Monday, August 3, 2020

Fountain Pen Review: Tibaldi N°60 Amber Yellow



In May 2006, the world watched eagerly as Robert Langdon discovered a religious mystery protected by a secret society as he tried to solve a murder in The Louvre. Pen enthusiasts, however, waited for the limited edition Tibaldi Da Vinci Code fountain pen. In an exclusive agreement with Sony Pictures, Tibaldi launched the official Da Vinci Code Collection during the film launch. Like any Da Vinci or Dan Brown fan, I waited to see the pens that were designed to achieve divine proportion and Tibaldi did not disappoint — the pens are simply divine.

The first time I saw and held a Tibaldi fountain pen was during one of our regular fountain pen meets at Amici in Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City. I was still very new to fountain pens then and all I could remember now is how beautiful the pen's material was and how elegant Italian fountain pens are. Through the years, I got more involved in using fountain pens, I began collecting them and writing reviews about them, too. My small collection has Asian, American, and European fountain pens, but it doesn't have an Italian brand yet. Now twelve years into the hobby, I came across Tibaldi again, not in a pen meet, but through my favorite social media platform — Instagram.

Receiving the N°60 fountain pen to review prompted me to read on Tibaldi's story, and I learned a lot about their history. Authentically Italian, Tibaldi has been around since 1916. It was founded in Florence by Giuseppe Tibaldi, a man with a great passion for making pens. Tibaldi was founded when the market for fountain pens in Italy was still very young, and writing was dominated by reed and metal pens. The company became one of the industry leaders until 1965. Tibaldi went through a number of management turnovers ever since and is now presided by the Aquila family, life-long Italian leaders in pen design and manufacturing, and a major proprietor of both the Tibaldi and Montegrappa trademarks. In 2004, Tibaldi's headquarters moved from Florence to Bassano del Grappa, signaling the Florentine brand's inclusion in the portfolio of Aquila Brands S.p.A..

The N°60 Amber Yellow fountain pen was sent in this big black box.
"Write from the Heart" — Tibaldi's catchphrase is moving, heartwarming, and truly unforgettable. 
The big black box contains the N°60 Yellow Amber fountain pen in its presentation box, Tibaldi's compliments card, and a carrying bag. Tibaldi's pens are packaged in boxes produced with less environmental impact. Their pen boxes are made from upcycled paper using natural fibers with less harmful chemicals.
Tibaldi's presentation box is sturdy and an elastic band secures the pen in place in its soft velvet bed.
The box also contains Tibaldi's Certificate of Warranty and two complementary ink cartridges. Tibaldi's products are guaranteed for 24 months against manufacturing defects. 

Launched just last year, the Tibaldi N°60 collection is the most recent addition to the company's pen styles which also include the Perfecta and the Infrangibile, all inspired by their iconic pieces. The N°60 looks and feels very modern, but it also reminds me of the famous Impero from the early 2000s and the Modello 60 from the 1990s.  The N°60 collection, together with the Perfecta and Infrangibile marks Tibaldi's effort to reinvent itself and appeal to a wider, younger, and trendier consumers.

Tibaldi promotes the love of writing and the power of the pen. To them, a pen is not only an object of distinction but a tool to be used for writing. A pen moves from world agreements, peace treaties, and world declarations to love letters or a simple signature. Tibaldi's starting point for their writing instruments lies in the power of the pen, how it gives voice to our thoughts and ideas, and this leads us to write from the heart.


A classic pen style since the 1950s, the Tibaldi N°60 collection is available in five lovely resin hues: Rich Black, Emerald Green, Amber Yellow, Samarkand Blue, and Ruby Red. The N°60 is also available as rollerball and ballpoint pens. These pens' caps and barrels are made from gorgeous glossy marbled resin, accented with palladium trims.


The Tibaldi N°60 fountain pens are made from high-quality glossy resin, a waterproof and durable material. This fountain pen measures 5.75 inches long and weighs 28 grams with the cap. Without the cap, it is only 5.2 inches long and weighs 15 grams. This pen's cap is postable and measures 6.7 inches when the cap is posted. Some fountain pen users prefer posting their pens' cap, and at 6.7 inches, the N°60 is still comfortable to use with its cap on. However, I do not usually use my fountain pens with their caps posted. Posting becomes a little top-heavy for me.

