Feed on

My Visconti

Dante Del VecchioA long chat with Dante del Vecchio about his Visconti.
From materials to shapes, from jewelry pens to the Van Gogh, from production to sale: everything makes Visconti unique.
And the opportunity for a customer of Giardino Italiano to visit Visconti


Visconti productionGiardino Italiano: Materials. Visconti is well-known for using innovative materials. To name a few: the discovery of celluloid in the ’80s, the resin of Van Gogh with natural inclusions, and the recent volcanic resin of Homo Sapiens. Which will be the next material?

Dante del Vecchio: We’re working on a pen for celebrating the Visconti‘s 25th Anniversary in 2013. The pen is innovative; the material itself is innovative and moves along a diametrically opposed direction from the Homo Sapiens: as primordial and primitive the material of the HS is, as this one is technological and futuristic.
The pen that we are developing with a top international brand is very complex, and belongs to the high end of the range, above 1000 €.

Giardino Italiano: Shapes. After “squaring the circle”, invented for Opera and Wall Street, and “faceted” of Michelangelo and Van Gogh, which direction shall Visconti go in sophistication of new shapes? 
Dante del Vecchio: We’re happy with the path followed up to here and records set so far. The facet of Van Gogh and Michelangelo with its 18 sides is still unmatched, as well as the squaring of the circle of Wall Street and Opera. With Homo Sapiens we returned to the round, to be consistent with the primitive nature of the material.
For the technological pen that I just mentioned, we have studied an ergonomic shape to be in tune with the material.
NibGiardino Italiano: The nib is to the pen as tires are to the bike.
After the launch – which started some 10 years ago – of platinum nibs and recent palladium nibs, is Visconti preparing some new materials for giving its customers an even greater pleasure to write?
Dante del Vecchio: I cannot tell too much about the new nib for the technological pen, because we are filing a patent …
Designing it, we had in mind the limitations of traditional pen nibs; and I can only say that this nib – which will be internally produced – will exceed them very much.
Giardino Italiano: Jewelry pens (Alchemy, Golden Man). What customers buy and where (which channel)? What attracts this type of customer?
Dante del Vecchio: The channel for jewelry pens are Jewelry stores because it’s there where the demanding user searches for an object that distinguishes himself. The pen, in this case, has an even greater opportunity of expression than the watch, that is limited in shape for practical reasons.
The pen producer must catch and exploit the expressive possibilities of the pen, and place the object in the right context.
Van Gogh - Portrait BlueGiardino Italiano: The Van Gogh is now in its third edition. What is the secret of this pen that beats in longevity all other Visconti pens? How many pieces have been sold since its creation?
Dante del Vecchio: This year Visconti reaches one million units sold and the Van Gogh reaches the 600,000 pieces. In the moment of its largest development, the Van Gogh had as many as 64 models in range.
But the Van Gogh is not only special for sales volumes: it is the only pen that went from “entry-level” to collectible item. I guess it’s due to the lucky coupling with the Master’s works. The collector’s box that we’re launching in a few days (stay tuned!) further strengthens this peculiarity of the Van Gogh.
Giardino Italiano: Visconti already launched two pens in collaboration with the Principality of Monaco: one for the Oceanographic Museum and a second one for the Wedding of Prince Albert II with Charlene Wittstock. Are you planning any new joint initiative?
Dante del Vecchio: The relationship with the Principality and in particular with Prince Albert is excellent; thanks to this relationship we could create these two historic pens. The pen that celebrates the wedding of Albert and Charlene is the official gift to the illustrious guests of the Prince of Monaco, and we are proud of that.
Prince Albert and his wife Charlene Wittstock will visit us in Florence next October, at the Dance of the Giglio. Visconti is the official sponsor for the second consecutive year, along with prestigious names of Italian Fashion.
I remind that all proceeds from the sale of the Wedding pen, as well as the Dance of the Giglio, go to charity.
Visconti productionGiardino Italiano: Homo Sapiens: Why have we gone from bronze to iron skipping the Copper Age?
Dante del Vecchio: Apart from that Copper Age comes earlier than the Bronze Age, we have not adopted this material for our customers’ protection! As everyone knows, the copper oxidizes and forms verdigris that is very toxic. To avoid that , our grandmothers rubbed on the pan with onions; I do not think it’s a stratagems that our customers would be happy to use; doesn’t it?
Anyway, we started with the bronze because Sumerians invented the cuneiform script – which is the proto-prototype of the modern alphabetic writing – during this Age (about 3000 BC).
Visconti - productionGiardino Italiano: Your production – despite the impressive numbers you gave us a moment ago – is essentially traditional, subject to the variability of materials and the ability of master craftsmen.
Which controls does Visconti perform to ensure consistent product quality?
Dante del Vecchio: The real problem is not the quality of craftsmanship, but our high rate of innovation. Innovation can be the enemy of perfection. Being very proactive, changing often shapes and materials, we always face new conditions.
The worse is that some issues arise only with use and are impossible to predict. For example, in HS we had problems of capillary in the first production – promptly corrected – that didn’t emerge in over a year of tests. In Visconti we have a joke: when we learn to produce it (a model), we do not sell it anymore! Because in the meantime I’ve got a new idea! If you think that over the past 5 years Visconti patented and marketed:
  • a new closure system
  • a new nib
  • a new material
not to mention the new models such as the Rembrandt or the Van Gogh. Such a creativity is a unique example in more than one hundred years of history of the pen.

After-sale service kit for dealersHowever, our after sales service – of unique efficiency; reacts in average in one week – repairs about 3,000 pens each year – including pens broken by customers.
(Giardino Italiano: as a dealer, I confirm; and the after-sale service for dealers’ kit is unique in this market, it even includes free shipping!) In front of nearly a million pens produced are very insignificant figure.

Can we improve? Certainly! Only who thinks to be at the peak is actually at risk, while we continually invest in quality and customer satisfaction.


Giardino Italiano: Online sales: prices or no prices? In the last 8 years the cases of price on demand for Visconti products increased. Which is the Company policy? Does Visconti tolerate even the prices on request – if accompanied by exposure of the price?

Dante del Vecchio: Visconti has been working hard for years to provide a single purchase price, anywhere in the world – not easy because of different taxation and fluctuations in exchange rates – to give customers the serenity that only a sure price can give.
It’s also correct to reward loyal customers and we fully agree with commercial offers that reward Brand loyalty.

Giardino Italiano: Italian companies make up half of world production of fountain pens and are the undisputed leaders in the design. Any suggestions to have the best synergy of the group?
Dante del Vecchio: Visconti joined many years ago the International Association of manufacturers of pens as well as a similar initiatives launched in Italy, then aborted due to … lack of members.
Probably the market is too small, and the presence of one huge manufacturer prevents the birth of consortium initiatives; it’s a pity.
Giardino Italiano: Are you planning initiatives for end users? For example, guided tours to your laboratory? The collectors are certainly curious to see how Visconti manufactures a pen.

Dante del Vecchio: We are always happy to welcome our customers – if they inform us in advance; for example, in April we’ll receive a delegation of Italian customers, coordinated by the Italian fountain pens forum.
A guided tour will be dedicated to one customer of Giardino Italiano , among those who will buy on the site in April, as it is the Visconti’s promotion month; and the customer will be our guest for one night in Florence.
Thank you Dante! Looking forward to see you in Florence.

Comments are closed.