Monday, July 19, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Montegrappa Miya 450 Limited Edition Yellow

It's been a year since I went back to regular blogging and reviewing. Since then, I have written 49 reviews of fountain pens, ink, paper products, and accessories from 15 countries. As the pandemic engulfed the world, I was forced to stay indoors and work within the confines of my home. To take my mind off the pandemic, I tested new products, met newfound friends, and learned so much about pen design, materials, and techniques. Now, I am celebrating a year's work with my 50th review since July 2020 with a special fountain pen from Kenro Industries, the limited edition celluloid Montegrappa Miya 450

The Miya has been an iconic Montegrappa silhouette and staple for many years but was discontinued as new models were introduced. It's such a unique pen with a form that is so easy to identify as a Montegrappa. In 2019, Montegrappa rereleased the Miya in five bold colors as the Miya 450, using the remaining original materials from their factory. The Miya 450 is a limited edition line with 100 individually numbered pens in Black/White, Yellow, Orange, and Red, and 50 pens in the dark blue color. 

The Montegrappa presentation box with a filigree design.

As this is my first time to feature a Montegrappa fountain pen in Rants of The Archer, I am also including the presentation box in this review. The yellow Miya 450 is presented in an elegant deep blue box with a filigree design. The Montegrappa logo is printed on the center of the lid of the pen's outer box. The inner box has a different filigree design with a metal plaque etched with the Montegrappa logo. It opens to reveal the fountain pen in a soft fabric bed held in place by a blue ribbon printed with the Montegrappa logo. The bottom of the box contains ink cartridges and a care guide.

The outer box opens into a separate box with a bigger filigree design and a small medallion bearing the Montegrappa logo.
The box opens to reveal the Miya 450 in yellow held in place by a blue ribbon. Also included in the box are two ink cartridges and a care guide.

The first night I had the yellow Miya 450, I stared at it for hours. Everything about this pen is beautiful, amazing, and wonderful. That's because, for the Miya 450, Montegrappa used first-grade Mazzucchelli celluloid, 14K gold nib, and sterling silver for the trims including clip, finial, cap band, and barrel ring. This pen's yellow color shouts a happy tune with its red-orange swirls and exceptional gloss and shine.

Limited edition yellow Montegrappa Miya 450.

I thought that the Miya 450 is smaller than most of the pens that I've been used to, but it is surprisingly perfect for my writing hand. The section joins the barrel almost seamlessly that I don't feel the threads when I write with it. It is comfortable to hold and I love the feel of celluloid in my hand.


The Montegrappa Miya 450 fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.3 in | 14.2 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 4.8 in | 13.5 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.1 in | 17.2 cm
  • Weight: 36 g | 1.27 oz
  • Body material: Celluloid
  • Trims: Sterling silver
  • Cap: Screw-on, postable
  • Clip material: Sterling silver
  • Nib: 14k Gold Montegrappa nib in Fine, Medium, Broad, Flex Extra Fine, and Flex Fine
  • Filling mechanism: Montegrappa converter included in the box, or standard international cartridges

The Miya 450 can be filled with ink using standard international cartridges or a converter, and both are included in the box. The threaded Montegrappa converter screws onto the section for a secure fit. This also prevents ink spills if the converter is accidentally pulled out. The sterling silver section threads add to the durability and stability of this pen. 

The Miya 450 has a threaded converter that screws onto the section for a secure fit.

The Miya 450 has a screw-on postable cap. The sterling silver clip has Montegrappa's famous rolling ball at its end, and a secret detail that most owners are not aware of—the inside of the clip has a red lacquer finish. I wasn't aware of this feature until I noticed a red reflection when I took a photo of the cap's finial. It reminds me of the iconic red soles on Louboutin shoes! The stories engraved on the Miya 450's cap do not end with the clip, though. Let's go to the cap band.

The Miya 450's sterling silver cap band has the same Montegrappa filigree pattern and several markings. Right below the clip's rolling ball is the Montegrappa logo. The backside has three markings: ★2670VI inside a polygon, 925 inside an oval, and "Made in Italy". For a rookie, the second and third markings are easy to discern. 925 indicates the purity degree of silver, and the other marking states the pen's country of origin. I needed to do some research for the first marking, though. According to this site, the polygon and star are official marks that indicate Italy, as the polygon is a hallmark assigned to Italy. This page reveals "2670 VI" indicates the company and province, as 2670 is designated to the Aquilas, owners of Montegrappa, while VI refers to Vicenza, a city in the Veneto region where Bassano del Grappa is located, home to Montegrappa.

