Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Monteverde Invincia - From the eyes of customer

Blog by Tony Roman:

  Thanks Pen Boutique for my new pen. I’ve just started using my new “Invincia” pen made by Monteverde, as you know an American company based in California, and I’m happy to report that I’m delighted with it, both in form and function.

  I thought others might be interested in my thoughts on it. The pen’s aesthetics struck me as fresh and modern, with a classic look. The pen is packaged in a wonderful old-world outer cardboard box with an inner clamshell jewel-box, and that box includes: a box of ink cartridges, directions, and warranty. As you know, my new pen has an eye-catching, metallic, light-green cap with black trim. The barrel is comprised of glossy, braided carbon fibers under a thick clear coat of plastic – all very smooth to the touch. The nib, also black, is stainless steel and very flexible and responsive to the writer. I chose to purchase separately the specialty 1.1 mm stub nib, which I use all the time, as it adds a flair to my signatures.

  I filled my pen, using the included bottle ink convertor, with a bottle of Monteverde’s own  green ink called Yosemite. The pen wrote on the first stroke after filling; no time was needed for the ink to make its way down to the nib. The ink flow was perfect for me, not too wet or too dry. Also, this pen feels right in my hand, not being too heavy or cheap and lightweight. It does have some added weight from the metal barrel that gives it a feel of quality. The pen feels balanced with the cap posted, and is not too long and awkward, though the pen could also be easily written with without the cap being on the barrel, for slightly smaller hands.

  So my final thoughts:  For the price, this is a very durable, stylish pen, with well built design/manufacturing aspects:  pleasing color, good balance, and great feel in the hand. Would I buy another in the future? Absolutely! Perhaps two in different colors, keeping one and giving one away to a deserving graduate or perhaps for a birthday or other occasion. Disappointments, well, none. It’s not a Mont Blanc of course, but neither is it billed to be. Instead it’s an honest, solid writer for day to day. I think it makes for a fine writing experience.


More details:


  Monteverde is an American company based in Canoga Park, California (buy American). More information is available on the web on their web site: www.monteverdepens.com (check it out). It was founded 36 years ago and does brisk trade throughout the world. Monteverde has an extensive web presence online, where all of their models and inks are available for sale.


  The pen comes in a wonderful old world outer cardboard box and inner clamshell jewel box, both in matching dark green. The jewel box has a white satin fabric interior. Included in the box is the pen, and under it, in a pull out section is: a box of cartridge refills (of Monteverde ink) in the standard international size, an international lifetime warranty card (where it is suggested to register online within 14 days of purchase), and a heavy paper instructional sheet on how to refill the pen with the included ink cartridges or from the included ink converter.


  This pen’s aesthetics are new and appealing and catch the eye. The iridescent lime cap and 3D woven carbon fiber barrel are fresh and modern with a classic look.

Physical aspects:


  The pen is about 137mm or 5.4 inches as measured with the cap on from lid edge to barrel edge or about 5.75 inches (or 146 mm) measured from cap edge to tip of the fountain pen nib when the cap is posted on the barrel for normal writing.


  The pen is very slightly heavy in the hand; to me it feels just right (not too heavy and not cheap and light). The weight is mostly in the barrel coming from its metal construction. The pen feels balanced. With the cap posted, it is not too long and awkward, though the pen could be easily written with - without the cap being on the barrel - for slightly smaller hands. I’m 5 foot 7 inches and my hands might be considered smaller than some people, so take that into account.

  Colors (cap):

  The colors of the pen that I bought are a wonderful metallic light green (lime) cap with black trim. The cap and clip are both glossy black with a very nice Monteverde mountain logo outline in white and a gloss black band on the lower cap with white printed “MONTEVERDE USA” on the front aligned under the clip and on the back of the band in white script “invincia.”

Colors (barrel):

The barrel is black trimmed with glossy reflective braided carbon fibers all under a thick clear coat of plastic. All very smooth to the touch. A black end-cap tapers from the barrel. The section (where your fingers naturally grip the pen) is also gloss black paint over metal with a narrowing taper for easy grip.

The nib:

The nib is a stainless steel nib coated with a black/gunmetal coating with a slight sheen (satin luster). On the nib is the Monteverde logo and the words “Monteverde USA” etched into the nib. The nib I purchased was a specialty flexible 1.1mm Stub.

Writing experience:

 I filled my pen, via the included plastic converter, with Monteverde ink. It’s always a good idea to start using a pen with an ink from the same manufacturer, assuming they also make ink and they have a color to suit your taste. I was lucky, Monteverde sells a great looking green ink, called Yosemite Green, which is keeping with their American theme.  I bought the 30ml glass bottle with ITF (an additive to keep the ink flowing within the pen and extends cap-off time, and improved Ink drying time - Ink Treatment Formula). The ink is packaged in the USA (though made in the EU at this time).

