Review: Pelikan Souverän M300 (Green-Striped, Oblique Medium nib)

 

We are once again joined by our guest reviewer, Roz and she contributed her thoughts on this Pelikan pen. She is also our first left-handed reviewer and we are glad to have her persepctive. Thanks very much Roz!

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Roz:  Classy and petite! The green, black and gold made me feel fancy just looking at it. I don’t usually seek out gold accents, but this pen makes me question that inclination. Definitely the smallest pen I was ever going to write seriously with, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Katherine: I love the styling of classic Pelikans, and this one is no different. Plus, its adorable! ❤

Pam:  Great things come in small packages so when you make a Pelikan petite, it’s adorable.  My wallet is very lucky that the white tortie did not come in this size.  I don’t normally enjoy the “classic” styling of the Pelikan, but in a small package, it harkens back to the vintage Peter Pan pens.

Franz: Hey! Did someone leave a Pelikan M1000 in the drier, or did it shrink from ink starvation? Harharhar!

Yep, it’s that familiar and elegant green stripe of a Pelikan in their smallest pen ever. They introduced this pocket pen version in 1998 and the green-striped finish is a standard finish as well as a black barrel one. Pelikan also produced a few special edition finishes in the year 2000’s. The M300 is unmistakably a Pelikan Souverän pen.

In the Hand: Pelikan M300 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, Pam, and Roz
In the Hand: Pelikan M300 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, Pam, and Roz

 

The Business End

Roz: Springy! Honestly, I had a lot of trouble writing with this nib. I wasn’t expecting the amount of bounce back, so my natural writing pace had a lot of adjusting to do. I also learned (thank you Pam!) that this is an oblique medium nib, maybe my inexperience with this type of nib added to my inconsistent writing.

Katherine: I liked this nib more than I expected. The only other oblique Pelikan nib I’ve written with much was a vintage OB, and that was an unusable angle for me. This one was comfortable, forgiving and surprisingly wet (I’m not sure why I expect small pens to be drier? Not like this one can’t hold a lot of ink…)

Pam:  I find the oblique nib to be too inconsistent for my writing style.  I always feel that I am apply more pressure to the “longer tine,” if that makes sense.  That being said, like all Pelikan nibs, I find the nib to be smooth and enjoyable to write with.  This nib somehow reminds me of an ice skater gliding over the ice on one leg.

Franz: The M300’s 14-carat nib is quite springy and I love it! An oblique nib’s characteristic always seem weird to me at first but I eventually get used to it. It’s just being conscious of turning the pen at the right angle. But yes, this nib’s flow is quite generous and I enjoyed it.

 

Write It Up

Roz: The diameter of the pen being so small, especially because I tend to grip low on the section, made it difficult for me to find a comfy grip position and my hand got tired pretty quickly as a result.

Katherine: This pen is usable for me for quick notes… But not the pinnacle of comfort for longer writing sessions. Overall though, not bad. Much more usable than I expected, but definitely more of an on-the-go pen than a sit-at-my-desk-and-write-about-my-deep-dark-feelings.

Pam:  When I said that this pen reminds me of the Peter Pan pens, it’s likely due to how I see this pen being used.  For quick notes in a pocketbook.  I find the diameter of the pen to be too slim for a prolonged period of time.  I am always fearful of snapping this petite pen with my iron grip.

Franz: At 4.3 inches closed, it’s a small pen. I went into the 20-minute writing session already expecting that my hand wouldn’t be comfortable. And I’m glad I managed my expectations because I did feel fatigued after ten minutes. The section and barrel’s thinness contributed to that fatigue. I only used the pen with the cap posted because unposted, the M300 was almost disappearing in my hand.

 

EDC-ness

Roz: At first I was super worried I would lose this pen because of its size. However, the clip on the M300 is really strong and it did great in my carrier. I admit though that for my day to day writing, I did not use the M300 much due to the size of the pen being difficult for me to hold for long periods of time.

Katherine: Great pen for EDC! The clip is strong, the size is perfect and the nib makes notes enjoyable. My only gripe is that the typical Pelikan wetness, paired with a medium nib doesn’t make for the fastest drying notes. That’s easily solved by getting a different nib though. 10/10, would EDC again.

Pam:  In a checkbook, pocket book or a dainty pocket, it’s perfect!  Perhaps it’s the size, but I feel that it’s more fragile than the normal size pens so I wouldn’t throw it into a jeans pockets if you plan on sitting down or putting your keys in the same pocket.

Franz: The M300’s Every Day Carry-ness is what won me over though. Definitely fits in my shirt pocket, and it’s ready to write with only one turn of the cap. It may be too short for my hand unposted but is perfectly usable for a fast signature, jotting down a phone number, or whatever quick note one needs. If I know I’ll use it for more than five words, I’ll post the cap and it does so securely. Unlike Pam’s thoughts, I didn’t find the M300 more fragile than any other pen. Granted, I wouldn’t dare to sit on this pen (or any other pen) but it’s quite durable for everyday usage.

And just like any other Pelikan Souverän, it’s a piston-filled pen and the piston operates very smoothly. As shown in the photo below, you can see through the barrel’s stripes and see the ink level clearly. The smaller barrel definitely means a smaller ink capacity though. And it holds about 50% less ink than an M1000. At 0.7mm, the ink capacity is just like a converter for other pens.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Roz: The M300 is a beautiful pen. I would like to give it another try down the road, maybe when my experience with oblique, springy nibs develops a bit more. ^_^;

Katherine: A great pocket pen! Classy looking, fantastic nib and the perfect size. My only gripe is the price, for $200+, I would likely get a vintage 400 instead (fairly easily found at around $150) and I’d still have a reasonably small pocket pen, but one that can play dual duty as a normal writer as well.

Pam:  Despite my love for pocket sized pens, I would have to say that this pen is an acquired taste given the size.  It’s not as practical as the M200 or M400 in size.  For those with average and larger size hands, it may be a challenge to use for an extended writing session.  For those who love Peter Pan pens or pocket pens, I would highly recommend trying out this pen before committing your wallet to it.

Franz: Clearly, the Pelikan M300 is for people with smaller hands or for people who wants to have an elegant looking pocket pen. Also, it’s a great pen for a Pelikan pen addict (like myself). Have you guessed who owns this pen yet? =) For my large hands, the M300 is a novelty. I love it but I don’t see myself using this pen comfortably on a daily basis. My hand is definitely happier writing with a M800 or M1000.

The M300’s Souverän styling gives it a serious and classic look but it’s tininess makes it a “cute” pen.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot Prera, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Pelikan M300*, Kaweco Sport, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot Prera, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Pelikan M300*, Kaweco Sport, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot Prera, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Pelikan M300*, Kaweco Sport, Lamy 2000. Lamy Safari

 

Pelikan Pen Comparison

Closed pens from left to right: 120, M100, M200, M300, M405, M620, M800 and M1000
Posted pens from left to right: 120, M100, M200, M300, M405, M620, M800 and M1000
Unposted pens from left to right: 120, M100, M200, M300, M405, M620, M800 and M1000

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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Nakaya Piccolo (Ao-Tamenuri, Soft Medium CI)

In this review, we have included our guest reviewer Claire (@writteninrice). She creates and sells pen wraps via her etsy site as well as at the San Francisco pen show. Thanks for joining us in reviewing this Nakaya pen Claire!

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The Nakaya Piccolo is one of my favorite shapes — it’s short, lovingly chubby, but also has pointed ends that give it some visual interest. In addition, the two I own are both in Nakaya’s lovely layered tamenuri urushi finishes. The Ao-tamenuri in the pen pictured is the more subtle of the two — the pen looks black at a quick glance, but upon closer look (or uncapping) there are hints of blue green.

Claire: It is hard to beat urushi in terms of beauty and depth.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing materials and finishes out there, but as far as I’m concerned, urushi will always take the cake.   The Piccolo is the perfect size for my hand. I have found the other Nakaya shapes to be just a little bit too long for my taste and almost feel a little awkward in my hand.

Pam:  The Piccolo is a great compact pen that is similar in size to the Pilot Prera and the Sailor Pro Gear Slim, so it would not be surprising that Piccolo is my favorite Nakaya model to hold.  (The dorsal fin version 2 is my favorite to behold, if that makes sense.)  I greatly appreciate that the shape is not the ubiquitous cigar shape, but rather has tapered ends which is much more streamline in my opinion.  Although I greatly appreciate the craftsmanship of urushi, I am also really intimidated to own a urushi pen.  Perhaps the cost plays a role in it, but I am almost afraid to damage the pen or the finish.  I am just not in the urushi-comfy zone yet.

Franz: The Nakaya Piccolo has a very appealing aesthetic. As Katherine “pointed” out, the pointed ends are a nice feature and when you see it, you know that it’s a Piccolo model. Notice that the barrel’s finial is pointier than the cap’s? I really like that detail. And the Ao-tamenuri finish is lovely especially the sliver of color where the cap and barrel meet as well as on the threads. Sadly, it has been a couple years now since Nakaya discontinued the Ao-tamenuri finish. The Piccolo is still available in a variety of colors and finishes though.

In the Hand: Nakaya Piccolo (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Claire, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: Nakaya nibs are some of my favorite overall (as are Platinum nibs) and this one is my favorite out of all of them. The base nib was a Soft Medium which gives it some lovely springiness and bounce. Then Mottishaw ground it down to a Cursive Italic that gives my small writing wonderful line variation. The nib does have a specific sweet spot though, if you don’t find it (luckily it lines up with how I naturally hold my pen) the nib can feel scratchy.

Claire: The first thing I said when I tried Katherine’s pen was that I needed to get a nib like this on my next Nakaya. The Soft Medium CI is amazing. I am a huge fan of soft nibs, not looking for line variation, but the spring in the nib gives a feedback.  The CI gives some line variation even when my handwriting isn’t super tiny.

