Montegrappa Parola review

I like Italian foods. As a vegetarian I need to play with the recipes in order to adapt them to my needs. Happily once you know what you’re doing, it’s not that difficult. Rye spaghetti with Hazelnuts, zucchini and pumpkin, Spicy eggplant cabonata,  Tofu and cashews tiramisu are one of my favorite recipes for vegan feast. Delicious but maybe I should describe them in detail on other forum. After all FPN is a place for fountain pen aficionados and not for veggie gourmands.

Let’s start again from the beginning. I’ll try to focus on pens this time.

I like Italian style, but not the gaudy one, but a more balanced and aesthetic version of it. I dream of a green Visconti Wall Street, drool when I see different types of Omases. Some Stipulas (Saturno) fascinate me and demonstrator version of Aurora haunts me in my dreams. When it comes to Montegrappa pens – well I wasn’t interested in them. For some time I gave a wide berth to their products, especially after seeing curiosities and aesthetically challenged pens like Chaos or Angel Pen. I considered their pens as targeted mainly to Russian mafia.

However after reading very interesting text about the company’s history (it’s in polish so I won’t link it here) I started to feel some growing interest in Montegrappa’s pens. Their offer is rather rich and varies a lot from terrible and flashy fountain pens to more reserved and elegant pens. I quite enjoy design of following models: Parola, Nero Uno Linea, Esspressione, Extra Otto. I have impression that Montegrappa has a problem with the positioning of their brand and defining their target group. The company’s portfolio is varied and uneven, as if they wanted to please everyone. Fortunately I don’t have to try all their products. I’ll limit myself to what I find intriguing and let Russian mafia and Sly Stallone have the rest :)

One of two pens I’ve got is Montegrappa Parola.

Packaging

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The Montegrappa packaging is quite stylish. A blue-gray slipcover contains a blue-gray box, which holds a blue-gray leatherette-feeling hexagonal case. The Montegrappa “honeycomb” motif is present throughout.  The pen case has a thick, metal plaque on it and has a magnetic closure.  Inside is the pen, a converter, a pair of cartridges (in black) and some paperwork.

The pen

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The Parola comes in White, Purple, Yellow, Mauve, Red and Navy. The overall shape narrows from the section threads back through the end of the pen, to create a nice spot to post the cap easily.

Fit and finish is what really makes this pen almost worth its price. The Clip has the typical ‘wheel’ that’ll help attaching the pen to a shirt or jeans pocket. It’s a fairly tight clip, but the wheel feature definitely helps here. Parola terminates in a narrowing body and chrome blind cap. The blind cap coin says 1912 and has a wreath around it which really lends come design nuance to a part of a pen most manufacturers forget about.

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Personally I njoy Parola design. I find it fresh and nice. Also I like heavier pens so I don’t mind the hefty weight of this one.

Nib / writing experience

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Montegrappa Parola is equipped with an interesting, eye-catching steel nib. This nib has unusual shape that I rather enjoy.  It came with a touch more feedback than I generally prefer. It also ran drier than I generally prefer. My main issue with the nib was line size –  it seemed to run a full size and a half smaller than its stated size. I purchased a Medium (and it’s stamped on the nib as such), but this nib wrote smaller than most of my European fines. Waterman Hemisphere fine nib is much broader than Montegrappa medium. That’s crazy and that was the reason I finally sold the pen.

Some writing (Lyreco Budget, 60 mgsm; imk – Vintage Denim, Sailor)

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Filling System

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Converter / cartridges. The converter is screwed. I do not recommend filling the pen by inserting the nib into the inkwell, the section material stains easily. It’s easy to clean but it’s easier and cleaner to use the syringe to fill the converter.

Dimensions

Closed – 145 mm

open – 130 mm

Weight – 35 g

Summary

Montegrappa Parola is undoubtedly interesting pen. On the other hand I have an issue with its pricing. Theoretically, Montegrappa Parola is in the same class as Lamy Studio, Waterman Expert or GC Sheaffer 300. They’re all c/c fountain pens made of plastic and with steel nib. Parola is almost three times more expensive than Watermans, Lamys or Sheaffers.  It can’t compete with Visconti van Gogh which is much better pen.

Of course when one buys Montegrappa he/she must be ready to pay for the brand. The thing is I don’t work for Montegrappa and I’m not one of their shareholders. As a result I’m interested more in what I get for the money paid than in Montegrappa’s management business goals. The pen is well made and well balanced. The writing experience was rather pleasant even though the nib was too thin for me – it writes like EF, not medium. That’s also the only reason I sold the pen. I don’t think it’s competitive product – there’s plenty better pens on the market but I enjoy the design. If I would be sure that Montegrappa’s broad nib writes like a true broad I would definitely get one again.

What’s your experience with Montegrappa fountain pens?

Pros:

  • design
  • quality
  • Simple elegant designt
  • rollerwheel on Pen Clip
  • screw off Cap: large threads

Cons:

  • price
  • nib is stiff and very thin
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2 thoughts on “Montegrappa Parola review

  1. That is a very understated design for Montegrappa! The Russian mafia would find it boring I’m sure.

    Italian pens are normally way too gaudy for my tastes, and far too expensive for what you get. I wouldn’t mind a vintage Aurora 88 though, if I could find one with a broad nib. And vintage Omas are very, very nice pens. I’m a sucker for faceted pens, too.

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    • I have the same thing with faceted pens 🙂 I love them. As for Parola – I’ve sold white one with medium nib – it was just to thin for me (moprwe like EF than medium) but I’ve managed to buy purple one with broad nib for reasonable money (90 euros). I think for this price it’s incredible pen. If Montegrappa would make MSRP closer to 100 and not 200 euros it could be a hit.

      Like

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