I was rather nervous when I had collected the huge parcel at the Post Office. I had been so excited about getting this pen that I didn't want to get disappointed. Especially as I'd been extremely indecisive about which colour I should choose. What if it was dreary and the colour was unbearable? I've sold off a lot of (loved) pens during the last month to fund both this pen and a Dandy (yet to come). To get the most out of the unwrapping I got a grip of myself and my extreme curiosity and brewed myself a fresh pot of (fair-trade & dark roasted) coffee and made myself a nice version of caffé latte. (It was too early in the day to let it be accompanied by a Grand Marnier or a Whisky).
If I were to rate the anticipation and excitement before actually holding the pen in my hands, it would get 10/10.
When I finally allowed myself to open the outer shipping box I almost jumped of excitement. The box contained - a well bubble wrapped box. Inside the layers of bubble wrapped plastic there was a huge, glossy black...box.
I opened it and found another…box in the same size as the outer box that looked very classy.
Inside this box there was yet a…box…to find. The famous little elegant diamond shaped box – neatly fitted into the big one. Understated, classy elegance at its best.
As for presentation and dramaturgic quality so far: 10/10
I opened the lid and found – not a box – the Duro. At first I was a little puzzled. So this was IT. A pen. No choir of angels, no trumpets, nor did a little brass band start to play.
Thoughts after opening the box:
"A very well built pen I could tell. Rather big. Strange, elusive colour in black…lilac…purple…pinkish purple…or maybe aubergine…? It looks like they have put velvet inside the plastic. How do they DO this kind of plastic? Fascinating pen. Not quite what I had expected, but nevertheless fascinating. Very solid. And the nib looks very nice, too and that clip – lovely, lovely old fashioned, well fitted clip. Not a bad pen, not at all. Oooh…look there is a little brochure…it is the warranty…it says that the pen was made May 11…this is insane. Very British."]
I don't know if I should give it an extra point for the pen being surprisingly intriguing and not quite what I had expected, or if I should lower the grade. I'm fastidious here and rate it 9/10.
Finish & Design
This is a classic pen. The shape of the cap and barrel is even better than I had expected. I had planned to buy a Dandy because of its ultra-classic straight flattop, but when I noticed that it was possible to get a fine italic if I choose a Duro I went for the Duro (initially – then I went insane and ordered a Dandy as well). I was a bit skeptical to the fact that the cap bends slightly inwards at the top, and if it would be judged as a flattop the Dandy has the ultimate shape compared to this. However if you judge it as a pen in its own right – it has a truly beautiful shape. You can tell by the looks of it that it is handcrafted. The finish is superb. Everything fits together very well. It feels solid and the plastic has a finish, colour and lustre I have yet to experience from another brand. One little flaw is that the posting qualities could be better. It posts rather well, but the fitting could be little better. An extra gold star for the lovely gripping section which makes long writing sessions a pleasure.9.5/10
Size & Weight
It is a bigger pen that I had expected.
It weighs around 20 g and measures: 13.6 cm capped; 13 cm uncapped; 17.5 posted and
it is very comfortable to hold. I like Pelikan M4XX, which is tiny compared to the Duro, and find this very nice. As stated above, it is very comfortable for long writing sessions. It is solid, yet not heavy, it is very well balanced – both posted and unposted. I can't find anything to complain about here: 10/10
I always find it very hard to grade nibs. This is a fine italic. It is an excellent, slightly wet, writer. Perfect for journaling or writing long letters. If you judge it according to that it is labelled "fine italic", and expect a fine italic, it doesn't live up to that. If you, on the other hand, know (which I did) that the CS fine italics write more like medium stubs with a moderate line variation, there is not much to complain about. The flow is excellent (on the wet side) and Diamine and Pelikan ink suits this pen very well. Noodler's Polar Black is very wet in this pen – no catastrophe, but it is a little too wet for me. I like this nib very much. It is very smooth, but gives a little response. No toothiness. The flow is consistent. I like it very much and am very curious to see how the Dandy extra fine will perform. In all I'd say that this is a nib that proves that this pen is made as a writing instrument – not jewellery – which makes me very happy. I think I would give it 10/10 if CS made interchangeable nib sections like Pelikan, and/or called this a stub. 9.75/10
This comes with a cartridge/converter filling which takes international standard cartridges (thank you Conway Stewart). The other option would be button filler; but it wasn't an option within the spring sale deal. I had chosen the c/c anyway, since I like to have some pens with cartridges (as long as they take converters) – easy to clean, change ink and convenient when travelling. I'm no purist, and if I should have had the option to choose between button filler and a c/c filler, I'd gone for the c/c anyway. It had been possible to choose piston filler (with an interchangeable nib section) I'd chosen that. 8.75/10
Value for the money
I have very hard to make a judgment of that – I don't think any expensive pens (I know that is relative, but say pens for more than a $100) are "really" worth the money. Luther and my thoughts on how one can justify pens for $1-followed-by-a-lot-of-zeros, sits on my shoulder here. I do buy (expensive) pens and enjoy them, but I am split in regards to this.
But, if I ignore that for a moment I'd say: yes. This is a well made pen – the craftsmanship shows. It writes more than well – it is a pleasure to write with. 9.5/10
This probably is the most well made pen I have ever owned. The flaws are minor and if I should grade it separately, it would get 9.5/10
The total would be (I've not counted the prologue, the "wrapping grade" within the first impression or the summary): 56.5/60
Edited by dandelion, 27 May 2009 - 17:02.