Salvatore Matrone leads the new Leonardo Officina Italian house of pen craftmanship. They are creating bespoke fountain pens using Italian craftmanship methods.
I am very fortunate to have the Momento Zero, No 1 of 1. This is a pen designed and created by a new Italian pen company - Leonardo Officina Italiana.
Officina means is a workshop where goods are crafted, and Italiana of course means what one would expect, with Italian style. This pen is manufactured by hand, using the equipment needed to bore and polish rods of celluloid. It is an artful craftmanship method, rather than a volume process to manufacture fountain pens.
The company has produced pens for the Armando Simoni Club and has goals to much to offer truly fine fountain pens.
The company, Leonardo Officina Italian,is led by Salvatore Matron. He has a design background as well as experience with Delta, which has created a range of high quality and innovative pens. Along with Salvatore a small group of dedicated individuals work to create and market the pens.
The experience of acquiring a fine fountain pen is one the owner never forgets. The pens will be able to be purchased on line, through the company's soon to be opened web site. The experience to making a selection on style and colours, communicating with Salvatore on the nib selection and other considerations are all part of the personal process that goes into to process of having an individual pen created for the owner. In this case, I picked up my fountain pen when in I was in Rome in September 2017. I will not forget, being on the patio of our apartment overlooking the Piazza Cavour, opening the subtle gray box, and seeing the sparkle of daylight responding to the patterns in the celluloid.
The pen is made from a beautiful rod of celluloid, a material with the characteristic of building a relationship of light and the pattern of the material. Celluloid is found in high-end fountain pens. Cotton is the start of the process, it is processed, formed into a past, colours are added, chemicals added and in the end, it is baked for long periods to form beautiful rods of celluloid and that can be used to create pens. Leonardo has acquired a supply of beautiful Italian celluloid for their pens. Likewise, they have also have acquired rods of resin for pen bodies made from resin. That enables them to make pens at different price points.
Celluloid pens standout in how the light interacts with the colours of the material. For me, when the natural light fell on the blue tones of the celluloid body and cap, the pen came alive with colour. From a distance, with no light falling on the pen, the Momento Zero appears as a dark toned, almost black fountain pen. Classic in appearance, good style, and beautiful gold plated trim that includes two rings at the base of the cap, and an attractive clip. I would be pleased to have the pen in classic black.
But as light hits the pen, it changes. As I held the pen in my hand to write with it, the light caught the and brought all the subtle and vivid colour tones. There are beautiful streaks of blue, aqua, silver and gray.
One of the characteristics of celluloid is its light weight. This pen floats in the hand. The celluloid, combined with a converter as compared to a heavier piston fill mechanism, results on a featherweight pen and nicely results in the hand as I write. As people have picked up the pen they most common comment is how light the pen feels in the hand.
The pen is an excellent size. It measures much the same as the Pelikan M800, with the exception that the body, especially for the area just about the nib which is a bit wider. I like that, it gives the pen a good substantive feel. The M800 is considered by many pen owners as a very popular size of writing instrument.
The pen uses a converter for its ink filling mechanism. The converter is the extended version that uses the entire length of the inner body. Screw off a cap at the end of the pen, the twist a small nob to expel in draw up ink. Salvatore told me they are planning to create their own piston mechanisms.
For fountain pens, it is often all about the nib, as the nib plays an important role in defining the writing experience.
Pens are available in either a steel or 14 kt gold nib. I used a pen with a steel nib in Medium. It was a smooth writing experience and I must admit I liked how I could use it for editing documents and smaller sized writing. From the moment I dipped the pen in a bottle of ink, and testing the pen I found the pen to be a very smooth writer. Some may think that steel nibs are something to be avoided. Not so. I can attest to the smooth writing experience.
I wanted a broad nib I had the pen fitted with a 14 k broad nib. The nib creates one of the best writing experirences. It just slides across the paper, laying a good line of ink. I love it.
The nibs sits on a high quality ebonite feed mechanism, and the ink nicely flows from the converter to the nib. Having the higher qualify ebonite feed enhanced the writing experience. At work I have the pen uncapped on my desk, I pick it up, and its writes without hesitation.
The nibs have the name LEONARDO imprinted. this is a very smooth writing nib. It is a medium width and I have enjoyed using this nib where I need slightly finner writing.
When you order your pen, you will be asked about what nib you want, steel or 14 kt gold.
The clip of a pen is a very important aspect of its design. Clips can range from being too small to being too large and clunky. Sometimes the design of the clip overtakes the overall look of the pen. The Momento Zero has a very classic subtle clip. The clip runs about 3/4 the length of the pen cap. At the end of the clip a small roller aides in allowing the clip to effortlessly slip over the shirt pocket material. It has such a classic look and so very suited to the overall look of this pen.
The cap of the pen can also impact the style and look of a pen. In this case, the cap of the Momento Zero is the same length as the cap of the Pelikan M800. With the Momento Zero, the cap is in the same celluloid material as the body so visually it smoothly blends into the overall look. I write with my caps posed, and this cap nicely posts to the body of the pen. The body is round, and I never like to leave a pen, without the cap closed or posted to the pen.
Your will be able to view and order pens through the company's web site. The site is in the final stages of testing, and I will be posting the URL at one point in October 2017. Pens will be custom made for the user, with the final price depending on the material used, resin or celluloid, and the nib selection, steel or 14 kt gold.
Bravo Leonardo Officina Italian! You have created a truly fine pen. I look forward to your other creations.
(I will post the web address as soon as the site goes live.)