This is partly a review, partly a cautionary tale.
The Delta Dolcevita Oversize–henceforth, Delta–was my first “luxury” level pen. I read reviews about it, saw pictures of its glorious/ridiculous size, and decided that I had to have it. And one night, I found it at a really good price and bought it.
I was so excited that I took the afternoon off from work to intercept the package and test-out my fancy new pen. I don’t have the box anymore and I don’t have pictures of it, but Delta used a really cool box for this pen with thumb screws securing a lid that, when removed, revealed a super shiny, huge pen surrounded by black velvet.
Compared to my previous pens, packaged in generic boxes and sleeves, this was cool. I knew I was dealing with something special. It takes a lot to get me going about packaging nowadays, but the Delta was my first really fancy pen.
So I inked it up to write and. . .
That crappy, low-res gif is a pen–worth about the same as my entire fountain pen collection up until that point–not writing. A pen simply not doing what pens are supposed to do.
I was perturbed. Embarrassed, even. I flushed the pen, washed and flushed the pen, tried the Delta ink that came with the pen, tried the pen in eye dropper mode instead of filled with the converter. The gif is the result of those efforts.
Under a loupe, it was obvious that the nib was fundamentally flawed. Delta used Bock nibs. I’ve never had a pen equipped with an OEM Bock nib that didn’t need some level of work before it wrote well. Two Kaweco Sports, One Delta and a replacement loose Delta nib, and three Yard-O-Led pens. A couple thousand dollars worth of nibs and pens that all needed work to write. Coincidence? Maybe. I’m not the only person who’s had this problem, though–Visconti pens, for instance, are notorious for not working out of the box, and their nibs are made by none other than Bock.
How many anecdotes are required to make evidence?
Anyways, I wasn’t confident enough in my nib skills at the time, so I contacted the seller–who I won’t name–and I was informed of their “no returns on pens that have been inked” policy. “Be sure to dip-test it, next time.” Fun fact: you cannot tell if a pen is over polished–a condition colloquially known as baby’s bottom–if you just dip it. The seller wasn’t interested in helping me.
At the time, Delta was distributed by Yafa in North America so I emailed them. They got back to me two months later. I’d mostly fixed the issue by then. Thanks Yafa.
I could have emailed Delta Italy directly as they supposedly had pretty decent customer service. But I decided to fix my Delta myself. The reality is that nib modification isn’t hard to do, but it’s really easy to screw-up, so I went slowly and deliberately, re-profiling the nib’s tipping material over the course of several weeks–check, grind, test. I eventually got the factory stub working fairly well.
Back to the pen. It’s heavy, thick, shiny, and garish. The responsive, bouncy 14 karat stub nib creates a luscious, juicy line. It’s so gloriously wet that I used almost a full converter of ink writing my two page sample/rough draft. It’s barely a stub in the traditional sense, but it’s still somewhat expressive and adds character to the user’s writing. After I de-Bocked it, of course. This nib would make a beautiful cursive italic.
The pen, while lovely, isn’t for everyone, though. It’s thick and quite heavy. It’s not long, though, so it fits in a shirt pocket. I find the Delta to be quite comfortable for periods of long writing, but it’s an acquired taste. I don’t consider this pen a good everyday pen because of its size and flashiness. Also it burns through ink like nobody’s business, although it can be eye dropper filled to negate some of that issue.
Sadly, Delta doesn’t exist anymore, at least not in the same capacity that it used to. QC issues aside, they made some interesting pens that are absolutely worth checking out, including a modern lever filler that I’ve always been curious about. It’s still relatively easy to find Deltas on the used market, although their already hefty price has continued to climb higher and higher.
Here’s the cautionary part of the tale: fountain pens don’t always work right because they are complex instruments, so one must be ready to deal with that. There are ways to mitigate this risk: buy pens from a nibmeister who can correct flaws before sending their pens out, order from merchants with a reasonable return policy, or buy pens made by companies with good post purchase support. Conversely, one can learn to tune their own nibs or work with a good nibmeister. The most important advice: keep one’s expectations in check.
- It didn’t write. I blame both the pen companies for not testing their products and the OEM nib manufacturer. There is no excuse at any price point, but it is even less excusable at this price point.
- Shite customer service. I don’t know if Yafa has stepped-up, but my experience was not good.
- This pen is huge. It’s too big to be practical, for the most part.
- Screw cap, one turn to remove.
- Sort-of postable, but comically huge when posted.
- Bock #8 nib, 14k gold with ebonite feed.
- It was available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and factory Stub.
- Writing sample is the Stub.
- I also have a Fine nib for this pen.
- Neither worked out of the box.
- Filling system:
- Standard international cartridge/converter or eye dropper.
- The pen came equipped with a threaded standard international converter.
- Compatible with long standard international cartridges.
- Ink capacity is 0.8mL with standard converter, 5.6mL as an eye dropper.
- Capped: 138mm
- Uncapped: 133mm
- Posted: 175mm
- Total: 44 grams
- Pen: 31 grams
- Cap: 13 grams
- Total: 44 grams
- Section diameter: