Continuing a recent trend here at The Gentleman Stationer, next up for review is the Ensso PIUMA, a pen with its origins on Kickstarter but that has since transitioned to the regular market. Like the KOSMOS Ink, which I recently reviewed, you might be tempted to write off the PIUMA as just another one of many “minimalist pen” Kickstarter projects. And this is, in fact, an ultra-minimal pen. (Ensso describes it as “an investigation of liberating a fountain pen from all unnecessary components and ornaments.”) The versions Ensso sent me for review are machined aluminum cigars, with hardly any branding, no clip, and no other adornments. This pen definitely appeals to someone looking for a specific style, and if the minimal machined design tempts you, the Ensso PIUMA is an exceptionally nice writing instrument.
According to the Ensso website, “Piuma” is the Italian word for “feather,” and the name fits well. Both the raw aluminum and black anodized versions of the PIUMA fountain pen are exceptionally lightweight. Aluminum is a light metal to begin with, but the design and balance are such that I sometimes forgot the PIUMA was a metal pen at all. The thread sit very high up on the section, which is a good thing for a metal pen, because it leaves a lot of gripping area and sometimes metal threads can be sharp.
Quality here is top-notch. The anodization on the black pen has no noticeable flaws, and the machining looks good as well. The cap closes seamlessly with no gap or unevenness. If I had one issue to raise, it’s that the metal threads squeak a bit when unscrewing the cap. This isn’t something unique to the PIUMA - it’s just what happens with metal-on-metal threads, but I thought I’d mention it because the sound has a “nails-on-a-chalkboard” effect for some people. Personally, it doesn’t bother me.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
Among the various “minimalist” machined fountain pens that I’ve had the opportunity to try, the Ensso PIUMA and the recently reviewed KOSMOS ink have easily been the best. They each take a different approach to the ultra-minimal fountain pen, and both are excellent in their own right.
You can purchase the Ensso PIUMA fountain pen directly from the Ensso website. There are several different finishes and materials available, including Black Aluminum, Raw Aluminum (both of which are pictured here), Brass, Titanium, and Stonewashed Titanium. Aluminum pens start at $79, Brass at $99, and Titanium at $139. The base prices include a Bock stainless steel nib, but a titanium nib option is also available for a slight upcharge. Ensso does include a Schmidt K5 converter with each pen.
Disclaimer: Ensso sent me the pens featured in this review free of charge.