The Tibaldi N°60 can be filled with ink using cartridges or converters.
Tibaldi fountain pens include converters upon purchase. The Tibaldi logo printed on the converter is very classy.

The N°60 can be filled with ink using a standard international cartridge or a converter, and both are included in the box. The threaded Tibaldi converter screws onto the section for a secure fit, preventing ink spills if the converter is accidentally pulled out. The metal section adds to the durability and stability of this pen.

The N°60 has a threaded metal section which adds to its durability and stability.
The N°60's clip is a classic Tibaldi design, similar to the clip of the Impero. The cap bears Tibaldi's logo between the clip and the iconic three cap rings. 
Proudly Italian made. Tibaldi etched this at the other side of the cap.
The Amber Yellow's barrel is truly captivating. The colors and translucence reflect light beautifully. The resin also shows exceptional gloss and shine.
The N°50's cap finial and barrel end are from the same resin as the pen's body.

Tibaldi offers the N°60 fountain pen series with a size 6 stainless steel nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and double broad (BB) widths, fitted to an ebonite feed to ensure continuous ink flow and smooth writing. The markings on the N°60's nib include Tibaldi's logo and the nib size.


The Tibaldi N°60 is a standard full-length fountain pen, sharing almost the same length as a Bexley Intrepid or Edison Collier. Its middle section is as thick as the Intrepid. It's well-balanced and comfortable to use.

The Tibaldi N°60 Amber Yellow fountain pen shares the same length as a Bexley Intrepid or Edison Collier.
Uncapped, the N°60 is longer than the Collier and share almost the same length as the Intrepid.

To test how the Tibaldi N°60 fountain pen writes, I filled it with Robert Oster Signature African Gold, a matching golden yellow ink. The pen wrote instantly out of the box, and I did not experience any hard starts. The number 6 broad steel nib wrote smoothly, it wrote very well, and there were no writing skips, no inky blobs, I had no trouble at all. The Tibaldi N°60 is such an enjoyable pen and one that can be used for long periods of writing without any discomfort.

The steel Broad nib in Tibaldi's N°60 Amber Yellow fountain pen is a joy to write with, especially in Tomoe River paper. The nib just glides effortlessly on this special paper.
This pen does more than write, it can do ink art, too! This is my first ink art using a regular broad nib. All of my previous ink art pieces were done using italic nibs.

Aside from the limited edition pens in the Da Vinci Collection, Tibaldi has also produced pens in partnership with Bentley Motors in 2006, to celebrate Bentley Motors' 60th anniversary and Tibaldi's 90th. The Tibaldi for Bentley Collection highlights the history of the two famous luxury brands. In 2007, the Tibaldi Brooklands limited edition collection was introduced during the launch of the Bentley Coupé. The writing instruments celebrate the centenary of the circuit where Bentley Motors won some of their important races.

Did you Tibaldi also offers bespoke pen service? The idea originated from the thought that, just like a handmade suit, a pen can be personalized to best reflect the character or the taste of the person for whom it was intended. The first Tibaldi bespoke series is the Fulgor Nocturnus (Night Glow), a black diamond- and ruby-studded pen.

Tibaldi also created an exclusive jewel Tibaldi for Pelé, to honor the Brazilian football player. The pen's barrel is in 18k gold, studded with 274 emeralds surrounded by 718 diamonds. The cap is covered with 744 yellow sapphires and 187 green emeralds inspired by the Brazilian flag. It was said to be auctioned with the proceeds going to a charity of Pelé's choice.

Evelina Hristozova, Head of Operations at Tibaldi, kindly sent this book with the pen. It has an illustrated complete history of Tibaldi from its creation in 1916 to its present story. It's a good read and an excellent material for many fountain pen enthusiasts!

