With Rs 75 lakh in your pocket, you could bring home a swank Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, or the BMW 3 Series 330d Convertible; a lakh or two more, and you could buy a 1,000 sqft two BHK flat in Gurgaon.
Or, you could splurge the same on a pen.
Introduced in 2004, Visconti’s Ripple HRH Gold White pen, part of the Italian luxury penmaker’s “Limited Edition”, has been brought to the William Penn store in Mumbai on special request. As it is unveiled, the fountain pen is watched vigilantly by an entourage of guards as well as the nervous staff at the store — after all, at Rs 75 lakh, the pen is easily one of the most expensive in India and maybe even the world, following Caran D’ache’s La Modernista (Rs 1.5 crore) and Montblanc’s Mystery Masterpiece (Rs 3 crore).
As it is drawn out of a handcrafted box, the pen sparkles from a distance — it comes studded with 650 white diamonds that rest in consecutive ovals on its body and cap. On the sharp palladium “dream touch” nib, made of 23 karat gold, is carved Visconti’s iconic name along with the place of its creation — Firenze, that is Florence in Italy. The body of the pen is made of Filigree Au White Gold on Black Resin. Only 39 of these are available worldwide.
The pen comes with special features, of course; for instance, it combats leakage — variations in pressure or temperature at high altitude or during air travel cause the air to expand in the reservoir and this, in turn, causes the ink to spill out from the nib. To solve this problem, the Ripple HRH is equipped with a double reservoir power filling system which allows the pen to be refilled with the desired quantity of ink, the volume depending on the size of the pen and the plunger, avoiding leakage of any kind. All parts of the Visconti pens, except the nibs, are made by hand and sourced from Germany. The buyer can customise the size of the nib to suit his needs. Handcrafted by Italian worksmen from Visconti’s headquarters in a 15th century villa in Florence, the hotbed of the Renaissance movement, the pen comes with a piece of history as well.
Priced at a whopping Rs 57.5 lakh, Visconti’s Forbidden City HRH Black is also part of a luxury limited edition collection of fountain pens, rollerball pens and pen sets.
As of now, only 38 of these fountain pens are in circulation. While the black resin overlays a 18k white gold barrel encrusted with white diamonds, the grid pattern on the body of the pen displays cage-like openings with Chinese mythical creatures (even the end of the power-filling system has a dragon mounted on it). Which explains why the pen is named after The Forbidden City, the home of the the Chinese Imperial family for more than 500 years.
Getting your hands on these exclusive pens isn’t very difficult. If the product is not available at the store, buyers can log on to www.williampenn.net and place an enquiry. The Gitanjali Group also stocks the same at its retail jewellery stores across the country. The names of Indian buyers of these pens are not divulged as they are “highly private people”, says Anita Paily from William Penn.
Stores also pull out all stops to woo such buyers. William Penn, for instance, offers private screening to customers who wish to see the product at their convenience. The buyer then becomes part of a “platinum class” and enjoys the benefits offered therein (speedy delivery, priority in case of “limited edition” merchandise). On request, the buyer’s name can be engraved on the pen too.