Pam:  If I was to purchase a Nakaya, or have another custom pen built, it would have a soft nib from Platinum.  Platinum has done “soft” nibs the right way.  It has a wonderful bounciness and allows for writing variation without straining your hand.  However, if you write light enough, you can still get a consistent line.  The feed dealt with the extra need for ink with no problems.  Adding a CI grind to this nib was a genius decision because it allowed for more versatility and variability in your writing depending on writing pressure.  I like a bit of a bite with my CIs and this grind by Mottishaw had a pretty great sweet spot.  Of course with a CI I prefer to hold it in a tripod grip but for modeling purposes, my iron grip was photographed.

Franz: I have tried Nakaya nibs before especially with John Mottishaw’s cursive italic treatment however, this was my first time to use a “soft” nib and it was pleasant to write with. The bounce of the nib while writing was delightful. It does have a sweet spot because it already is a fine nib and then transformed into a cursive italic. When you’re not writing in the correct angle, the nib will definitely let you know. Trust me, I know. But when you have it in the right angle, it’s perfect!

And I believe that that heart-shaped breather hole adds to the love of writing with Nakaya nibs.

 

Write It Up

Katherine: The Piccolo is a perfect size for me. It’s short, which fits my hand wonderfully, but not too narrow. It has the section width of a full size pen (it tapers from 12.25mm to 10.75mm) which makes it comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Claire: My Piccolo is the first pen I reach for when its time to write anything down. I might have burned through a good deal of my finished bottle of Shin Kai with this pen. There are not many pens I can sit down and write with for hours on end. Usually, I tend to switch pens every few pages of writing to keep things interesting.

Pam:  I did borrow a Piccolo from Katherine and had a hard time returning it.  It was a really great pen with such wonderful craftsmanship that can literally be felt as you handle and write with the pen.  The threads are not sharp for iron grip purposes and the section is fantastic, so comfortable for the tripod grip.  The variation that the nib provides really kept my attention and interest as I wrote with this pen.

Franz: Ah yes, the 20-minute writing experience. I gotta say that my hand wasn’t really happy writing with the Piccolo for a long period of time. Actually, after five minutes of writing my hand felt fatigued. I found the section to be a bit narrow so my grip landed on the barrel section and the short length of the pen was not really comfortable for me. I also tried to lower my grip to the section like the ladies above but it just didn’t feel natural for me.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: The concern with EDCing a Nakaya is the cost — this wouldn’t be a cheap pen to replace. But, it’s perfectly suited for the job: it uncaps in one and a quarter turns, it can have a clip (this writer does, my other one is a cigar, which doesn’t), it has a fantastic nib that has never spat into it’s cap and it has a very durable finish. But, I know for many folks, the idea of a scratch in the urushi is terrifying — so the Piccolo can certainly be an EDC, but it’s all about your comfort level! Personally, this is part of my bring-to-work rotation, but I work a lazy desk job. 🙂

Claire: There are not too many pens in my collection that I would bring with me to work. Though I don’t have a job where fountain pens would be remotely useful. That being said, when I am going to sit down and take notes or journal, this is one of the first pens I reach for. and the reason is just how comfortable it is to write with. This is key especially for long note taking sessions .

Pam:  Not being the owner of the Piccolo, I kept the pen safe at home. Again, this pen is a work of art and at the risk of sounding pretentious, it should be savored while in use.  This pen is best enjoyed in long and slow writing sessions.

Franz: The Piccolo’s smaller size qualifies it to be called a pocket pen and definitely is a convenient pen to bring along anywhere. It is also a nice pen to use at my work setting. The nib was fine but smooth for copier paper. When I need to write a quick note or signature, the fast uncapping helps a lot. The clip definitely secured the pen on my shirt pocket during the day. The pen is a cartridge/converter filled so you may find yourself re-inking after 2-3 days if you use it a lot.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: If I could only keep one pen and nib, this might be it (please don’t make me though). It’s a fantastic pairing of an excellent (and interesting) nib and a visually interesting body that’s truly a work of art. The Piccolo is certainly a short pen, but it’s an unusual combination of shortness without the typical small-pen narrowness — and that fits my hand perfectly.

Claire: There are no two ways around it, I love this pen. The size, shape and weight are perfect for long writing sessions, though I wish the converter could hold more ink since I am refilling the pen constantly. I don’t think this could be the only pen I owned for just this reason. The small ink capacity would make it difficult as a daily writer for me since it seems that I rarely run out of ink when I’m home.

Pam:  Honestly, if I had to recommend “if you can only write with one pen for the rest of your life,” I would be hard pressed to find any other pen that could compare to the performance, beauty, uniqueness and craftsmanship to this pen with a soft nib- especially for those with petite hands. (I feel like such a traitor to my Sailor collection by admitting this.)

Franz: I like the Nakaya Piccolo for it’s aesthetics and nib performance. But the very reason that the ladies above love this pen is the same reason that I wouldn’t own one. It’s just too darn small for my big hands especially when it comes to journaling or writing letters. To solve this issue is to just post the cap, right? But that isn’t something you do with an urushi laquered pen because it will mar the finish. Most people would like to take care of their pen’s appearance especially when it costs something like a Nakaya.

Overall, small to average sized hands, try the Piccolo out because you will more than likely want it. For people with larger hands who like the shape, skip the Piccolo and look for either a Long Piccolo or a Naka-Ai. Both are exclusive pens sold by Aesthetic Bay in Singapore. and Classic Fountain Pens, Inc. in California, respectively.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Professional Gear Classic, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Platinum Century 3776, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Professional Gear Classic, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Platinum Century 3776, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Professional Gear Classic, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Platinum Century 3776, Lamy 2000, and Lamy Safari

Smaller/Pocket Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Wahl-Eversharp Skyline, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot MYU, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Pilot Prera, Kaweco Sport, and Pelikan M200
Posted pens from left to right: Wahl-Eversharp Skyline, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot MYU, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Pilot Prera, Kaweco Sport, and Pelikan M200
Unposted pens from left to right: Wahl-Eversharp Skyline, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pilot MYU, Sailor Professional Gear Slim, *Nakaya Piccolo*, Pilot Prera, Kaweco Sport, and Pelikan M200

Other Nakaya Pen Comparisons

Closed Pens (from left to right): Decapod Mini, Decapod, Dorsal Fin 2, Long, Neo Standard, Naka-Ai, Long Piccolo, and Piccolo
Unposted Pens (from left to right): Decapod Mini, Decapod, Dorsal Fin 2, Long, Neo Standard, Naka-Ai, Long Piccolo, and Piccolo

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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Review: Kaweco Perkeo (Fine Nib)

Welcome to another one of our pen reviews! This time, we are joined by our second guest reviewer and she is also our first left-handed guest, Roz Hung.

Roz is a techie by profession and enjoys writing and sketching as well. She’s always admired fountain pens but was afraid to use them until Pam took her under her wing less than a year ago. Pam let her write with a few pens to see what she might like and own. Roz primarily uses her fountain pens for journaling, and scheduling on her planner. Currently, she’s also using her pens to sketch and doodle for Inktober and tries to keep up with the daily prompts for October. When Roz isn’t busy writing or drawing, she spends her time baking in the kitchen. Thank you for joining the fun and helping us out Roz!

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Roz: My first impression of the Kaweco Perkeo was how attractive and friendly its colors were. While the colors are solid and the pen has no sheen or gloss to it, I think the facets really give it a subtle eye catching quality.

Katherine: The Perkeo is a little weird to me. My initial reaction was “ooooh facets!” then “hm… the facets on the body and cap are different…” I like the colors overall, but have clear favorites.

Pam:  The Perkeo has a design that will appeal to both children and adults.  The cap of the Perkeo heralds back to the beloved Kaweco Sports that we all know and love.  The colors are eye catching and pretty sophisticated, in my opinion.  The faceted body is an ode to Kaweco’s overall aesthetics.  I am really impressed by this starter pen.

Franz: These Kaweco Perkeo pens fascinate me. It is a substantial pen compared to the Kaweco Sport and the colors may be subdued but at the same time they are enthralling. The fine facets of the barrel makes it an elegant looking pen and makes the Perkeo stand out.

The Perkeo currently has four finishes: Indian Summer (black and yellow green), Bad Taste (pink and black), Cotton Candy (light pink and gray), and Old Chambray (white and light blue). As we expressed above, the Perkeo’s finishes are captivating and I’d like to add that Kaweco’s naming of these colors are equally intriguing. The Indian Summer and Bad Taste are both supplied with a black steel nib, and black finial. And both the Cotton Candy, and Old Chambray sports a chrome steel nib, and chrome finial.

In the Hand: Kaweco Perkeo (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Pam, Katherine, and Roz
In the Hand: Kaweco Perkeo (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Pam, Katherine, and Roz

 

Note: The Perkeo pen we used for the In the Hand photos above was the Indian Summer finish. During our review process, we focused on using Katherine’s Cotton Candy Perkeo shown below.

The Cotton Candy’s grey cap

 

The Business End

Roz:  I admit at the top of my lungs that I know nothing about nibs! However, I liked the line width of the Kaweco’s nib and I only needed to make minor adjustments to my horizontal tilt for a smooth writing experience.

Katherine: The variability on these nibs is surprising — my boyfriend and I each own one, and mine writes like a dry EF, and his writes like a wet Fine, even when inked with the same ink. Both are smooth and decent writers, but the variability in flow and tipping was surprising!

Pam:  For the times I “crave” for a “chubby” line width, I gravitate towards a Kaweco EF nib.  What I love about the Kaweco EF nib is that it creates a very round line that can sometimes compliment my writing style.

The ones that Katherine had were F nibs.  Unsurprisingly, they wrote well out of the box with no issues for me.   However, between the two pens that Katherine had for us to try out, I did notice a difference in the line width despite both pens being marked as F.  One was drier than expected and the other flowed quite well.  Aesthetically, the nib seems to be disproportionally too petite for a “regular” sized pen.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Franz: The nib on this Perkeo wrote with a very thin line width but it wrote immediately and quite smooth with minimal feedback for a fine nib. Visually, the nib is very slightly recessed and I initially thought that the nib was the same that Kaweco uses for the Sport model but I believe I was wrong. Side-by-side, the Perkeo nib is a size bigger than the nib on the Sport. The Perkeo is inked via a cartridge or a standard international converter and that makes it convenient since I have a few in my drawer.

