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Bexley Imperial Prototype


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#1 Dennis B

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 20:56

Bexley Imperial Prototype


First Impression
When Howard Levy told me he was making up some prototypes for a new, Nakaya inspired, model to be called the Imperial, I had to have one in ebonite, red and black mottled exhibiting a woodgrain pattern. Although some prototypes were made of various resins, they did not interest me. The first production run will be ebonite only, red/black and two new colors for which photos are not yet available. As with all ebonite pens of mottled hard rubber, no two will be exactly alike. If you think you are seeing photos of two different pens in this review, your eyes are not deceiving you as two different pens were photographed at different times.

Although I am a Bexley dealer I am also a huge Bexley collector and user and will try to be as unbiased as posisble in this review. Out of the box I was impressed with the size and design, from the material to the new gracefully arched clip.




Appearance and Finish 4.5/5
The Nakaya influence is apparant immediately. A large cigar shaped pen with minimal trim with a gold plated clip in new, a gently arched design that is springy and will grasp your shirt pocket firmly. I am a big fan of ebonite pens and this one is no exception. I make a slight deduction for the finish because while the ebonite is polished smoothly, I believe it should have a higher sheen. The section is black ebonite and I personally would prefer the section to match the barrel.



Design/Size/Weight 4.5/5
The Imperial is a large pen and is comfortable for me to use unposted. The capped length is 6" and uncapped, almost 5 1/2". The barrel does have a sharp stepdown, but that should not interfere unless you tend to grip your pns very high on the section. I don't post the caps on pens of this size, but f you do you'll end up with a pen that is about 7 1/2" long/ The cap does post securely to the barrel on my example.



Ebonite pens are quite lightweight for their size and the Imperial is no exception. The pen is well balanced even when posted as a result of this lightness.

You either like this type of design or you don't, it's all personal preference. The barrel diameter measures in at .59", a large but not obese size. My one criticsim is the sharp edge of the barrel stepdown mated against the rounded edge of the cap. No hit on performance, but it detracts a bit from the appearance in my opinion (see the first two photos above).

For comparison of size, the Imperial is shown here with a Nakaya poratble Writer's Model and an MB 146.



Nib Design and Performance 5/5


Nibs for the Imperial are the standard Bock made Bexley marked 18K two-tone nib/feed units that are interchangeable with other gold nibbed Bexley pens. Bexley cautions against users swapping nibs because of the possibility of misalignment of feed and nib. Nib swaps should always be approached with caution. My example has a Fine, my nib of choice, but Medium, Broad, and the 1.4 mm Broad Stub are also available.

I filled my pen with Private Reseve Midnight Blues, a subtle blue-black appropriate for a pen made of vintage appearing hard rubber. I found the Fine nib to be a bit soft and springy. While all these nibs are made by Bock, I have found variation in the degree of softness between nibs. The Fine nib puts down a smooth line of generous Fine width, about like that of the Medium nib in my Senior Maxima Vacumatic. Just right for my use. I've found Bock quality to be consistent in the Bexley branded nibs and all nibs and feeds are hand set by Howard Levy himself before leaving the factory.



Filling System 4/5

I'm rating the filling system as a 4/5 because I know many do not like cartridge converter pens. Raising this from a 3 ot a 4 is the capability of being filled with an eyedropper. The one piece ebonite barrel and the section without any metal make this an ideal eyedropper filler. I usually have no problem with ink flow out of the box, though there are times when a new converter needs flushing with an ammonia/water mix to remove traces of manufacuring oils.

Cost 4/5

Compared to other pens of this quality, size, and use of ebonite, an MSRP of $495 should result in a "street" price of around $$370, a reasonable price in my view. Certainly less expensive pens can be found, but I still feel this is within reason. The Imperial will likely be made in very limited numbers, certainly fewer than many so-called limited editions.

Conclusion

OK, I've made it clear that I like this pen and feel it is a great addition to my Bexley collection as well as being a great user. If I've missed any areas or been too gentle, please let me know. This is my first attempt at a review in this format and I may have overlooked something you feel is vital. I'll repeat that I am a Bexley dealer but have honestly tried to be as objective here as possible.

Dennis Bowden

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#2 Pippin60

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 21:02

Beautiful pen, I agree I like to section to match the barrel. Were they going for a rougher finish and maybe plan to offer a highly polished one as an option? I know some do prefer a none glossy finish on their ebonite pens especially the red and black to get a wood grain feel.

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#3 dandelion

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 21:56

This is a pen I'd surely like to try. Great photos & the comparison with the 146 is very helpful. I like that it isn't a tiny pen.
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#4 FrankB

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:21

Thanks for the review, Dennis. Thanks also for the comparison photo. I have a fair idea now of the size of the pen.