The Miya 450's sterling silver clip has the famous rolling ball at its end, and this clip's underside has red lacquer. Notice the red halo around the clip.
The Miya 450 is an item of luxury, revealed by the markings on the cap band.
The Miya 450's cap finial, also made of sterling silver has 1912 to indicate the year that Montegrappa—Italy's first fountain pen factory—opened. 1912 is surrounded by a crown on top and a wreath below.
The red-orange swirls in this pen's barrel enhance the happy bright yellow color. The ring on the Miya's barrel also bears the ★2670VI and 925 markings.

The Miya 450 fountain pens have 14K gold nibs. This pen has a soft Fine nib that writes like a dream. It's smooth, soft, and just writes so perfectly good! It wrote so well out of the box and has an excellent flow that's just right. It's not dry, and not overly wet, either. 

Like the cap band, this beautiful Montegrappa nib has several markings including the Montegrappa filigree design, logo, and below that are the following: Italia, 14K, 585 inside a polygon, and ★2670VI inside another polygon. Italia (Italy) refers to the country of origin, 14K indicates that the material is made from 14k gold, 585 also refers to the purity of gold—here at 14K, and ★2670VI signifies the ownership and origin of the product from within Italy. Oh, I just love these markings! They are meaningful details that form a close bond between the pen's origin, its makers, and pen owners.

The Montegrappa nib on the Miya 450 is soft, smooth, and writes so well.

The Miya 450 is smaller or shorter than most of the fountain pens that I am using, but it has the same section width as these pens. It also has the same section length as the Leonardo Furore and Tibaldi N60, and it's comfortable to use even for a longer period of writing. 

From the top: Leonardo Furore, Bexley Intrepid, Montegrappa Miya 450, Tibaldi N60, and Lamy Lx.
The Miya 450's section is as comfortable to hold and suitable for long periods of writing.

To test how the 14K Montegrappa nib writes, I filled the Miya with Iroshizuku Asa-gao, one of my favorite and fuss-free blue inks. The soft medium nib wrote smoothly out of the box, without the need for any adjustments or tuning. I did not experience any hard starts or skipping. The pen wrote very well, and I had a unique and different experience writing with such a wonderful nib.

I filled the Miya with Iroshizuku Asa-gao, a fuss-free blue ink. Ink flow to the nib was fast and the pen wrote so well.

In my fountain pen collecting and reviewing experience, I never imagined that I'd try a Montegrappa pen, or even own one. I have always dreamed of getting a Fortuna someday, but a Miya came along, and it's a wonderful, amazing pen. I am very happy with the yellow Miya 450 fountain pen, and I am recommending it to anyone who wants to explore the brand and its offerings. Montegrappa is an expert pen maker guided and inspired by tradition, history, and heritage. Get a Montegrappa fountain pen in your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks Kenro Industries the U.S. distributor of Montegrappa, for providing the Miya 450 in this review. The Miya 450 is a limited edition pen and may not be available for long. Kenro offers the Miya 450 at US$795, and that's a great price for such an excellent pen! 

To learn more about Kenro Industries and its brand offering, visit their website at https://www.kenroindustries.com/. For updates and promos, follow Kenro Industies on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kenro_official/.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: BENU Talisman Foxglove


Since its launch in 2017, Russian pen maker BENU has kept its goal of making writing instruments for those who prefer bright colors and new designs that are playful, stylish, and fun. The Moscow-based group has made amazing pens with multiple glossy facets, color-changing materials, mosaic art-inspired tesserae, and shiny, glittery, colorful bodies. Each pen from their collections is meticulously planned with bold, unique, and eye-catching designs. 

Last month, BENU launched Talisman, a new fountain pen series inspired by great legends and mystical beliefs that surround talismans, amulets, and other magical items used to bring luck, protection, money, love, or special abilities. I'm a big fan of folklore, magic, crystals, and charms and I love the mystery and appeal of this fascinating series!

BENU Talisman Foxglove

Each of the five pens in the Talisman series is inspired by a substance that is added to the pen's material. Each of the five substances has magical attribution ascribed from myths. Foxglove,  inspired by the extraordinary little bell-shaped foxglove flowers from Western Europe is actually infused with dried foxglove flowers. See BENU's video here. Folk myths suggest that mischievous fairies gave these flowers to foxes to wear on their paws, enabling them to sneak silently into rural villages. The Talisman Foxglove fountain pen's inspiration of foxglove is said to bring good luck and fairy's magic. 

Dragon's Blood is inspired by Dragon's Blood and infused with the bright red resin from Dracaena draco, the Dragon Tree, said to bring strength and invulnerability. Edelweiss gets its inspiration from the flower that grows in the Alps and is infused with the flower's dried petals. This famous flower is said to bring true love and bravery. Mandrake gets its inspiration and colors from the plant with purple flowers and green leaves, it is also the only glow-in-the-dark pen in this series. Mandrake roots are said to be potent and mandrake root powder is infused into this pen to enhance sexuality and bring wealth. Lastly, Peacock Ore derives its inspiration from the mineral Peacock Ore or Bornite, a stone with iridescent colors similar to the bird it is named after. This pen is infused with Peacock Ore powder, thought to bring happiness and creativity.

