A Nib Journey With The Leonardo Momento Zero Mango

It would be a lie to say that I’m not buying many pens, but I AM trying to resist knee-jerk buying—like buying something just because I’m bored or tired or “deserve a reward.” I let the latest object of my affection simmer for at least a few days before making a final decision—really sorting out the reasons to say yay or nay. How mature, right? (Maybe I need a reward for being so mature!)

After a few weeks of simmering contemplation, the yays outweighed the nays and I ordered the Leonard Momento Zero Mango fountain pen from Fontoplumo—1.1 mm stub, ruthenium trim. I already have the Blue Hawaii version of the same model and love, love, love that pen so buying this gorgeous orange version was probably inevitable. I went for the ruthenium trim (vs. rubidium) for something a little different. And a stub nib instead of my usual medium. So it’s the same pen, but different.

The pen arrived and is as pretty as I’d hoped, with variegated “strips” of acrylic that give each pen a unique look. On my pen, these range from a bright reddish orange to a darker tortoiseshell orange, from tangerine to peach to the namesake mango. There’s pearlescence and chatoyancy in some of the acrylics, and a more muted look in others. The pen’s a stunner, in my opinion. Absolutely no complaints in the looks department.

The citrusy colors really pop under my desk light.

But all was not well in Nibville. I inked the new arrival with Diamine Blood Orange—a dead-ringer for the stunning red-orange acrylic—then scribbled on some Tomoe River paper. Sometimes the ink flowed and sometimes it didn’t. Ugh. I let it sit. I tried different ink. I tried different paper. All to no avail. Using it for a morning journaling session was a lesson in frustration as the flow stopped and started—stopping mostly on the downstrokes. To complete a word, I sometimes had to trace over the initial stroke two or three times. That’s a very slow way to fill a page.

The problem child

The hard starting problem seemed to stem from the ruthenium coating on the nib, or at least that’s my theory, and I kicked myself for making that choice rather then going with tried-and-true rhodium trim. But the ruthenium looked so cool! What to do? What to do?

I emailed Frank at Fontoplumo to ask for some advice—was there anything I could do to get a more consistent writing experience? He offered that the coating might wear down over time, and I did agree that that was a possibility, but worried that I wouldn’t use the pen enough for that to happen. I thought about just waiting until I could have the nib issue addressed at a pen show—surely an easy fix for a nibmeister—but with the current state of the pandemic, who knows when I’ll get to one of those.

The pen was too new and too pretty to tuck away so I ordered a fine gold-colored Leonardo-branded replacement nib from Goldspot Pens. (I know, I could’ve swapped in any #6 Jowo nib but wanted one that’s branded the same as the pen because that’s how I’m wired.) That nib arrived and is really nice—smooth with spot-on flow. I was now 80% happy, but still wishing for a better ruthenium stub.

A few days later, it dawned on me to reach out to Leonardo via Facebook. (Hey! A good use for Facebook!) Their reply was almost instantaneous, and they asked that I email their nibmeister, which I quickly did—again, politely laying out the issue and asking for advice. Their reply was short and simple—we’ll send you a new nib. The new 1.1 mm ruthenium stub (installed in a new section!) arrived from Italy in mere days and is the epitome of a great writer. Super smooth, lovely flow. All is well. No—all is PERFECT.

Ink: Birmingham Pen Co. Ultramarine

Despite my initial disappointment, I couldn’t be happier with how this played out, and realize that I should’ve thought to contact Leonardo right away. Occasionally this kind of of issue pops up but what separates the great companies from the rest is responsiveness and the desire to make every customer a happy one.

The Leonardo Momento Zero Mango is a fountain pen that makes me feel good every time I pick it up (daily!) not just because of the way it looks and writes, but because of how I was treated—like my satisfaction mattered.

This pen took me on a little nib journey, but in the end I arrived in a very good place—at the crossroads of relief and delight.

Edited to add: After posting this, Frank van Krieken, from Fontoplumo, emailed me to emphasize the fact that he will always work with his customers to make sure that they are satisfied with their purchases, should a problem such as mine pop up.

10 thoughts on “A Nib Journey With The Leonardo Momento Zero Mango

  1. I had a very similar experience with the Leonardo Momento Zero that I ordered from Fontoplumo last year (Pietra Marina, EF). Interestingly, this was still part of the batch using Bock nibs. Was very frustrating because this was the first pen I spent more than $40 for and, and I’d heard so many people rave about how amazing Leonardo nibs were out of the box. Frank was very responsive and sent me a replacement nib (tuned and smoothed) and feed unit as well as a new converter and it is one of my favorite pens to write with now.

  2. A lovely pen It is good to hear such positive accounts of customer service. I once bought a Leonardo Momento Zero and found a tiny crack in the section but was sent a whole replacement nib and front section from Leonardo. This gives confidence for further purchases.
    I am glad your story had a happy ending. “Good-night John-Boy.”

  3. What a great ending! Just wanted to let you know that I recently got a 1.1 ruthenium Leonardo and I was having the same issue. Your guess about the coating is almost certainly correct, because I had mine tuned and smoothed by Mark Bacas and he confirmed that issue with mine.

  4. Leonadro Officina Italiana is known that has great after sale support.
    (The nib is black coated. It is not ruthenium plated. Ruthenium in only the trim).

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