Let me say that this is my first review, so bear with me
I found C. E. Levi Pens while looking for a congratulatory gift for myself after I landed a job that I had been after for some time. I wanted a custom pen that would stand out from the norm, but I didn’t want to spend my first month’s salary on it either. As soon as I saw the pens, I immediately emailed Cameron with several questions. He was very helpful and friendly, and I placed an order for a somewhat custom Colossus. Cameron was a real pleasure to work with while we worked out the particulars of my pen. He is a real class act.
- Appearance & Design (10) – Upon opening the package at the post office, I was floored. This is a truly stunning pen. It is very simple, very plain yet not so... I asked for the blind cap to be made the same diameter as the barrel of the pen and for it to have two lines cut into it matching the cap. (Cameron said that he preferred the blind cap to be smaller to aid in the balance of the pen, but he would make this one larger as long as I understood it could make the pen a little back heavy.) The pen is not remarkably large as the name would suggest, in girth or length. Nonetheless, this pen is nothing less than commanding. It seems larger at first because neither the barrel nor cap taper, they carry their full diameter to the very end. There are no machining marks, scratches, burrs etc. The pen is finished to a very nice smooth finish. Solid bronze with the exception of the section that is ebonite.
- Construction & Quality (10) – This pen screams quality. It is built like a bank vault with the precision of a Swiss watch. When the blind cap is screwed on, there is no perceivable seam and the cap and blind cap both screw on and off so smoothly you’d think the threads were greased. It is a heavy pen, but that just adds the bank vault feel. If I were to drop the pen onto concrete, I would cringe for fear of the smooth finish being marred, but I would not have the slightest worry of the pen suffering functional damage.
- Weight & Dimensions (8) – As said before, this pen is not large, but it is not small. I do not have a scale, but the website listed the weight at approx. 60 grams. Despite the weight, it is very comfortable to write with as the weight melts into my hand. The blind cap doesn’t seem to affect the balance of the pen for me, but I have rather long fingers which mitigate back heaviness. It is far less cumbersome than most pens with the caps posted. The pen is very close in size to a Waterman Perspective, one of my favorite pens. The pen is 5.05 inches long capped and 4.92 inches long uncapped. The barrel is 0.48 inches in diameter while the cap is 0.50 inches. The section tapers from 0.4 inches at the threads to 0.32 inches at its smallest. The section is made of ebonite, with a smooth finish that is not slick. It is very easy to grip. I give this an eight as it would be too heavy for some folks, but for me it is great. I would also have liked a slightly thicker section, but that would have required a larger cap that I think would have taken away from the overall beauty of the pen. And after all, the weight of the pen does all the writing, I only steer it. I am attaching several pictures of my other three daily carry pens with comparison shots of nibs, grip sections and overall size. I did not provide a cap-posted comparrison as this pen's cap will not post and i do not post my pens anyway.
- Nib & Performance (10) – The nib is a “Waverly” style Sheaffer lifetime fine. It lays down a smooth wet line with the slightest amount of feedback. It writes wonderfully and looks gorgeous, a great match for the rest of the pen. Cameron spent two weeks tuning the nib after the pen was complete and it shows. As an aside, this is actually the second pen that Cameron made for me. There was a small problem with the first pen and this nib was a gift in return for my patience and understanding. Cameron’s customer service is above and beyond what one routinely comes across. I like big nibs, and while this is not a particullary wide nib, it is long and makes a showing when the pen is uncapped.
- Filling System (8) – This pen carries a button filler in its belly. Most pens I own are C/C pens, with the exception of one piston filler and three vintage pens that are in-operable. This is the first button filler I have ever had the pleasure of using and I love it! It is very simple to use and while it may not hold as much as a piston pen, I feel it will be more than adequate for my needs. I would think that it would hold as much or more than a long cartridge and definitely more than a converter. Despite the convenience of a C/C pen, I feel that filling from a bottle connects us with the past and the tradition of fountain pens.
- Cost & Value (10) – The pen lists for $500, but I was given $150 off in exchange for a thorough review here on FPN. At $500 and a small level of customization I feel this pen is at least an 8 or 9. At $350 it is easily a 15. I dare say that I would be very hard pressed to find a pen of this quality, made to order, for less. Add to that the level of customer service that I received and it was definitely worth every penny. I wanted a pen that would be mine... This is MY pen, there are many like it but this one is mine! haha
- Conclusion (Final score, 56/60) – All in all, I am happy as a clam with this pen. I wish that I could swing the money for two more; one with a medium point and one stub with correspondingly thicker lines on the caps to match the nibs. What a writing set that would make! As I said earlier, the gripping section is a little thin compared to what I am used to, but not so that I foresee it causing any problems. This pen has become my go-to pen and will see a great deal of use in the coming years. I would highly recommend this pen to anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and pens. I also highly recommend C. E. Levi Pens to anyone. Cameron makes all his pens by hand with hand tools, and that means a lot to me. I have a lot of respect for anyone who goes against the mass produced factory mindset and takes the time to do it by hand. Cameron gives me the impression that he is a man who makes pens not for the money, but for the love of pens and the satisfaction of having created a work of functional art that will be appreciated by those whose use it. That will add to the connection to the past that I feel whenever I dip the nib into a bottle of ink and refill a pen made with pride and not on an assembly line.
Edited by ParkerNT, 23 June 2013 - 22:52.