Perkeo: fine nib
Nib Comparison: Kaweco Perkeo (above), and Kaweco Sport (below)

 

Write It Up

Roz:  I wrote as much as I could with this pen. The length of the Kaweco fit my hand nicely, and since it was so light I could write with it posted and unposted. My only (mild) struggle was with the triangular section. At the beginning, it would take me a bit to work my way to a comfortable grip on the section – after a few times of writing with this pen, I got to a point where only minor mid-writing adjustments needed to be made.

Katherine: I really expected to hate the Perkeo because it has a triangular grip, and the only other triangular grips I’ve used (and stronnnngly disliked) are the Lamy Safari and Jinhao x450, but surprisingly, I quite enjoy the Perkeo. Maybe it’s the shape of the triangular grip, or the angle or some other sorcery, but it’s a light comfortable pen for me. This is the “entry level” Kaweco folks should look at. I’m not sure why you’d buy a Sport anymore unless you want to carry it in your pockets. Or have a really small pen case?

Pam:  The Perkeo is pretty light, just like the acrylic Kaweco Sport, which is both an advantage and disadvantage in my book.  I find that in pens that are too light, I tend to bear down harder on the paper.  Yet for portability and journaling purposes, the weightlessness of this pen made it really easy to start and continue using with little fatigue (if I don’t bear down).  Interestingly enough, the disadvantage of weightlessness that I pinpointed on the Sport, was offset by the length and size of the Perkeo.  It was a joy to write with.

The triangular grip didn’t bother me very much since the corners were well rounded.  I find the triangular grip on the Perkeo to be more comfortable than the Lamy Safari with my grip.

Franz: Surprisingly, this is a pen that I can comfortably write with unposted for a long period of time. Posting the cap makes it a little long but the added weight definitely makes it better though. The Perkeo’s section is approximately the same width as the barrel and this let me grip the pen wherever I found comfortable. My fingers naturally landed right on the transition of the triangular grip as it ends toward the top of the section. I enjoyed approximately 20 minutes of writing on my journal and my hand did not cramp at all.

Kaweco Perkeo on top of a Nanami Crossfield Tomoe River page

EDC-ness

Roz: I kept the Kaweco in a Nock Lookout case and it did great! I actually did use it throughout my day, the lightweight feel of the pen made it easy to grab and made quick notes.

Katherine: I enjoyed this for the few days I carried it. It’s light, durable (yes, I dropped it. maybe intentionally) and the facets make sandwiching it in a notebook pretty secure — no worries about a rounded pen sliding out or shooting out of either end of my notebook (generally not a problem except with the fattest roundest and clipless-est pens though, tbh). And the lack of a fancy finish means it can go in a pocket with keys and come out looking the same!

Pam:  Other than a clip, this would a great EDC.  It doesn’t take much to uncap, it’s a postable pen (no lost caps!), and light! Again, some see the weight as a disadvantage, however, the construction of this pen should be able to stand up to a trip to the washing machine.  Ink stains not withstanding.

Franz: Using the Perkeo at work for 2 days was quite nice. It’s a no frills kinda pen that just wrote which is what an Every Day Carry pen should be. I placed the pen in my dress shirt pocket and for most of the time, it stayed upright. The length definitely made it easy to grab and not fish out of the pocket like a clipless Kaweco Sport or something similarly sized. The facets on the cap made sure the pen did not roll on my desk. And even if the pen was open and cap unposted, the pen did not roll away as long as I place it on the desk gently.

The snap-cap allows for quick usage when needed and provides a positive snap when you want to close it. The fine Kaweco nib was suitable for the not-so-stellar copier paper found in our office. And as Katherine described above, it passed the durability field test. Two thumbs up!

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Roz: I think the Kaweco is a really fun pen and I enjoyed trying it out. It was an easy writer (after some adjustments) and it fit my hand size quite nicely.

Katherine: I like it! It’s not life changing, but if the aesthetic suits you, it’s a light and totally reasonable pen. Mine is somewhat sentimental, so it’s sticking around, otherwise though, it isn’t a pen I likely would have purchased on my own… but it’s really hard to say no to your non-pen-enthusiast boyfriend wanting to get matching pens as you stand in a cute stationery store after having driven ten hours to see a total solar eclipse. So it’s my eclipse pen. (Except he got the yellow and black, which is eclipse-y themed. I have the pink and grey, which is more… rubber eraser themed)

Pam:  Honestly, the pen is a GREAT example of a starter pen for those who want to try out a Western sized nib.  For the price, the design and the nib performance, the Perkeo is a contender to be a great starter pen.  Will it surpass the Lamy Safari or the TWSBI Eco?  Maybe not, but depending on what you are looking for, why not try the Perkeo?

Franz: The Perkeo joins the ranks as one of the recommended starter pens. The only thing to consider is the fact that a converter is not supplied with the pen and is an additional expense. But hey, the Lamy Safari and/or Al-Star does not come with a converter either. I love that the Perkeo takes a standard international one!

Well, what else can I really say differently about the Perkeo that the three ladies above haven’t yet? Ditto? Hehehe… =) The bear paw likes it a lot! But seriously, if the colors appeal to you and you’d like to try an inexpensive pen with some facets, go get one of these. I for sure did and not just because it’s blue. =)

My Perkeo in Old Chambray finish. #ilovebluepens

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Prera, Pilot Metropolitan, *Kaweco Perkeo*, Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Prera, Pilot Metropolitan, *Kaweco Perkeo*, Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Conklin Duragraph, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Prera, Pilot Metropolitan, *Kaweco Perkeo*, Kaweco Sport, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

2 Comments

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 Omnis (Purpurae, Medium Nib)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I really like the material of this pen. It’s so pretty! The design of the pen isn’t my favorite though, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad. It’s probably worth noting that I’m not a big fan of what I think of as FC’s “chunkier” designs, or the indented rings they like putting on pens. I love their models with clean lines — the 45, the p66, 66 and (a little bit less) the 20, but the 31 just isn’t as clean.  But, personal preference.

Pam: I was blown away by the size and material of this pen.  The material of the pen is stunning with alot of iridescence and depth.  I really like the shape of the pen, but the size of the pen is a bit much for me. I have mixed feelings about the indentations on the body and the placement of the nib.  It adds texture to the body and interest in the eye, but also breaks up the lines of the pen shape.  The nib is semi-hooded which baffles me a little bit.  I didn’t notice this before on other FC pens and I can’t decide if I like it or not.  Overall, I think the model 31 is a great add to the line up for those with larger hands or prefer larger pens.

Franz: “Holy swirly purple pen Batman!” Yep, that was my reaction when I saw this at the LA pen show in February 2017. This was the first Model 31 I ever saw and it was (at that time) the only prototype in the purpurae material. When I saw this pen, I knew I had to have it. Anyway, going back to the pen model, this is a fairly large pen size in the Franklin-Christoph line up. Their model 19 is still the largest of the group but I think the model 31 is just a level below that.

Now for the details that my co-bloggers have mentioned, I love the indented rings on the barrel as it’s quite distinctive. While I’m at a pen show hovering at a Franklin-Christoph table, I can immediately identify a model 31 from their display because of these rings. The nib is recessed just like their model 20 and provides a smooth transition from the section to the nib which I’m liking very much.

In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 31 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: Like all FC nibs, this one was a comfortable and unproblematic writer. Franz had a steel medium in it and it was smooth, wet without being soggy, and an all around undramatic but very reliable writer. No complaints!

Pam:  Like all FC nibs that I have tried, it wrote well.  Smooth, saturated lines without getting too heavy.  The black anodized nib is amazing.   I particularly like how the logo stands out on such a sleek nib.

Franz: Surprisingly, I asked for a stock medium nib when I got this pen and Mr. Jim Rouse actually chose the Shadow (black) finish of the nib to match the pen. As with all Franklin-Christoph pens bought at a pen show, the nib is tuned by Jim to your writing preferences. So this medium nib is one of the smoothest, and perfect flow writers I have.

Thanks very much ROUSE! 🙂

 

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen was a wee bit top heavy when posted (the cap doesn’t post super deeply, so the pen ends up kinda long), but when unposted, is very comfortable. The threads are on the section, so I don’t even have to worry about gripping them when I hold my pen further forward. I could write for pages with this pen.

Pam: I preferred writing with this pen unposted.  In my pixie handed fist grip I found it to be top heavy when posted.  I had no issues writing with this pen as I found it relatively light (for it’s size) and well balanced.  The width of the pen is quite comfortable for either the fisty grip or the tripod grip.  For a larger pen, it is quite comfortable in petite hands.

Franz: As seen from the “In the Hand” photos above, the Model 31 is perfect for my hand with both the cap posted, or unposted. The elongated section is great because my grip comfortably lands right before the threads start when unposted. If I post the cap, it does get a bit long but it’s not unwieldy at all. The light cap doesn’t make it top heavy for me especially when I move my grip a little further back. #BearPaw

I wrote with the 31 unposted, and posted equally within twenty minutes and it was a very pleasant journaling session.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: This made a solid EDC carry. It feels solidly made, uncaps fairly quickly and has a reliable clip. I wouldn’t hesitate to keep this pen in my pocket, or even throw it in my jacket pocket with my keys (don’t worry Franz, I didn’t!).

Pam: Like all FC pens,I have no qualms using this pen as an EDC. It’s well built and should there be a clip, a great add on to any shirt pocket!

Franz: I have used the Model 31 at my workplace quite a few times already and it works nicely as an Every Day Carry type of pen. The medium nib writes nicely on the cheap copier paper and the cap twists off very quickly for fast writing requirements. The only issue of this specific pen is that it’s clip-less and at times I worried that It might roll away when I set it down. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet.

Let me just add that when I bought this pen, Jim said that I can request to have a clip installed if I wanted to. So far I like it as it is but if I change my mind, I’m sure Franklin-Christoph will take care of it because their great customer service is legendary.

A couple months ago, I featured this pen paired with Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst ink. It just matches!

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: All in all, I think (like most of FC’s pens) this is a very solid, well made pen. However, the aesthetics just don’t jive with me. I love the material, but ultimately found the pen a little too chunky and a little too busy for my tastes. But, if the look appeals to you (and now that I’m looking at their website… perhaps that yellow and black?) it’d be an easy buy for me.

