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REVIEW: Conway Stewart Dandy


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#1 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 17:07



CONWAY STEWART DANDY
Black, Sterling Trim, Lever fill, IF Nib


My Conway Stewart Dandy is the "little black dress" of my fountain pen collection. It epitomises my taste in pens so perfectly,
that I cannot believe I had endured so long without it.

Let me start by saying that I collect vintage CS Dinkies, Dandies and Duros -- of the very early straight-sided flat-top variety,
made of casein. These pens are so spectacular, and display such an unbelievable degree of craftsmanship and attention to
detail, that I was worried the modern version might disappoint. Well, I certainly need not have worried: the modern Dandy is,
let's see: classic, intriguing, spectacular, darling -- absolutely perfect!



Looks and Design

The CS Dandy is modeled upon the vintage flat-top Dandy, in a way that shows a true grasp of what made the design of
the original pen so special: Everything that is important to me has been faithfully retained -- namely, the form, the
proportions, the "lolly-pop" lever, the knurled endcap, the early-era fixed "stepped" clip, and the curved section. These design
elements are extremely important to me, and I cannot say enough about how happy I am that CS has recreated them so well
and with such fine attention to detail. Even the engraved CS logos on the clip and lever, and the markings on the barrel are
well executed. The double cap-bands are unusual, in that they are rounded and 3-D (like two silver wires), as opposed to
flattened strips against the cap.

While maintaining the form and proportions of the original, CS increased the size of the pen (I can only write with the vintage
Dandy when posted) and provided the option of sterling trim, which was not originally available. The black body harmonises
with the sterling trim beautifully, and the size is just large enough to qualify this small pen as a daily writer.

Of course, the one drawback of the modern Dandy, is that it is not offered in the abundance of colourful caseins that the
original company was known for. But I think that for a modern pen, this is not a fair criticism: Today's pen production simply
does not make this possible. The black resin here is durable and practical. And, ennobled by the silver hardware, it looks
classic and sophisticated.



Size, Weight, Comfort

The Dandy is quite a small pen, stopping short of being what I would call a mini. It is about the length of a Sailor Sapporo,
only thicker. It is light (but not too light, due to the sterling trim) and well-balanced both posted and unposted.

Filling System

Lever! I am exceptionally grateful that, unlike most other companies today, Conway Stewart makes internally filling pens.
Levers in particular are almost unheard of nowadays, unless the pen is a very expensive LE. I am very fond of lever-filling
pens, and the lolly-pop styling of the CS lever is especially dear to me. So pretty! The lever has been functioning without
problems through twofillings thus far. It is easy to operate and draws a sufficient amount of ink.

Nib

My CS Dandy came with a two-tone 18K nib. Modern Conway Stewart nibs look a little different from those of other
manufacturers, because they do not have breather holes. I am not too crazy about that, as I like breather holes as a
design element. But otherwise, the nib is beautifully shaped. This is my 3rd CS Italic Fine nib, but unlike the others (which
both write like M stubs), this one has only very subtly stubbish properties. It is, however, exceptionally smooth and perfectly
behaved.



Cost

The CS Dandy must be ordered bespoke (or bought from a shop that has some pre-made ones lying about), and as a
bespoke pen it is not trivially priced. From what I have seen, prices range from the $300s into the high $400s.


Conclusions

I am very pleased to finally own a classic, perfect, modern Dandy. In the beginning, I had agonized about the colour and
arrived at my original instinctive preference for black only after much adventure and ambivalence. Now I am certainly glad
that I did, because this pen, in its exact configuration, clearly belongs at the very core in my collection. If you are into classic
flat-tops, this pen is absolutely for you. Of course the problem, is that one cannot have only one Dandy. I envision a Classic
Green in my future... or an Opal... or a Lapis... Well, we shall wait and see! Either of those colours would be just dandy : )


Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 17:25.


#2 jbn10161

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 17:19

That is an absolutely gorgeous pen!
JN

#3 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 17:52

Thank you : )

I am adding photos of a couple of my vintage CS for comparison:







Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 18:09.


#4 dandelion

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 18:05

Thank you QM2 for these dandy pics of the Dandy. Simply stunning understated elegance. I like the contrast between the rough stones and the cool, elegant, polished Dandy. It would be great if you could post a writing sample as it is always nice to see the performance of a FI.
Best/dand(y)lion

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#5 MYU

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 18:37

Wow... beautiful pen. I think I'm now sorry I passed on Bryant's good deal for these. sad.gif
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#6 ethernautrix

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 18:49

I love your Dandy! It is perfection!

I was all set to buy another CS when I saw your Dandy. So then I was confused by indecision. Coincidentally, my inquiry to Bryant dovetailed with the CS sale.

Mine will have gold trim instead of my preferred silver, but I'm not terribly upset, as I've gotten a good price on the pair. (Note to self: Why even say "deal-breaker?" It never is!)

Having tried Deirdre's CS pens, I'm very happily anticipating the arrival of my Dandies.

Also, and I know this can be considered sacrilegious, I prefer the converter to the lever filler, but the lever on your Dandy looks absolutely smashing!

Gorgeous pen, QM2!
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#7 troglokev

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:00

Gasp!

EtherX, how could you say such a thing?

#8 ethernautrix

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:04

QUOTE (troglokev @ May 7 2009, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Gasp!

EtherX, how could you say such a thing?


You mean about the lever?

It isn't that I don't like levers; it's that I like to see the ink, even if I have to unscrew the barrel.

The Edison Pearl ED? Next time, window. Heh.

(Or maybe not. I can live with some ambiguity, but if I have a choice, I prefer clarity. Hey! Like living!)


