It’s easy to see why Leonardo is one of the modern darlings of the fountain pen scene. From the first Momento Zero, which I reviewed back in 2018, the Italian company has kept up a breakneck pace of releases, with dozens of pretty resins, ebonite, arco, Grande models, music nibs, and the release of an in-house piston filler — many at surprisingly accessible prices.
And now the latest release, the Furore Grande, seen here in the Emerald resin.
The Furore Grande is the torpedo-ended version of Leonardo’s large-sized pen, and it’s very similar to the cone-ended Momento Zero Grande. For your 300 euros you get a large turned pen with in-house piston filler, ebonite feed, and steel nib, wrapped up in a handsome gift box with a bottle of blue Leonardo ink. And, yes, rounded ends.
First impressions are fantastic. This is a beautiful pen. The polish is mirror-like. The rings around the cap are delicately executed. The cap curves down gracefully to meet the barrel. It’s not perfect: the rings aren’t 100% flush, the cap lip is just a tad sharp.
The proportions are excellent, with the exception of the trademark Leonardo clip, which looks somewhat undersized on this bigger model. It’s simple folded metal, with roller on the end, and honestly it’s pretty stiff. If I regularly used my pens clipped, it would bother me a little.
And Leonardo’s usual barrel engravings, which are neatly done and line up perfectly with the clip on one of the three thread starts.
It is a big pen, but not crazy, and it’s not over heavy. Really it’s very similar to the Esterbrook Oversize Sparkle:
The resin made me whoop with delight when I opened the box. Having seen no photos in advanced, I was surprised to discover that it’s the exact same material used on the Wahl-Decoband Jade, which I sadly sold for being too large. So this is a second chance for me. This material is incredibly chattoyant, with whorls and swirls like a river rapids, peaks and trenches like a cratered planet surface. I love it, can you tell?
The colour is a greenish turquoise in most lights, that digital cameras strip back to pure blue — in the photos in this review, I’ve quickly adjusted them to show the full green.
Unscrew the cap in 1.25 turns, and you reveal the familiar step-down Leonardo section, that looks a bit odd, shouldn’t be comfortable, but is really natural in the hand.
And that leads down to the nib, rhodium plated, #6 sized, laser-engraved, and underpinned by a curving ebonite feed. The engraving is not great. “Officina Italia” is engraved so small that it’s basically a rough blur. Everything else is fine, though.
The nib is stamped with its grade — mine’s a Broad — on the side.
Flow to this nib is provided by the in-house piston filler. Unscrewing the knob reveals a silver-coloured metal mechanism, quite roughly finished from the bit I could see, but the piston itself operates smoothly, with no sticking or rattles or other ill omens.
There’s no ink window, but if you’re really keen on checking the level, a really bright light shone behind the section will show you if anything is sloshing back and forth. Leonardo report the capacity at 1.5ml, and I have no reason to doubt them. There’s plenty of ink.
The writing experience is sublime. The pen sits really well in the hand:
There’s no interference from the rounded barrel step or smooth threads, and despite the size of the pen, which is noticeable, it’s not back-heavy.
The broad nib is firm and super smooth, with a big ol’ blob of tipping. It’s not at all like the bouncy, audible nib I had on my original MZ; it’s almost like Leonardo has switched over from Bock to JoWo.
I inked the Grande for these photos with Otto Hutt Ocean Blue, a wet, saturated and scented (!) sapphire blue ink that flowed super heavily from the nib. On good paper, dry times are a serious consideration!
It is always a tremendous relief when you ink a new pen and it writes a nice wet line with no hesitation, no misaligned tines, no offcentre slit, no baby’s bottom, no ink starvation, no sharp edges.
This nib was just perfect without any flushing, and that makes it an absolute joy to write with. However, it’s a pretty broad broad, and honestly for daily use I would probably drop down to a fine based on this experience. I also — and this is an absolutely churlish complaint — kinda wish this nib had a little more personality. I’ve been blessed with some steel review nibs recently that had a lot of character. This is pretty bland by comparison.
After I posted my review, I had problems with my first-gen Momento Zero drying out when capped — in fact, that was the main reason I sold it and have been reluctant to buy another Leonardo since. It was the biggest fear I had going into this review. But blowing into the cap of this Grande, it’s clearly airtight, and after up to 48 hours of leaving the pen capped, I’ve experienced no hard-starting or noticeable ink concentration that would suggest drying out to be a problem here. It just fires right up as all good pens should.
I remember being absolutely blown away by how good the Leonardo Momento Zero was two years ago, at £135. This pen is bigger, with an ebonite feed and a piston filler, and generally more solid build quality. It’s a much more grown-up pen, with a more grown up price, too: if it’s like the MZ Grande, it’ll come in at around £245 retail.
But that’s still fairly competitive. The Esterbrook Estie Oversize comes in just under £200, with a C/C filler and plastic feed, and no bottle of ink in the box. And although I like the Estie Oversize, the Leonardo simply feels like it’s a class above in style and finishing.
I was sent this pen to review by Leonardo. When it launches, you’ll be able to order yours from all the usual retailers. I’d recommend Write Here.