Pam: Franklin-Christoph has a pen to suit every taste, hand size and aesthetic.  The model 31 is a bit big for me and the material is not exactly my cup of tea. Although this pen doesn’t particularly scream “buy me,” I have been a fan of FC for a while. The pocket 20, model 45 and model p66 are totally up my alley. FC materials are also always amazing, so you really can’t lose!  The model 31 is a great add for any collection really.  You should really check out their table at your nearest pen show.

Franz: Dude… it only took me a couple years but I think I can finally say that I found a Franklin-Christoph pen that fits my hand very nicely.

If that last statement isn’t enough, let me just establish that I am very smitten by the Model 31. Before the 31 came out, I was leaning more towards their Model 03 and/or Model 02 but couldn’t decide which one I liked better. But I am thankful that I met this pen at the LA pen show and it has not been un-inked since I got it. I’m afraid that I might inadvertently start a Model 31 prototype collection if I’m not careful. (Channeling @murberdraws from Instagram)

As contrasted by the experiences of the two ladies above, I would recommend the Model 31 for people with medium to larger hands. If you think the model 03 is kinda small, and the model 19 is too big, try out a model 31. You never know.

“Twilight fell: The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars.”

– J.K. Rowling

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pelikan M200, Pilot Vanishing Point, Sailor Pro Gear Classic, Edison Beaumont, *Franklin-Christoph Model 31*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

2 Comments

Review: Montegrappa Game of Thrones Baratheon

We would like to thank Mr. Detlef Bittner of Bittner Pens for letting us review this Montegrappa Game of Thrones Baratheon fountain pen. His family pen store is located in the beautiful town of Carmel, California, and is well known in the pen shows in the United States.

And as always, the opinions here are our own and we were not compensated (monetarily, or otherwise) for this review.

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: It’s a cool looking pen — though I was a littttle disappointed that there wasn’t more texture to the barrel, which makes it feel more mass produced and gimmicky to me. But really, I’m not sure what I expected, I think my standards may just be unreasonable here. Out of all the GoT pens, I like this one the most, which is a litttle disappointing, since the Baratheons aren’t a terribly interesting house to me.

Pam:  Fan disclaimer:  I am only on book 2 of the series so I have been holding out on watching the series in its entirety.  Therefore, I have to say, this is a really good representation of the houses from the awesome fantasy series.  My biggest gripe about the set of 4 is that I believe that they could have made a set of 5 to include the Tyrells because who doesn’t love an experienced, witty woman throwing some shade?  (Think of an edgier Dowager Violet Crawley from Downton Abbey for those not familiar with the glorious shad-ability of Olenna Tyrell.)

House Baratheon is one of my least favorite, but I think of all the pens, the Baratheon pen is the best made and unique of the bunch.  The clip is perfect representing the Baratheon stag.  I find the other clips, Lannister’s Lion, Stark’s Wolf, and Targaryen’s Dragon, to be too triangular and similar in shape and less pleasing to the eye. The stag is the most unique and well done of all the clips in my opinion. There was so much potential for the dragon on the Targaryen’s pen for it to be more serpentine in shape or maybe even wings!  The rest of the decor are similar among all the pens, with the exception of the colors to represent each house.

Thank you again Bittner Pens for allowing us to borrow this beauty!

Franz: So… let me just say it. I have not watched a single episode, segment, nor even a second of Game of Thrones. *cringe*.  Nothing against the show but I just haven’t given it a chance yet. So my approach with this pen review is just all about the design, performance, and of course the Hand-le-ability of the Montegrappa GoT Baratheon. I think I will let the person who has the most knowledge of the pen’s theme handle the rest of what the pen represents. Right Pam? ;-P

Just by handling the pen, I loved its overall looks and the heavier weight is more what I prefer. The brushed cap finial, cap band, and section ties up the design of the pen as well. And that clip design. Wow. Love the clip!

In the Hand: Montegrappa GoT Baratheon (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Montegrappa GoT Baratheon (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

The Business End

Katherine: I enjoyed this nib — it was smooth, wet (and least when dipped, but I’m pretty sure I wrote enough to get over the initial super wetness of a dip) and prettily matching. However, I wouldn’t buy this pen for the nib, it was solid, but not unique. No surprise there.

Pam:  Montegrappa did not skimp on the nib and did a wonderful job making it fit in with the Game of Thrones theme.  I am pretty sure that all the nibs are the same design, with a sword in the center, but a different color to match the clip colorjng.  Montegrappa did a great job with that detail.

I found the nib to write wonderfully.  I can’t particularly comment on flow or saturation since we dipped the pens.  The nib was smooth with little feedback and was very pleasant to write with.

Franz:  Oh yeah, the Baratheon’s steel nib also has brushed background for the engraved sword. Such a pretty thing to look at. As for its writing performance, it wrote smoothly and didn’t skip at all. It was a well tuned nib out of the box.

Write It Up

Katherine: Overall this pen was well balanced and comfortable for me… BUT, I did notice the threads. They weren’t terrible, but I did notice they were there and was a little annoyed. Nothing major, but worth mentioning because I typically don’t notice sharp threads because I hold my pens pretty far forward. Despite my grip, I still noticed the threads on this pen.

Pam:  I didn’t end up writing with this pen for the 20 minute time span because it just plain hurt to do so.  The step is pretty sharp on this pen and pretty unforgiving with my iron fist grip.  I ended up with indentations of the step along the skin between my pointer finger and thumb.  Yes, I understand that I could just loosen my grip and that would ease some misery, but the step is sharp enough that I wouldn’t recommend this pen for those with “fisty grips,” particularly if it’s around the step.

Franz: The length and girth of the Baratheon was comforable for me either when it was posted or unposted. The only issue I had was that the brushed steel section made my fingers slip closer to the nib as I wrote with it. So writing with the cap posted afforded me to grip the pen higher above the threads and my fingers did not slip anymore.

EDC-ness

Katherine: I didn’t carry this — but it seems very solidly made. The clip is solid and I’d be comfortable clipping the pen to a shirt pocket — but not springy enough for me to clip it to jeans.

Pam:  Since the pen was borrowed, it stayed in the case until we were ready to write with it.  The clip seems solid and able to clip onto fabrics well.  The weight of the pen is considerable for this pen and I can see where it might drag down a shirt pocket.  I don’t know if the clip will prevent it from slipping out.  Also, given the pristine finish of the pen, I wouldn’t recommend it being thrown in a jeans pocket with your keys either.  This pen would be great in a pen case on the go.  Like a sword, this pen deserves a proper sheath.  😛

Franz: Since it is a pen on loan, we did not fill it up with ink and we didn’t get to use the pen at a work setting. However, as Katherine said, the clip works very nicely and clips on to my shirt pocket. The Baratheon has a cartridge/converter filling system so a full fill will last me a good 2-3 days if I would use it at work. Now something I love about the pen for its EDC-ness? The acme threads allow the cap to be unscrewed with just one turn. Love that quick deploy!

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: Ehhhh. I’m not big on franchise merchandise, and this pen was no exception. BUT, if you’re a GoT fan and you enjoy themed stuff, this pen could be perfect for you. It’s a well made, solid writer and seems like it can withstand the rigors of daily life (and hopefully your life is less stressful than any of the characters…).

Pam:  I genuinely enjoyed this pen, not only due to the theme and the details involved in making these four into reality. The set of pens is a great collectors item for both fountain pen and Game of Thrones enthusiasts alike.  Notably, these pens would be more of a “collectors” item for me than practical due to the price.  At around $300 per pen, it’s a bit of an investment for one pen, let alone all four.  That being said, the details and construction of the pen are fantastic and deserve to be rewarded.  If you are in the perfect cross section of GoT and fountain pen fandoms (and your favorite house is represented with these four options), this is a great pen for you! You will get a quality writing instrument and wave your house banner high at the same time!

Franz: I truly appreciate the design of the Montegrappa GoT Baratheon pen sans the Game of Thrones knowledge. The Baratheon actually inspired me to take more pen photos than usual so please enjoy them below. The pen is comfortable for my use in terms of its dimensions, and nib performance. I just wish that metal sections did not make my fingers slip.

With an MSRP of $350, this might be a justifiable buy when you are a great fan of the show. For me, the price is just a little too high even if I do love the design and build of the pen. A pen’s value (or any other item), is both all relative, and subjective.

Once again, big thanks to Detlef Bittner of Bittner Pens for lending us this Montegrappa GoT Baratheon pen!

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Ryan Krusac Legend L-16, Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Delta Unica, *Montegrappa GoT Baratheon*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Ryan Krusac Legend L-16 (did not post), Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Delta Unica, *Montegrappa GoT Baratheon*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Platinum 3776, Ryan Krusac Legend L-16, Franklin-Christoph Model 31, Delta Unica, *Montegrappa GoT Baratheon*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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Review: Taccia Spectrum

 



The Taccia pen company was very generous in letting us review their Spectrum pen line. Multiple units were provided so we were able to try out their steel and gold nibs. We very much appreciate this opportunity! And special thanks goes to Ron L. for connecting us with Ms. Shu-Jen.

As always, the opinions here are our own and we were not compensated (monetarily, or otherwise) for this review.

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I’m not a big fan of the aesthetics of this pen. I think the colors are pretty, but the semi-opaqueness (you can see the converter, but it’s not really clear enough to be a demonstrator) just isn’t my thing. I think it looks messy. But, that’s the super, super subjective part of this review. On we go!

Pam:  The Spectrum is a very modern feeling pen with both the shape and material.  The material with the odd balance of translucence and opacity gives the pen a “space age” feel for me.  I do really enjoy the different colors.  Each of them are rich and very pleasant. My favorite is the teal, it reminds me of one of my favorite inks, Yama-dori.

