This is a Frankenpen special review for a modified…
Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Fountain Pen
Price: $80.00 + $15 for the nib
Nib: Goulet EF
Filling System: Screw-Type Piston Converter & Standard International Cartridges
About the Pen:
The Invincia was one of the first pens I purchased, and until recently, was the most expensive pen in my collection. When it arrived, I was pretty much blown away by the way it looks. It’s a beautiful pen. All the hardware has a shiny black finish, and the stub nib was black to match. Classy! I couldn’t wait to try it out.
Unfortunately, the pen didn’t write nearly as well as it looked. I think it was a matter of the feed not being able to keep up with the ink demands of the stub nib. It just kept drying up, requiring me to prime the feed (i.e., forcing ink into the feed using the converter).
I was pretty disappointed. For $80, this pen should not have an ink flow problem. Period. It made me sick that I spent so much money for a pen that I couldn’t use. Lucky for me, though, the Invincia takes a standard #6 nib, and The Goulet Pen Company just happens to sell their own #6 nibs in a number of different grades.
So I ordered an EF Goulet nib and swapped out the stub nib that came with the pen. Oh, what a difference! The Invincia is now quite lovable.
The Monteverde Invincia is gorgeous. It has a highly polished carbon-fiber barrel that tapers toward a flat-ended end cap. The section and all the hardware (finial, end cap, clip, and cap band) are glossy black and slightly ornate without being gaudy (although I have to say that I’m not a fan of the shape of the clip…it’s kind of weird looking).
The color of the cap is kind of amazing and hard to describe. They call it titanium, and it’s a grayish-tan color…kind of somewhere between silver and gold. It also has some texture to the color. It’s not quite pearlescent, and not quite metallic…somewhere in between. It’s pretty stunning, though. Unfortunately, they no longer make the titanium model, although you can find the exact same pen with metallic orange and metallic green caps.
The finial is a flat button shape that sports the Monteverde logo. And the odd-shaped clip is very tight and springy, although it does have a ball at the end to make clipping onto fabric an easy process. Once in place, that clip isn’t going to let go on its own.
The cap band has MONTEVERDE USA on one side and invincia on the other. At first, I thought the lettering was screen-printed onto the cap band, but there’s some texture to it, like the letters are etched into the cap band. Either they etched the letters and painted the etching, or the material under the black is white, and they just etched away the black to expose the white underneath. Either way, the lettering is clear and perfectly done.
The section has an hourglass shape to it, making it pleasant to hold. A lot of the hardware pieces have molded rings on them. There are three on the end cap, two on the finial, one at the top of the barrel, and one on the nib-end of the section. These rings add a nice ornamental touch without being gaudy or over the top.
Build Quality (4.5/5):
I’m knocking off a half-point for the sorry-ass nib that came with the pen. It had a black finish and looked awesome in the pen, but the darned thing wouldn’t write for more than a few lines at a time. I shouldn’t be so hard on the nib. The Goulet EF nib I have in there works perfectly, so my guess is that the feed is what’s to blame, not being able to supply the stub nib with enough ink to maintain a usable ink flow. Either way, I shouldn’t have to replace the nib on an $80 pen, so it’s 4.5 points for you, Monteverde!
Everything else on this pen is perfect, though. All the threads on the pen are perfectly machined, and marry up for a smooth screwing experience. That sounded dirty. I’m sorry.
No, I’m not.
The Invincia is a pretty heavy pen. They describe the barrel as being carbon fiber, but it’s too heavy for that. The barrel must have the carbon fiber over top of a metal core. Not a problem, just an observation. The weight of the pen hasn’t been a problem for me.
Two other quick details:
- The cap does not post. It just sits there. I don’t usually post pens, and I certainly wouldn’t want to risk scratching the finish on the barrel, so this is a non-issue for me. Just want to report it for all the “post or die” crowd out there (you know who you are).
- The converter screws into the section. I LOVE it when they do that! I’ve never actually had a converter fall out of a pen, but I enjoy having the peace of mind knowing that it can’t fall out on it’s own. Just a really nice touch.
With the Goulet nib, I’m giving it a full five points. It’s wonderful. It writes all the time, doesn’t skip or hard start, doesn’t need the feed primed. I let it sit for about three weeks, and it started up right away. With the original nib, I would have given it a zero Dependability score.
I found that I got a couple small hand cramps when writing for an extended period of time, but nothing that a five-second pause couldn’t cure.
The section can get a little slippery. I love how all the hardware has the same shiny black finish, but I would probably appreciate a little texture to the section to prevent it from getting slippery.
Writing Experience (4.5/5):
I just can’t stand it when people say a pen “is a joy to use.” It’s an overused cliche and it just sounds stupid. Now that we got that out of the way, this pen is a joy to use. It really is. With the EF nib, the ink flow is perfect. I get a nice, consistent, fine line all the time without skips, blops, burps, or hard starts.
Oh, something else that I should mention is that the Monteverde is known for having a “singing nib.” When you write, there is a sound that comes from the nib that’s like a musical tone. Of all the pens I’ve used, this is the only one that does it. When I was contemplating swapping out the stock stub nib, I really didn’t want to lose that cool quality, and put it off for a while. Well, slap me in the face and call me Shirley, because the Goulet nib sings, too! I was amazed. The singing must have more to do with the design of the pen than the nib itself. So, in short, this pen still sings across the page, even with a third-party nib. Awesome!
Although the nib is marked as an EF, it’s probably closer to an F. It’s a little heavier than I hoped, but it hasn’t been a problem. The EF works just fine with my handwriting, and even allows for a bit of shading and sheen that might not otherwise be apparent with a finer nib.
I tried a bit of reverse writing (flip the pen over and write with the top surface of the nib point). It puts down a very fine line, but the ink runs dry after a while. No big loss, but probably worth mentioning.
I’m sorry, for as awesome as this pen is, I don’t believe it’s that great a value. An $80 pen should write immediately and forever. There should be no ink flow problems. At all. The manufacturer (Yafa) needs to work on their feeds and either adjust them to work with stub nibs or make a separate, stub-friendly feed that can supply a useable amount of ink.
The total cost of this pen, with the nib, came out to $95. If it had a gold nib, it would be a different story. But that’s a lot of money for a pen with a steel nib…even though the pen is well built and made from high-quality materials (like carbon fiber).
The Nutshell: Overall Score: 21/25
|Best Qualities||Worst Qualities|
|Beautiful||Stock nib was a disaster|
|High-quality materials||Slightly slippery section|
|Writes wonderfully with the third-party nib|
I know I kind of slammed this pen in the Value section. Be that as it may, I would still recommend it. I’d like to try an EF Monteverde nib to see if it would work as well as the Goulet nib. If the feed really is the problem, then this pen with a stock EF, F, or M nib would probably work just fine. I’m not about to drop another $24 on this pen, though, so I’ll probably never find out for sure.
Bottom line, I’m very happy with this pen in its current Frankenstein configuration. It’s a pretty sexy writing instrument, and I’m happy to have it as part of my collection. If you do decide to purchase a Monteverde Invincia, I highly recommend avoiding the stub option.