Friday, March 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 164

Last November, I placed an order for a Pineider 'Avatar UR' fountain pen with La Couronne du Comte, a well-known pen shop in the Netherlands. I'd never ordered from them before, but their price for the pen was the lowest I could find online (just under 80 Euros, or $122 CAD) so I jumped at the chance to acquire one (and in the colour I really wanted) for such a great price...

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

The Pineider arrived after a slight delay--it was temporarily out of stock-- but in plenty of time for Christmas. I'd mentioned that the pen was purchased as a Christmas gift (I neglected to mention it was a self-gift ;) so the store was thoughtful enough to gift-wrap it for me.

The pen came in a nice cardboard box with the Pineider name and crest on it- simple yet tasteful...

...and lots of documentation, including a warranty (enclosed in a small sleeve embossed with the Pineider name and crest) and an instruction pamphlet from the manufacturer. All of the paper was very high quality, not surprising considering that Pineider has been producing high-end stationery since 1774.


(pages 1 and 2 of the warranty pamphlet ~ click on images to enlarge)


The colour I chose for my 'Avatar UR' is called "Angel Skin", a dreamy, swirly mix of darker and lighter pinks. The pen came nestled in a cut-away box liner and arrived safe and sound, which is ironic because.....

...the body of the 'Avatar UR' is made of "UltraResin"--a mother-of-pearl compound resin developed in Florence for Pineider, which (according to Pineider), "is extremely rigid, nearly like metal, incredibly resistant to hits, very close to call it unbreakable, resistant to oils, inks, electricity, to high and low temperatures, to UVrays, to any weathering condition" (watch Goldspot Pens' "torture test" of its durability here ...and no, I didn't try any of those tests myself!). Note: There was an earlier Pineider model (ca. 2018) named 'Avatar' (without the "UR" in its name) that was not made of the nearly-unbreakable UltraResin. The 'Avatar UR' (my pen) came out a year later, in 2019.

Another interesting fact--thanks to the "GlueLess" technology used its manufacture, the 'Avatar UR' was assembled "without a single drop of glue being employed in the process". Need proof? There's a clip of the pen's designer Dante Del Vecchio proudly assembling the pen with nothing but a small hammer here.

If signore Del Vecchio's name is familiar to you, it's because he is the co-founder and former CEO of Visconti Pens. He also designed all of their writing instruments and was the inventor of Visconti's
Power Filler system, their Traveling Inkwell and the Visconti Double Reservoir Power-Filling system, among other inventions. In 2016, he left Visconti and in 2017 was hired by Pineider to spearhead the re-launch of their own line of fine writing instruments (Pineider first started making fountain pens in the late 1800s). The creativity seen in the Visconti writing instruments he designed can clearly be seen in the Pineider pens he developed after leaving Visconti. There's an insightful interview with him here that I think is well worth reading if you want to know more about "the man behind the pens".


Back to the pen....I love the overall aesthetics of it, as well as all the thought that went into its design, such as the patented magnetic cap-closure mechanism. The magnet's surface is coated with a film to protect it from corrosion, as well as allowing for a "soft touch" closure. The palladium-coated barrel end cap also serves two functions--to add some weight to the pen, and also to protect the barrel end from breakage -- should the pen fall from a height, the metal end cap will make contact with the surface first, due to its weight. The magnet and end cap do add to the overall weight of the pen (which comes in at 30 grams), but it's not what I consider a "heavy" fountain pen.


The pen is a nice size and heft and can be used comfortably unposted ... or even posted, if you're a "high-gripper", as I am. I actually like resting my fingers on the ultra-smooth magnetic steel ring (which is part of the cap-closure mechanism) just below the section -- it seems to give them a better purchase on the barrel vs. holding the pen by its smooth metal section, which some find a bit slippery. The flared end of the section does act as a good finger-stop, though, and is also very smooth. I actually couldn't find any sharp edges anywhere on the barrel or section, which tells you how well made the 'Avatar UR' is. 

 The clip--designed to look like a feather or quill--is made of "marine steel" and is firm but flexible, thanks to its elegantly-simple spring-loaded design. The tiny opening in the photo above shows one end of the single pin holding the clip in place.  


Onto that highly-ornate cap band now...

The wide palladium-plated cap band depicts the skyline of Florence (Firenze) Italy, Pineider's headquarters. Directly below the Pineider logo is the city's famous Ponte Vecchio bridge...

...the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore ("the Duomo"), one of Florence's main tourist attractions, is also depicted on the cap band... is the the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio (left) and the Basilica di Santa Croce (center).

I love the engraving on this nib, which has "Pineider" written sideways (in a very cool futuristic font) on both sides of the nib---the normal way on one side, and in mirror-image on the other side (a subtle tribute to Leonardo da Vinci's mirror-writing, perhaps?)

The "M" on the rhodium-plated Bock steel nib stands for its width--Medium. My pen wrote smoothly right out of the box with no nib adjustment or tuning required. The warranty pamphlet that came with the pen describes the nib as a "large N6 Demi Flex" nib. I'm not sure if I'd classify it as "Demi Flex", unless they're referring to modern flex (vs. vintage flex, which is far more pronounced). If I press hard, I can create some line variation, so perhaps that's classified as "Demi Flex"? The nib does have "spring" to it, though, so it's not a "nail".

The pen uses international cartridges or a converter, and comes with a Pineider-branded converter. It, however, isn't the same converter that comes with the 'Avatar UR Demonstrator''--the Demonstrator's converter has markings on it to show the amount of ink remaining in it, whereas my pen's converter doesn't.

In the end, the pen wound up being a Christmas present from my wonderful in-laws (rather than a Christmas "self-gift"), who gave me a monetary gift which I later used to pay off the pen. I visited Florence in 1993 but wasn't a fountain pen collector at the time, so I missed out on an opportunity to buy a pen-related souvenir of that beautiful city....until now :) Many thanks to my in-laws for their generosity and to La Couronne du Comte for their excellent customer service!

Sorry for the long review. Hope you enjoyed reading about this great fountain pen :)

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