Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I’ll Take Two if by Sea
Delta, the Naples, Italy-based pen company, recently came out with another limited edition pen: the Amerigo Vespucci. You may remember earlier limited editions, such as the Giuseppe Garibaldi, Enrico Caruso and the Giacomo Puccini. But lest you think the company only pays homage to deceased men of Italian descent, don’t forget the iconic Dolce Vita (a great and very lively Italian movie, but I think the pens were named more for the spirit of the phrase, which means: “the sweet life”). I am a huge fan of Delta and its owners, and the Amerigo Vespucci did not disappoint me. Just 931 pieces of each version (ocean blue or night black resin) trimmed in sterling silver are available (Classic), with a special 18-karat gold-trimmed version (Celebration) limited to just four pieces. Why just four pieces? Well, I’m glad you asked. This number apparently commemorates the four wooden helms on the ship used for Vespucci’s voyage in 1501—his first under the Portuguese flag. Thus the overlay on the cap of each of the pens in the collection is crafted from wood. The collection includes a fountain pen and rollerball, which can be converted to a ballpoint. The fountain pen (with an 18-karat gold nib) is filled by cartridge or converter, though the four Celebration fountain pens are button filled. The pen comes in a collector box with a dramatic blown-up image of nautical rope on the front.
I particularly like the natural matte finish of the wood overlay on the cap, which is hand finished using bee and carnauba waxes. It is perfectly and smoothly fit between the clip ring and the lower cap ring. The section is the same material as the pen (blue or black resin), which I like, since a pet peeve of mine is an obtrusive gripping section on an otherwise nice pen. The sculpted clip has good action, and I’m pleased, as always, that something other than a cartridge- or converter-filling option is available, albeit for a higher price. In general, I appreciate the subtle nautical theme of the Amerigo Vespucci, which is neither overbearing nor kitschy, as some commemorative limited editions are wont to be.