Visconti Millennium Arc Moonlight


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for unusual filling systems. For me, the acts of filling and cleaning a fountain pen are relaxing and meditative (Zen and the Art of Fountain Pen Maintenance). Unique filling systems help to make that process even more involved and, if you’re a nut (like me) who likes cleaning your pens out, enjoyable.


My appreciation of unusual filling mechanisms was triggered once again with one of Visconti’s newest offerings, their limited edition Millennium Arc Moonlight fountain pen. Released in 2015, the Millennium Arc series consists of two collections: a bright and colorful “rainbow” pen, and the Moonlight collection (which comes in Burgundy, Blue, and Green). Each edition of the pen comes in a limited production run of 200 numbered pieces.


What makes these Millennium Arc pens unique(ish), however, is the filling system. It is what is commonly known as a “Crescent Filler,” but that name is a Conklin trademark, so Visconti has named their version of the system the “Arc Filler.” You fill the pen by depressing the metal “arc” protruding from the top of the pen’s barrel. Pressing down on the arc compresses a metal bar inside the pen which in turn compresses the sac. When released, the sac re-expands, sucking ink up into the pen. The system is quick and efficient, and cleans fairly easily as well. It can also hold a better-than-average amount of ink. To keep the arc from being accidentally depressed, the pen also includes a clear plastic collar which can be rotated around the pen’s barrel to “lock” the arc in place. It is a nifty system that isn’t quite as easy or convenient as cartridges of converters, but is still nice enough for regular use.

In the past, this type of filling system utilized latex sacs inside the pen. Latex sacs can be a bit problematic, springing leaks, or turning brittle with disuse and age. Some inks have even been known to “melt” those sacs. Visconti has wisely opted to use silicone sacs instead of latex, and state that the sac has a 100-year guarantee against ink corrosion. (Although who knows if parts would even be available in 100 years.)


Design-wise, the Millennium Arc is something of a departure from many of Visconti’s more recent design. Still there is Visconti’s traditional use of gorgeous materials: in this case a deep, rich burgundy swirl acrylic with spectacular chatoyance. The pen’s cap is manufactured from a single piece of that acrylic. The traditional Visconti “bridge” clip is gone, replaced by a slender, sweeping clip that still maintains the “Arc” motif, but with a gentler, more graceful curve. The clip is inset into the cap and is spring-loaded. I like the clip, but like most of Visconti’s clips, I wonder about the pen’s ability to keep it self in place when clipped to a shirt pocket.


The cap itself has a slightly bulbous shape and a rounded top. The back of the cap has a visible silver screw, which I believe is used to hold the clip mechanism in place. The pen’s thick cap band is silver-colored and features an intricately-engraved design. On one side, the “Moonlight” collection name is features in a cartouche. On the other side is a second cartouche with the words “Visconti Firenze.”


The barrel of the pen is relatively nondescript. Or, it would be, were it not for the goiter-like appearance of the arc-filler and lock collar about 1/2 way down the barrel. The arc-filler returns to the more traditional Visconti bridge design, including the engraving of the company name on the side. The lock collar is made of clear plastic which, unfortunately, looks a bit cheap compared to the lustre of the rest of the pen’s materials.


The cap unscrews from the barrel with 1 1/2 turns to reveal a concave silver metal section, with the pen’s number engraved on the side. I am normally not a fan of polished metal sections, but this one more comfortable than expected; the section’s shape prevents it from becoming too slippery in the hand.


Then, at last, we come to the nib. The Millennium Arc series utilizes Visconti’s “Smartouch” Chromium 18 nib. I’m not a metallurgist, but my understanding is that Chromium is a major ingredient in steel; this particular nib is, for all intents, a steel nib with a slightly different alloy. Visconti has eschewed the traditional nib shape for a tubular nib that wraps around the feed.


While I don’t particularly care for the argle bargle of the “Smartouch Chromium 18” marketing copy, I rather enjoy this nib. The unusual design of the pen’s nib and feed resulted in a consistently wet, smooth writing experience. Even with the fat line of the 1.3mm stub nib, the pen never choked or slowed down a bit. It went through ink pretty quickly, but managed to keep up like a champ. The stub nib itself was surprisingly smooth and buttery for an un-tipped stub nib. (One disappointment with the nib is that Visconti opted not to tip the nib for a pen at this price point. I much prefer a tipped stub nib over an un-tipped nib.) Visconti says that the wraparound nib design helps improve ink flow and keep the nib wet. While I doubt there is any quantitative evidence regarding correlation vs. causation, I can’t argue the point either: This is one of the best stubs I’ve had the pleasure of using.

One other thing that I noticed about this particular stub was that it seemed to exhibit just a hint more bounce than most steel nibs I have used…especially those from Visconti. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a rigid nib. But the long, slender tines seem to allow a slightly “cushioned” feel when writing with the pen.

In the hand, the pen is nice. The metal section helps to draw the weight of the pen down a bit, balancing it nicely. The slightly narrow grip tended to push me toward gripping too tightly, but the lighter weight makes for comfortable longer writing session. Even posted, the pen feels good in the hand.


I should mention that this particular pen came to me with a very minor quality control issue. When I first got the pen, I didn’t realize that the screw-in nib unit was loose, and the nib was 180° from being properly seated in the section. As a result, the arc filler rested directly in the web of my hand. (You can actually see this in the photo above. The arc filler is supposed to be directly in line with the top of the nib.) Also, as a result of being loose, the pen had a bit of an air leak and kept burping up ink onto my page. I started to get really frustrated until I realized the problem and tightened down the nib unit. The pen behaved perfectly after that. It’s a minor thing, but something that should have been caught in the factory.


