Six days in and finally today I found a grail pen in Milano, a late 1930s OMAS Extra Lucens!!!
Run by Albert and Alberta (husband and wife). Albert spoke fluent English and could not have been more friendly. His shop sells vintage and new fountain pens as well as stationery and other antiques. He had some beautiful Italian rolled gold safety pens as well as a good number of vintage American pens. He showed me many pens, including some magnificent new old stock OMAS and Namiki pens. I saw the vintage OMAS Extra Lucens and I knew it had to be mine. That makes two Extra Lucens from me in one month *doh!* (I might have to eat ramen for the next couple of years). I am contemplating going back for the limited edition reproduction E.E. Ercolessi fountain pen produced by OMAS.
While in Milano I also checked out a couple of other pen stores:
The famed E.E. Ercolessi:
E.E. Ercolessi only sells new pens and stationery. The selection was generous and the staff were very friendly but the prices are pretty close to retail and ultimately not favorable when translated from Euros to USD.
The last shop I visited in Milano was Brunori:
Run by Joseph Brunori, this small shop features a good number of Italian pens from Aurora, OMAS, Delta, Visconti and Marlen as well as pens from Montblanc, Faber-Castell, Kaweco, Lamy and Twsbi. Joseph was kind to me despite my horrendous Italian and showed me several pens. Inside the shop he displays pens from his personal collection which included beautiful vintage American pens from Waterman and Parker. He also had a very nice collection of vintage ink bottles.
In Zürich I found a few stationery/pen shops but only one that I feel is a must see:
This beautiful store features three floors of writing instruments and related accessories. The basement floor features the majority of the fountain pens and stationery as well as one of the best displays of ink I have ever seen. They had a huge selection of Abraxas ink and the discontinued versions of Sailor Jentle and Caran d’Ache inks as well as ink from many other brands, Stipula, Montblanc, Pilot, Montegrappa and others. Landolt-Arbenz also has their own line of ink (made in Italy) and stationery. I wanted to try their ink but decided against it as the design of the bottle was a shallow rectangular shape which is not a particularly usable design for an ink bottle.
As far as fountain pens go they had a beautiful selection of Nakayas, Caran d’Ache, and some amazing limited editions such as a Cartier Eagle which is an insane 33,000 CHF (approximately $37k USD) fountain pen!!!
The stationery at Landolt-Arbenz is beautiful but expensive. There was a wonderful A6 sized leather bound notebook that I was going to buy until I saw the 230 CHF price tag.
Next stop: Paris…