Montegrappa Copper Mule (courtesey of @kenropens)

Thank you to Kenro Industries, the US Distributor of Aurora, Montegrappa, and OMAS (RIP) pens for providing this pen in exchange for an honest review. In keeping with the Pen Habit Reviewer Code of Ethics, this pen will give given away to Pen Habit viewers after the review.

Material: Copper and Steel
Nib: Steel Medium Nib
Appointments: Brushed Steel
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge/Converter
Length (Capped): 137.3mm
Length (Uncapped): 127.2mm
Length (Posted): 154.8mm
Section Diameter: 11.2mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.5mm
Cap Max Diameter: 15.7mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 33g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 54g

Metal pens are not, generally speaking, my cup of tea. I am a person who prefers pens made of acrylics or resins or celluloids with a lot of depth and swirling colors. Every once in a while, though, I find a metal pen that speaks to me. The new Montegrappa Copper Mule is one of these. It is more than simply a pen made of metal; it is a pen where the metal is the star of the show.


As you might suspect from the name, the Copper Mule is a pen made of bright, shiny copper with brushed steel accents. The body style is based on Montegrappa’s Fortuna line, a line of pens that I have reviewed (and liked) before. The copper version maintains the clean lines of the white and ruthenium version I reviewed previously but grants the pen more color, depth, and luxe through the copper of the cap and barrel.


Copper is a fascinating metal. Polished, it is bright & shiny—gold with a red undertone. As it tarnishes, it develops a deep, rich patina with more motion and depth, coupled with a darker, ruddier complexion. Out of the box, the Copper Mule is near blinding in its shine. The high-quality pen coffin comes with a couple of polishing clothes to help you maintain that shine, but attempting to do so is something of a losing battle. The highly-polished surface picks up fingerprints like they’re on clearance. To maintain that shine, you’d have to spend more time polishing the pen than using it.

Depending on the chemistry of your skin oils, those fingerprints will start to tarnish the copper almost immediately. I found the patina very difficult to polish away on my pen, until one of the members of the Pen Addict Slack suggested that I use a bit of vinegar. A splash of white vinegar on a rag and a little bit of elbow grease, and the copper shined right up. Even without polishing the pen, though, I found the gradual darkening of the patina to be just as (if not even more) attractive. Since the patina develops irregularly, you get a bit more motion and texture to the surface over time, resulting in a really lovely color.


The cap is topped with the Montegrappa 1912 medallion in steel, inset into the copper. The cap flares out into a rather bulbous shape from there. The brushed steel clip attaches via a slit in the cap wall, and features a clean, streamlined design which terminates in a roller wheel. The clip is extremely rigid, and very strong. You might have a hard time clipping it to anything, but once it is there it isn’t going anywhere. The cap band is a wide band of brushed steel featuring the name “Montegrappa” in black, enameled script.


The entirety of the cap’s interior is lined with a heavy white plastic inner cap. This very wise move on Montegrappa’s part means that the pen’s block threads do not mesh metal on metal–a big plus in my book. The inner cap also prevents the barrel’s copper surface from getting marred by over-zealous posting, if that’s your thing.


The rest of the pen body is a single, solid rod of copper that tapers to a flat end point. It is a clean design, with just enough contrast in the steel accents to provide visual interest without distracting from the real star of the pen: the copper.

The cap unscrews in 1 1/4 turns on surprisingly smooth block threads. I am usually not a fan of block threads, as they are often quite loose, not secure, and don’t mesh smoothly. The block threads on the Copper Mule are well-machined and treated with some substance which helps lubricate the meshing of threads and resulting in a very smooth, tight fit. Under the cap is a longish brushed steel section, which is very minutely tapered and convex for a nice, ergonomic feel in the hand.


The pen accepts standard international cartridges and converters (both long and short.) It comes with two short cartridges and a high-quality converter in the box.

In terms of looks and fit in the hand, I’m thoroughly in love with the Copper mule. It’s a gorgeous pen, and very comfortable for long writing sessions. It’s got some weight, but not so much that it feels exhausting to use the pen.