The Visconti Millennium Arc is listed online at $350. As is becoming increasingly common (and frustrating going on infuriating) the actual sale price of the pen can’t be displayed by the authorized retailers. That being said, the pen will retail for around $280.

(Side rant: HEY PEN MANUFACTURERS, KNOCK IT OFF! Hiding the price from your customers doesn’t increase the mystique or endear your brand to your customers. It just pisses us off and inconveniences your retailers. The practice of hiding prices is just a holdover from brick and mortar luxury retail that simply does not fly in today’s online retail climate. Online, people want to know the price. Stop trying to be sneaky or underhanded. Nobody needs that kind of B.S. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”)

This is yet another pen in that “almost $300 for a pen with a steel nib” price range that pens like the Montegrappa Copper Mule or the Visconti Van Gogh fall into. While I do wish this pen came with one of Visconti’s Dreamtouch 23k Palladium nibs, the Smartouch nib is different enough that I don’t mind that the pen comes with (essentially) a steel nib. I like the filling system a lot; aside from vintage pens or a few of the offerings from the modern Conklin, there aren’t a lot or arc/crescent fillers around. The material is beautiful, the design is straightforward, and the pen writes like an absolute dream.

Material: Acrylic
Nib: Smartouch Chromium 18 1.3mm Stub
Appointments: Silver-colored
Filling System: Crescent/Arc Filler
Length (Capped): 144.2mm
Length (Uncapped): 125.6mm
Length (Posted): 172.5mm
Section Diameter: 10.5mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.2mm
Cap Max Diameter: 15.9mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 17g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 32g


The pen for this review was loaned to The Pen Habit from Goldspot Pens. No additional compensation was provided and the pen will be returned after the publication of the review.



  • BadassMcKill

    Agreed with the hiding the price type deal, never really understood why that was done

    Also I kinda wish the clip was the more standard Visconti arch clip

  • Achim

    Another great review.
    Thank you btw for reviewing ftps I could never afford, I really appreciate that as I won’t get in closer contact to those pens.

  • MKR

    “Totally tubular, dude!” That was a special treat. Reminded me of Snake in *The Simpsons*.

  • DKC

    Maybe a quote by Mark Twain would have been more appropriate since he was Conklin’s spokesman for the crescent filler. He referred to it as a “profanity saver” since “it cannot roll off the desk.”

    Great review. A modern Conklin Mark Twain is a cheaper alternative with a crescent filler that also has a funky vintage vibe, especially in chased finish. I find I don’t use mine that much since it can be a real pain to clean.

  • Hey Matt, I have the Tubular Nib on the Blue Typhoon. I find that is does really keep the pen juicy and slows the dry out.

    I find that the Blue Typhoon will always write for me even if I haven’t used the pen for over a week.

    Good luck on the Client/Job search my friend

  • Oh I forgot to mention, I find that Masuyama Cursive Stubs are much more forgiving about pen and nib rolling. You may want to try one. Still think his are the greatest Steel nibs I ever used

    • I’ve got two of the Masuyama stubs. They’re great nibs! (I’ve got one in 14k and one in 18k, though.)

  • Like the clip and the review. Thankyou again!

  • Yes, my camera angle does tend to force me to adjust the way I hold my pen. The overhead rig isn’t long enough (or stable enough) for me to position the camera and paper where I normally world, so I have to contort my body out of the way a bit. I’ve gotten better about it, but with some nibs (especially stubs and italics) I end up rotating the pen more than I normally would due to my body position.)

  • Robert Smith

    Thanks to Matt’s find of the loose nib I have tightened the nib on my moonlight and the burps have all gone away. My nib was properly aligned before tightening, now it is out of true so going to see if it is multithreaded and if that fixes it.

    Another great review, agree on the smoothness and spring, my fine has a fair amount of line variation due to this. The recent filler is very nice.

    Thanks Matt!

  • Dave

    Hi Matt, great review as always.
    I have a question about the term “untipped stub” though. Isn’t that essentially another word for an italic nib? Or what would you say is the difference?

    • Not exactly. An italic nib a flat nib with sharp corners, really mostly intended for doing italics or other flat-nibbed calligraphy. A stub is basically an italic nib that has had the corners rounded down. As a result, it’s better for use with cursive or other loopy, flowing forms of writing. An untipped italic nib would turn itself into a stub pretty quickly, since steel isn’t hard enough to resist being worn down by contact with the paper, which is why you really don’t see untipped italic nibs for sale from anyone. Very few manufacturers makes italic nibs these days. If you want a true italic, you pretty much have to take the pen to a nibmeister.

      There is also an intermediate step between stub and italic called “cursive italic” which has more line variation than a stub, but not quite as much crispness as a true italic. The italic nibs from Mike Masuyama that Franklin-Christoph sells could be considered cursive italics.

      • Dave

        Oh, okay. I have never heard that definition before (that stub is an italic with rounded corners). I always assumed a stub is a tipped nib which is ground flat as to allow line variation. While the characteristics of the corners are described by prefixing something like “crisp” or “cursive”, as you have said. But I guess the whole terminology in this area isn’t exactly set in stone.

        Also, aren’t the calligraphy nibs by Lamy, TWSBI and Nemosine (cursive) italics?

        • No, those are going to be stub nibs. (If we’re getting technical, they are not calligraphy nibs, either.) None of what they carry are true italic nibs. Aurora is one of the only modern manufacturers that makes italic nibs in-house anymore. And they have both italic and stub nibs. This link should provide a lot of background info:

  • Susan J

    Many thanks, Matt, for the excellent review. I look forward to your blog posts, and although I am just responding to this one now, they’re always appreciated!