It's easy to spend years in the pen community and be completely unaware of various pen companies that are also operating in the same space. That's what happened to me with the Pineider Avatar. Pineider is an Italian stationery company that dates back to 1774, and recently rebooted in 2017. In the case of the Avatar, I've been pleasantly surprised by this new (to me, anyway) brand.
The Avatar is made of resin and silver trim, but that's really selling it short. The mixture of red shades and translucent material gives this pen a little something extra when the light catches it. Moving under the light, the pen appears to have dimensions and space beneath the surface, an intoxicating chatoyance.
The silver trim matches the pen nicely without detracting any from the real star of the show. The ends of the pen and cap are both rounded, and the clip is a spring-loaded mechanism that integrated into the top of the cap. It's not the strongest clip out there, but it gets the job done.
One of my favorite things about this pen is the magnetic cap system. Instead of a traditional screw-on cap or friction fit system, the Avatar has a nifty magnet catch design. Uncapping the pen is easy, and recapping it results in a satisfying /chink/ to let you know it's secure. When capped and not in use, the cap feel secure and I don't think it would slip off in normal circumstances. I would keep a close eye on this pen if I put it in my pants or shirt pocket if the pen couldn't reach the bottom of the pocket.
Another fun feature of the cap is the band. There's a lot going on with the band, and I wasn't sure I liked it at first. After looking a bit closer and realizing that it was a skyline, it started to grow on me. Since I didn't recognize the city skyline at first, I looked at the small pamphlet that came with the packaging and discovered that it was a skyline of Florence, Italy. Along with the skyline is a classy "Pineider" logo. I wish the band had a little more thickness and dimension, but I also appreciate that it's flush with the body of the cap.
The section of this pen is longer than most, but it has a nice shape. It's a slick metal finish that can get a bit slippery, but I haven't had any issues with it so far. One issue I did have during the first few days of using this pen was inky fingers. I wasn't sure how my fingers kept getting ink on them, but I finally figured out what was happening. Since there's no lip or ridge at the bottom of the section, my finger would slip down onto the feed and pick up ink. After realizing this, I consciously changed my grip on the pen to stay a little higher up. After doing this, I had no more issues with inky fingers. This is more of a individual preference problem, but worth mentioning since I don't normally have this problem with the dozens of other pens I own and use regularly.
The steel nib on the Avatar is also something that surprised me. It's minimally decorated and the size matches the size of the body perfectly, but it's also buttery smooth on paper. The nib is firm without feeling like a nail, but you also can't get any flex out of it. Even though it's labeled as a medium, it feels more like a fine — possibly even an extra fine. I'm not sure if Pineider nibs run small usually or if this is just an issue on the unit I have. Either way, I enjoy using the nib and it's performed beautifully right out of the box.
Speaking of the box, Pineider really takes pride in their presentation. The box that this pen arrives in is a black pleather covered box with a couple of small flaps that are secured with magnets (someone at Pineider really likes magnets...). Upon opening the box, you're greeted with the pen on a stand at the top of the box. Under the pen is a small drawer that contains some information on Pineider and some stationery supplies — small envelopes and pages for letters. It's a nice touch and something that I've never seen before for a pen of this price.
I think it's fair to classify Pineider as a luxury brand, and I've had mixed experiences with luxury brand pens before. This certainly isn't the norm, but there are times where the presentation is on par with a luxury brand, but the writing experience is poor. Sometimes it's hard to justify the price of a luxury pen if it doesn't easily attain the number one practical goal of all pens.
In the case of the Pineider Avatar, I'm pleased to report that this luxury pen is a satisfying mixture of elegant materials and presentation as well as a beautiful writing experience.
The Pineider Avatar retails for $280, but Pen Chalet sells it for about $225 at the time of this review. At that price, there's a lot of excellent competition that usually blows weaker luxury pens out of the water. With the combination of a great writing experience and the gorgeous, tantalizing materials of the Avatar, I think it sits fairly in this price range along with the likes of the Pilot Custom 823 and others.
If you're interested in the Avatar, it comes in four beautiful colors. The color featured in this review is Lipstick Red, but you can also choose from Coal Gray, Pacific Blue, and Saffron Yellow. Each pen comes with a cartridge converter and accepts international short cartridges. Unfortunately, there are no nib options outside of medium steel nibs.
(Pen Chalet provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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