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REVIEW: Yard-o-Led Viceroy Victorian Standard


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#1 QM2

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 19:39



YARD-O-LED VICEROY VICTORIAN
Standard Size


Acquired in early 2007, this Viceroy Victorian was not only my first Yard-o-Led, but also my first
true "holy grail" pen. I received it as a gift together with the Perfecta Victorian pencil, pictured
here alongside the pen. The main purpose of this review is to address questions about the size,
comfort, and aesthetics of this YOL model, which I am frequently asked.

Presentation and Packaging

Yard-o-Led has great taste in packaging design. The pens come in a black wooden chest that
closes securely with a metal clasp and is lined with black velvet. Having three of these boxes
now, I find that they are very useful for storing jewelry and spare pen parts. Please see my
review of the YOL Corinthian for an image of the box.




Appearance and Design

The standard size Viceroy looks like a simple, thin silver rod with flat ends. Three different
finishes are offered on this model: Plain (smooth silver with no engraving), Barley, and Victorian.
The Victorian finish is a romantic floral design: a filigree of curling vines and leaf-like forms, as
shown on the closeup below.



The cap and barrel of the pen are hand crafted out of solid silver, then engraved with the
Victorian pattern -- except for the endcaps, cap lip, and gripping section, which are not engraved.
On the cap and barrel, the pattern is interrupted by a blank personalisation plate, which is a narrow,
unobtrusive rectangle, and by a display of hallmarks stamped into the silver. Displaying hallmarks on
English silver pieces seems to be an art of its own, and Yard-o-Led has most definitely done a
wonderful job incorporating this element into the designs of its pens.



The cap of the pen is flush with the barrel, so that the two form an uninterrupted surface line when
the cap is closed.

A key element that contributes to the pen's image is the old fashioned Yard-o-Led clip. It is a fixed
clip, early 1920's style, with two screws on a rectangular plate. The clip itself is gracefully curved,
ending in a curling fold of silver.

"Is This a Ladies' Pen?"

One question I have seen, as well as have been asked directly on several occasions, is whether this
is a "ladies' pen" or a "feminine pen". I will preface my answer by stressing that (1) this is a very
subjective judgment, and (2) that I am all for androgyny. But my answer is, yes -- I consider the
standard size Victorian to be a rather feminine pen, due to the combination of its floral design and
diminutive size. The considerably larger, Grand Victorian does not create this impression, but the
Standard size does. Keep reading for more on size, including useful size comparison images.



Dimensions and Writing Comfort

The Yard-o-Led Viceroy Victorian Standard is 5.25" capped, 4.75" uncapped, and just under 6.25"
posted. Nib is .70" from the tip to the point where it enters the section.

Another frequently asked question about the Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard, is just how thin is it?
Well, it is quite thin: The widest point of the pen is 0.375" in diameter, which is not much wider
than a standard pencil. The image below compares the Viceroy Victorian Standard to the Faber Castell
Ambition, the Caran D'Ache Ecridor, and to a standard-size common pencil.



Here is another comparison: the Victorian Standard next to the Corinthian, which is a considerably
thicker pen, but oddly, not that much heavier. Unfortunately, I do not own a Grand Viceroy, so cannot
offer direct comparison images of the two pens. But I have seen the models next to each other at the
local B&M shop, and the size of the Grand is much more substantial -- the width looks almost
double that of the Standard.



I do not have weight statistics for the Viceroy Victorian Standard, but being solid sterling silver,
naturally the pen is heavy for its size. I prefer heavier pens, but for others this is a characteristic
to be aware of.

The pen posts without problems, and that is how I use my pens. However, the balance feels feels
good both posted and unposted.

The sterling silver gripping section warms up to the touch and is pleasant to grip -- but may be
too narrow for some due to the overall form of the pen.

Personally, I find all aspects of this pen's design comfortable, except for one: I am not entirely
crazy about the snap closure of the cap, which I think could be smoother. I should clarify that
I think the same of the Corinthian and all other YOLs I've tried, so this comment is not unique to
the Viceroy model.