I am very happy with the Tibaldi N°60 Amber Yellow fountain pen and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to explore and know this iconic brand. It's a lovely pen and well built for long-term use. Tibaldi and the Aquila family are long time experts in pen design and manufacturing and use only the best materials for their pens. Get one for your collection.

Explore Tibaldi's other two pen styles, the Perfecta and the Infrangibile.

The N°60 Amber Yellow fountain pen in this review was sent by Tibaldi where it retails for €185. To learn more about Tibaldi, where to buy their pens, and for other details on purchasing their pens, visit their website at https://www.tibaldi.com/en/home or follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tibaldi.official/), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tibaldi.official/), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.it/tibaldiofficial/), and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP1McBgCu4wB40ttTzVPvkQ).

Monday, July 20, 2020

Fountain Pen Inks Review: Robert Oster Signature Ink Get.Set.Go


Have you been to Australia? Did you know Australia is the world's only continent covered by a single country? Yes, it is, and Australia is a country filled with extraordinary landscapes and natural wonders -- beaches, deserts, and tropical rainforests; unique wildlife; and a rich biodiversity. But no, I haven't been to Australia. My friend Robert Oster, however, lives there and he makes wonderful and lovely fountain pen inks that show the beautiful colors of Australia's scenery and culture. Robert Oster Signature inks come from one of the most famous wine-producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia.

Robert Oster Signature fountain pen inks are available in a wide selection of stunning, vibrant, and astonishing colors. Each color is unique, inspired by Australia's palette of natural beauty. They are non-toxic and eco-friendly, 100% made in Australia, and presented in 50ml recyclable PET bottles with travel-proof caps labeled by Robert Oster himself.

Aside from their amazing variety of colors, Robert Oster Signature fountain pen inks are also well-behaved, paper-friendly, and very easy to use. They have excellent flow and lubrication and pens filled with these inks write well without any hard starts, skips, or dryness. These inks also have good drying times—they dry fast!


In late 2018, Robert Oster launched a seven-color ink set that he says describes the colors around him, the colors he sees in birds, flowers, leaves, and even the bark of Australian trees. He called the set Get.Set.Go and it has the following vibrant and stunning fountain pen ink colors, namely, Dragon's Night, True Blue, Crocodile Green, Burned Orange, Deep Purple, Red Candy, and Hot Pink.



Dragon's Night

Robert said that Dragon's Night reminds him of "something that keeps me awake as I ponder the dark midnight Aussie sky." Dragon's Night is a vibrant dark blue ink with hints of purple. It has medium shading and a lovely red sheen seen when the ink is used in wide nibs such as broad, stub, or italic. Dragon's Night is a wet ink, has an excellent flow, and not highly saturated. My test pen with a .7 stub nib wrote wet and smooth.


Dragon's Night is a perfect ink for daily notetaking, journaling, signing legal documents, calligraphy, illustrations, or art. Although it is made for fountain pens, it could also be used for brush and dip pens. This ink did so well in 90gsm paper from Canson, no feathering, and certainly no bleeding. It's a well-behaved ink, doesn't stain or clog pens, and dries on paper after ~20 seconds.



True Blue

True Blue™ is "Aussie slang for BFF, for keeping it real, and for a host of positive emotions." Oh, I didn't know that! True Blue™ ink is a light blue ink that is close to turquoise. It has minimum shading and a lovely pinkish to a red sheen that shows towards the edges of where the ink has pooled. This sheen is very visible when the ink is used in wide nibs such as broad, stub, or italic. Like Dragon's Night and most Rober Oster inks, True Blue™ has no issues with its flow and lubrication. It has an excellent flow, and my test pen wrote very smoothly.


While I may not use a light blue ink for business and legal documents, I will still use True Blue™ for my daily notes, journaling, calligraphy, illustrations, and art. Again, this ink was manufactured for fountain pens, but it could also be used for brush and dip pens. This ink did so well in 90gsm paper from Canson, and I did not see any feathering or bleeding. It's another well-behaved Robert Oster ink and doesn't stain or clog pens. It dries on paper after ~20 seconds.



