Friday, December 30, 2016

Fountain Pen Review: Monteverde Prima Green Swirl

In my years of accumulating, collecting, and using fountain pens, I've tried many brands, and found several favorites to keep. There are still some that I want to try, pen brands that I want to know more about. One of these is Monteverde, an American pen brand distributed by YAFA Pen Company. I've always wanted to try Monteverde pens — the demonstrator Artista Crystal, the carbon fiber Invincia, and the acrylic Prima.

A few weeks ago, Pen Chalet owner Ron Manwaring kindly sent me this lovely Monteverde Prima fountain pen in Green Swirl with a wonderful No. 6 stub nib to review. I don't have many green pens, and this Prima in Green Swirl is just beautiful! It's a perfect green pen for the year, to match Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery.

The Prima series is available in five colors: Green Swirl, Tiger Eye Swirl, Turquoise Swirl, Purple Swirl, and Black Swirl. Monteverde also offers them either as ballpoint, or rollerball. These pens' caps and barrels are made from European grade glossy acrylic resin, accented with black and chrome.

The Prima measures 5.30 inches long and weighs 27 grams when capped. Without the cap, it is only 4.92 inches and 17 grams. When the 10 gram cap is posted, the Prima is longer at 6.10 inches, and heavier at 27 grams. This is why I (and other fountain pen users) do not usually post my pens. Posting their caps make them uncomfortably long and heavy.

Cap and barrel of Monteverde Prima. The translucent glossy acrylic resin with black swirl is just beautiful.
In different lighting, it has an attractive sheen and shimmer.

It's useful that the Prima can be fully taken apart. The threaded Monteverde converter can be easily disassembled, too. 

The barrel tapers off toward the black finial at the bottom, separated from the body by a chrome ring. When the fountain pen is uncapped, and the barrel is separated from the section, one is left with the converter and the nib and feed assembly (holder, feed, and nib). Using a rubber grip, I was able to take out the screw-type nib and feed assembly from the metal section. I pulled out the nib and feed from their holder, for a complete disassembly. It wasn't an easy process, and one I won't recommend to newbies and inexperienced hands to avoid breaking the feed or its holder. 

I usually disassemble pens for thorough cleaning and even drying. Cleaning pens for reinking or storage is always a must for me. 

Monteverde Prima parts (from top): cap, barrel, section, piston driver, converter, piston rod/shaft, converter ring, nib and feed holder, feed, and nib.

The Prima's metal clip is quite stiff, but holds the pen securely in place. The chrome cap rings with black inset has two imprints: 'Monteverde' on the clip side, and 'PRIMA' on the back side.

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

Monteverde offers the Prima fountain pen series with a fine, medium, broad, and stub (1.1) stainless steel nib. The Prima's nib contains several markings. Monteverde's logo of jagged mountain is imprinted across the nib, cutting across the breather hole. At the base, the logo and 'Monteverde USA' are imprinted. On the left tine's shoulder, 'Monteverde' is again imprinted, while the nib width (this pen has a 1.1 stub) is on the shoulder of the right tine.

The underside of the Prima's feed bears the number 6, indicating the pen's nib size.

The Prima's nib (center) with other No. 6 nibs (left to right): Edison, Bexley, Nemosine, and Jinhao.

Size comparison with smaller and bigger pens. From top: Kaweco Ice Sport, Prima, Kaweco Student, Lamy Al-Star, and TWSBI 540. The Prima is a full-sized pen designed to be ergonomically balanced for comfortable writing.

The Prima's 1.1 stub stainless steel nib is an expressive writer. The line variation it produced, together with ink shading is lovely. It's a hard starting nib, though, and definitely not a wet writer. When I was writing the text below, I had to pause several times to push some ink in the converter into the feed and nib. I'm thinking that this problem may be due to poor ink flow in the feed, a common Monteverde concern that I knew about prior to this review. But that can be remedied by widening the ink channel, and using a wet ink to avoid flow issues.

Despite the flow issue (which I have fixed), I am happy with the Prima and will recommend it to those who want to explore and know the brand. It's a great pen, and I will consider getting another one in the future. The Tiger Eye and Turquoise Swirl pens look good! Get one for your collection.

The Monteverde Prima in this review is provided by Pen Chalet where it retails for US$75. For more details on purchasing pens from Pen Chalet, visit their website at


  1. Detailed and comprehensive review, as always. Nice lighting and composition in the photography!