Filling System

The filling system on all Yard-o-Led pens is international Cartridge/Converter.

Nib

The 18K Yard-o-Led nibs are famous for being smooth, wet, reliable writers. They are tolerant of
a wide variety of inks and resistant to clogging. Even infamous problem inks that refuse to write
normally in other pens (think Noodler's El Lawrence and Herbin Bouquet D'Antan), flow with
abandon through YOL's magical nib & feed system. The nibs run wide, and my Fine wrote like a
Medium. As with most of my nibs, I eventually had it customised -- in this case, to a beautiful
.4mm cursive italic.

Value

I will come right out and say that Oscar Braun Pens offers the best prices on YOL. At the time this
pen was given to me, its price was in the $300's (and the Perfecta pencil in the $200's). Considering
that these are solid silver writing instruments, I think this is a superb deal. Retail prices are
significantly higher, and European shop prices even more so.

Conclusions

Leave it to Yard-o-Led to make a solid precious metal pen engraved with a Victorian floral pattern,
that does not look over the top! It is utterly beautiful, yet subdued. Add to this the impeccable
craftsmanship and superior nib performance, and the appeal is undeniable. The only aspects to
consider, are: (1) whether the Victorian finish suits your taste, and (2) whether the Standard size is
right for you. Luckily, the pen comes in two other finishes and two additional sizes, to accommodate
different tastes and size preferences. Due to the heavy and monochromatic characteristics of sterling
silver, these YOL pens are not for everyone. But as many have noted, they have a cult following of
ecstatic owners : )


Edited by QM2, 28 October 2008 - 15:05.


#2 playpen

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 20:37

I first saw this pen at the last Long Island pen show. Another FPN'er showed it to me during lunch and I could not believe how beautiful it was. It is a wonderful pen, beautifully weighted, smooth writing and stunning to look at. I love the way it warms to the touch when I hold it.

This pen stands out from the crowd in every way possible. Everyone should have one in their collection! notworthy1.gif

#3 Ghost Plane

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 20:53

Chalk me up as a triple member of the cult.

#4 Deirdre

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 21:18

I finally got to hold one at Castle in the Air in Berkeley -- if I'd not been saving up for a major purchase, I'd have bought it on the spot.
deirdre.net
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#5 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 21:54

Yikes! That is thin! I like the pencil crayon there tossed in for emphasis. Wish it was a piston filler or something, but that would make it really heavy I guess.

PRAG
Pens I own in order of acquisition:
Montblanc 145, F nib.
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib.
Montblanc 149, F nib.
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib.
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib.

#6 QM2

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 23:15

QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 27 2008, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yikes! That is thin! I like the pencil crayon there tossed in for emphasis. Wish it was a piston filler or something, but that would make it really heavy I guess.


Oh that's not a crayon -- it's a thin wooden colour pencil! I usually go for much thicker pens, but the ones in these images are exceptions.

#7 FrankB

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 23:39

Another excellent review. Thank you, QM2. I love the comparison photos.

The Victorian does indeed have a wonderful vintage aura about it. It is a pen that I personally would allow to tarnish a bit to enhance the vintage effect.

Since I learned how to write with a dip pen many moons ago in grammar school, I would hold this pen as I would the thin shaft of a dip pen. But, alas!, middle age, service connected injuries and Arthur Itis make it increasingly difficult for me to wield pens that size. I will most likely continue to enjoy this pen in photos only.

#8 QM2

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 23:49

QUOTE (FrankB @ Oct 28 2008, 12:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
alas!, middle age, service connected injuries and Arthur Itis make it increasingly difficult for me to wield pens that size. I will most likely continue to enjoy this pen in photos only.


I am sorry to hear that : (
Try the Grand size? It is a very thick pen; I believe at least twice the diameter of the Standard.

#9 Ghost Plane

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 02:46

Frank, you NEED the Grand. The width and length of it make it very comfortable for the most abused hand.

#10 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:03

QUOTE (QM2 @ Oct 27 2008, 05:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 27 2008, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yikes! That is thin! I like the pencil crayon there tossed in for emphasis. Wish it was a piston filler or something, but that would make it really heavy I guess.


