One of my all time favorite pens is a Montegrappa. A Cosmopolitan, in fact. The Gothic pattern. I find it to be very close to the perfect fountain pen for my tastes. Big, but not too outsize. Piston filler, a nice nib, and of course, it sterling silver, etched with a wonderful pattern. Until now, I had been pretty happy with owning a single Montegrappa.
Things change... The newest Cosmopolitan, the Russian has me tempted. The basic pen is the same, but with a nice new touch. On the Russian, the cap and barrel are bright red under the sterling silver overlay. This makes for quite a striking pen when you take the cap off, the barrel end and section are a color that stands out from the sterling very nicely. With the cap closed, the red is still visible, on the cap as a thin ring of color near the base, and on the bottom end of the barrel, with the piston knob separated from the remainder of the barrel by a thin ring.
That sterling from which they are standing out ( I hope I got the grammar correct there!) is also new to the Russian, the pattern is a very baroque and ornate assemblage. At first glance it looks a bit busy, but the more you look at it, the more attractive it seems. By the time I had it in my hand for ten minutes or so, I was in love. Of course, I'm a sucker for sterling silver. Like the other Montegrappa Cosmopolitan pens, the pattern is actually formed of fine lines engraved into the barrel lengthwise.
It's not as detailed as a hand engraved pen of course, but it's very nicely done for machine engraving. The workmanship seems to be first rate, with all of the metal parts fitting properly to the cap and barrel. Typical of Montegrappa pens, the cap threads on, and on, and on... Lots of threads! But a very secure cap because of it! The fit of the clip against the cap is also very tight.
So, we have a very well made pen, and it's good looking. What else comes in the package? The nib is 18K, and two tone as modern Montegrappas. The trademark Greek Key pattern runs around the outside edge of the nib. It's a very nice looking nib, classy and elegant. It's also the same nib Montegrappa uses on all of their larger pens, excluding the Extra. In other words, it's very usable, but nothing to get too excited about. No wonderful flex or anything, just a nice, reliable nib with a rather plain line.
That said, I have to admit that my current Cosmopolitan is one of my favorites simply because of the reliability of the thing. It just writes, first time, every time There are times when I wish it had a bit more excitement under the cap, but then I pull it out of the case after a couple weeks sitting idle, and it starts right up.... Hard to argue with that, even if it is "just" a plain old medium!
The Montegrappa Russian is being made in an edition size of 500 pieces each in rollerball and fountain pen. Not a huge edition size, and likely to keep the pens somewhat scarce on the secondary market. Another aspect that you might want to consider if you go looking for one is that fewer and fewer pen retailers are carrying the brand.
It's probably too "complicated" to get into here, but let's just say that there have been a lot of changes since the new ownership took over, and Montegrappa as a company seems to be moving in some new directions.
It's clear from the new Cosmopolitan Russian that they are still more than capable of producing truly world class pens. Let's hope that the business folks can get their end settled down properly, so that the pen makers can keep up the good work on their end!