Franz: Taccia has been a pen brand that I’ve seen around especially at pen shows I’ve attended but I haven’t had the chance to try their pens out until now. The colors of the Spectrum are quite pleasing to the eye and its translucency is striking for me. The shape of the pen kind of resembles a Parker 51 or a vintage Conway Stewart. And I second Pam’s opinion of the green pen matching Sailor Yama-Dori ink

In the Hand: Taccia Spectrum (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Taccia Spectrum (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

The Business End

Katherine: The Taccia nibs are apparently made by Sailor. Interestingly, they look like Sailor nibs, but seem to be tuned differently (and it’s not necessarily a bad thing). The steel nibs are wetter than the comparable Sailor nib widths (though we were comparing against gold Sailor nibs) and have less of the signature Sailor feedback. It feels like a nib smack in the middle of Sailor feedback and fineness, and a western nib that’s a little smoother and wetter. Nice, but not the same as a Sailor nib, which is what I initially expected after being told they’re made by the same person. The gold nibs (Thank you for sending us the range, Taccia!) were even more western feeling, smoother and broader than the equivalent Taccia steel nib and Sailor gold nibs. What a difference tuning makes!

Pam: The non-Sailor Sailor nibs did not perform how I expected.  I was expecting it to perform like the Sailor nibs that I love and adore.  Instead, I felt that the steel nibs from Taccia was a big improvement of the Sailor steel nibs.  I find the Sailor steel nibs to be really dry.  The Taccia gold nibs provide slightly more feedback for me and also provide a wider line width.  I prefer the Taccia steel nibs and the Sailor gold nibs for my writing style/purposes. Comparisons of the nibs and how they perform on Rhodia paper in the picture below.

Franz: Taccia sent us 8 pens to try out and compare their steel and gold nibs. This ranged from fine to their music nib size. They sent us their “Spectrum” of nibs! And yes, these nibs are made by Sailor for Taccia. We really appreciate being able to write with the different nibs. Aesthetically, I like the engraving on the steel nib as it gives a nice border to the Taccia brand.

I had the same experience as the ladies above in that the steel nibs seem to be much smoother and less feedback-y and I liked that. As for their line widths, they seem to be the same to me but the 14k gold nibs do offer a little more bounce so the line width can be thicker. Also, the music nibs are so fun to play with and I got to write on a letter with it!

Nib comparisons written by Pam on Rhodia (she has the most consistent writing among us)
steel fine nib
14k gold broad nib

 

Write It Up

Katherine: I journaled quite a bit with this pen. Overall, I found it comfortable, but a tad bit heavy, perhaps because of the metal section. I did notice that after extended writing sessions, my hand got tired feeling — but took quite a bit to reach this point, so I don’t think it’s an issue.

Pam:  I really enjoy writing with the pen.  I prefer to write with it unposted due to length. It’s a bit front weighted and it can tire the hand.  I found the width of the pen to be quite comfortable.  Overall, it does well and I have no real complaints about the pen during a lengthy writing session.

Franz: Let me tell you right now, I did not journal with the Spectrum unposted as it is too small lengthwise and the section is quite thin. And the lip where the cap meets the pen dug into my finger. So posted it is! And posted, I found this pen quite comfy as I grip it on the barrel above the threads. The cap gave the pen balance for me and I did not feel any hand cramps after almost twenty minutes of writing.

EDC-ness

Katherine: The Taccia feels very well made and sturdy. It carried for a couple days at work and it was a champ — the clip is solid, no spitting into the cap & it’s solid enough that I’m not worried about the occasional fall. (Dear Taccia people who lent me this pen — I promise I didn’t drop it!)

Pam:  I kept the pen in my Nock Sinclair for several days and it did wonderfully! It gave me no trouble whatsoever.

Franz: As I used the Spectrum at work with its medium steel nib, I found it wrote nicely on copier paper. For quick notes, I can write with the pen unposted so it was a nice experience. And my co-workers loved the color of the Forest Green too!

My one nit is that it takes two and 3/4 turns before it uncaps. Kinda too long for my constant need to use at work. It’s a good pen to just stay on my desk during the day and write when I get to sit down.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: At about $150 for the steel nibs, the Spectrum feels expensive. That’s just a little cheaper than it’s gold nibbed Sailor cousins, or the Platinum 3776 at US MSRP (but 2x the 3776 at Japanese prices). The price is my biggest gripe about the pen. Other than that, I don’t love the aesthetic, but know many people who do, but the pen is a comfortable writer with interesting nibs. If you see one on sale and like the way they look, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick one up!

Pam:  I really enjoyed playing with this pen.  I don’t know if I love the pen for the price.  For the $150 for the steel nib, I would consider getting a Sailor Pro Gear Slim and those come with a gold nib.  That being said, I really like the performance of the Taccia steel nib and the aesthetics of the pen.  If you are up for a modern aesthetic with a great steel nib and a splash of amazing color, this pen is for you.

Franz: The Spectrum is a fun, solidly built pen with stunning colors which for me brings value against the offered price. And then their steel nibs are fantastic writers out of the box.

The Taccia Spectrum is an awesome pen even if it is a bit small for my bear paw, I probably would get one for myself. I just need to decide between the Forest Green (which is a crowd favorite), or the Ocean Blue (because… blue!).

Thanks again to Taccia for lending (entrusting) us these pens and to our pen posse friend, Ron L. for being our liaison to Taccia.

Pen Comparisons

 

Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Lamy 2000, Platinum 3776, *Taccia Spectrum*, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Lamy 2000, Platinum 3776, *Taccia Spectrum*, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pelikan M205, Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Lamy 2000, Platinum 3776, *Taccia Spectrum*, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

 

 

Forest Green

 

 

Merlot Red

 

 

Ocean Blue

1 Comment

Review: Armando Simoni Club (ASC) Arlecchino 2 (Magic Flex 18K Nib)

Once again, we’d like to thank Mr. Detlef Bittner of Bittner Pens for lending us this ASC Pens Arlecchino 2 fountain pen for review. His family pen store is located in the beautiful town of Carmel, California, and is well known in the pen shows in the United States.

The opinions here are our own and we were not compensated (monetarily, or otherwise) for this review.

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Pam: The pen is a pretty and appealing shape.  The material however is quite busy.  For someone who really enjoys a lot of monochromatic pens, this is a bit of a shock to the system.  The material is unique, and unorthodox in a pen.  In summary, the shape and silhouette of the pen is wonderful, but the material is an acquired taste.

Katherine: I think the star of this pen is the Omas Arlecchino material. However, it’s just not my thing. It reminds me of pumpkin soup. Or the Filipino dessert commonly called “cathedral windows“. Or fall leaves that are turning. Anyway, reminds me a lot of things, mostly makes me hungry… but just isn’t my thing on a pen.

Claire: I really fell hard for this pen in the short time I had to write with it. I was quite surprised since this isn’t the sort of pen I would normally even bother to try. The barrel is a lot longer than what I normally find comfortable.  I do find the material to be a bit busy for my taste but other than that I like the shape of this pen.

Franz: I first saw the ASC Arlecchino 2 pen at the 2017 LA Pen Show when a friend from the San Francisco Bay Pen Posse bought one and I was immediately intrigued with the unique finish of the pen. Actually, I’m loving the design of the pen and the celluloid material.

This material was part of the Omas stock bought by ASC Pens when the Omas Pen Company sadly shut down in 2016. According to ASC pens, they acquired just enough of this rod stock to create a limited edition of 100 pens to pay homage to the original pen called, the Arlecchino (Italian for harlequin).

In the Hand: ASC Arlecchino 2 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Claire, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: ASC Arlecchino 2 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Claire, Katherine, and Pam

The Business End

Pam: The nib itself is a great writer and performs well, as expected.  The nib was very enjoyable as a writing experience.  I did find the nib to be springy in the perfect Goldilocks kind of way.

Katherine: The nib on this pen is… okay. It’s a perfectly comfortable and usable writer, but it didn’t feel unique in any way, nor did it have much character to me. But, if you told me this was the only nib I could use for the rest of my life, I’d be a little annoyed, but I’d be okay with it. It’s inoffensive. (A glowing review, I know.)

Claire:  I loved the feel of the nib and the overall writing experience of the pen was pleasant.  The nib has a bit of  bounce without being so soft or mushy.  It’s not what I would reach for as a workhorse nib, but it’s great for a little extra pizzazz.

Franz: The Magic Flex nib is such a smooth writer and is quite springy which gives my writing some flair! The black ebonite feed kept up with my writing even when I flexed it a little.

Franz’ writing sample on Rhodia Dot Grid paper

 

Write It Up

Pam: The shape and size of the pen lends to great comfort for extended writing.  Honestly, maybe it was the nib, or the light weight of the pen, but the pen didn’t leave an impression for me.  It was a comfortable, well balanced pen, but no more, no less for me.

Katherine: This pen was pretty comfortable in the hand for a long period of time. The gentle taper of the body makes it a little more interesting than what I envision a “generic” pen to look like. This also (I think) makes it a better balanced pen.

Claire:  I had trouble putting this pen down when writing with this pen. I was more than a little disappointed when I had to let Pam, Katherine and Franz have a chance to give it a spin.  This pen is not like any of the pens in my collection and really was a lot of fun to write with. I had no trouble writing with this pen for pages on end.  There was no trace of hand fatigue or pain even after a few pages.

Franz: I really enjoyed writing with the Arlecchino 2 as it is light and well balanced when unposted. Writing with the cap posted made it a little too lengthy and I found it unbalanced. (Yes. Shocking, I know!) My only small wish is for the section/barrel to be just a hair thicker to be perfect for my bear paw. But that’s just me.

Arlecchino 2 on top of a Seven Seas Crossfield A5 journal notebook

EDC-ness

Pam:  This pen would be quite a show  stopper in any pocket or as a notebook companion with the colorful material and sweet nib.  The clip seems sturdy enough to be kept in shirt pockets.

Katherine: This was another loan from Bittner Pens — so once again, no real EDC usage. But, it seemed well made, and could hold up to every day use. It’s a solid pen that is a comfortable size both to use and to tuck into a pocket or notebook. And the clip feels solid enough to keep it firmly attached to a shirt pocket, if I had shirt pockets.

Claire: I didn’t have a chance to carry this pen with me for a few day, but I can see this being a daily writer in my arsenal. The diameter of the pen is just about perfect for long writing sessions which is ideal for me.

