Pen Review: Visconti Opera Club Cherry Juice

Material: Resin
Nib: 23k Palladium
Appointments: Silver-colored
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter
Length (Capped): 138mm
Length (Uncapped): 128mm
Length (Posted): 163mm
Section Diameter: 10.5mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.6mm
Cap Max Diameter: 15.1mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 24g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 38g

Love them or hate them, there are few pen companies out there that manage to get their hands on or build pens from the vast array of eye-catching materials as does the Italian company Visconti. Whether it’s resin made from Lava Rock, acrylics patterned after impressionist paintings, or demonstrators with bands of colors swirling about, Visconti’s materials are unique and bold. And to my eye, usually quite attractive.

Aside from lovely materials, Visconti’s pens are usually well made, and most are excellent writers. It’s one of the reasons why Visconti is one of my favorite modern pen manufacturers, and why I have so many of their offerings in my collection.


The Opera Club is one of Visconti’s “Circling the Square” line of pens. This line features a four-sided barrel on which the corners have been rounded down quite a bit. The resulting profile is pleasant to hold, but will keep the pen from rolling easily off the edge of the desk.


The Cherry Juice resin from which the Opera Club is made is one of the flashier materials I’ve ever seen in person. It’s a white, almost quart-like background with a lot of depth and chatoyance. It is highlighted throughout with deep, blood-red veins, striped with red-black. It’s bold and graphic, and certainly not for everyone. Recently, when showing off my pen collection to some friends who aren’t into pens, one friend picked this material as his favorite, and another said it was his least favorite. Personally, I really like it. The white background looks like stone, and the pen has a bit more heft than you’d expect for an resin pen.


The top of the cap features the Visconti medallion. I can’t tell for sure, but it appears to be one of the replacable medallions from their “My Visconi” system, but I couldn’t find any confirmation of that online. Frankly, I’ve never seen the replacement medallions for sale anywhere, so even if it were one of the replaceable ones, it’s not like I would have anything to replace it with.

The cap features Visconti’s standard, spring-loaded bridge clip. This one is a lot tighter than the ones on my other pens. I hear people complaining all the time that the bridge clips wouldn’t keep the pen in your shirt pocket. So for my own curiosity, I put on a dress shirt, put the pen in my pocket, and stood on my head for about 30 seconds. It’s not a scientific test, mind you, but it never did fall out of the pocket. In any case, I don’t keep my pens in my shirt pockets, and I find the bridge clips quite convenient to use with the cases I use to carry my pens about.

At the base of the cap is a large, silver-colored, and very nicely bevelled band which follows the contours of the “circling the square” design. The word “Opera” is engraved on the band just below the clip. The cap on the Opera Club is a screw-on cap, and can be removed with 2 1/4 revolutions.

The barrel of the pen tapers down slightly to a large silver-colored finial, which comes to a bit of a point. It’s beautifully polished, and super-smooth. I was expecting the metal finial to make the pen a little back-heavy, but held in the hand, it simply helps to provide an extra bit of heft.

Under the cap, you have a fairly small metal section, which does tend to be a bit of a magnet for fingerprints. Also, because the section is short, I find that my fingers tend to sit right on the threads of the pen. Fortunately, the transition between section and threads is smooth, and the threads themselves aren’t sharp.

The cap can be posted, but posting tends to make it just a touch back-heavy. I usually don’t post this pen, as it is long enough for me to use unposed. But if you have very large hands, I don’t think the pen’s center of gravity shifts enough to make a huge difference.


The pen is a cartridge/converter pen, utilizing standard international carts (both long and short) and converters. The Opera Club does come with a solid, Visconti-branded converter with a nicely engraved metal flange and turning knob. Unfortunately, the converter is so long that the metal of the turning knob tends to click around against the inside of the barrel if you flick the pen about too much. It’s a minor annoyance, but it is one that stuck out to me.


Like most of Visconti’s pens, the Opera Club utilizes their 23k Palladium “Dreamtouch” nib. The Dreamtouch nib, when well-tuned, can be a truly beautiful nib. It has a nice bit of bounce, albeit slightly more “spongy” bounce than you might get with a gold nib. You can coax a bit of line variation of out it, but that’s certainly not how it was intended to be used. The nib was in perfect alignment, but I did find that it provided a bit more feedback than I would prefer, so I did do a bit of smoothing to it. It still has more feedback to it than any of the other Dreamtouch nibs I’ve used, but it’s feedback of the more pleasant variety.

The nib, which is a medium, runs about as wide as you’d expect a European medium to run…not too wide, not too narrow. It does tend to be a bit on the wet side once ink starts running. Getting the ink started, however, has proven to be a bit of a challenge. There appear to be two issues at stake:

First, the converter tends to get the ink stuck up toward the piston, not toward the nib. So I often find myself having to flick the pen occassionally to get the air bubbles to rise to the top. I have heard that flushing the converter with an ammonio solution will often help take care of some of these surface tension issues, but I haven’t tried it yet. Fortunately, it’s a standard international converter, so I can always swap out for another one.