This fountain pen is inspired by the foxglove and infused with the plant's dried flowers. 

The Talisman fountain pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.5 in | 14 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.3 in | 13.4 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 6.7 in | 17 cm
  • Weight: 21.9 g | 0.8 oz
  • Body material: Acrylic
  • Cap: Screw-on, postable
  • Clip material: Stainless steel
  • Nib: #6 Schmidt, stainless steel in Fine, Medium, or Broad
  • Filling mechanism: Standard international size cartridge or converter included in each purchase

Talisman fountain pens are made from high-quality acrylic which is weatherproof and durable. Capped, this pen weighs 21.9 grams, and approximately 20 grams when uncapped, which is just right in the hand. The Talisman is slightly shorter than the Euphoria, but still allows for inking with standard international long cartridges or converter. The screw-on cap can be posted and the multi-faceted barrel end is slightly tapered for this. 

BENU's Euphoria fountain pens can be filled with ink using cartridges or converters.

The Talisman has a multi-faceted body with a tapered barrel that helps in posting the pen. See the alternating facets in the Foxglove's cap and in the barrel below. And like the other BENU pens before, the Talisman fountain pens have exceptional gloss and shine.

BENU has kept their clip design consistent from the Supreme model to the newer pens Tessera, Tattoo, and Euphoria. Their standard clip is stainless steel, which adds gloss and shine to the pens. Stainless steel is also durable, and the clip's top can be pressed so it can be easily posted to a shirt pocket or pen loop.

Talisman fountain pens have the standard BENU stainless steel clip. BENU's logo is also pressed onto the cap band.
The multi-faceted and tapered barrel of this pen is not only beautiful but also very cool! It's also an identifying feature of BENU pens. The material has exceptional gloss and shine, and the combination of orange, black, and gold is fascinating. I just love watching it!
BENU has continuously used Schmidt nibs on their pens. I love that they are consistently smooth, wet, and trouble-free. They write so well out the box!
I have always noticed the long sections of BENU fountain pens. I like this feature because it helps a lot in comfortable writing.

My first BENU fountain pen was the Classic Ghost White Silver, a short, clipless pocket pen. They are now called the Minima. Through the years, BENU released several pens, and I am very fortunate to have some of these pens that are crafted well by their design team led by the Chief Designer and BENU Co-Founder Alex Semanin.

BENU fountain pens through the years. From top: Classic Ghost White (now Minima), Sublime 019 (now Supreme), Tattoo, Tessera, Euphoria, and Talisman.

Although it is shorter than the Euphoria and Tattoo the Talisman is still a full-length fountain pen, sharing the same length as a Lamy Al-star. Capped, it is shorter than the Leonardo Furore and Esterbrook Estie Oversized, but longer than the Faber Castell Ondoro. Uncapped, it shares the same length with Lamy and Leonardo, and only a little shorter than the Estie.

Top to bottom: Faber Castell Ondoro, Leonardo Furore, Talisman Foxglove, Lamy Al-star, and Esterbrook Estie Rocky Top Oversize.

To test how the Talisman fountain pen writes, I filled it with Robert Oster Red Orange, a matching orange ink with excellent flow and consistency. The medium Schmidt nib wrote smoothly out of the box, without the need for any adjustments or tuning. I did not experience any hard starts and the pen wrote instantly. It wrote very well, without skips or inky blobs. The Talisman is an excellent and enjoyable pen, and it is comfortable to use even for long periods of writing.

Robert Oster Red Orange is a good match for Foxglove and I love how wet and smooth this medium nib writes.
Each pen in the Talisman collection is accompanied by a beautifully designed flyer with a lot of interesting information about the inspiration material and the myth behind it.

I am very happy with the BENU Talisman Foxglove and I am recommending it to anyone who wants to know the brand and explore its colorful and fun designs. It's a beautiful pen full of meaning and I'm glad to have one in my collection. BENU is an excellent pen maker who uses only the best materials and takes great care in manufacturing their pens. Get one for your collection now!


Rants of The Archer thanks BENU for providing the Foxglove fountain pen in this review. The Talisman series is available in BENU's online shop where the pens retail for US$118-US$132. BENU pens are also available in international retailers in the US, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. See the retailers list here

To learn more about BENU, where to buy their pens, and for other details on purchasing BENU pens, visit their website at https://www.benupen.com/ or follow them on social media:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen Black


Blogging about fountain pens and reviewing them is exciting work not only because I get to try more pens, but also because I meet many people from different countries, and learn about their culture and design preferences through their products. One of the most unique and surprising fountain pens I found last year is Gravitas Pens, a brand from Dublin, Ireland. Designed and ran by Ben Walsh, Gravitas Pens has a wide selection of fountain pens made from machined aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of both. His pens are unlike the ones I usually keep in my pen cases and I got curious.