Franz: I was not able to fill this pen with ink and use at my workplace so no real world EDC report. But it’s important to note that it is piston-filled for a nice ink capacity, and the Arlecchino 2 is ready to write with just one twist of the cap.

And I believe my co-workers will see the colorful material and say, “What kinda pen is that?!”.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Pam:  I very much appreciate the beauty of the pen and reliable writing experience.  That said, I can’t recommend this pen due to the price tag.  Particularly for a pen that didn’t actually leave an impression with me.  I prefer the writing experience of a Pelikan (ahem, Franz-fluence). The material is the only compelling reason to buy the pen for me. Luckily for my wallet, the material isn’t my style.

Katherine: This pen was perfectly usable — decent nib, good size, and comfortable in hand. However, it didn’t shine in any way for me. It was an okay, inoffensive pen, body material aside. In another material, it’s a pen I wouldn’t mind owning, but isn’t high on my list of must-acquire pens. In the Arlecchino material… I’d rather have a bowl of pumpkin soup. Maybe with some chives and a pinch of paprika to round out the colors.

Claire:  Overall, I really like this pen. the only gripe I have with this pen is that the inside of the cap was not polished.  For a pen at this price range, it seems a little bit sloppy to me.    Other than this pen is lovely, though I wouldn’t feel comfortable paying MSRP on this pen.   This brand has access to some of the hottest materials, and they are charging  for those materials.

Franz: I love this pen! I love its shape, its material finish, its springy nib, and the history that it represents. However, I just can’t love its price tag. Yes. I know that it’s a limited edition of 100 pens, it’s celluloid, it’s a “flexy” nib, etc. Believe me, I understand why it costs the way it costs and also please know the fact that I “want” it.  But my heart and mind says, “Hold on, not yet.” Perhaps it’s because I have a few other pens that I also want that has a lower price tag? I know that someday I’ll own the Arlecchino 2, but not yet.

If you want this LE pen and have no qualms about the price, grab it while it’s available. Reach out to Detlef of Bittner Pens.

Thank you for letting us review the Arlecchino 2 Detlef!

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Pilot Falcon, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Nakaya Neo Standard, *ASC Arlecchino 2*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Pilot Falcon, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Nakaya Neo Standard, *ASC Arlecchino 2*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Pilot Falcon, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph Model 03, Nakaya Neo Standard, *ASC Arlecchino 2*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

No Comments

Review: Aurora 88 (Fine Flex Nib)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I prefer the aesthetic of the square-ended Optima. I thought this was a pretty boring (or perhaps classic?) looking pen, but in a quite unique shade of grey-purple-ish blue.

Pamela:  The Aurora Flex 88 has a beautiful blue gray material that is somewhat complimented by the yellow gold hardware.  I am curious if a rhodium trim would be a better compliment since the material has a pretty cool tone to it.  Shapewise, the pen is a simple cigar shape that does little to convey how special this pen is given all the hype to the “modern flex” pen.  The clip is a unique fluid design that doesn’t appeal to me, but does have a clean aesthetic to it.  My favorite part of the pen is the ink window.  Always a plus for me.

Franz: The Aurora 88 is a visually pleasing pen with a design that makes it timeless. Now this may mean boring for some people …cough… Katherine… cough… ;-P, but the rounded ends look elegant to me. The elongated and tapered barrel makes it a comfortable pen in my hand either posted or unposted.

Going back to the pen being timeless, the Aurora 88 design has been in existence since 1947. Albeit, the original 88 design was a bit thinner, had a slip cap, and a hooded nib. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of a vintage Aurora 88 but an image search for “vintage Aurora 88” will display adequate photos of it. In the 1980’s however, the Aurora 88’s design was altered into what it is right now which is a thicker pen, twist cap, a full size nib, and incorporated with their hidden reservoir system.

Note: This pen history information was taken from Andreas Lambrou’s “Fountain Pens of the World” book.

In the Hand: Aurora 88 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Aurora 88 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

The Business End

Katherine: I was excited to try Aurora’s much talked about flex nib… but ultimately, I was disappointed. It’s a perfectly usable, and even enjoyable and interesting to use… but, to me, it didn’t live up to the hype. My Pilot 742 FA is significantly softer and offers me much more line variation, while being a fraction of the price. But, if you like the look of the pen, and like soft nibs, this is great — just not what I’d call “flex”.

Pamela: The is a unique shape which provides it the structure needed for this modern flex.  Since this pen was on loan from a friend at the SF Pen Posse, I didn’t feel comfortable pushing the limits of this pen.  That said, the “flex” is more of a middle ground; it is not as soft as a vintage flex, but softer than the Platinum soft fine nib.

Franz: I really like the shape of Aurora’s nibs especially this fine flex one. The tines are quite longer and cool looking. As for the flex nib and echoing my colleagues above, I feel that it really isn’t a match towards vintage flex nibs. There definitely is line variation but not what you would expect when it is called a flexible nib. I did experience some railroading but as long as I took it slow, it didn’t reoccur anymore.

Overall, Aurora’s nibs are great and I’ve had pleasant experiences with them from writing with other people’s pens. I personally own a factory italic nib that writes quite juicy and sharp. Without any pressure on this fine flex nib, it wrote very smoothly with a fine line.

Write It Up

Katherine: The Aurora 88 is comfortable and enjoyable to write with for long periods. It’s quite light, which I find comfortable and usable for long durations.

Pamela:  The 88 is has a very light material, almost too light for me.  However, the girth of the pen is very comfortable to use as it cruises over the pages.  For this particular nib, I held the pen in a tripod grip.  (Yes, even in the tripod, I still grip the pen too tight…).  The length of the pen is pretty comfortable both posted and unposted.  The material is light enough that posting the pen doesn’t add too much weight or unbalance the pen.

Franz: I enjoyed my journal time with the Aurora 88. I wrote comfortably with the cap posted for about ten minutes, and then unposted for another ten. I do prefer the cap posted on the pen for the extra length but I did not experience any fatigue even when the pen was unposted. Now that’s a rare thing and it’s one of the biggest selling points of the 88 for me.

Katherine’s comparison of modern flex nibs (on Tomoe River)

 

Franz’ writing sample on Rhodia Dot Pad

EDC-ness (Every Day Carry)

Katherine: This was a loan from a friend in the San Francisco Pen Posse — so no EDC-ing for me. But, it has all the makings of being a great EDC pen: A solid and strong clip for pockets (though probably not thick denim), and it uncaps quickly, but not too quickly (one and a quarter turns).

Pamela: Since this pen is on loan, I didn’t trial this pen on the road at work. Instead, the pen is a good size for a daily carry with a strong clip for suit pockets.  I wouldn’t recommend throwing this pen into a pair of jeans as the material will probably get pretty scratched up.  With the relatively unsubstantial weight, it may also be forgotten in a deep pocket somewhere.

Franz: I used the Aurora 88 at my workplace for a good two days and it was a splendid pen for my work setting. The quick deploy of one and a quarter turns made it convenient for me, as well as the fine width of the nib. As I signed my name, I applied a little bit of pressure and the slight flex gave my signature a bit of flair that I enjoyed very much.

The Aurora 88 has a piston-filler system that carries a good amount of ink and is perfect for an everyday use pen. You can see the ink level quite clearly via the ink window. When you’re running out of ink, fully extend the piston towards the section to activate the hidden reservoir to be able to write a little bit longer. That is a pretty neat feature.

The Aurora 88’s ink window is quite clear.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: I have no complaints about this pen, other than the marketing and expectations set by the “flex” label. I’d call this “soft”. That aside, it’s a smooth, comfortable nib that is capable of some line variation (more than a Platinum 3776 SF, but less than a Pilot 742), in a solid and classic body. But, as with many pens in the $500+ category… whether or not it’s worth that price tag is a pretty subjective mater. To me, it’s not, but there aren’t many options for nibs like this, and if you don’t like black Pilots, this is the most line variation I’ve seen from a modern pen.

Pamela:  I am torn in my final recommendation for this pen.  On one hand, the pen and nib is a modern feat in trying to emulate the infamous vintage flex.  On the other hand, there are still vintage flex nibs and pens out there for a substantially smaller price tag.  I applaud Aurora for adding more flex and softness to the modern nib options and for those individuals who have the funds and the willingness to support such an endeavor, I would highly recommend this pen to them.  For those who lack the funds but still want to try a flex pen, I would recommend taking the time to research vintage pens and flex nibs, and finding a good deal via the Pen Addict slack, reddit or your local pen show.

Franz: It’s interesting how the two ladies above and myself have about the same sentiments on the Aurora 88. The pen itself is very nice to write with and my larger hand was not even a bit uncomfortable/fatigued. If you like the shape of this pen like I do, you may currently acquire one below the $500 price point with the round nibs (Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, and Broad). Now if you want the Fine Flex nib option, you’ll be paying a premium since the flex nib is only available in their limited edition releases. I mean, that’s quite a chunk of money knowing that you can obtain a decent vintage flexible nib for a lot less money. But then of course, the limited edition colors are quite nice as well. The blue finish of this Aurora 88 is very enticing to a blue pen lover like me.

As for my final thoughts on the Aurora 88, I like it. A LOT. This is definitely on my list of pens to one day own and add to my growing Italian pen collection.

Thank you Michael for lending us your Aurora 88 Flex pen. You’ve been very generous my friend. See you at the Pen Posse meetups soon!

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Edison Beaumont, Platinum 3776, Visconti Homosapiens, *Aurora 88*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Edison Beaumont, Platinum 3776, Visconti Homosapiens, *Aurora 88*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Edison Beaumont, Platinum 3776, Visconti Homosapiens, *Aurora 88*, Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

 

2 Comments

Review: Kaweco Sport (AL & Skyline)

This is our first post with a guest! Claire, a friend of ours from the SF Pen Posse. She has more “average” sized hands than the extremes that the three of us represent. Also, she makes and sells pen wraps on Etsy. Check them out! (Review to come!)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Pam:  My first Kaweco was a Skyline in the minty green color.  I had no hesitations to the size of the pen, and the color was spot on! The Kaweco has a very unique design going from a cute and sturdy pocket pen to a “regular” length pen with a post of the cap.  Given the portability, durability and assortment of colorways, I can see why the Kaweco is so highly recommended and appreciated by so many in the pen community.