The second issue is about getting the ink to the nib tip. For some reason, the first time I pick up this pen after a long period of unuse, I have to prime the feed a bit. Once that’s done, I don’t have to do it again. The pen never skips, hard starts, or exhibits signs of ink starvation. It’s just that first stroke that always seems to need a little boost. And it’s only when the pen has sat unused for a couple of days.

Aside from that, the Opera Club is a lovely pen, made from lovely materials. I wish the nib had come with a smoother final polish, but that is easily resolved. In the end, though, this is a lovely pen. While the MSRP for the pen is nearly $600, you can find it for SIGNIFICANTLY less than that here are there online. At the time of writing this review, I was seeing prices just over $200. And that, in my mind, is nothing short of a steal.

  • Bob

    Thanks for the review. I am awaiting the return of my Visconti from my favorite nibmeister for a lousy nib out of the box. Other than that I love the Visconti looks as well. For the rattling converter I use a piece of heat shrink tubing that’s a little longer than the black knob on the converter. The overhang on the heat shrink crushes slightly in the pen body and rattle goes away.

  • Amazing pen, I like it a lot. Thanks for the review. I am looking at buying a new Visconti this year.

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  • mobalter

    Cool stuff, nice review.

    Your writing is getting prettier every time. Almost. Do you practice? Or it is some natural way your cursive evolves as you write a lot on daily basis?

    I’ve asked it on your donation page but you didn’t answer. Which of donation options you have are appropriate to enter the raffle?

    I like your new look better, BTW.

    • Any donation method (except site sponsorship) will enter you in the raffle. Paypal, Google Wallet, or Patreon.

      I don’t practice my handwriting to any real extent, but I am more mindful of it, and my writing technique has adjusted itself over time as I write more and more.

  • Daniel Hanuka

    Great review. I love Visconti pens. They have such beautiful design and flair.

  • David D Ortiz

    I have a Visconti with the same Dreamtouch nib, but mine feels like it clicks when I hold it with the breather hole facing directly up. I was wondering if you had a similar issue, or had any ideas as to what the problem may be.

    • I don’t, unfortunately. It’s possible that the tines on the nib are too close together, or that the nib is clicking against the feed. I know folks have been able to send their pens to nibmeisters to have that fixed, but it’s not an issue I’ve seen with any of my Dreamtouch nibs, so I don’t know what it might be. Sorry!

  • slkinsey

    Other than the fact that your converter doesn’t screw in, it looks very similar to the one I have in my old-style Van Gogh maxi. If so, I think you will find that the minor rattling doesn’t come from the end of the converter contacting the inside of the barrel. Rather, if you examine the converter itself I think you will see that the whole metal turning knob on the converter has a tendency to rattle slightly in its housing unless the plunger is firmly in the “all the way up” position. At least that’s the case for my old Van Gogh: If I wind the plunger to the middle of the converter and shake the pen I get rattles; if I wind the plunger all the way to the top of the converter and shake the pen I don’t get rattles. This is a bit annoying, I would agree, but I do like the extra weight that comes from the metal in the converter.

  • Clifford Hughes

    And thank you as always, Matt. Visconti certainly makes some attractive looking pens. I don’t have one yet (in fact, I’ve never tried one, nor have I used a palladium nib). But an acrylic that looks and feels like marble or alabaster certainly appeals top me. My wish list is getting maybe a little too long, but I guess that’s what wish lists are for.

  • Clifford Hughes

    Oh I nearly forgot – saw your guest appearance on Serious Nibbage. Synchronised trans-Atlantic pen reviewing must be the future!
    I actually remember watching the first ever trans-Atlantic broadcast – Our World with the Beatles via the Telstar communications satellite in 1967. All You Need is Love (OK).

  • Lexter Victorio

    While most of my pens are more stark in their design and in the black-and-gold department, I am not opposed to having something this pretty and ostentatious in my collection. Plus, it writes well!

  • Mihail Tiberiu Tanase

    I also hope to buy a Visconti this year, have Aurora, Delta, Omas, now Visconti is missing.

    • I’d be interested to hear which of the brands is your favorite after you’ve had the chance to try all of them. 🙂

      • Mihail Tiberiu Tanase

        Sizewise, the Aurora Optima Auroloide fits me best. But performance wise and how I write with them etc, definitely Delta Dolcevita Stantuffo medium, bought even 2 of them, normal one and demonstrator.
        I like Delta’s build quality, girth (after getting used to it), weight etc, and they never let me down, constant ink flow, never startup issues or skipping, really very nice. Aurora Optima is also quite nice, also never a problem, but the nib is noisy, and I don’t like that.
        Also Waterman Carene is very nice, very constant and reliable ink flow, never a problem, only issue is that the writing feels like I am using a rollerball.

  • Anna

    Where have you seen the Visconti for just over $200? Would love to know as I absolutely love this pen and have been looking for a long time for an affordable price!!

    • I don’t remember, but I think it was either Chatterley Luxuries or Fountain Pen Hospital.