Early Impressions I first saw the Stallion about ten years ago in a fountain pen shop. My favorite at the time was the Waterman Gentleman. To me the l’Etalon looked thick and awkward. “Well, that’s one I won’t have to get” I thought, and I paid no attention to them for years.
A few weeks ago I saw a sterling silver model at a pen club gathering. Seeing it up close I was impressed with its quality. The more I examined it, the more I realized that I had overlooked a gem. Not long after that, I bought a gold-plated l’Etalon in basket weave pattern with a broad nib, at auction. It is the pen I am reviewing here.
Appearance & Design The basket weave pattern covers the entire barrel and cap, a big plus to me. It appears to be cast or pressed rather than engraved. The pattern is expertly formed and very attractive. The finish on the body of the pen is matte; the band, clip and barrel end are highly polished. The look is rich and luxurious.
Weight & Dimensions The pen has a substantial feel, and rests securely in the hand. No actual gripping is necessary to keep it in place. The plastic section, though not concave, is easy to rotate; so it’s easy to keep the nib at the desired placement on the paper. The weight and balance are perfect for me.
Weight: 38 grams with cap; 24 grams without cap
Length: capped 14 cm, without cap 12.5 cm
Width at cap/barrel seam: 12 cm
For size comparison, here is the l’Etalon next to a Parker Sonnet and a Sheaffer Legacy II.
Nib & Performance The pen came with a broad 18k gold nib, which wrote smoothly and reliably. I have a lot of favorite ink colors, and I enjoy seeing them in a bold stroke. But I also find that with a big round point, my handwriting can be hard to read; some of the loops don’t look like loops at all. So I had Pendemonium regrind the nib to match one of my favorite nibs – a Sheaffer Stylist stub. With the nib's new shape, my letters are closer to what I intend to make them, and easier to read. It’s still very smooth, and wonderful to write with.
Filling System The pen uses cartridges or a convertor, as do most of my pens. It’s acceptable. I spend a few seconds filling the pen, and can then write with it for hours.
Cost & Value Here it really shines: It is a high quality writing instrument, elegant in design, finely engineered using quality materials. The cap opens and closes with a quiet ‘click’. Holding the pen is as pleasant an experience as writing with it. The prices I have seen for new old stock examples are around 200 USD and a bit higher. As with many pens, you can find a range of prices, depending on condition and the vagaries of the market.
Conclusion I am very glad I had an opportunity to give this pen another look. It’s among my favorites now.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this example.
Edited by CRB, 25 May 2009 - 22:07.