I had Mike Dudek on the podcast last week, and it was inevitable we were going to talk Kickstarter pens. He is one of the few people that is as crazy as me, and possibly crazier seeing some of the projects he has backed.
When the PIUMA Fountain Pen came up in the conversation, Mike mentioned it “looked nice, but…” then struggled to come up with more. I chimed in with "…but this was done four years ago.” He agreed, and we both elaborated on the point we were trying to make. The PIUMA pen does not break any new ground in design, functionality, or materials, but that doesn’t keep it from being a damn fine pen.
I backed the brass model early on, and Ensso, the maker of the PIUMA, sent me a prototype of each pen for a quick peek. That has made me happy with my initial decision, and now I’m wondering if that is the only one I’ll end up with.
Let’s start with the Black Matte model. It is killer - full stop. The finish is smooth, the branding is minimal, and the addition of the black nib turns this into possibly the darkest pen I’ve handled. It looks fantastic, and the lighter weight of the aluminum makes it great for every day carry.
When backing new pens and I have the opportunity to choose titanium, I usually do. Not this time though - I have too many. The titanium PIUMA is fantastic, and I feel you should go ahead and add on the titanium nib to get the full effect. At least that’s what I would do. This one feels great, and is weighted just right.
The brass PIUMA is the big daddy of the bunch, weighing in capped at over three ounces. That is a heavy pen! I’m giving this one a shot because I wanted to try something different. After using all three I thought I might change my mind and go with the black aluminum model, but something about this pen makes me smile. Plus, the patina looks very cool already after just a short time handling it.
All of the pens are outfitted with Bock nibs, which are available in various sizes, and materials including steel, titanium, and gold. I’ve used all three varieties and have had a great experience with all.
If I can pinpoint any downside, it’s one thing that Ensso considers a feature of the PIUMA - the cap and barrel threads. From the Kickstarter campaign:
“The cap threads are wider and allow a fast opening and closing of the pen.”
I want more threads on a metal on metal connection rather than less. That may put me in the minority on this minor issue, but bumps and vibrations can loosen caps. I want the cap to have to travel more so it stays secure rather than travel less and get loose. This matters less on acrylic and ebonite pens than it does metal. I haven’t noticed any issues yet, but haven’t had the pen long enough to run it fully through the paces.
PIUMA borrows its name from the Italian word for feather, which is what the first, and simplest, pens were made from. Ensso has succeeded in making a simple fountain pen, while retaining beauty and functionality. Getting a first look at these pens only confirmed my original thoughts when backing the project, and I look forward to getting to use it in the new year.
My thanks to Ensso for loaning me these pens for the purposes of this review. Ensso is also a current and future sponsor of The Pen Addict.
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