TL;DR: watch the video review (but scroll to the end anyway, trust me!)
The full story
I have a soft spot for the modern incarnation of Tibaldi. As the “affordable” arm of Montegrappa’s parent company, it’s up against stiff competition (think Leonardo, Maiora, Venvstas, Visconti, Gioia…), and is putting up a plucky fight.
Behind the eyeroll-inducing marketing, there’s a solid portfolio of pens bearing the Tibaldi name: the pretty Bononia, the quirky Perfecta, and this, the solidly vintage-inspired N.60 (or number 60, or No60, or however you want to write it).
On paper the recipe is very similar to the other Tibaldis: plain steel nib with unusual ebonite feed, available in sizes from EF to BB.
A screw-fit international converter hidden inside the barrel. Screw-off cap, folded-metal clip, engraved logo (and engraved Made in Italy mark), nice grey-and-orange box, and bob’s your uncle, there you have it.
But actually the 60 has a very distinct personality of its own.
It feels quite a bit bigger than the other two Tibaldi models, and surprisingly, much more solid. A look down the barrel shows thick walls.
Actual weight is 27g capped and 17g uncapped, which is not crazy high, but ignoring the scales it has surprising heft. I was really taken aback when I unboxed it.
And there’s a very vintage feel, particularly in this “Rich Black” acrylic.
With palladium-plated cap rings, clip and finial rings, it looks stately, and those conical finials surrounded by stepped rings evoke so many vintage pens.
It’s a very good look. From the press photos, it looks equally appealing (in a very different way) in its cracked-ice blue, red, yellow or green incarnations.
As a pen to use, the 60 doesn’t set the world alight, but it’s absolutely zero stress and very convenient. The cap unscrews in one turn and I didn’t notice any overnight drying out. The clip is strong and solid. Inside the barrel, the converter screws in, so it’s, well… solid.
In the hand, the section doesn’t look particularly long, but it’s long enough, broad enough, and has a useful flare at the tip end.
The barrel threads aren’t sharp and the barrel step is a non-event. Comfort is great, with a reassuring weight of barrel in the web of your hand. If you are fond of long pens, the cap posts securely through friction.
The writing experience is straightforward, no-nonsense. My F-branded nib writes a true fine line, with no line variation — it’s a nail.
It’s average wetness (despite the ebonite feed), and smooth enough, although the tipping of the nib is not perfectly aligned.
It’ll write quickly, it’ll write upside-down, and it won’t skip or hard-start. Reliable.
I mean, it’s not the best-looking nib in my pen tray, with a rather plain engraving and unplated steel finish, but it gets the job done.
Without reading back my old reviews of the Bononia and Perfecta, I remember I had similar feelings of “this is a good, reliable pen” about those, too. But the 60 takes it to another level. It looks like a vintage pen you could keep in the pocket of your suit. It feels tough enough to knock about in your work bag. And you could write your work notes with it day-in, day-out without it letting you down.
With a standard price of £165 from Iguanasell, who loaned this pen to me for review, the Tibaldi N.60 is bang on the same price as the Leonardo Momento Zero (from Write Here), and only a hair higher than the Maiora Impronte (via Izods). Only Gioia undercuts it, and throws in a piston filler to boot.
In other words, the Tibaldi is already keenly priced if you want an Italian pen with #6 steel nib, converter and some trim rings.
But there’s a surprise in store. Next week, Iguanasell is running its Iguana Pen Week, in the run up to #fountainpenday on 5th November. I have a funny feeling that Tibaldi will feature somewhere in this promotion… meaning even more attractive prices. You might want to bookmark this page…