The Knox Plato 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 [Edited: Oops! The Galileo and the Aristotle are $14.99; this one is $19.99]. I believe that, apart from its nib, it is Chinese-made: for supporting details, see under heading (2) of my review of the Knox Aristotle. I have also posted a review of the Knox Galileo. 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 Plato is available in three finishes: "silver" (i.e., chrome), black, and gun metal. I got the one in "silver."
1. Appearance and design
The xFountainPens site has photos of the pen only in one position, with the cap posted. This is a pity, as it seems to me the pen shows its most striking aspect when the cap is on.
The cap is almost as broad at the top as at the bottom and is surmounted by a flat piece—a sort of cap cap, one might call it—giving it the shape of a peg. Actually, as far as I can make out by my unaided eye, there is a slight tapering on both ends of the pen, but the greater rounding on the tail together with the flat end-piece on the cap make the cap appear more peg-like than the barrel.
Here is a photo of one of each model of Knox pen: from left to right, the Galileo, the Plato, and the Aristotle.
As the comparison makes clear, the Plato has rather a low "waist": it looks as if its cap is longer than the visible portion of the barrel. The seam between the tailpiece and the visible part of the barrel, standing in contrast to the uninterrupted smoothness of the cap, contributes to this appearance. In fact, the two are, as nearly as I can measure, of exactly the same length.
I have said "the visible part of the barrel" because the barrel in fact extends a good 2 cm above the bottom edge of the seated cap. That little band visible just below the cap—the spare tire, as it were, of the waist of the pen—has "KNOX" engraved in it. When the cap is removed and posted, one sees this:
It's a rather disappointing sight. As I have remarked in my reviews of the other two Knox models, the gold plating on the nib is a tacky detail that makes the nib look as if it came from another pen. It certainly does not belong on this one.
2. Construction and quality
The pen is solidly constructed. As with the other Knox models, 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.
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: 13.8 cm; uncapped: 12.9 cm; posted: 17.1 cm
Width, at narrowest point of grip: approx. 0.85 cm; at thickest point in barrel, approx.1.3 cm.
Weight: 44.9 grams; body, 33.2 grams; cap, 11.7 grams
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 on my pen slips on and off easily but with a satisfying click. It posts easily and securely on the tail and makes a rather satisfying little pop when pulled off the tail.
The balance is better than one would expect in view of the dimensions of the pen. This is because the cap, though tall, is not particularly heavy. Nonetheless, the pen feels a bit unwieldy with the cap posted. I suspect that this is not merely because of the sheer length of the pen in that posture (17.1 cm = 6 3/4 inches) but because the nib is so small in proportion to the whole.
In sum, the pen's balance is certainly below the best but not intolerable. Non-posting writers, of course, will have no trouble on this point.
5. Filling system and maintenance
I have mentioned the convertor, which is of the standard sort, with a plunger worked by twisting a knob.
6. Cost and value/conclusion
A smoothly writing fountain of solid construction and striking design for US$
15 20 [Edited: the price has not changed; I just made a mistake]: enough said!
Edited by Miles R., 21 December 2013 - 12:21.