Comparing the Ferrari da Varese Savant and the Yard-o-Led Corinthian

Long long ago and in a land far far away I was really into sports cars. I collected sports cars, drove them for awhile, sold them, (let me tell you collecting fountain pens is not just cheaper, it takes up far less space) raced them, enjoyed them, fussed over them, repaired them, adored some, cursed many.

I seemed to particularly love the British (once you get past the Prince of Darkness designed Lucas electric systems) and the Italians. I had several MGBs, several Mini Coopers, an Austin Healey 3000, a TVR Vixen, an early E-Type and a 120, even a Morgan.

For me though the epitome of the British sports car was my Austin Healey 3000. It was solid, comfortable, moderately powered, handled pretty well and stopped almost always. It was beautiful and the leather interior was perfectly finished, you could see most of the dials and they even worked most of the time.

It was the Italians though that were my passion, particularly the Alfa Romeos. I had Giulias and Giuliettas and Duettos and Berlinas and GT Junior and GTV and 2600 Touring Spider but my absolute favorites were my Giulietta and my 1967 1750 Boat Tailed Duetto with dual Weber carbs and a 10mm cam. The thing about an Alfa is that even if you have never driven one, within 30 seconds of your first experience you will feel like the car was designed just for you. Everything is in the right place, the guages angled perfectly for quick readings, the tach rotated so that the needle is vertical at 6000 rpm (6000 a day keeps the doctor away), pedals perfect for heel and toe and brakes that stop like nothing you have ever experience.

These two pens remind me of those two cars.

Savant Montage

Corinthian Montage

On to specifics.

The Corinthian is heavier than the Savant, 53.7gms compared to 44.6 for the Savant just as the Healey was heavier than the Giulietta. It's equipped with a broad nib while the Savant has a medium. Both nibs are 18K gold, the Corinthian in White Gold and the Savant in a two tone.

Like the cars, both are responsive and the Corinthian ink flow is fast enough to keep up with my writing, but the Savant is definitely more maneuverable.

The pens are almost exactly the same length...

Corinthian above Savant

but the Savant has a far larger nib...

Compare Savant & Corinthian nibs

The retail prices on the two pens is comparable, $650 for the Corinthian and $799.00 for the Savant.

The Corinthian comes in Sterling Silver only while the Savant is available with three different enamel finishes, black, bright yellow and the burgundy as in this example.

Just as with the Yesterday (another Ferrari da Varese pen) that was reviewed elsewhere, the enamel on the pen is a high temperature glass enamel that is then diamond cut to produce the Godrons exposing the underlying Sterling Silver.

The Corinthian comes in the classic Yard-o-Led wood box while the Savant comes in a nice clam shell like red leatherette box with green lining.

FdV Presentation Box

FdV Box Open

The clips are quite different on the two pens, the YoL being its traditional riveted and serial numbered clip with the Savant having a very unique spring loaded clip.

Corinthian Clip

Savant Clip

The YoL is a snap on cap while the Savant is a screw on that takes one full revolution to remove.

When it comes to posting though there is a big difference.

The Corinthian cap posts deeply on the body but not securely. Tilt it over and the cap will fall off. The Savant though is made so that you can safely and securely post the cap.

I'd call both pens standard full size with the Corinthian being just a hair longer when capped. Writing with either is a pleasure. The body on the Corinthian is just slightly wider than the Savant but the sections of the two are very similar in diameter. The Savant though has a greater curve to its shape that I find really positions my fingers perfectly.

Both use standard international size cartridges and converters and so far seem to love any ink I've fed them including J. Herbin, Diamine, Private Reserve and even Noodlers.

Which of the two do I prefer?

That would be like picking your favorite child, totally impossible. I've found that even though the Savant is bright red, the Corinthian garners more comments.

In a situation where you are often capping and uncapping a pen, I'd chose the Corinthian. For general use, I find I put the Savant in rotation more often.

The Corinthian, like my Healey, is solid, pretty reliable (it doesn't use Lucas Electrics) but also has quirks you need to be aware of and compensate for, like the cap posting issue. The Savant though felt like a pen I had been using for years, like those perfect old blue jeans and docksiders, a pen that had been designed with me in mind. From the moment I first inked it it became simply an extension of my hand.