(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
The Visconti Rembrandt Silver Shadow is a variegated resin pen in a silver/grey color. The resin is meant to evoke Rembrandt’s use of chiaroscuro (tonal contrasts that create a 3-D effect) in his paintings. You can see that effect in the photo of the resin below:
The pen comes in a large Visconti clamshell box in brown with a soft cream interior. A Visconti booklet is enclosed. My loaner pen came with two different converters, but I’m sure it normally arrives with just one.
The Rembrandt is one of the smaller Visconti pens. It is 140mm capped, 160mm posted, and 125mm unposted. It weighs 33 grams.
The cap is adorned with the Visconti finial (and you can replace this with Visconti’s “My Pen” system), the arched Visconti spring clip, and a beautiful cap ring engraved with Rembrandt’s name and etchings that are based on the artist’s work. The cap snaps on using a magnetic system that is rather unique.
Unfortunately, my Rembrandt came with a faulty finial. It fell off the moment I removed the pen from its cellophane wrapper. It looks as though the glue that holds the magnetic base for the finial came loose. This is one of those things that could be a fluke, or it could be an indication of quality control issues that seem to be common with Visconti pens
In addition to that issue, I noticed what might be a flaw in the resin. It’s tiny, but noticeable and looks like a crack in the resin. It feels smooth to the touch, however, so it may simply be a place where darker resin pooled.
One beautiful detail that I almost didn’t notice is a ruthenium (I think) bottom finial. It is barely noticeable from the side, but from the bottom, it shines like a mirror. It provides a nice balance to the cap finial.
The nib is a fine stainless steel coated in black with Visconti’s lovely scroll work. It is really quite beautiful and goes well with the grey color of the pen.
The grip is ruthenium-coated. As with most metal grips, it can become slippery if you have sweaty fingers. But, because this pen is light, I found it easy to write with in spite of the fact that I normally don’t like metal grips.
The pen fills with either short international cartridges or the enclosed converter.
I found the Rembrandt to be quite comfortable for writing. The pen is a little small, but not so much that I found my hand cramping. The stainless steel nib was smooth and exhibited no problems like hard starting or skipping. It is, however, a very stiff nib and offers absolutely no flex or give. Although the nib is labeled a fine, it wrote more like a medium with Iroshizuku Take-Sumi ink.
I wrote a portion of the first chapter of The Hobbit in my Clairefontaine French-ruled notebook to put the pen through its paces. It wrote flawlessly, and by the end of the page my hand was not fatigued.
You can purchase the Visconti Rembrandt fountain pen in Silver Shadow from Goldspot Pens for $175. I found the Rembrandt to be a sweet smaller pen that wrote well and looks quite classy, but I think $175 is rather expensive for this pen, considering that it is plastic, has a steel nib, and is not a piston filler. The Rembrandt comes in other colors as well: red, purple, blue, and black. Not all have the black nib, however.
- I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this little Visconti. I love the grey/silver color and the black nib.
- The nib on this pen is unyielding but smooth. The fine wrote more like a medium, so if you like a finer line, you might see if you can get the nib in extra fine.
- The pen is comfortable in the hand, and, despite the metal finial, I didn’t have trouble holding the pen even when my fingers got sweaty.
- My pen arrived with two flaws: a faulty finial that fell off the pen upon removal from the cellophane and a possible small flaw in the resin (which could just be where a darker portion of resin pooled).
- This is not a pen for people who have large hands or who like large, hefty pens.
- Visconti pens can be hit or miss in terms of nib quality out of the box. I was pleased that this steel nib wrote smoothly. But if you can, have your retailer test the nib and tune it before shipping.
- For a plastic pen with a steel nib and converter system, $175 seems too high pricewise.
(Goldspot loaned this product to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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