Italian fountain pens are known for their beauty and bold design. The Stipula Passaporto was my first Italian pen, now this pen follows as my second pen made in Italy.
While the Stipula wins the bold design contest between the two, the Delta snags the crown for beautiful material and superb craftsmanship.
This Is A Big Pen
But first, the size. This pen is my first foray into modern “big boy” pens. True, I mainly collect, restore, and use vintage fountain pens, that does not mean I am blind to the attraction of modern ones.
Even after spending countless hours perusing the online catalogs, looking for the fountain pen that I can justify having, one thing is never clear to me, how big are these $200+ pens? While bigger isn’t necessarily means better, I see a place in my collection for pens of any size, as long as it’s cool and it also depends on how much I enjoy using them.
“The Journal” measures at 5 and 3/8 inches capped and the diameter is 13mm at the middle of the barrel. The section is quite chunky at 12mm.
I almost can’t put the pen down when I first received it. Depending on where I look, the material seems to dance with the light. It’s not exactly a marble pattern, more like patches of bluish-grey with different levels of shininess embedded in a beautiful dark blue resin.
Let’s see if I can show it. This photo is with my bounced-flash cranked up, it still doesn’t capture 100% the pearlescent quality of the material, but it’s close. Do you see why this material is called Blue Pearl?
How Do I Fill This Thing?
The filling system on this pen is what they call “captured converter” which basically is a design choice that integrates a cartridge-converter into the barrel.
The benefit is that you don’t have to unscrew the barrel to fill the pen. Instead, a nicely-made and fit blind cap at the bottom of the barrel can be unscrewed to reveal a cool-looking converter knob (or should I call it dial because it’s rotated not pushed).
I like anything that has a knurled metal surface, and this knob looks very good and it feels “grippy” when I operate it with my fingers.
I have to say, I love this design for its convenience and really, it behaves like a piston filler. Plus, supposedly, in a pinch, if I don’t have an ink bottle handy, I can just unscrew the converter and stick an international cartridge in its place, and I can go back to writing.
Which Clip Is This One?
When I looked at reviews online for this pen, I saw a different clip shape. While this pen has the classic looking nickel-plated clip with the metal ball at the end, the other type of clip is flat, more modern-looking and the plating is darker and matte.
I prefer the type of clip that I have, maybe because I am partial to vintage-looking clip. For the record, 99% of the time I prefer my pens to have a clip, and the clip design and material matters a lot to me in determining whether I like a pen or not.
And the Fusion nib?
The nib is awesome. It’s big, and it looks amazing. Delta market it as a nib that “fuse” steel and gold to provide a unique writing quality (a very, very hard claim to objectively measure). Most people just chalk it up as a marketing ploy and went on with either liking the nib or not. I personally like the look of the nib and also its performance, so I care less about whether the gold and steel construction made a difference or not.
One thing is for sure, this is no vintage flex nib, so I won’t flex it. But it is a wide stub, a very smooth wide stub.
Writing with this nib reminds me of my 1.1mm Kaweco stub nib, but this one from Delta is a bit smoother and the line variation is nice and makes even my ugly handwriting looks better.
How About We Ink It Up?
Event though the pen is blue, I feel that Diamine Oxblood suits the pen. Just a gut feeling, and I was right. The stub performs amazingly well with the ink.
The ink flow is almost perfect for me, not dry but also not too wet.
So here is my summary:
- Is it cool or stylish?
Yes, if you like chunky and girthy pen. The design is not as bold as other Italian pens but the material makes up for it.
- Does it feel cheap?
No. The pen looks like something that cost $200+ (street price). It feels substantial without being over the top. I also like the fit and finish of the trims, I didn’t see out of alignment threads, or bits and pieces of resin sticking out. The converter wiggles slightly, but is safely tucked in the barrel.
- Is it comfortable to write with?
Yes. The pen feels very nice in the hand because of the size of the pen and its balance. My preference is to use it without posting the cap on the back. The nib is very smooth, and they did an excellent job with the ink flow. The nib is very firm, but the performance of the stub nib is very good.
- Is it a good value?
So-so. This pen retails about $270 USD in 2016. I paid way less than that, but I bought a few pens with this which helps to keep the cost down. Will I buy it at $270? It is an excellent pen, but I will not pay that much. I think this pen should coast around $150 USD.
- Who would I recommend it to?
I recommend this pen to those who would like to try “big-boy” Italian made pens. Also those who prefer larger pens and put a high value in exquisite materials. Performance-wise, I definitely recommend the Fusion Stub nib simply because it is an excellent stub nib.