Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 352

   [ feminine ] /abːon’dantsa/
abundance , plenty

Today, we're featuring a Retro 51 'Abbondanza' fountain pen/rollerball I got last year! Now, this isn't the first Retro 51 pen with that name--there was an older fountain pen/rollerball model with a titanium nib made for Retro 51's 10th anniversary back in 2000. The newer model (featured today) was first released in 2008 and was available as a fountain pen/rollerball pen or a twist-action ballpoint. To avoid confusion, some pen retailers called this newer model the 'Abbondanza II' on their websites, but in Retro 51's catalogs, it was just referred to as the 'Abbondanza'.

Enough background info, let's get on with the review!

(please click on images to enlarge)

The pen comes in a rather unassuming cardboard outer box with the Retro 51 logo on it.

The back of the outer box, though, has a drawing of a "premium bamboo box" --- intriguing!

Turns out an "abundance" of things come with the pen! 😉

The fountain pen rests in a small bamboo pen display tray that, in turn, rests in a nice
bamboo box debossed with the Retro 51 logo. Inside the box are: a matching rollerball section and rollerball refill in black (both protected by a thin foam insert), an instruction booklet/warranty, a box of 6 short international blue ink cartridges by Schneider (not shown) and a protective layer of thin foam that prevents the box's contents from rattling around.

Retro 51 has a long history of using bamboo in their products; they've come out with at least four different pen models, a
16-pen display case, a 3-pen stand, a business card holder and several desk accessories all made from this eco-friendly material. With every purchase of these bamboo products, Retro 51 makes a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation to rescue 250 square feet of rainforest, and the habitat it protects.

Now, despite being a huge Retro 51 fan, I wasn't very taken with the pen the first time I saw photos of it online. In fact, I waited over 12 years before I purchased it. Why didn't I like it? Well, I (mistakenly) thought it was a plain black acrylic pen (D'oh!), and I wasn't enamored with the clip's design (the clip has grown on me, though ;).

Not surprisingly, the pen isn't heavy - aside from the nib, trim and clip, it's completely made of turned acrylic. It weighs only 18 grams (with no cartridge/converter in place) and measures 13.5 cm capped. Unposted, it's about 13.2 cm from nib tip to barrel end, and 14.5 cm long when posted. I've seen photos of the pen with a metal fountain pen section, but they weren't shown in the Retro 51 catalogs.

Luckily for me, the lone photo of it on Amazon.ca showed a pen with prominent red veining in the material, or I might have passed on buying it! The pen cost $80 CAD and I'm really glad I bought it because (I later found out) this 'Abbondanza' fountain pen/rollerball was only made for a couple of years - the fountain pen/rollerball and ballpoint are both in the 2008 and 2009 Retro 51 catalogs, but only the ballpoint is shown in the 2010 catalog. Neither pen type appears in subsequent Retro 51 catalogs.

Here's a better look at the lovely, high-gloss acrylic material. The red veins in the black resin remind me of thin rivers of hot lava flowing over cooled lava ...

This has always been my favourite Retro 51 nib design, so I'm pleased they chose it for this pen. It's a #6 size two-tone steel nib in Fine (I thought the tiny "F" enclosed in a circle on the nib was the
® symbol lol) and it writes very smoothly. I'm not sure who made the nib, but I know that Schmidt made nibs for Retro 51 before and after this pen was released, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was them. The fountain pen section is beautifully tapered and provides an extremely comfortable grip.

As I mentioned earlier, the fountain pen came with a matching rollerball section. It screws onto the end of the barrel and, like the fountain pen, provides a very comfortable grip. Like the fountain pen, the pen in its rollerball form is well-balanced and light in the hand when posted.

I'm so glad that Retro 51 opted to make the rollerball section out of the same material as the rest of the pen; I see a lot of beautiful, colourful fountain pens with plain black plastic sections, and it breaks my little pen-loving heart :(

This is the double-sided instruction booklet/warranty that came with the pen. In the "Fountain Pen Care & Maintenance" section, it warns pen owners: "Do not loan your fountain pen to anyone. The nib adjusts only to your writing style (ie. pressure and angle)."

Um ok. 😑

Aside from that, I have no complaints -- it's a really nice pen (from a pen company I've been a fan of, for many years) and I'm glad I finally bought it

(photos & review by Maja)

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