I have used three Montegrappa medium nibs: one on a Montegrappa Espressione, one on the White and Ruthenium Fortuna, and now one on the Copper Mule. All three have been very similar in terms of writing characteristics, so I feel pretty confident in ascribing the Copper Mule’s writing performance to what feels like brand consistency. First, the nib is quite rigid. There is no real bounce or line variation. Second, it produces a much finer line than you might expect from a European pen–the nib tends to be more consistent with a Japanese medium. Third, it provides a higher-than-usual amount of feedback (around a 5-6 on the MAFS). Fourth, the nib is ground to a somewhat stub-like quality.


These features come together to create a rock-solid, consistent writer that nevertheless has a consistent brand character. It is well adjusted, and the tines are in perfect alignment. I never had issues skipping, hard starts, or ink starvation. In that respect, I couldn’t be happier with the pen. But taking my own personal preferences into account, I think I would enjoy a slightly springier, smoother nib with a wetter ink flow.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy writing with this pen; I do. The Copper Mule fit beautifully in my hand, whether posted or not. The additional weight, which is the understandable result of a metal-bodied pen, was wonderfully balanced. Tthe wider section helped prevent over-gripping. And once I got over the natural aversion to fingerprints on the surface, I really began to appreciate the pen’s beautiful patina.


With a list price of $375, and a street price of around $300, the Copper Mule is a pretty expensive pen—especially for one with a steel nib. (It does come with an accompanying copper mug as well, while supplies last.) Now, I’m not one of those people who believe that any pen over $x needs to have a gold nib. The material of the nib in and of itself is not enough to determine the pen’s value or its writing characteristics. With the Copper Mule, I like the shape and design of the pen. I love the materials it’s made from. I even like the feel of the pen in my hand. With some slight tweaks to the pen’s writing characteristics (all of which I feel comfortable doing) $300 would be on the high side of the range I’d be willing to pay, but still doable.

I mean, how often do you get to own a copper pen?

  • slkinsey

    Is it just my browser, of are there several times when the video completely blacks out for several seconds? I get a black screen with audio at 12:59-13:05; 13:15-13:22; 13:28-13″36; 16:33-16:44; and 17:22-17:29.

    Also, it looks a bit like the nib and the feed aren’t quite aligned. I wonder if it might be a bit wetter if the feed were centered on the nib.

    Cool pen, though… I like the idea of just letting it tarnish and develop patina. I bet it would look really nice if it developed some verdigris.

    • It’s not just you. I’m encoding a fixed version now, and will have it uploaded in about an hour or so. Thanks!

    • It should be fixed now. Thanks!

  • Daniel Hanuka

    Keep your chin up. You are very talented and will make some new company very happy as you would be an asset to any firm that hires you. Keep up the good work and if possible please enter me in the copper mule giveaway.

  • Randy R

    I do believe this is a pen I would enjoy having and using!

    Best wishes with the job hunt. I’m sure you’ll have very little difficulty.

    Is there something special we need to do to enter your give-away or is leaving a comment sufficient? — As always, many, many thanks for your reviews.!

    • The giveaway will be in a separate post tomorrow.

      • Randy R

        Gotcha — Thanks! I will definitely check in tomorrow (as if I could resist!).

  • Gareth

    Great looking pen – Please enter me in the give-away

  • Joao Palma

    Nice pen, the way it will gain patina is a major point. However, in my case I sweat a lot from my hands and things tend to gain a lot of fingerprints, I imagine the sweat may react in a weird way over time 🙂

  • sally190

    Best of luck with your job-hunting.
    Being “let go ” must have been a grim shock considering the date.

    I’ve only realized that there was this ” pen universe ” on the net about three weeks ago.
    Your presentations come over as the most professional pen reviews that I have seen.
    im paricular, I do enjoy the quotations that you select to write.

    I wondered why this copper pen is that much more expensive than the metal pens that were being hand-made, from that Arizona company, who also made a copper model.

    Does that copper body feel cold when you first start to write with it ?

    • Lez Cartwright

      Sally hiya…
      Have you got a link to the Arizona company. I’m in the UK and I don’t know the reference you use, if you can just point the way for me. I like this pen a lot but would like to see the one you refer to.
      Best wishes.

      • sally190

        OK, Lez.

        Search for Karaz Kustoms Ink.

        That should pick it up.

        They are also sold in the UK.

        They don’t look as sleek as the Montegrappa, but they are a lot cheaper, here in the UK.

        Good luck.

