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Conway Stewart Duro - Amethyst & with a Fine Italic Nib


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#1 dandelion

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 13:50

I will try to make a balanced review of this pen. I've had it for one week and written a LOT with it, so I think I can make a review that doesn't only consist of superlatives.

Prologue
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.

First Impression

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

Nib
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



Filling
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


Summary

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.

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#2 QM2

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 13:55

Great review! I certainly know the feeling of receiving that enormous diamond-shape box and getting overwhelmed with expectations : )

This is certainly one of the more unusual CS colours out there and your photos are really useful, as they show off the material better than the sample swatches. For that reason, I'd suggest to also include some of your photos here from the other thread, that how the colour of the cap. That will help those looking at this review will be able to get the full picture.

Enjoy your new pen!
QM2

#3 dandelion

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 14:32

Thank you for being so fast giving positive feedback - it is very appreciated!
QUOTE (QM2 @ May 27 2009, 03:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great review! I certainly know the feeling of receiving that enormous diamond-shape box and getting overwhelmed with expectations : )

This is certainly one of the more unusual CS colours out there and your photos are really useful, as they show off the material better than the sample swatches. For that reason, I'd suggest to also include some of your photos here from the other thread, that how the colour of the cap. That will help those looking at this review will be able to get the full picture.

Enjoy your new pen!
QM2

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#4 Rufus

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 14:43

An excellent review. My thougts and experience with my Duro echo yours. What I like the most about the Duro-design is its timelessness. I think this pen successfully straddles both the vintage era and the modern era. My Duro is in Dartmoor, which I think is a perfect colour for the pen
Bryan

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#5 saintsimon

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 19:50

Thanks for the nice review.

BTW, the nib is interchangeable - with other Bock nibs in Stipulas, Bexleys, Danitrios & more. They can be screwed out of the section and will most likely show the standard Bock nib unit. wink.gif

Edited by saintsimon, 27 May 2009 - 19:52.


#6 GeeTee

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 20:18

Great review. I received my Duro yesterday and i completely agree with what you say about it. It's a classic thumbup.gif

#7 MYU

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 22:27

Great review! I like your photography as well, especially with the pen pointing to Cornwall. smile.gif

It is amazing all the trouble Conway Stewart goes with their boxes... very grand presentation. But then, it looks as though the pen does deserve it. Enjoy. biggrin.gif

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#8 greencobra

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 22:43

I was shaking and having chest pains when I saw that outer "shoe box" when I got mine a few years ago. CS really knows the meaning of presentation, ya think? Beautiful, classic pen you got and a good job on the review. Enjoy!
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#9 AndyW

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 20:01

Where did you get this pen? I really like it and when I searched for amethyst all I saw was the flecked amethyst which I do not like as much. I couldn't find yours?

AndyW
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#10 Carrie

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 20:52

I know Dandelion got her pen from The Writing Desk in England as part of the CS Spring Sale. Bryant here on the forum was offering pens in the States under the same sale (sale ends at the end of this month). You may find that some rod stocks are now sold out.

#11 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 21:05

stunning pen for sure smile.gif enjoy yours.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#12 MiniMaupassant

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:16

Yes, I remember that awe-inspiring feeling of receiving my CS box, with a little pen in the middle of it.
Great review and beautiful pen; I hope you will be both be very happy together!

BTW: Luther doesn't count with regard to pens (but I know where you are coming from!)
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#13 EyeZ

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 10:17

Great review and a beautiful pen !
I love the Duro line, though I haven't got a CS Duro yet.

Could you please post a larger writing sample? I'm planing to buy a Duro Heritage in the foture, but not quite sure about the nib size - IF, or IM.

Thank you in advance and enjoy your beautiful new pen !

#14 dandelion

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:19

Thanks for all kind feedback. Here is the asked for writing sample. The ink is Caran d'ache Amazon. A very wet ink, so the line variation is less prominent than with a less wet ink. It is still lovely to write with. The nib is a dream and I would rate it a 10/10 nib if I should rate it now.

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#15 MiniMaupassant

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:45

QUOTE (dandelion @ Jun 3 2009, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for all kind feedback. Here is the asked for writing sample. The ink is Caran d'ache Amazon. A very wet ink, so the line variation is less prominent than with a less wet ink. It is still lovely to write with. The nib is a dream and I would rate it a 10/10 nib if I should rate it now.



The nib really suits your handwriting. I also have a IF nib on my 58, but can't get the same degree of line variation from it. mellow.gif
@leoniethomas18






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