  The pen wrote on first stroke, no needing time for the ink to make it’s way down to the nib. The ink flow was perfect for my writing style, not too wet or dry. I like the ink itself, it doesn’t feather, it is nicely saturated and has a fresh color of green (like mountain trees).


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sheaffer Intensity Fountain Pen Review - Honest Opinion from Pen Boutique customer.

By Joseph  - Pen Boutique customer. 

Years ago, Sheaffer was a highly respected fountain pen manufacturer. Their pens were made in the United States, and some of their filling mechanisms, like the snorkel, are still highly regarded. But in recent years, Sheaffer has moved much of their manufacturing to China, and their quality and reputation has suffered some. So when Pen Boutique handed me a Sheaffer Intensity in Jet Black to review, I was a bit apprehensive. And while this pen didn’t blow me away, it was a bit of nice surprise. It’s definitely not a bad pen, but it is a pen with some caveats.

It’s a visually striking, metal fountain pen that feels incredibly solid in the hand. That alone makes it a pen worth a look. If you’re willing to take a shot on the nib and are ok with a metal section, it’s a really solid pen. It’ll look great on a desk or in a shirt pocket, and the metal construction should help this pen to be a lasting value.


First and foremost, the Sheaffer Intensity is a great looking pen. I’ve asked others for their opinions, both pen aficionados and not, and they’ve all agreed. It’s slim, with a pinstripe pattern running the length of the pen, and it just has a great classic look to it. The finial and end of the body are both slightly rounded, and there’s a small white dot on the clip to break up the long piece of chrome.
The only real branding on the pen is the word “SHEAFFER” engraved on the cap band and on to the nib of the pen. Since this pen is chrome and glossy black lacquer, it does pick up fingerprints as soon as you handle it. But a quick wipe down helps clean that off with no fuss.

Technical Details

The brass construction of the Intensity makes it a heavy pen that feels very solid in the hand when writing. While it is a slim pen, the weight helps ensure that the pen still feels nice and solid in hand.


Sheaffer Intensity Jet Black Fountain Pen

In the pen’s box, I received a Sheaffer cartridge, as well as a proprietary converter. The converter looks like a standard international converter, but unlike most international converters, it doesn’t sit down inside the section collar, but on top of the section. That made me a bit nervous at first, but I’ve carried this pen in a pocket and even given it a few shakes to see if the seal would have any problems, and didn’t experience any issues.

The Intensity measures about 5-5/8” when capped, and 6-1/4” posted, not that you’d ever want to post this pen. The Intensity weighs in at 43g when inked and capped, but the cap alone is 17g of that. As a result, it’s disproportionately heavy when you have the pen capped and posted. For comparison, I grabbed the other metal pens in my collection, a Diplomat Aero in Sunset Orange which weighed in a 41g and a Kaweco Liliput in brass which weighed 23g.

A comparison with Diplomat Aero and Kaweoco Liliput

Because the cap is so heavy, posting this pen really isn’t an option. In fact, when the pen was posted, I was almost unable to get the pen to write because the balance was shifted so much. While I tend not to post my pens, some people need that extra length when posted, so the imbalance could be a bit restrictive in that regard. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t post their pens, this is a non-issue.
The body is slightly textured by each of the black stripes which keeps the pen from being too slick, which was a pleasant surprise. But the lines on the body don’t line up precisely with the lines on the cap, which is a little disappointing. They’re off by just a hair when the pen is capped, which is fine from a distance, but you’ll eventually notice once you get up close to the pen.

The Writing Experience

All of that is secondary to how a pen writes. The nib on the Intensity is a small, plain nib with one of the stranger looking feeds that I’ve ever seen, but I had absolutely no problems with ink flow. The nib provided an average Western fine line, and average wetness as well.

However, the nib that I received was a bit scratchy, so it required a light touch when writing in order to avoid the scratchiness. I’ll probably want to spend some time smoothing it out soon. Also, because the Intensity does feature a smooth, metal section, you may find the pen slipping down a bit as you write, as with any pen with a metal section. Again, not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of.


The original MSRP for this specific pen was $90, which, in my opinion, was a bit too high. At the $90 mark, there’s some really solid competition and it doesn’t quite measure up. However, I’ve heard that the Intensity line of fountain pens is being discontinued, which has retailers (like Pen Boutique!) dropping the prices to a price that makes this a much more compelling pen. If you’re looking for a great looking, solid pen, the Sheaffer Intensity is a definitely worth a look.  In fact, the price is now 50% off. 

