By Phillip Tucker
Something interesting this month for those who prefer their pens sans nib. The work of Paul Rossi has been known for years as among the highest quality silver overlays, done in artistic patterns and styles. It should come as no surprise that when he turned his attention to a ballpoint that the result would be above the ordinary.
Paul does not only work in precious metals, he is also adept at the creation of the individual components from which the pen itself is made. This ballpoint is entirely hand made, each part being turned form solid rod stock. This allowed Rossi to create a pen that had the exact size and weight he desired. He could then craft the sterling silver overlay to fit the pen.
The result is, as with all of Rossi's work, first class. The overlay is in the always popular snake pattern, done in a very clean, deco style. The overlay is three dimensional enough to be visually interesting, but not so heavy as to be uncomfortable in use. Some of the heavy cast overlay pens can be a real handful, Rossi manages to balance the need for three dimensions in the artwork with the requirement for a pen to still fit in a pocket, as well as balance in the hand when you write with it.
I found this pen to be usable, and that's the highest praise you can offer a limited edition, especially one with an overlay. Not that I find myself writing with a lot of high end overlay limited editions, you understand! I'm much more of a "plain ol 51" kind of guy. But still.... It's nice to know that, should I win the lottery tomorrow, there are some high end pens I could pick up that still work as pens, and not just pieces of portable sculpture.
The Rossi Snake ballpen is being sold exclusively through Pens Plus, who have worked with Rossi on several other pens in the past. This is their first attempt to market a "ground up" ballpen design, and the response seems to be quite gratifying. Even with a price tag of $1500, it seems there are many folks eager to add a work by Paul Rossi to their collections. Or just to their pocket, as many of the buyers of the Snake pen intend to use the pen form day to day, instead of hiding it away in a case.
Using the pen should prove pleasant enough. The pen tapers down quite a bit, so it's comfortable for those with smaller hands, yet the section flares outwards right before reaching the sterling tip section, so there's no tendency for your fingers to want to slip down the barrel and off the pen. The Rossi Snake Pen is designed to use Parker ballpoint refills, including the gel ink versions, which make for a very pleasant writing experience, much nicer than a traditional ballpoint.
Each pen is individually numbered, as well as bearing Rossi's mark, and the sterling silver designation. The edition is open, meaning there is no set number being produced, but the total production will no doubt end up being quite small, given the amount of time required for completing one of these pens. It's a chance to own something truly special in a nibless pen, that's for sure!