The Knox Aristotle is one of three models sold under the Knox brand by xFountainPens.com (with which I have no affiliation) at the price of US$14.99. I believe that, apart from its nib, it is Chinese-made (more on this under (2) below). I have reviewed one of the other two, the Knox Galileo, here and intend soon to post a review of the third, the Knox Plato. (Edited to add: Review of the Plato now posted, here.) All three models have metal barrels and slip-off caps, a black plastic grip section, a convertor filling system, and a smallish two-toned Knox nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad. The Aristotle is available in three finishes: "silver" (i.e., chrome), black, and gun metal. I got the one in gun metal.
1. Appearance and design
The Aristotle has a cigar shape that tapers slightly from mid-cap to tail, suggesting (to me anyway), when it is held upright, the silhouette of a slender gentleman in a well-tailored suit. Alternatively, it might suggest to you an elongated penguin. The clip has squared-off shape that I find quite elegant. Notice that it echoes the overall shape of the pen by tapering from top to bottom. At the base of the cap is a thin black plastic band and above that a thin chrome band. At the top of the barrel when the cap is on a ring of chrome with "KNOX" engraved in it is visible. On the tail is a rounded black plastic tip, separated from the barrel by another chrome-finished ring.
This seems to me a very elegant pen, with few rivals in that respect in the under-$30 range. The one flaw in its appearance, which it shares with the other two Knox models, is the fact that its nib is in two tones. As soon as the pen is uncapped, the gold of the nib sticks out like vinyl siding on a craftsman house.
The nib looks as if it was scavenged from another pen. This flaw is most conspicuous in the pen in chrome finish, where a wonderful overall appearance is crassly broken by a color that is completely out of place. You can see the effect in this photo of my Knox Plato, which has the finish in question.
2. Construction and quality
The pen is solidly constructed. As I said of the Galileo, one nice feature of the design is that, as you can see in the next photograph, the base of the grip section is of metal, so that when you screw the grip section back into the barrel, you are screwing metal into metal. This eliminates the risk of cracking the threads, as can happen with all-plastic grip sections.
I have said that I believe that this pen is Chinese-made. In fact, I will be more specific and venture the guess that it is made by the Shanghai Duke Pen Company. The givewaway, it seems to me, is in the construction. In the photo below, I have set my Knox Galileo alongside my Duke Mako:
Not only is the overall shape similar but both have a chrome band at the top of the barrel with the brand name engraved in it in block capitals and a chrome-finished metal base to the grip section. I have not seen a pen of any other manufacture that bore these traits. This could be a case of one Chinese manufacturer imitating another, but the simpler hypothesis is that it is just one manufacturer operating under different names.
3. Weight and dimensions
Although the Aristotle looks tolerably thick when capped, it is rather thin at the grip section, which seems to be identical in dimensions to that of the Galileo.
Length, capped: 14.1 cm; uncapped: 12.2 cm; posted: 16.0 cm
Width, at narrowest point of grip: approx. 0.85 cm; at thickest point in barrel, approx.1.2 cm.
Weight: 35.6 grams; body, 20.3 grams; cap, 15.4 grams (the discrepancy between the total and figures for the parts is due to rounding by the scale that I use)
4. Nib and performance
The nib is the Knox K26, not the larger K35 that fits into the "Bülow" or Jinhao X450. I ordered the pen with a medium point. It is quite smooth, as I have found all Knox nibs to be. Because of its small size (or so I presume), it feels somewhat hard, that is, less flexible than larger nibs usually feel.
The cap posts on the tail, but, on mine at least, the fit is not particularly secure. The cap does, however, snap quite securely closed on the barrel, even requiring a bit of exertion to get it on and off. I have found, however, that with Chinese-made pens, these traits can vary greatly from one specimen to another of the same model.
Those who prefer not to post their caps will find the pen of adequate size for comfortable use. Those who prefer to post their caps will find the pen's balance sub-optimal, though not intolerably so. For me there is a choice between the mild discomfort of a slightly top-heavy pen with the cap posted and the inherent mild discomfort of a pen without the cap posted. So I sometimes use the pen the one way and sometimes the other.
My experience with this pen so far, as with my Knox Galileo, is that it is a very easy starter.
5. Filling system and maintenance
I have mentioned the convertor, which is of the standard sort, with a plunger worked by twisting a knob. I had a very difficult time removing the nib and feed the first time, but this, again, is the sort of trait that can vary greatly from one specimen to another of the same pen.
6. Cost and value/conclusion
An elegantly designed, solidly constructed, smoothly writing fountain pen for US$15: enough said!
Edited by Miles R., 21 December 2013 - 02:43.