Oh that's not a crayon -- it's a thin wooden colour pencil! I usually go for much thicker pens, but the ones in these images are exceptions.


So pencil crayon? unsure.gif Now I'm confused!
Pens I own in order of acquisition:
Montblanc 145, F nib.
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib.
Montblanc 149, F nib.
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib.
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib.

#11 troglokev

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 12:38

QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 28 2008, 11:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (QM2 @ Oct 27 2008, 05:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 27 2008, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yikes! That is thin! I like the pencil crayon there tossed in for emphasis. Wish it was a piston filler or something, but that would make it really heavy I guess.


Oh that's not a crayon -- it's a thin wooden colour pencil! I usually go for much thicker pens, but the ones in these images are exceptions.


So pencil crayon? unsure.gif Now I'm confused!


It's like a fountain ballpoint that you can draw on walls with and grind into the carpet. tongue.gif

Getting back to the review: that's a seriously girly pen, QM2. It gives me the same feeling I get when I find myself lost in the lingerie department when I'm looking for the stationery section of a city department store.

Why do they design department stores like that?

#12 QM2

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 14:50

QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 28 2008, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (QM2 @ Oct 27 2008, 05:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 27 2008, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yikes! That is thin! I like the pencil crayon there tossed in for emphasis. Wish it was a piston filler or something, but that would make it really heavy I guess.


Oh that's not a crayon -- it's a thin wooden colour pencil! I usually go for much thicker pens, but the ones in these images are exceptions.


So pencil crayon? unsure.gif Now I'm confused!


I guess when you say "crayon", I am thinking children's Crayola Crayon or artist's Oil Crayon -- both which are thicker than the standard pencil. Of course, now it occurs to me that you probably meant "crayon" as in the French word for pencil?.. In that case, it makes sense of course; I am just used to the two words (crayon vs pencil) referring to different objects.

crayon(s)...


pencil...

Edited by QM2, 28 October 2008 - 15:06.


#13 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 00:40

Hmmm, I'm not to sure where "utopia" is, but I think it might have to do with this issue...
@troglokev
I don't think the Victorian finish is that girly. I think it looks quite nice, and it wouldn't stop me from choosing that finish. It a solid silver pen! It deserves and needs the flair that you don't quite get with the plain finish or the barley.
Pens I own in order of acquisition:
Montblanc 145, F nib.
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib.
Montblanc 149, F nib.
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib.
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib.

#14 QM2

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 14:30

QUOTE (PigRatAndGoat @ Oct 29 2008, 01:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hmmm, I'm not to sure where "utopia" is, but I think it might have to do with this issue...
@troglokev
I don't think the Victorian finish is that girly. I think it looks quite nice, and it wouldn't stop me from choosing that finish. It a solid silver pen! It deserves and needs the flair that you don't quite get with the plain finish or the barley.


That's right, good thinking (re the Victorian finish!)

Utopia is transcontinental and atemporal... But the crayon=crayon, pencil=pencil thing I learned in New England : )


#15 Chippy1199

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 15:01

How does this stack up against your Caran d' Ache Ecridor? I have read both of your reviews on each pen, and noticed that they are similar sizes capped and posted. Is there a significant weight difference or diameter difference?

Do the nibs provide a similar sized line? I.e. medium = medium?

I am looking at buying the Yard-O-Led and any help would be great thanks

#16 QM2

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 15:19

QUOTE (Chippy1199 @ Jan 4 2009, 05:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How does this stack up against your Caran d' Ache Ecridor? I have read both of your reviews on each pen, and noticed that they are similar sizes capped and posted. Is there a significant weight difference or diameter difference?

Do the nibs provide a similar sized line? I.e. medium = medium?

I am looking at buying the Yard-O-Led and any help would be great thanks


The 6th photo in my review shows the Caran d'Ache Ecridor and the YOL Viceroy next to each other (see?), so that should give you a good idea of length and diameter comparisons.

The weight is similar as well.

