The first Visconti Opera Master I ever set eyes on was not in the flesh as it were but on an SBREBrown video about three or four years ago. If memory serves me it was an Opera Master Demonstrator. I liked that pen a great deal but nothing became of it. Zoom forward to a Saturday in early September, I met a chap called Dave here in London who owned a limited version of an Opera Master called the ‘River Thames at Sunrise’ and my fate was sealed.
At this pen meeting I actually got to touch and have a go at several of Dave’s Opera Master pens in addition to the River Thames. It was however the ‘River Thames’ that I started to obsess about. After looking at and having a go at writing with an Opera Master I concluded they had great many plus points:
- Size – it’s a BIG pen
- Weight – for me at least, a little bit Goldilocks – just right
- Filling system – double reservoir vacuum filler, able to hold a huge amount of ink
- Limited – only 28 of each of the four trim version worldwide
- Material – beautiful. Nothing much more to say
- Nib – a joy
This version of Opera Master was sold exclusively by an outlet in the United States called ‘Chatterley Luxuries’ and the River Thames was an excuse to them. Undeterred I decided to fire off an email to see if any were still available in my preferred choice of trim, ‘Midday’ – which is in silver. They had only two left and Bryant the owner of Chatterley Luxuries corresponded with me over several emails, with the patience of a Saint. He sent some photos of the two pens he had left and there was one trim – at least as far as I could tell from the photos – I liked. I slept on it – for about a week!
A few weeks ago on a Friday evening around 21:00 I received and email from Bryant asking if I was still interested in the pen. I was actually getting ready for a cycle ride through the night starting almost three hours later to a location near Brighton but talk of this pen stopped all that. After answering a few more questions, the order was placed and Bryant confidently informed me that the pen should be with me by mid-week with ease.
I was as nervous as I was overjoyed at actually getting what I considered a grail pen but I had a cycle ride to get to, so I headed off for that.
At roughly 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning I received the shipping details from UPS stating that the estimated delivery time was end of the day Monday. In my mind I questioned this timing but was pleased it was on the move.
On Sunday – after I had suitably recovered from cycling all through the night – I checked the tracking number to see the journey of my pen from Arizona to London. Later that evening I had to pay a small import and customs fee and believe it or not before noon on Monday the pen had been delivered!
Opening the box was in itself an experience. It was heavy and luxurious, befitting the very special pen inside. Opening the lid I made for the pen, ignoring the large bottle of Visconti blue ink and identity card of the pen. The pen was stunning. I instantly loved its looks.
The photos Bryant kindly sent really didn’t do the material any justice at all. Turning the pen around there were times when the light caught the material and the grey was like the sun shining through clouds. Wonderful stuff. Filling the pen with some Pelikan Edelstein Topaz I started to write. The experience was joyous. The fine nib glided over the paper and produced a lovely wet – but not overly wet – line.
Using the pen for the rest of the day and then the rest of the week, only confirmed the feelings of happiness at getting another Visconti that worked out of the box with a nib that was for me at least, perfection. Despite always carrying three pens to work I have used my ‘River Thames’ exclusively. I am sure that this is a bit of new pen syndrome but I can say that this particular pen is going to be part of my daily carry for several months to come!