        • Lez Cartwright

          Thanks I’ll look into this.
          Best wishes

  • Paul

    Great review. I bought one of these the day that Goulet Pens listed them, and my experience with the nib echoes yours. I’ve polished the nib to smooth, and am now experimenting with a ruthenium-plated Jowo nib. The Mule looks pretty when it’s new, but when it develops a patina, which it does quickly, it becomes something even better. The patina develops more heavily in some areas than others, making for a lovely organic finish. Suffice to say I won’t be using the polishing cloth any time soon.

    Best of luck on the job hunt. I’m sure you’ll find a new gig in no time!

  • Clestra

    Hello, Matt! Best of lucks in your job-hunting ^_^ May you get a better job than the one you had before <3 This Montegrappa Copper Mule is a beautiful manly fountain pen! I'm sure my husband would love it too, but I want it for myself =D Thank you for a very detailed review & for the dedication you put into it.

  • Thank you for the review. Sorry about your job. Just what do you do when you’re not pen-habiting?

    • I have been working as a program manager for technology companies. I lead the development efforts for our “front-end” teams doing websites and mobile apps. Right now, I’m looking into whether I could transition into working full-time for myself doing audiobook narration.

  • Mary Smith

    Best of luck on your job hunt. I do like your videos. I’m not sure if it matters but the FTC requires disclosure, which you do very well, but you are totally allowed to keep the things you review. Granted it’s different for me since I review books and the costs to host a giveaway for every book would equal or exceed the costs to host so many giveaways. Having said all that I hope you don’t lose money hosting the giveaway and shipping, insurance and all that. 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Mary. While legally I could keep the pens I review (and I do keep pens that come from retailers, just not manufacturers or distributors), my decision a while back not to keep pens from manufacturers or distributors has more to do with the fact that I think I would probably be a little less straightforward about things I dislike about a pen if I thought I would get to keep and/or sell it later. Who knows, if the unemployment thing doesn’t work out for me, I may decide to change the policy just so I can pay the bills. (If that does happen, I’ll be really transparent about it, though!) Thanks for the comment!

      • Mary Smith

        No problem! Best wishes from Brooklyn!

  • Lez Cartwright

    What a lovely pen really attractive. I like heavy pens it helps with the health struggles I experience, enough of that !… I’ve just bought an Italix Imperium State which weighs in at 65gr and is helping my arm muscles to develop !!! Hahaha The weight of the Copper Mule would be just about right on the heft scale for myself. Errr, looking at the photo’s, is it the camera angle because the feed looks misaligned???
    But it’s a gorgeous writing rod and I’d love to have one. The price is a bit high for me but I’m seriously thinking about it. La Couronne du Comte recently offered this pen with the mug and I believe the copper with the mule drink gives the drink a certain taste because of the slight reaction with the copper that’s obviously not present in a glass, rather like how a kherhi ? Iron dish adds a certain flavour to that style of curry… I digress sorry…
    The feedback again would be OK for me 5~6 it’s a preference of mine, but would certainly agree that at this price a gold nib would be better plus the bounce would be preferred. It’s an unusual pen though and most desirable.
    I hope the job situation is resolved soon, maybe folks will help the crisis as this sudden development is terrible, sorry to see this.
    We are here for you.
    Thanks for another excellent review.
    My very best wishes as always.

  • Pingback: Montegrappa Copper Mule Giveaway from @KenroPens – Pen Habit()

  • Kyle Parsons

    Cool pen, and great review. I’d personally prefer the patina’d version of this pen over the new and shiny. I like my tools to show usage. Thanks for the entry!

  • Glenn Higley

    Patina’d! I love to see the changes in color and surface as it reacts to time and use. Thanks for the review and giveaway, Matt.

  • Maeceon Lewis

    Hi Matt, I am really sorry to hear about the job. Best wishes to you in your job hunt. When one door closes another opens. If you are a believer have faith in that fact. I would very much like to also be included in the giveaway if I’m not too late. It’s a lovely pen – one I could not afford to purchase at the time.

  • Judy Jacobs

    Matt, thanks for the enlightening review of the Mule. Being let go from a job can be a blow to one’s self image as well as to the budget. Best wishes on securing the job of your dreams. Are you really giving away the pen? What chance do I have of winning?