Crocodile Green

Robert said Crocodile Green is something "seen in the waters of our rugged Northern Territory. Take care up there!" I am assuming that the thing Robert saw in the waters are crocodiles and they inspired the color of this ink. I am not too fond of green inks, but this dark seaweed-like green shading ink with orange to red sheen is my favorite in this set. Crocodile Green looks so good in my Pelikan M400 White Tortoise and its B nib shows both shading and sheen at the same time. Crocodile Green has excellent flow and lubrication, and my test pen wrote very smoothly.


I could use this dark green ink for any writing purposes — daily notes, journaling, calligraphy, illustrations, and sketches. I could sign documents with this ink, or even make art! This ink performed well in 90gsm paper from Canson, and there is no feathering or bleeding. Despite its dark color, Crocodile Green is another well-behaved Robert Oster ink that doesn't stain or clog pens. It dries on paper after 15-20 seconds.



Burned Orange

Burned Orange, according to Robert is "the South Australian Riverland sand under my bare feet when I was six years old." Burned Orange is a dark, rich orange ink that reminds one of the fall and dried leaves. It has medium shading and a golden to dark brown sheen seen in my swatches where the ink has pooled and dried. Burned Orange is a wet ink, has an excellent flow, and not highly saturated. My test pen with a .7 stub nib wrote wet and smooth.


Burned Orange is a dark orange ink that could easily be mistaken as brown in some paper types such as Rhodia. This ink doesn't have that much shading, but it could be used for daily notetaking, journaling, calligraphy, illustrations, or art. It could also be used for brush and dip pens. I tested this ink in 90gsm paper from Canson, and there were no feathering or bleeding. It's a well-behaved ink, doesn't stain or clog pens, and dries on paper after about 15-20 seconds.



Deep Purple

Robert said that Deep Purple reminds him of "Aussie Tree bark after the rain." Deep Purple is a dark and very saturated purple ink. It looks almost black when wet and dries off a very dark purple. It has no shading or sheen. Despite its saturation, Deep Purple has a good flow, and my test pen with a .7 stub nib wrote wet and smooth.


Deep Purple is a nice dark purple ink. I know I can use it for my daily note-taking, journaling, calligraphy, illustrations, or art. It could also be used for brush and dip pens. This ink showed some feathering and bleeding in my ink tests probably because of its high saturation. Despite its dark color, this ink doesn't stain or clog pens, but it dries longer at 25-30 seconds.



Red Candy

Red Candy seems to evoke happy memories as Robert said it reminds him of "sometimes candy apples at country fairs... maybe red candy cane twined around white sugar sticks in December." I only have a few red inks, and I use them mostly for writing important notes, or when I need to write my edits on paper. Red Candy comes as a dark true red with no shading but has a strong gold to brown sheen, making it look more stunning. The sheen on this ink is seen when it is used in wide nibs such as broad, stub, or italic. Red Candy is a wet ink, has an excellent flow, and not highly saturated. My test pen with a .7 stub nib wrote wet and smooth.


Red Candy may not be suitable for business and legal documents, but it's a happy bright ink for daily notetaking, journaling, calligraphy, illustrations, or art. This ink is made for fountain pens and could also be used for brush and dip pens. Red Candy did well in 90gsm paper from Canson, without feathering and bleeding. It's a well-behaved ink and unlike other red ink, it doesn't stain or clog pens. Red Candy dries on paper after 15-20 seconds.



Hot Pink

Hot Pink appears to be a very personal ink color to Robert because it is "seared in my memory... It is the color of my mother's wedding dress in December 1969." Hot Pink is a dark pink ink, almost like magenta. It has medium shading and minimum sheen around the edges of the ink swatch. Sheen is seen when the ink is used in wide nibs such as broad, stub, or italic. Hot Pink is a wet ink, has an excellent flow, and not highly saturated. My test pen with a .7 stub nib wrote wet and smooth.