This is a great fountain pen and we have some available at close out price. We asked Joseph our customer to review this to get a perspective from customer's angle.  I think this is a great fountain pen and for 50% off - a real bargain.  Thank you Joseph and our customers for the loving support you always give to make this all enjoyable.  

- Leena 

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Ink to Match the Fall Mood

Dear Pen Heads,

Here in Maryland we are fully in the swing of Autumn. Sweaters have been taken out of storage and fall inks colors have come out of the ink drawer. This season we're reaching for a variety of earthy pink tones. Check them out and tell us what your favorite fall pink inks are!

Sailor Jentle Sakura-Mori (Cherry Blossom Pink)

This ink is a vibrant and complex cherry blossom petal pink. We think that with a wet nib, the Sakura-Mori is also spot on for some of the most captivating fall foliage around.

J. Herbin Rouille D'Ancre (rusty anchor)
This is a gorgeous vintage pink that looks like fall sunsets and turning leaves. It is very subtle ink that looks mature and like it belongs in an old journal or a love letter.

Buy J. Herbin Rouille D'Ancre here.

Noodler's House Divided
This is one of the newest inks that Noodler's has come out with. It's also one of the most unusual colors we've ever encountered. It starts off a pink-brown and after a few days on paper turns into a medium-brown with pink undertones. It's truly fascinating (as well as the story behind it) and has a great vintage vibe to it. The bottle is also a stunner!

Buy Noodler's House Divided here. 

Noodler's Ink House Divided 3 oz Ink Bottle

We hope you like our top fall pink ink picks! Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page what your favorite fall inks are.

The Pen Boutique Team 
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Montblanc The legend of Zodiacs Red Chine Ink-- Review

Montblanc The legend of Zodiacs Red Chine Ink-- Review

Montblanc is well known for releasing beautiful, well formulated inks in limited quantities. This time Montblanc has released a workhorse red ink that is perfect for editing and collectors of red ink-- the Montblanc legends of Zodiacs Red Chine

Testing Red Chine

We tested this ink out on three types of paper-- Rhodia (white, grid), Tomoe River (white), and Copy Paper (Georgia Pacific Standard Multipurpose Paper). We were delighted by the vivid red ink with a slight tinge of orange. When we first used the we initially thought it was a bit "washed out" compared to other red inks. After some mileage it really grew on us as a red outside of the burgundy category and the firehouse category. Think of a red paper lantern at a Chinese restaurant or grocery store that has been in the sun for a few years-- this ink is just that color-- a beautiful, matte red that is just a tad weather-worn. 

Red Chine is on the drier side of the ink spectrum. Of the three types of paper we tried with the Red Chine, the clear best match was on the Tomoe River paper which showed through as a true red with slightly maroon undertones. 

On the white Rhodia paper the ink looked on the orangey pink side which is a delightful color, but not what we were expecting from a red. 

We were particularly impressed with how the ink handled on copy paper. On the bright white of the copy paper the ink dried very quickly and had minimal feathering and hardly any show-through. The color is the perfect color for grading. We highly suggest this  ink for people who want a red for grading papers or editing. 


The ink comes in a ribbed, square glass 50 ml bottle with a black plastic cap with an inset Montblanc white star at the top. This bottle is a delight to see sitting atop a desk or on the shelf of a study. The packaging is a glossy, extremely sturdy, cardboard box that is red and white with Year of the Dog imagery on the sides (in the office we refer to it as the "Dog Ink"). As with all of their ink bottle packaging, the glass bottle sits in a box that slides out of a larger outer box, which is always a delightful tactile experience when opening and storing your new ink. 

Final Thoughts

Red Chine is a delightful red that is delicate and rather unique in that it's not a maroon or a hot-red ink. It sits firmly in the true-red category with slight orange leanings. We think Red Chine is an excellent ink for grading or editing documents because it plays so well with copy paper and also dries quickly. We currently have stock of Red Chine ink so place your order today with us!
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sheaffer Star Wars Pop Line Production Delay

Sheaffer just let us know that there has been a production delay for the hotly anticipated Star Wars Pop line. The most up-to-date release date for the Rollerballs is early October and the Fountain Pens will be available towards the end of November. For everyone who has placed their pre-orders, we do apologize for the delay and greatly appreciate your patience! If there are any questions about your order please give us a quick call at 410-992-3272 or email at support@penboutique.com.

For those of you interested in these modern, lightweight, and affordable Star Wars Sheaffer POP pens here’s a bit more information on them:

The Rollerballs and Fountain Pens will be available separately in the following Star Wars themes:
-Darth Vader

There are also matching notebooks and pencil pouches for these 3 themes!  There will even be sets available that include the notebook and rollerball so you can impress your coworkers with your nerdiness (and good taste in pens!) at the next staff meeting.

