimly-lit room, where it catches the light and sparkles like a diamond necklace at a cocktail party. The fountain and ballpoint set would be an especially memorable gift for someone with a strong presence and bold personality. This is a pen with charisma!