Similar to red, pink ink may not be suitable for business or legal documents, but I will definitely use it for my daily notes, journaling, calligraphy, and art. This fountain pen ink could also be used for brush and dip pens. Like the six inks in this set, Hot Pink did so well in 90gsm paper from Canson and I did not see any feathering or bleeding. It's a well-behaved ink and doesn't stain or clog pens. It dries on paper after 15-20 seconds.


Robert Oster Signature inks are available in more than a hundred vibrant, stunning, and unique colors. They are well-behaved inks, very safe to use, and sold in more than 60 stores (physical and online) all over the world. Choose one — or more — for your pens today! Here's Robert Oster Signature's Ink Swatchbrowser to guide you!

For more information on Robert Oster Signature and Shake'N'Shimmy inks, visit their website. A list of Robert Oster's retail partners all over the world is also available on their website.

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Note: The inks in this review were provided by an online seller. The photos and reviews, however, are my own.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pen and Ink Pairings: Lamy Safaris and Herbins


When Food Network was added to my cable TV subscription, one program became an instant favorite — Pairings with Andrea by Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. I was so mesmerized by Andrea's food and wine pairings and I looked forward to each episode. Pairings with Andrea taught me the concept of pairings not only for food and wine but also for writing and design. When I began doing lectures about data visualization and infographics, I taught my students about font pairings, color pairings, even data pairings. When I shifted to full fountain pen use, I created my own lists of ink and paper pairings, and later on, pen and ink pairings. I did these lists to remember which inks are suitable for specific pens and paper types considering ink consistency, flow, saturation; pen nibs and filling mechanisms; and paper thickness, composition, and coatings.

One Sunday afternoon in lockdown, an idea of new pairings came to me and I planned my first Pen and Ink Pairings for Rants of The Archer with two of my favorites: Lamy Safari fountain pens and J. Herbin inks.


Pens: 2019 Lamy Safari Pastel Collection

For the first time in 2019, Lamy launched three pens as the year's Special Edition Safari. The Lamy Safari pastel collection included Powder Rose, Blue Macaron, and Mint Glaze. The pens in the pastel collection looked very pleasing. After Lamy's dark phase for the Safari in the previous three years, the pastel pens looked refreshing and youthful. All three pastel pens have chrome clips and stainless steel nibs and had the classic Lamy Safari glossy finish made from sturdy ABS plastic. The Safaris can be filled using ink cartridges or converters, and the nibs on these pens are interchangeable which is very useful. A timeless and iconic fountain pen, the Lamy Safari is available in a wide variety of colors.

2019 Lamy Safari fountain pens, from top: Powder Rose, Blue Macaron, and Mint Glaze.


Inks: J. Herbin "The Jewel of Inks" Series

My shift to full fountain pen use in 2008 came with other passions in the form of inks and paper. Back then, the only ink available in the country was Parker Quink. I was content with Quink Blue Black for a while, but when I saw a rich, deep, pink-red ink in a blog review, I was smitten. J. Herbin Rouge Opéra, a reminder of Spanish flamenco, became my first ink love and led me to more ink colors and reviews in this blog. 

J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. "The Jewel of Inks" was first created in Paris in 1700, using formulas that the sailor J. Herbin found in his many journeys to India. The inks in this series are safe as they are water-based, non-toxic, and pH neutral. They are available in 35 beautiful colors, manufactured using all-natural dyes. J. Herbin's "The Jewel of Inks" series are available in universal snap-in cartridges and 30ml "D" bottles, and a selection of colors in 10ml and 100ml bottles.

J. Herbin "The Jewel of Inks:" Rouille d'Ancre, Vert Pré, and Diabolo Menthe.
Pastels Pairings.


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 1: Lamy Safari Powder Rose and J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre

Lamy Safari Powder Rose is one of the three special edition pens for 2019. This pen's soft pastel pink color in a glossy finish is soothing and calming. It has the Safari oversized stainless steel clip and ergonomically-shaped grip. Details of the Safari Powder Rose including the cap button and spacer ring are matched to the body color. Powder Rose is not Lamy's first pink Safari pen, though. Back in 2009, one of Lamy's Limited Edition Safari colors was pink, and the Neon Coral Safari was the 2014 special edition pen.