The Star Wars Pops are great for:
-Gifts for the Star Wars fans in your life (great for stocking stuffer!)
-Youngsters—the graphic design on the pen is bold, interesting, and fun
-People who prefer lighter pens—the body of the pen is a sturdy resin
-People who enjoy cylindrical pens – the body of the pen is uniform in diameter from end to end when capped with two blunt ends
-People who are interested in getting into fountain pens—the POP is an excellent starter fountain pen
-People who love smooth writing rollerballs—Sheaffer gel-rollerball refills are top notch

Pen Facts:
-          360 degree colorful character graphic art on the pens
-          Chrome appointments
-          High-gloss, resin body
-          Soft, black grip section
-          Fountain pen available in Medium nib only, made of steel
-          Fountain Pen refills are Sheaffer Classic Fountain Pen Refills
o   Available in Blue, Black, Blue-Black, Red, Green, Brown, Turquoise, Purple, and Assorted
-          Rollerball takes Sheaffer Gel Rolling Ball Refills which are available in blue and black
-          Comes either in a clam shell or in a beautiful gift box packaging with Star Wars theme
-          Comes with a limited 1-year Sheaffer warranty

Please let us know if you have any questions about these fun, new Star Wars POP pens or matching accessories or if you would like to place an order!

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Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 USA President's Pen of Choice - Cross

2017 USA President's Pen of Choice - Cross

Since the Inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20th, 2017, we have been receiving questions left and right about which pen the President was using to sign his official documents. If you were watching the Inauguration and admired his pens, then read on for the low-down on the new President’s pen of choice.

Cross Pens-- An American Classic

Here we see Trump using a Cross Century II Rollerballs Black Lacquer with 23kt Gold Trim appointments at his Inauguration. Trump has and will be using these often for signing executive orders.

(source: Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)

Trump, and many presidents prior to him, use felt tips in medium size and black color in their pens The felt tip leaves a solid, smooth black line that dries quickly, which is perfect for signing many documents in succession. These do not normally come in Cross pens, but must be purchased separately.

These pens are hefty and incredibly sturdy. The lines are clean, bold, and the essence of classy. Now anyone can use the same pen as the President.

Just remember  - with great powers comes great responsibility.  So use this mighty pen wisely since pen is still mightier ever in this digital era.

(source: Shawn Thew - Pool/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Monteverde Rodeo Drive Collection

Monteverde Rodeo Drive Collection
Monteverde has been a symbol of unique style and taste from the day of its inception. Over the years, the brand has introduced an array of sophisticated writing instruments to create an everlasting impression, and they have succeeded to a point. It would be legit to say, Monteverde has paved its way to excellence with every product.

A new assortment of writing instruments from Monteverde is the Rodeo Drive series. This fine series is inspired by the glamour of Beverly Hills. Each pen exudes an astounding beauty and reflects the luxurious lifestyle in Beverly Hills. Though fancy, Rodeo Drive pens are made of solid brass and are durable. To add a unique sensation, each pen is coated with a layer of lacquer and is made available in four subtle stardust finishes (black, blue, green and orange). The astounding profile is accompanied by lustrous chrome plated appointments. What impressed me was the outer appearance; the gleaming profile of the pen is stunning. But, as attractive as the pen looks on the outside, the performance it gives on the paper is absolutely spectacular too. 

The Rodeo Drive collection is available in two different writing modes: ballpoint and fountain pens. The ballpoint pen features a smooth twist mechanism to ease the writing process. Chunky in appearance, the perfectly symmetrical profile of the pen is comfortable to hold and easy to write with. The smooth refill adds the missing ingredient and offers a pleasing writing experience.

On the counter side, the Monteverde Rodeo Drive fountain pens share an identical design with the ballpoint version, while the working mechanisms are totally poles apart. Rodeo Drive fountain pens feature a stainless steel nib, the performance of the nib is synonymous to gold-alloy nibs and almost glides throughout the entire writing process. The nib starts with a soft touch and keeps you away from the hassles of writing with cheap and nasty fountain pens. Rodeo Drive fountain pens fill via cartridge/converter. These fine writers accept standard international cartridges, but its best to go with converters as they allow you to use bottled inks.

Both Rodeo Drive ballpoint and fountain pens are amazing writing implements, in terms of both look and functionality. They have it all, nice design, luxurious finish, and a performance that will outstand even the most expensive writing tools. Writing with Monteverde Rodeo writing implements is fluent, and it might create an overwhelming notion in the mind of the writer.  And, with a large variety of colors to choose from, you won't have to feel trapped with the Rodeo drive collection.
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