Ancora pens are known for their interesting designs and moderate price points.
Pen production takes place in Pavia, about fifty miles south of Milan, where the company fittingly resides in a 1913 Liberty-style building. "We have a small but very complete factory in which we produce all the parts for our pens. We have no mass production—everything is handmade," says Santini. Ancora is one of the very few companies that produces all the parts of its pens, including its ebonite feeders and most challenging of all, its 18-karat gold nibs.
The company is known for its micro-painting, an example of which is introduced with The Four Seasons in 2005. It boasts a collection of fountain pens, each of which depicts a painted scene showcasing each of the 4 seasons.
"The mother-of-pearl requires a lot of work. It must first be cut into strips, glued perfectly on the barrel and then polished. The micro-painting alone takes two days for one pen!" says Santini, seeming incredulous at his own statement. "But we like the idea of offering this very high quality work in small editions," he says. "I think it's a way to offer our customers something more than a 'normal' pen."
If it can be said that Ancora has a signature style, its use of mother-of-pearl would undoubtedly help define it. In addition to its use as the "canvas" for the micro-painted pens, pearl has also been used in other collections from the company. Most often the pearl is cut into slabs to form a faceted overlay on the barrel or cap. "We prefer to use materials and techniques that cannot be mass-produced," says Santini, who designs all the pens.
Another signature of the brand is its use of vivid resins, one example of which is the new Prima collection. Prima is available in primary colors with a contrasting resin gripping section, bottom tassie and cap crown.
This particular set is limited to just 25 pieces worldwide, and is in excellent preowned condition. Each pen has been inked, but is in mint condition otherwise. There are no boxes or papers for the set, as they were unfortunately lost in a fire.