Buzzing Past

Pineider Arco Blue Bee Review

The Pineider Arco Blue Bee flew through my door this week for review, courtesy of United Inkdom. This is a Limited Edition of 888 units. The Arco Blue Bee was designed by Dante Del Vecchio, a renowned Italian pen designer and founder of Visconti, with whom he parted company a few years ago to join Pineider.

First impressions

The Pineider Arco Blue Bee is beautifully designed, as you would expect from an Italian designer and company. Pineider have been making writing instruments and stationery since 1774. Even the packaging is unique. Once extracted from the standard cardboard outer, the black leatherette pen box is shaped like a writing slope. Inside, the Arco Blue Bee nestles in a padded cream interior, along with the Pineider ink filler bottle and a small pipette. There is also a small cream slipcase of paperwork, including instructions, warranty and an identity card with the pen’s unique edition number. It is a classy designer package, but I would expect nothing less for the price.

The resin body is stunning with layers of honey, amber and brown, interspersed with an iridescent deep blue that glows in the right light. The slim, silver quill-shaped clip is delightful, and the engraved silver band  had definite design similarities to Visconti pens. What doesn’t quite work for me in terms of the design, is the piston filler knob. It is plain and black and looks out of keeping with the styling of the rest of the pen. The filler knob end cap has the edition number etched on it.

The cap closing mechanism is fascinating. Using magnets in a particular orientation, the cap snaps softly closed, aligning the nib with the clip. A gentle twist and pull releases the magnet to open the cap and the pen is the right way up ready to go. I could spend hours just playing with this alone. I love the way the magnets pull the cap into just the right position. (OK, so I’m easily entertained by physics!). It would be interesting to see how well this arrangement kept the pen from drying out. Unfortunately, I only have this pen for a very short time.


Writing Experience

The nib has an immediate wow factor. The eye-catching cutouts on the 14k gold nib give it what Pineider call “hyperflex” and it certainly does flex. Put nib to paper and there is a surprising and immediate amount of spring. Howerver, despite the massive amount of flex, there didn’t seem to be a huge variance in actual line width. Even a light touch still gives you quite a wet line. Press harder and there is fractionally more line width. Press too hard and the ink stops flowing altogether.

There is some line variance, but not as much as I had anticipated. For the most part, this Medium nib just writes like a wet Medium nib, albeit with a lot of spring.  The problem, I think, is that the nib flexes but the tines don’t spread to create the line variance. That said, I did really enjoy the feel of writing with this pen and its softness.

The section is ergonomic, albeit not a particularly attractive shape, so it is quite comfortable to hold. Importantly, for me, no screw threads to get in the way. The section also has little ink “portholes” so you can check the ink level. As the pen is rather lightweight, I do not think it would be a problem using this for a long writing session.

The cap will post, but I wouldn’t recommend it. When I tried, the etched piston filler finial came off inside the cap and I had to get it out with a magnet. Do that when you aren’t paying attention and you could end up with a very mangled nib when you try to put the cap back on.

In Summary

The Pineider Arco Blue Bee is undoubtedly stylish, but is that enough? If you are a collector of Limited Edition pens, or a fan of Dante Del Vecchio designs, then perhaps it is. It is not in itself a pen that blows me away, though I love the design of the nib even if it is only a “faux” flex.

The Pineider Arco Blue Bee is lightweight and writes well, at least it did for me. The nib on this particular pen was a Medium, which is rather on the wide side for my liking. I should have liked to see how some different nib widths performed, and whether there was any difference in the degree of line variance for any of them.

The “hyperflex” of the nib seems to be more of a design feature than being particularly function as a flex nib, which is disappointing. It does give a very soft writing experience though. If this is sufficient and you are not looking for line variance, then this could be a pen for you.

Personally, I think the price tag is too high by some considerable margin, but then I am not someone who will pay over the odds for style or branding over substance. I would definitely be interested in a more inexpensive model with this nib though.

Who is it for
  • lovers of soft flexible nibs
  • and those with flexible friends*
  • aficionados of Italian designers
  • collectors of Limited Edition pens

*aka credit cards

The lowdown

The usual specialist outlets like Cult Pens and Hamilton Pens stock this for the princely sum of £680. These are limited edition pens, but given the price tag, you probably needn’t worry about them selling out over a weekend. However, if you do want one, it is probably best not to hang about, otherwise you may not find your preferred nib size in stock.

This pen was loaned to United Inkdom for review purposes and will be returned to the supplier. No financial or other benefits have been gained as a result of this review.

See my Reviews page for more pen and ink ramblings, or check out my Artwork gallery

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