Despite the nibs being very different from one another in how the feel, the line they produce is very similar. So based on my experience, a YOL Fine line is equivalent to a CdA Fine line (I would say about .5mm).

In terms of quality and value, the YOL Viceroy is a higher-end pen than the Caran d'Ache Ecridor.
. The YOL is solid sterling silver; the CdA is silver-plated
. The YOL is hand engraved, the CdA is machine engraved
. The YOL has a gold nib; the CdA has a steel nib
. The YOL's nib has softness/ flexibility to it; the CdA's nib is stiff as a nail
. The YOL Viceroy is a $400+ MSRP pen; the CdA is a $100 MSRP pen

Hope this helps,
QM2

#17 CharlieB

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 15:43

I'm a proud of owner of the Grand version of the Yard O Led Viceroy Victorian, and I can assure you that YOL makes great pens.... and a much better value for your money than Caran d'Ache.
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#18 Ghost Plane

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 19:28

+1 YOL

#19 playpen

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 00:58

Last month I became the delighted owner of a second YOL - the Corinthian. It's much larger than the standard sized Victorian but just as comfortable to use. I'm already trying to decide which other one I "need" ... roflmho.gif

#20 Chippy1199

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:04

Well i made the splurge and bought the Silver Victroian Grande model. It is an EXTREMELY nice pen to write with, i tried the fine, medium and broad nib sizes, and settled on a medium. But because they didnt have a medium there they sent me home with a broad with the promise of an exchange when their Brisbane office sends a medium nib. (I am in Sydney) All in all very happy, except for 1 small detail being that my convertor isnt sealing properly, and leaks. Not just when laying on its side, but also when it is standing upright with the nib facing the sky.
The quality of workmanship is impeccable, and it has a very nice balance in my hand when unposted, it feels a tad bit back heavy when posted. It is a fairly heavy pen, but that doesnt bother me because I have large hands.

See images below of the Broad, Medium, and Fine nibs compared, and a comparison in size to my pelikan m215, and caran d' ache ecridor






#21 QM2

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 18:45

Hey, it's great that you like the pen! Not so great that the converter is leaking, but thankfully standard international converters are easy to replace.

Thanks for the writing samples!
QM2

#22 danielinman

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:12

I bought a Yard-o-Led Viceroy Victorian about four years and I can only agree that it is a great pen to write with.

The only problem is that it started leaking a couple of years ago. Since I was living in China at the time, I couldn't find anywhere that could fix it. Now I am in Hong Kong, I chanced a upon a former stockist, who tried to fix it and failed. Ironically, Yard-o-Led is based in my native Birmingham, but I really can't be bothered to send it all the way there.

Despite that, I'm still a massive fan of YoL, and I am thinking of splashing out on their new limited edition (forgotten what it is called).

#23 Ghost Plane

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:20

Is it the post costs holding you back? YOL do a wonderful job on section leaks. I sent a barley standard in some years ago and they replaced about 1/3 of the pen at no charge! Swapped out the black section for a silver one and gave me a new nib while they were at it. Came back looking and acting like a new pen and I was ecstatic.

#24 Chippy1199

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 10:20

Thankfully i got my leak repaired. I took it back to the shop, and the replaced the converter with a standard one, and 2 1/2 weeks on no leaks. Very happy!

Now i just need to speak to them about getting my medium nib!

#25 QM2

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:55

I am glad to hear that it was only a converter issue!

QM2

#26 dandelion

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:24

I'm not normally into pens with flowery patterns, but this is such a graceful pen! This pleasant and thorough (as always, QM2) review deserves a bump from the current reader who right now is very interested in YOLs and am planning to join the fan club very soon.
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#27 Ed Ronax

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 12:55

Excellent review, lovely pen, thanks.
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#28 ballboy

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 23:48

I got to try this beauty a few hours ago. It this the same pen but with a different finish? Would it also take the Waterman size long cartridge? It certainly felt slim yet comfortable even with a comparison trial with a MB Solitare Sterling Silver and some Montegrappas: Mya & Extra. Held up well in this company.

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