Lamy Safari Powder Rose, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Powder Rose and J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre

Rouille d'Ancre (Rust of the Anchor or Rusty Anchor Red) is reminiscent of J. Herbin's journey and his sea travels. This color is derived from the rust found on the anchor of the boats when moored in one location for a very long time. I chose this ink for the Powder Rose Safari because of the similarity in their colors. Rouille d'Ancre is a unique ink color. It's very light when wet, but dries as a lovely matte dusky pink that is very close to old rose. This pink ink has a good amount of shading which is best seen in a wet pen. It's a bit dry, though, but the generous flow of the Safari's medium nib made writing with Rouille d'Ancre a wonderful experience.

J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 2: Lamy Safari Blue Macaron and J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe

Blue Macaron is the second of three special edition Lamy Safari pens for 2019. This pen's light blue color in a glossy finish looks so refreshing. It also has the Safari oversized stainless steel clip and ergonomically-shaped grip. Unlike the Powder Rose Safari, details of the Blue Macaron such as cap button and spacer ring are darker and not matched to the pen's body color. Blue Macaron is not Lamy's first light blue Safari pen, though. In 2011, the first Aquamarine Safari was the limited edition pen color.

Lamy Safari Blue Macaron, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Blue Macaron and J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe

Diabolo Menthe's (Lemonade Mint Cordial, or Mint Lemonade) name and color come from a popular non-alcoholic Frech drink made of peppermint syrup and club soda. This cool and refreshing ink color reminds me of summer and the blue and clear waters of the beaches in Boracay, Anilao, and Puerto Galera. I chose Diabolo Menthe for Blue Macaron because they're the perfect color match. It's a cool ink color with excellent flow. It's very light while wet, but dries a beautiful bright cyan with visible green tones with fantastic shading. Because this ink has a light color that remains translucent even after it dries, it's great for highlighting! I used to fill my Rotring Artpen with a 2.3 italic nib with Diabolo Menthe and used it as one of my highlighters. Diabolo Menthe is a beautiful ink color but it has a low tolerance to moisture and is not waterproof.

J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 3: Lamy Safari Mint Glaze and J. Herbin Vert Pré

Mint Glaze is the third of three special edition Lamy Safari pens for 2019. This pen's subdued light green color in the classic glossy Safari finish looks very cool and refreshing. This pen's color is mint, but it looks so much like a creamy avocado shake to me! Similar to the Powder Rose pen, details of the Mint Glaze such as cap button and spacer ring are matched to the pen's body color. Mint Glaze is not the first green Lamy Safari, it joined four other green pens: Savanna Green, Lime (2008), Green (2012), and Neon Lime (2015).

Lamy Safari Mint Glaze, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Mint Glaze and J. Herbin Vert Pré

Vert Pré (Green Meadow or Green Prairie) is a fresh green ink that's as fresh as the spring season, the color of the meadow or prairie, and the new grass growing right after the end of winter. Green is a secondary color made from blue and yellow, and Vert Pré's green has more yellow, giving it a fresh and soothing look. Despite its light color, this green ink has fantastic shading that's more noticeable when used in a wide nib. It's wetter than most J. Herbin inks but dries fast. Similar to Diabolo Menthe, Vert Pré remains translucent even after it has dried, so it can also be used for highlighting or underscoring. I chose Vert Pré for Mint Glaze because they're the perfect pen and ink color combination.

J. Herbin Vert Pré

I love doing pen and ink pairings! I had so much fun planning for this review, looking for inks to match the 2019 Lamy Safari fountain pens, and rediscovering some inks that I haven't used in a long time. I hope to do more pen and ink pairings in the future, and perhaps do other pairings, too! Watch out for more pairings here at Rants of the Archer!


Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, follow this link. In the Philippines, Lamy pens are available from Times Trading Company, through their increasing number of kiosks at National Bookstore outlets around the country. 

J. Herbin inks are also widely available worldwide through their accredited retailers, listed here. In the Philippines, J. Herbin inks are available from Scribe.ph and Everything Calligraphy.