132 years ago this month, in Arles, France, a plum tree was in blossom. We know this to be true because Vincent Van Gogh was present to put brush to canvas and capture the visage of this tree, and the rest of the orchard behind it. Van Gogh had moved to the area about two months prior during a snowstorm, so the blossoming trees of spring held a special significance for him that year, signifying rebirth and renewal.
Here in the year 2020 spring has arrived on schedule, even though many of us are holed up at home, unable to take full advantage of the season. I took my family for a drive this past weekend, out into the hills west of Baltimore, MD all the way out to the border of West Virginia. It was a beautiful drive, even if we were unable to get out anywhere and stop. It is still a treat to see the blossoming of spring time, whether one is emerging from a snowstorm, or social distancing via automobile.
Visconti has chosen Van Gogh’s Orchand in Blossom as a new addition to the Van Gogh line in both fountain pen and rollerball options. The Van Gogh model features a faceted barrel and magnetic snap cap, with a number six steel nib on the fountain pen, and the option to fill with either a standard international cartridge or a converter. The fountain pen option also comes for a limited time with a special bottle of purple ink, which is a great complement to the colors taken from Van Gogh’s artwork and swirled into the barrels and caps of these pens. Speaking of the cap, both the fountain pen and rollerball models also feature Visconti’s “My Pen System”. This system involves magnetic emblems and jewels that can be replaced on the top of the cap of various Visconti pens, such as initials, zodiac emblems, and more. The finial that comes with the Orchard in Bloom is a rose gold Visconti logo, matching the rest of the rose gold furniture on these pens.
Rose gold is a great choice for this colorway, complimenting the grays and drawing out the pinks and purples in the swirled resin of the pen. Across the pen industry, and really event the jewelry industry, rose gold isn’t one singular shade, though, but rather it can range somewhere between copper and yellow gold. I decided to compare the trim on this pen against a couple of other pens I had on hand: a rose gold demonstrator Sailor Professional Gear, and the Narwhal Pens Yellow Tang. Comparing the two rose gold nibs and caps, the Van Gogh definitely looks redder, and the Professional Gear looks closer to traditional gold trim, even with the contrast against the internal yellow gold hardware. Next to the yellow gold trim of the Yellow Tang, the Visconti pen looks practically like it has a nib made out of copper.
These pens don’t just look pretty, though, they write pretty too. The number six steel nib on the fountain pen writes smoothly, and I really enjoyed trying it out in a broad. The rollerball refill is no slouch either, putting down a smooth dark line. The pens have a nicely weighted metal section that helps to gently put a bit of pressure on the page and get the ink flowing.
These pens are on sale now, with an MSRP of $299 for the fountain pen or $269 for the rollerball. Between the rose gold planting of nib and trim, and the specialized mixing of the resin to match Van Gogh’s work, a lot of effort goes in to making these pens so those prices seem appropriate. The faceted barrel, magnetic snap cap, and spring loaded Visconti bridge clip are all solid design elements of the pen that help it to feel like a well crafted premium experience. And most important, it writes beautifully. If you are looking for a fresh pen to ring in the spring season, the Orchard in Blossom Visconti Van Gogh is a great option.
Thank you to Coles of London, Visconti’s US distributor, for loaning me these pens for review