The Momento Zero was the first pen released by Leonardo Officina Italiana under their own banner. An affordable resin pen in a number of attractive colours, all with a good level of chatoyance. Over time more resins were used and a celluloid piston filler with a gold nib also came in to being. Now a year or two down the line, with a new similarly priced model, the Furore, coming out, a number of new versions of the Momento Zero have been produced including the Hawaii, a multi-coloured pen based on a hotchpotch of previously used resins.
While Leonardo Officina Italiana may be a new company to many of us the founder, Salvatore Matrone, is the son of one of the founders of Delta, Ciro Matrone. Post the demise of Delta, rumours started that ASC pens were being made by former Delta staff, who had found their own company. This was Leonardo and soon they started producing pens under their own banner. Like with Scritturra Bolognese (ScriBo) not being a re-badged OMAS, Leonardo is not a continuation of Delta. It is a new company, which while using the experience and knowledge gained at the former company, Leonardo is moving in its own direction. A very good interview covering this by Susanna Buffo and Simona Gauri-Reisch with Salvatore Matrone can be found on their blog, Giardino Italiano.
(apologies for the photos in this blog, when I started processing them I did not have time to redo the shoot).
The pen itself is a classic shape found amongst many European pen manufacturers, with a gentle curve along the barrel and cap, with the latter being half the size of the former when removed.
The actual colour, a harlequin of blues and some brown, does give the impression that the pen may be faceted, this is not so. At the base there is a blind cap that will allow access to the converter. This is not of the captured type as the barrel can be easily opened up and removed without the converter being wound affected.
Note the converter can be replaced by an international standard screw threaded unit, but this one has a long metal turning knob to allow it to be accessed at the end of the barrel.
The pen can be posted, and as all the components are light this does not really affect the balance in the hand. Personally I do not post and find the pen more comfortable this way. It is a nice length and has a very natural feel (to me).
From the above pictures you can also see the grip section is of a more unusual shape. It is comparatively thin at the nib end, moving inwards by about a centimetre before angling out at around 60 degrees, before a short flat section, then the threads. These are so soft you can barely feel them when rubbing a finger over. There’s then another short section before reaching a step where the grip section and barrel meet. This has a rhodium plated ring at the end of it, making it a smooth transition. It makes for a very comfortable hold.
Size wise when compared to the ubiquitous Lamy Safari/Al-Star it can be seen it is of a similar length capped, slightly shorter uncapped, but wider in the grip section. Posted there is little extra difference one way or another.
The barrel is stamped, complete with a serial number. I’m not aware that this model is a limited edition, perhaps there is a potential maximum number that will be made over time.
The nib (sorry this picture is not very clear) is made for Leonardo by Bock, and while the shape and feed might be their standard for a size #6, this one feels slightly different from the norm, as if Leornardo have their own nib material composition (which might be the same as was previously made for Delta). It is stamped with Leonardo and the two wings of their logo (I think that’s what they are), plus the nib size.
The nib is silky smooth with a slight bounce. While early Momento Zero pens had a bad reputation for baby’s bottom, I believe this has now been fixed and the QC on the pens improved. Certainly mine is a joy to use and lays down a very nice juicy line. Interestingly enough, before buying this pen I had previously tried three other Momento Zero pens, plus the gold nibbed Leonardo Momento Zero Mediterrean Blue Limited Edition (at a number of pen clubs) and I have to say the steel nibs consistently were nicer writers than the gold one.
The body is adorned by five rhodium plated rings. One between the blind cap and the barrel, three towards the bottom of the cap and one at the end of the barrel where the cap meets the body. The affect does work with the body and the colour of these plus the clip matches well the blues and browns of the resin.
The clip is stiff but works well. I have had no problems securing the pen in jacket inner pockets. On one occasion the pen did drop out of the cap, which did surprise me, but I think it was not securely closed, and so with a loose pen with just one turn to remove the cap, worked it’s way off while being jossled in the jacket.
I am not sure why the finish on this pen is called Hawaii. Perhaps the blues and the occasional brown are meant to be waves crashing on a beach. For me it’s a harlequin effect and not a good one. At no point do lines match up on the barrel, section, cap or blind cap. It is all very random with no consistency. Initially it’s a pleasing effect but after a while it becomes fussy and clumsy. In many respects I do wish I had bought a single colour such as Mediterranean Blue (think this is just a limited edition celluloid used on a gold nibbed plunger pen), Positano Gold, or Galasia Blue.
The finials hint at how the colours have been blended. The actual ends taper out to a small peak at each end, both of the same size and angle. Looking at them you can clearly see strips of the resins used in the other pens without patterns/marbling have been brought together to form new rods. A cynic would suggest these are from offcuts, however from pictures else where we know the rods are rounded down on a lathe, so one suspects a number of spare rods of various colours are actually cut in to square sectioned strips to make this pattern.
Packaging wise, the box comes in a light silver open ended cardboard outer sleeve.
Inside this is a rectangular box, whose lid lifts clean off.
To reveal a welcome/thank you card and a booklet. The latter covers some of the background to the company and shows pictures of other pens made by Leonardo including alternative Momento Zeros.
The pen sits in a two slot tray, with the other occupied by a long thin box of cartridges (containing three I believe). The pen comes with the converter already installed.
And now the usual writing sample:
In summary, while I am not a fan of the patterning/colouration, that is a minor flaw. This is a great pen to use. The nib is smooth, with a hint of bounce, and is a joy to write with. There is a natural feel to holding it and for me the weight and balance make this a natural daily writer. I would be so bold as to suggest that this is the best pen out there for £150 or less (or even slightly more) and I would be happy to recommend it.
- Good value.
- Comfortable balance.
- Natural to hold.
- Great nib.
- Not sure there is the need for the blind cap and the captive converter feel to the pen.
- Pattern does not work for me.
- Early pens suffered from baby’s bottom and this might be a concern.
I bought this pen from Stefano of Stilograph Corsani at the Spring 2019 London Pen Show.
William D'Alessandro said:
I purchased a brand new Leonardo Momento Zero Positano. Just got it a week ago. It came from a recent shipment to the vendor from the maker. The nib is useless (a medium, steel). Ghost writes for dozens if not a hundred words, i.e., lays down ink at about 25% of its normal saturation. Thereafter, once the ink starts to flow properly, the nib skips and hard starts. It is an utter disaster. The retailer is sending me a replacement nib, so that’s terrific. But how can Leonardo ship fountain pens that are gorgeous and do not write? It’s a mystery to me.
Sorry to hear that. I’m hoping the QC is not ‘select a random number of pens to test’. I know Pelikan went through a period of providing pens with baby’s bottom, but they being large and established could get over that – with a small (and much newer) manufacturer that could be more dangerous. I’m hoping your situation is rare. Hope the new nib works well for you.
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