Then again... the lever as a design element on the Dandy adds to its aesthetic perfection. Ah... well....


Edited by ethernautrix, 07 May 2009 - 19:05.

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#9 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:11

QUOTE (ethernautrix @ May 7 2009, 08:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was all set to buy another CS when I saw your Dandy. So then I was confused by indecision. Coincidentally, my inquiry to Bryant dovetailed with the CS sale.

Mine will have gold trim instead of my preferred silver, but I'm not terribly upset, as I've gotten a good price on the pair.


You've left out a crucial bit of information there -- what colour are you getting??..
And I am a little confused now about the sale: Aren't the pens bespoke, enabling you to get any kind of trim? Or did Bryant already have pre-made pens from them?..

QUOTE (ethernautrix @ May 7 2009, 09:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It isn't that I don't like levers; it's that I like to see the ink, even if I have to unscrew the barrel.

The Edison Pearl ED? Next time, window. Heh.


I lift the lever ever so slightly to see whether ink wants to start oozing out of the nib. If not, then time to refill.
Not the best method, I know! But living dangerously keeps me young.

Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 19:19.


#10 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:14

QUOTE (dandelion @ May 7 2009, 08:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you QM2 for these dandy pics of the Dandy. Simply stunning understated elegance. I like the contrast between the rough stones and the cool, elegant, polished Dandy. It would be great if you could post a writing sample as it is always nice to see the performance of a FI.
Best/dand(y)lion


Hehe Dadn(y)lion : ))

Thank you! These photos were taken next to the ocean in Maine, my favourite place in the world.

I will try to post an IF writing sample soon!

QM2

Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 19:21.


#11 ethernautrix

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:20

QUOTE (QM2 @ May 7 2009, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You've left out a crucial bit of information there -- what colour are you getting??..
And I am a little confused now about the sale: Aren't the pens bespoke, enabling you to get any kind of trim? Or did Bryant already have pre-made pens from them?..


Not quite bespoke. Or I suppose the bespokes were on sale as well, but I wanted, oh wait a minute. Now I'm confused.

Between the original pen I wanted and then wanting your Dandy (I might have planned to glue a bit of silver on the barrel to look like a lever. Maybe. I don't know), I saved the price of a pen by buying two -- one black and one (should I say? or should I wait and unleash the photos?!) not-black -- so I can swap the caps. And possibly sell one or give it to my mother (if she likes it) or keep both like the greedy pen-hoarding pen accumulator I am becoming. (I'm living a real-life version of a cliffhanger. What's going to happen next? I don't know!)
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#12 Deirdre

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 19:24

There was a bespoke sale for only c/c and only gold trim. So it was kind of demi-bespoke.
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#13 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 20:03

QUOTE (Deirdre @ May 7 2009, 09:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There was a bespoke sale for only c/c and only gold trim. So it was kind of demi-bespoke.


Ah, got it.

Nope, I cannot imagine getting a C/C when a lever is possible. Those levers are just so sexy.
Seriously, I think CS wins the award for "sexiest lever".

I do have one cartridge/converter CS, which is the Centenary overlay. It is forgiven, on account of being an overlay (thought they could have still made it a lever-fill if they tried!)


Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 20:07.


#14 MYU

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 20:07

QUOTE (QM2 @ May 7 2009, 04:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nope, I cannot imagine getting a C/C when a lever is possible. Those levers are just so sexy.
Seriously, I think CS wins the award for "sexiest lever".

I agree. They did do a marvelous job on that lever... that's partly what dissuaded me from the sale. I didn't want a c/c filler at that price. On the other hand, if it could accommodate a CON-70 converter from Pilot, I'd have reconsidered. wink.gif

Edited by MYU, 07 May 2009 - 20:08.

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#15 dandelion

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 20:09

QM2 - could you please consider posting the pics in the gallery-to-be in the CS forum?
I'll hold my tounge in the lever question. Too many bisarre jokes playing around in my head.
I'll just say: With lever is nicer than without. rolleyes.gif

Edited by dandelion, 07 May 2009 - 20:10.

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#16 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 20:12

QUOTE (dandelion @ May 7 2009, 10:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QM2 - could you please consider posting the pics in the gallery-to-be in the CS forum?

Certainly! -- where is the gallery?

I also think we should post photos of our CS Dandies (after you receive yours) on our bicycles (after I receive mine, in July!).


QUOTE (dandelion @ May 7 2009, 10:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll hold my tounge in the lever question. Too many bisarre jokes playing around in my head.
I'll just say: With lever is nicer than without. rolleyes.gif

I agree; better with than without, quite right!

Edited by QM2, 07 May 2009 - 20:14.


#17 stevlight

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 22:59

Where do I order one of these just like the one shown?
www.stevelightart.com

#18 QM2

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 23:04

I ordered mine from my local shop, Bromfield Pen Shop. You can also order it from other sellers who carry CS, such as Richard Binder and Bryant here on FPN. You just need to be sure and specify the features you want (colour, trim, filling system, etc).

#19 Brian

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 23:15

A really nice review of a classic design. I especially like it when the pen company takes the time to work out the little details like a knurled cap top, rounded trim rings, and the use of precious metal for the trim. I have to admit a preference for black pens with either gold or silver trim and with the classic flat top shape. You would think there are only so many ways to design a pen this way, but that would ignore the truth that beauty does lie in the details.

Best regards

Edited by Brian, 08 May 2009 - 17:07.


#20 Rufus

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 00:13

QM2 that's alovely looking pen and an excellent review. You really had me hooked on a Dandy, but, alas it's too small for my liking; I clearly fall in the Duro and 100 camp. Notwithstanding, the pen looks superb.
Bryan

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