Katherine: I love small pens and faceted pens… so the Kaweco Sport is right down my alley. I also love bright colors… so it’s taken quite a bit of self-control to not collect a rainbow of these. Grumble pen limit grumble. Anyway, I really enjoy the design of this pen — a little quirky, but not too weird. Unique and functional! And if you prefer clips, you can add a clip — they come in both silver and gold.

I own a white Sport (which will soon be doused in urushi) and a Rose Gold AL (pictured below). The Rose Gold was a special edition to Eslite, a chain of bookstores in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. To my knowledge, it’s sold out but may show up used here and there.

Claire: This is a pen I avoided purchasing for a while simply because I thought the facets of the cap make the cylindrical-ness of the barrel stick out in an awkwardly.  That being said, now that I’ve owned one for a few months the overall aesthetic of the pen has grown on me.  This is a sturdy little pen has stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it. I purchased an orange Ice Sport in November and have enjoyed having a decent pen to throw in my pocket.  My mum gave me an AC Sport late last year since I wouldn’t shut up about the pen after seeing it on the Pen Addict’s Instagram #blamebrad.

Franz: Hello Kaweco! =) What else can I really say about the appearance of the Kaweco Sport that the ladies above have not mentioned? It really is a pocket pen with such a distinctive and unique design. Before we reviewed the Sport, I never knew how many different styles this pen has available in the market. The two models we are featuring/reviewing here are the AL Sport (aluminum body), and the Skyline Sport (acrylic body/silver trim). There are 5 more styles that this pen can be purchased as: Classic Sport (acrylic body/gold plated trim), ICE Sport (acrylic transparent body), AC Sport (aluminum body with carbon inlays), AL Stonewashed (aluminum body with weathered effect), and Brass Sport (brass body).

The Sport Series was introduced by Kaweco in the year 1911 as a short, safety pocket pen. In the beginning, the pen was called Safety Pen 616 for Sportsmen.  They eventually changed it to the Sport-Series. Kaweco updated the pen’s filling system into a piston-filler pen in the 1930s, and then to a cartridge-filler in the 1970s as we know how it is filled today. Of course, you can fill the pen like they did in 1911 and choose to eye-dropper the pen as well. Just be careful when you unscrew the pen. Eyedropper-filled isn’t my preferred method for getting ink into my pens though.

Kaweco Sport history source: www.kaweco-pen.com

In The Hand: Kaweco AL Sport (posted) – from left to right: Claire, Pam, Katherine, and Franz
In The Hand: Kaweco AL Sport (unposted) – from left to right: Claire, Pam, Katherine, and Franz

The Business End

Pam:  Disclaimer, the EF of my Kaweco was too broad for my taste.  Given that, it was still a good nib for daily use.  I used the pen on cheap office paper and it performed admirably.  I didn’t find the nib to be too dry, given my choice of paper at work.  The nib writes more true to size on Tomoe River paper, unsurprisingly.  I very much enjoy it when I am in the mood for a “bolder” EF line to show off the ink color in my hobonichi.  This German EF nib does require me to change the size of my handwriting, ever so slightly, to accommodate the “bolder” line, which results ins a “bubblier” handwriting for me.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the 1.1 stub.  It’s probably my favorite of all the Kaweco nibs that I have tried.  Its a great nib that has the right amount of ink flow so that the line remains relatively crisp and shows off a decent amount of shading in the ink color.  If I had to choose between an EF or the 1.1 stub, I would choose the 1.1 stub.  My ongoing taste change in nib sizes is very likely due to Franz-fluence (Franz’s influence for those who are pun adverse.)

Katherine: I’ve owned a handful of Kaweco Sport nibs and had a decent out of the box experience with all of them. My Fine and BB ran a bit dry, and my 1.1 “Calligraphy” nib wasn’t too wet, but all in all, they’ve all been very usable. However, I think I’ve been lucky — I have seen quite a few reports of Kawecos with baby’s bottom. None of them will win awards for being my (or, I suspect, anyone’s) favorite nib, but they get the job done and write without fuss.

Claire: Out of the box, the nib on my fine Kaweco AC Sport was great.  The extra fine on the Ice Sport required a quick tine alignment; which I don’t mind on a sub $30 pen.  Both nibs have been utilitarian; being a tad on the dry side, better for paper of questionable quality.  I am thoroughly enjoying the 1.1 stub I’m borrowing from Katherine (I might forget to return it the next time I see her).  Typically, fine and extra fine nibs are the way to my heart, so I’m surprised to enjoy the 1.1 so much.

Franz: To echo the sentiments above, Kaweco’s nibs write out of the box. A friend gifted me the black Skyline Sport below and it has a fine nib that just wrote smoothly after I placed the cartridge into the pen. Granted, the nib isn’t as wet as I want it to be but it isn’t scratchy and it wrote nicely. I also got to use Katherine’s 1.1mm nib on her AL Sport and it was also a pleasant experience. Yay for Kaweco! Their business end means business.

1.1mm stub nib on Katherine’s AL Sport
Fine nib on a Skyline Sport

 

Write It Up

Pam:  I prefer to write with the Kaweco Skyline posted given how light it is.  I much prefer the weight of the Kaweco AL over the Sport.  I find the plastic body to be too light and unpleasant to hold for prolonged periods of time.  I find myself gripping the pen harder because it feels so unsubstantial.  (No, the plastic body did not crack under my iron grip.)

The Kaweco AL is comfortable with or without the cab and relatively well balanced for me either way.  The weight is more comfortable and “sits” in my grip well.  The Kaweco AL is wonderful when paired with the 1.1 stub nib aka Katherine’s Kaweco, which I had a really hard time giving back.

Katherine: This pen makes it obvious how much smaller my hands are. I can and do use my Kawecos unposted, both my plastic Sport (which was my only work pen for about six months) and my AL. I prefer the plastic Sport when posted though — it gives the pen a little more heft and makes it more comfortable to hold. But, my tiny hands prefer the Sport AL unposted — it feels more balanced to me. All in all, both are very usable for me, both posted and unposted. I don’t own a Sport in Brass, but I’ve tried one and found that it was usable, but heavy and my hand felt the fatigue (especially if it was posted and top heavy) after a bit of writing — usable, but I wouldn’t buy one.

Claire: For quick notes, I don’t feel the need to post the pen. That changes if I’m going to write more than a few sentences (which is the majority of my writing), then I feel the need to post the it to avoid hand fatigue.  I prefer the weight and balance of the AL Sport over the Ice Sport. Though, after eyedroppering the Ice Sport is a more comfortable weight.  Even posted, this is not a pen I can write for a long time without noticing some discomfort. But as a pocket pen, it isn’t intended for hours upon hours of writing at one time.

Franz: May I just skip this part? Kidding, kidding! Okay, so I took both the AL, and the Skyline Sport on a test drive. I wrote with both of them posted for about 10 minutes each. Please understand that this Sport is a little too short unposted for my bear paw to write more than 5 words so I just kept the cap posted as I wrote on my journal. Because of the narrow 9.4mm section, my hand cramped up and I noticed my hand gripping the pen tighter than usual. The Skyline Sport is a very light pen and I didn’t enjoy writing with it. The AL Sport however, has a nice weight to it and my hand was a little bit more comfortable. The length of the Sport when posted was fairly comfortable for me.

EDC-ness

Pam:  The Kaweco is a great pocket pen, especially the Kaweco Sport, for it’s petite/cute size and lightweightedness.  It’s also a great way for me to lose this pen into my many pockets or not notice it before throwing my pants into the laundry.  I didn’t try to EDC carry Katherine’s AL, but I would be really interested in purchasing one, and I am pretty sure I will be less likely to lose it or toss it with my dirty laundry.

Katherine: The plastic Sport was my EDC for a few months before I jumped off the deep end and started exploring vintage pens. I had a mint green, Fine nib Sport that I stuck in my pocket, threw in my backpack and generally manhandled. It did great. I ended up gifting it to a friend I was living with for a week (Hi Tatsie! Thanks for letting me stay with you in Singapore!) but I eventually picked up another one, used, to be a project pen (hello urushi, meet my faceted friend). I’ve used my Rose Gold AL on and off as an EDC, and it’s held up similarly — durable, very little (if any) leaking into the cap (perhaps because the nibs are dryish to start with?) and easy to write with quickly. However, I’m a little worried about damaging the finish, so I don’t carry it as often (it was a gift from a cousin).

Claire: The Ice Sport lived in my pocket for several months. About a month ago, I accidentally ran it through the washing machine. No ink leaked out of the pen (no stains on my clothing phew!) and the pen was no worse for the wear. Some ink snuck behind the cap insert, but that’s to be expected.  I carried this pen at work quite frequently, though in my line of work a ballpoint or a permanent marker is more suitable. I have since put a different nib on the pen and don’t carry it as lackadaisically.

Franz: Even though I do not use my Skyline Sport for my journaling, or letter-writing needs, it practically lives in my bag ready to be written with. For me, this pen can be used as like a backup when you need to fill out a quick note. In the spirit of the Hand Over That Pen review process, I made it a point to use this pen at my workplace for a day. Let’s just say that it didn’t really impress me as an everyday carry pen. This is mainly because for my larger hands, I need to unscrew and post the cap each time I have to write notes or sign my name. Even though the cap only needs one and a quarter turn to uncap, it was still a bit inconvenient for me. The fine nib performed well as I wrote on the copier paper from our office.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Pam:  I would highly recommend the Kaweco Sport for those who enjoy a small/portable pen and a reliable German nib.  For those who enjoy the durability and heft of the aluminium, the Kaweco is a good, solid upgrade.  The Sport is a great starter pen, but for fans of the Kaweco Sport, the AL is an obvious choice to have to try out.  You won’t regret it.

Katherine: If you like small pens (and I mean small), the Kaweco Sport is fantastic. For the money, I think the plastic Sport is a great pen — durable, neat looking and a solid writer. The AL isn’t a bad pen at all, but at it’s price point, unless you really like the way it looks, it does seem a bit expensive for what it is. Price aside though, I prefer the AL. The pen feels more substantial, nib units are unscrewable (instead of friction fit in the plastic Sport) and the finish can show wear and tear — and I’m a sucker for pens that tell a story.