I spotted Gravitas Pens on Instagram last year. I chatted with Ben Walsh in February, and I was so surprised when he agreed to send me a sample pen to review. Dublin to Laguna took 37 days by registered post, and I'm so happy to finally see the Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen last week.

Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen - Black

I received the black Entry fountain pen which according to Gravitas is designed "for the new and experienced fountain pen user." It was love at first sight, and this Entry fountain pen is nowhere entry-level at all. Because it's made from delicately bead blasted  6061-T651 aluminium—the same alloy used for bicycle frames, fishing reels, rescue ladders— the Entry fountain pen is cool and very smooth to the touch. It has a tapered barrel, and I consider it a slim and light fountain pen even with a full converter. 

I find the Entry fountain pen comfortable to use, and I love the stainless steel section. Metal sections are usually slippery and uncomfortable to hold when writing, but the Entry fountain pen's section has micro machined grooves for a steady and comfortable grip. Ben uses JoWo No. 6 nibs on his pens, and I got a wet, smooth, juicy Broad in my Entry pen. It wrote well out of the box and I did not experience any hard starts or skipping.

The Entry Fountain Pen is slim and light, but solid and sturdy.

The Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen has the following measurements and specifications:
  • Length, capped: 5.53 in | 14 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.45 in | 13.8 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 5.75 in | 14.6 cm
  • Full pen weight: 30.8g | 1.08 oz
  • Weight, uncapped: 23.9g | 0.84 oz
  • Body material: Aluminum and stainless steel
  • Colors: Black, Dark Olive Gray, Teal, Burgundy Red, Dark Green, Purple, Gunmetal Grey, and Rainbow Skittle
  • Cap: Screw-on; postable
  • Nib: No. 6 JoWo steel available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, Stub 1.1, and Stub 1.5
  • Filling mechanism: International standard ink cartridges, or K5 converter (supplied with every pen purchase)
Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen can be filled with ink using cartridges or through the K5 converter supplied with each pen purchase.
The black Entry fountain pen is free from any markings except for the logo on the cap.
The tapered barrel is cool and very smooth to the touch. 
Gravitas Pens uses JoWo nibs on their fountain pens.
A designer's thoughtful touch—this pen's section's micro machined grooves help users get a firm and comfortable grip while writing.
I find the tapered barrel of the Entry fountain pen a little slim. Then I realized I could post the cap and the Entry becomes hefty. I like it posted and it's only the second pen I will be using with the cap posted—the first being my Kaweco Sport pens.

I've been reviewing black fountain pens lately, and I'm enjoying them. I'm finding black pens calming and soothing. The Entry Fountain Pen shares the same length as the BENU Tattoo, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari. Uncapped, it's longer than Lamy 2000, and shares the same length as the BENU, Stanford Wood Studio Impressionists, and Lamy Safari. 

From top: BENU Tattoo, Stanford Wood Studio Impressionists Fountain Pen, Entry, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari All Black.
The Entry Fountain Pen is the slimmest pen in this set, but shares the same length with most of them.

To test how this slim pen with a Broad nib writes, I chose Robert Oster Terracotta, a nice red-brown ink to match the black aluminum finish. Ink flow to the nib was fast, and the Broad JoWo nib wrote smoothly out of the box without the need for adjustments or tuning. I did not prime this pen's nib, I don't do that to most of my pens unless I am aware of ink residue due to testing. I tried the pen on MD paper and on VECO 100gsm paper and I did not experience any hard starts or skipping. The Entry Fountain Pen writes smoothly every time I use it.

Gravitas Entry Fountain Pen with Broad nib filled with Robert Oster Terracotta.
Ben ships his pens in a special custom-designed leather pen sleeve printed with Ogham text. A box of six ink cartridges is also included in the pen package.

I am very happy with Gravitas Pens Entry Fountain Pen and I recommend it to anyone who wants to explore and know this pen brand from Dublin, Ireland. The Entry Fountain Pen is an enjoyable pen, it writes smoothly every time I use it, and it's one solidly built, well-designed fountain pen. Get one for your collection!


Rants of The Archer thanks Ben Walsh and Gravitas Pens for providing the Entry Fountain Pen in this review. The Entry Fountain Pen is available from Gravitas Pens Shop where it sells for €55.00. To learn more and see their offerings, visit the Gravitas Pens website at https://www.gravitaspens.com/. For updates on their product offerings, follow Gravitas Pens on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gravitaspens/.