Visconti Homo Sapiens Overview
The Visconti Homo Sapiens is often considered to be one of the distinctively “holy grail” fountain pens among many fountain pen enthusiasts. I made a video about it back in 2015 shortly after we first started carrying the Visconti brand, and they’ve made enough changes to it that I felt it warranted a refresh!
There’s a lot to talk about relating to this pen, so enjoy this in-depth look at the Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pen.
Body Materials & Colors:
The Visconti Homo Sapiens originally released nearly two decades ago in the lava material, and it’s the only fountain pen that I can think of that is made of basaltic lava, actual volcanic rock! This is rock harvested from Mt. Etna in Sicily, made into a powder and mixed with resin to give it a unique texture.
It’s slightly hygroscopic in nature, meaning that it tends to absorb moisture from your fingers as you hold it giving you a more secure grip than you would get with resin. It’s similar in that way to ebonite if you’re familiar with that material. It’s incredibly durable, and feels slightly warm to the touch.
Here are some of the color and material options they’ve had in recent years:
- Bronze Age – the classic and most iconic of the model with the lava body, with bronze metal trim. This has been my personal favorite.
- Dark Age – has the lava body but black trim and a ruthenium nib, which looks slick!
- Magma – like the Dark Age, but with red trim instead of black.
- Crystal Dream – this has the black lava body, but it additionally has a large ink window so you can see what’s going on inside.
- Lava Colors – same lava material but mixed with colored resin that came in colors like Blue Ultramarine, Sandstorm, and more.
Visconti has also expanded upon the lava material, often with limited and special editions:
- The Demo Stones are colored demonstrator versions of the Homo Sapiens, which helps you enjoy the visual of the filling mechanism and ink sloshing around inside.
- The limited edition Dual Touch is a metal and leather pen they came out with, which looks pretty wild and is quite a substantial feeling pen in the hand.
- Annual Limited Editions are available in swirly resin materials, like Arizona Sunset, Blue Lagoon, and Tuscan Hills.
- You can view more of these in our Limited Edition History blog here!
With all these different designs, they’ve used a variety of trim materials, more than what you'd see on a typical fountain pen model. Some of the trims include bronze, rhodium, yellow gold, rose gold, black PVD, and ruthenium.
The shape and grip is similar on all the Homo Sapiens versions, with a contoured grip I personally love.
The pens feel well-balanced when unposted, but it's a bit back-heavy when posted since the pen is pretty long. With my large hands, the Homo Sapiens size is pretty ideal for me. I could see it feeling a bit large for those of you with particularly small hands, but overall I think this pen gets regarded as a comfortable pen to hold.
The grip has a nice contour and won’t slip around in the hand, especially the lava versions.
The only thing I don’t love so much is that the threads are a big chunky, but that’s because of the Hook Safe Lock. It’s a worthy tradeoff for me though, as I LOVE this thread system. You only need to turn the cap about ⅕ of a rotation to cap and uncap it.
It’s heavy, but not as heavy as you might expect being that it’s made of rock!
The overall weight for the Homo Sapiens fountain pen varies based on the material:
- Bronze/Dark Age: 42g
- Resins: 39g
- Dual Touch: 87g
These are on the heavier side, most comparable to Diplomat Aero (41g), LAMY Dialog 3 (47g), and the Pilot Custom Urushi (43g).
They're still comfortable enough for long writing sessions, but when you get up into the 40g range and up, that’s where pens can start to feel a bit weighty. With a body of 26g, it’s still quite reasonable when writing without the cap posted.
All Homo Sapiens have some form of power filler, or vacuum filler. In general these work well for holding a large in capacity and for transporting well.
They make two versions of it – a single and double reservoir – and which one is used depends on the specific pen. We always try to specify exactly which one you get on a given model on the GouletPens.com product pages.
The single reservoir “Power filler” vacuum is what you see on the classic variations like the Bronze and Dark Age with a 1.5ml ink capacity. Its components are made of titanium to resist corrosion. This is a slightly higher ink capacity than a LAMY 2000 (1.35ml).
The Double-Reservoir Power Filler is available on some models like LE’s. The ink capacity is a whopping 3.63ml!
Nib Materials & Sizes:
The Visconti Homo Sapiens fountain pens previously featured a 23k palladium "Dreamtouch" nib for many years.
Several years ago, Visconti briefly switched to German-made Bock 18k nibs, but then transitioned again to Visconti in-house made 14k or 18k gold nibs (depending on the model).
Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium are the most common nib sizes across the models, though sometimes they do have some Broad, Double Broad, and 1.3mm Stub Italic. Availability on those varies since they’re much less in demand.
We've also commissioned several custom nib grinds from Mark Bacas that we try to regularly stock.
How They Write:
In the above video, I used Noodler’s Black ink to test out the nibs.
The nibs are VERY smooth, with incredibly wet, generous flow. The nib isn't very stiff, but more springy with good line variation.
The line width runs broad for most nib sizes, and writes wet.
One important thing to consider, especially when thinking about the Extra-Fine nib, is your individual writing pressure. While they do write generously wet, it may be possible to get a thinner line depending on your writing pressure.
You may need to refill more often with these pens, given the wet flow.
The Homo Sapiens uses a unique Hook Safe Lock threading to close, and pushes to post. Only 1/5 of a turn is required to open the cap, but it does securely stay closed as well.
The clip features the signature Visconti “bridge” spring clip with the name on the side. It's easy to grab the clip to put it into your pocket.
The centerband is engraved with "HOMO SAPIENS".
The Visconti logo in the finial on the cap. It can sometimes spin around because it’s attached magnetically.
The feed has narrow fins and a little Visconti “V” on the feed.
The nib features the Visconti name with flourishing – very pleasing and distinctive to their brand.
The plating on the trim will vary based on the exact model variation, but it will most likely be rhodium, yellow gold, rose gold, or ruthenium.
This is a grail pen for many fountain pen enthusiasts, and it's easy to see why! It's loaded with awesome features, the nibs write well, and it's fairly unique. It comes in a wide variety of color and material options, with varying price points. This is one of the more talked about pen models in pen circles online, and because they've been around for a while and have had so many variants and changes it can be confusing to keep up, but hopefully you feel a bit more educated after reading all this. Check out our site for current offerings and feel free to reach out to the Goulet Pens team with any questions you might have about the Homo Sapiens.