Claire: The section of this pen is just a little bit narrow for my taste. As such this is never going to be the pen I reach for to take notes in class.  Narrow sections are especially uncomfortable for me thanks to an old fracture in one of my fingers so your mileage may vary. That being said, this is a pen I thoroughly enjoy;  another one may be heading my way as soon as the stainless steel version becomes available.

Franz: I’m gonna go with what Claire said above and echo that the Kaweco Sport is a little too small for my use. If you have big hands, this may not be a pen for a daily user but try one out when you can. It is a cool pen to have in the bag/collection and they’ve got very nice finishes of this pen in the different styles I mentioned in the beginning of this review. I actually want to get the AL Sport Night Edition just because it’s all decked out stealthily with a nice carbon black nib too. But that’s the pen collector in me who wants to have all the stealth pens. Haha!

Cheers!

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Parker 75, Pelikan M200, Platinum 3776, Pilot Prera, *Kaweco Skyline Sport*, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 20, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
A few Kaweco Sports from left to right: Skyline Sport, ICE Sport, AL Sport, and Classic Sport

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

4 Comments

Review: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (0.4mm Cursive Italic)

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: The 146 (and its bigger sibling the 149) are the classic black cigar-shaped pen. The shape is boring to some, but timeless and classy to many others. Personally, I find the shape a bit boring, and while many buy the pen for the “prestige” that comes with such a recognizable brand, I found that unappealing. As I’ll discuss in later sections, I loved the innards of the pen, but I much prefer using pens that aren’t as obviously branded, especially at work. All in all though, the “look” of the 146 is inoffensive to me, if I didn’t have a self-imposed 15 pen limit, I’d likely still own one.

Pam:  The 146 is a classic pen with a very classic shape. Typically, I would find the Montblanc 146 with gold trim to be another snoozer or write it off as “another typical pen.”  I don’t usually like the cigar shape in a pen, like the Platinum 3776 or the Sailor 1911.  That said, Montblanc created a very well proportioned cigar shape pen.  It looks streamlined rather than chunky and sleek rather than boring.  Maybe it’s the more dramatic taper at the end of the body and cap or it’s the custom ruthenium trim or I enjoyed writing with this pen so much that a “another typical pen” has much more appeal now.

Franz: The LeGrand 146 is such a nice, simple-looking pen. I love the timeless shape of the 146 and that may be the reason why a lot of pens have copied its appearance. The pointed ends are different from the usual pens I own.

So here’s a bit of historical information about this pen. In mid-1948, Montblanc came out with the Masterpiece/Meisterstück 140 Series and the three models introduced were the 142, 144, and the 146. All three were introduced as a piston-filler and until now, the 146 is offered as a piston-filler pen. Over time, the 144 changed to a cartridge/converter filler pen. The Meisterstück 140 Series was a refresh of the Meisterstück 130 Series introduced in the mid 1930’s.

According to Montblanc’s numbering system adopted in the 1930’s, 146 meant that 1 (part of the Meisterstück/Masterpiece line), 4 (piston filler system but it was a 3 in the 130 Series), and 6 (denotes the nib size).

*Please note that this historical information was taken from Mr. Andreas Lambrou’s “Fountain Pens of the World” book. If I have misquoted, or given incorrect information, please let me know. Thanks!

In The Hand: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (posted) – from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine
In The Hand: Montblanc LeGrand 146 (unposted) – from left to right: Franz, Pam, and Katherine

The Business End

Katherine: I love well-adjusted Montblanc nibs. I’ve used Franz’s (pictured in this review) and love the delightful CI that Dan Smith put on it. But I also, for a few months, owned my own 146 — an early 90s French specimen with an uncommon 18k nib. That was one of the most delightfully smooth (but not glassy) nibs I had ever used. Given my current experiences with MB nibs, I would never hesitate to recommend one to a friend, even out of the box.

Pam:  Montblanc nibs are juicy with some springy-ness to them, based on my time with them at the Montblanc store (which may be longer than I care to admit). I really enjoyed the Montblanc B and BB nibs as they created a stub-like line for me.  Therefore, what other “improvement” could you make to a well done nib from Montblanc?  Well, someone had the genius idea to send the pen to Dan Smith for a 0.4mm CI grind.  I (not so) jokingly told Franz that the 0.4mm  is the perfect CI width and I may be forever ruined for all other CI grinds.  CI grinds tend to run a bit dry, but this nib is well tuned and provides a consistent, well saturated, beautifully crisp line.  Again, ruined… I am, ruined (or forever spoiled.)

Franz: Springy nib… check! Cursive Italic… check! Juicy ink flow… check! Smooth sweet spot… check! Running out of checkboxes here! What can I say? It’s a beautifully tuned nib! Kudos to Dan Smith on this one. As for straight from the factory experience, I have used another 146 nib which was a stock medium and it was a smooth well tuned nib as well. So far, I’ve been pleased with the quality of Montblanc’s nibs.

 

The 0.4mm cursive italic nib by Mr. Dan “NibSmith” Smith
Franz’s writing sample of the Montblanc 146 on a Rhodia Weekly Planner

Write It Up

(20-minute writing experience)

Katherine: The 146 is very comfortable for me — it has a good weight and is comfortable in hand, even when writing for extended periods of time. I prefer it unposted — when posted I find it a bit too top-heavy and my hand gets tired faster.

Pam:  I have enjoyed the 146 both posted and unposted in the traditional tripod grip, preferably posted for me.  The 146 can be a bit top heavy in my “iron grip.”  Given the CI grind, I primarily used this pen in the tripod grip and had no issues with the width of the pen.  The girth of the pen at the section is within the usual limits and comfortable to hold for an extended period of time.

Franz: I may have been waxing poetic about this pen but admittedly, the LeGrand 146 size is just a smidge small for my bear paw. Please don’t get me wrong for when the cap is posted, I wrote with it comfortably and I absolutely had no complaints. I loved journaling with it for about 10 minutes but when I unposted the cap, my grip adjusted towards the nib and the pen felt small and unpleasant. I actually felt my hand cramping after writing for five minutes. Please refer to the pen in hand photos above to see how awkwardly small the unposted 146 is in my hand.

So yeah, mixed results on this one for me and just like Pam, I prefer the 146 posted.

EDC-ness

Katherine: This is weird to say since I EDC my Nakayas… but I didn’t like carrying around my 146. While the clip was good, it uncapped decently and was great to write with, I just wasn’t comfortable using a pen that everyone around me identified as “Katherine is using an expensive pen”. Funnily enough, Nakaya and Danitrio are much less recognizable to the layman than my 146 was.

Pam:  This pen is a be a great EDC pen as it is a sturdy, well made pen with a secure clip and threaded cap.  I didn’t carry this pen around daily as it’s not my pen to damage or lose, but also because would be distracting in my interactions with my colleagues and patients.  I am not that comfortable in letting the world know/assume the “cost” of my beloved pen hobby.  (Or maybe that’s the SF bay area hipster in me.) Montblanc is such an iconic brand that people will notice this pen very readily.  Granted, it’s also a beautiful, classy pen with a very unique ruthenium trim.

Franz: I used the 146 at work and out and about on a weekend and I had no qualms of being able to use this pen as an Everyday Carry pen. The cap unscrews after about 1 and 1/4 turn. Pretty fast deployment there and on the flip-side, the pen never uncapped itself in my pocket. The ink capacity of this piston-filled pen allows one to just keep on writing for a period of time. The subtle ink window above the section threads definitely helped me figure out if I’d need to refill the pen or not. I didn’t really care about the “perceived prestige” that the white star on the cap instills or what other people would think because well, I just don’t. Haha! =) As long as it’s a functional pen with a look that appeals to me, I’ll keep on using it.

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: Overall, I really love writing with 146s — they’re comfortable, balanced and have great nibs. But I found that I was uncomfortable with the obvious and easily recognizable branding. The moment my boss said, “Oh! You’re using a Montblanc!” the idea of keeping a Montblanc around for normal use went out the window.

Pam:  After spending time with the 146, I can see why this pen is such a popular flagship pen.  It’s a great size pen that suits many hands, has a classic (albeit “boring”) aesthetic from a historical and iconic brand that backs up it’s name with great nibs and performance.  This pen has taught me and made me question a lot about my own pen preferences in terms of shape, nibs and writing style.

I would recommend this pen to anyone looking for a solid performing pen and isn’t wary of being seen with such a recognizable (and expensive) pen.  Not all settings are optimized for that.  It would be a “must have pen” if it was not so cost prohibitive to have, therefore, it would make a great grail pen to fill the “quintessential classic” slot in any collection.  So if you are like me and this a grail pen, I recommend the 146 as a “must try for yourself” pen.

Franz: The LeGrand 146 design is almost 70 years old and as I said in the beginning of this review, it is timeless. This is a nice pen to have in one’s collection quite frankly. If you are able to, please try to write with a 146 and see if it is a good pen for your hand. The nibs are great and it just writes. I really like it when the cap is posted as I detailed above. The only “con” I would say about this pen is that it’s quite pricey when brand new. However, a thorough search in the secondary market may provide one with a reasonable and more affordable price for the pen.

Just a little background on this specific pen. I saw this exact 146 in early 2015 on Dan Smith’s Instagram feed, @TheNibsmith (@fpgeeks back then). He said that he just finished grinding the 0.4mm cursive italic on it and wished he owned the pen. I dug up info from Dan and the original owner of this pen to find out how he got a ruthenium trim. I planned to send a pen to that person who did the custom ruthenium trim but I never got around to doing it. Fast forward to April 2016, I found this pen offered for sale and I pretty much jumped on it. Needless to say, I love this specific 146 not only for its writing capabilities but its history as well.

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Posted pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari
Unposted pens from left to right: Edison Beaumont, Parker 75, Franklin-Christoph Model 20, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Montblanc LeGrand 146* , Lamy 2000, Pelikan M805, and Lamy Safari

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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