I have been very curious about this pen model. I find it one of the more interesting designs that Bexley has come out with of late, and I really like its aesthetics. I suppose if I can use a Dunhill AD2000 with its huge step down from the barrel to the section, I can use this model comfortably. And, as always, I love Bexley nibs.

The price point is high, though. If I get one of these, I will have to do some saving.

#5 Aissa2

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:27

Really nice review. Although I am new to the Bexley line, recently during the Triangle Pen Show I purchased a Strawberry Swirl from the Americana series, I love certain features. The pen you have reviewed seems like it would be worth trying.

Pelikan M800 red/black XF,
Lamy Raspberry All-Star XF,Pilot VP red/rhodium,Bexley Americana Strawberry swirl,Lamy Limited Ed. Pink 2009
Lamy L.E. 2008,Pelikan M400 black FP,Lamy Vista demon., Lamy L.E.2005, Charcoal Lamy 1.5 nib, Pelikan M600 green/black med. nib

Ink: Diamine Red, Red, Red....



#6 MYU

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 14:14

Thank you for sharing with us this unusual and quite attractive pen. I can definitely see the Nakaya influence. The curved clip is a very nice touch. And it's especially nice to hear that it can be converted to an eyedropper with little problem... although no shutoff valve. Does this take the international connector type for the converter?

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#7 Dennis B

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 15:17

QUOTE (MYU @ Jul 25 2009, 09:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you for sharing with us this unusual and quite attractive pen. I can definitely see the Nakaya influence. The curved clip is a very nice touch. And it's especially nice to hear that it can be converted to an eyedropper with little problem... although no shutoff valve. Does this take the international connector type for the converter?


Thanks. I think many people find shut off valves to not be a good thing and a potential source for leaks. The Imperial will accept international cartridges or an international converter (supplied).

Dennis B

#8 Nero

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 15:41

I think that the pen looks nice, but I will definitely not buy one of them. I don't think that the pen is designed after a Nakaya: it is a copy of a Nakaya. I don't understand why Bexley has to copy the design of other companies that are still alive and producing pens. I don't have a problem and I even like the idea of bringing back an old pen design that has not been in the market since long time. But I don't like that they are copying Nakaya pens that are being produced now. And I think that a MSRP of $495 is far too high for a pen without any innovation, just because it will be artificially produced in small numbers. I am not buying pens at high prices anymore, just because they are an artificial limited edition.

Nelson

Edited by Nero, 25 July 2009 - 15:41.


#9 Dennis B

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 16:24

Bexley has released the first production pens in Red/Black mottled and two new colors of ebonite, Denim Blue/Black and Violet/Black. The sharp edge where the cap and barrel meet has been eliminated, improving the looks of the pen.



Dennis B

#10 mgepark

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 16:12

Thanks for the comprehensive information on this new pen. Do you have size comparisons to the Sailor KOP as to barrel and section diameter, length and weight. In addition, when it will be available, colors that will be available and pricing. thanks


[quote name='Dennis B' date='Jul 24 2009, 04:56 PM' post='1152768']
Bexley Imperial Prototype


#11 Dennis B

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 21:32

I do not have a Sailor KOP for size comparison. The pens are available now at my introductory price of $350 with free US shipping. The three colors are as shown, Red/Black, Denim Blue/Black, and Violet/Black.

Dennis B

#12 brianchau2000

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 05:43

What mechanism does this pen adopt to prevent leakage when it is used as an eyedropper filler?

O ring? Silicone grease on threads? something else?

#13 Glenn-SC

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:27


I'll repeat that I am a Bexley dealer but have honestly tried to be as objective here as possible.

As a "Bexley Dealer" it IS impossible for you to remain objective.

#14 Ed Ronax

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:59

Really great looking pen and nice review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


#15 Dennis B

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:35

What mechanism does this pen adopt to prevent leakage when it is used as an eyedropper filler?

O ring? Silicone grease on threads? something else?


The production models come with an o-ring for positive sealing. The prototypes should probably have a bit of silicone grease.

Dennis B

#16 Dennis B

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 13:38

As a "Bexley Dealer" it IS impossible for you to remain objective.


Sorry you feel that way. Your opinion of Bexley pens is well known and often posted. I have at least one of nearly every Bexley made since 1993 and have had no more, and probably less, problems than with other well known brand pens. Each to his/her own.

Dennis B

#17 Glenn-SC

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 19:45

As a "Bexley Dealer" it IS impossible for you to remain objective.


Sorry you feel that way. Your opinion of Bexley pens is well known and often posted. I have at least one of nearly every Bexley made since 1993 and have had no more, and probably less, problems than with other well known brand pens. Each to his/her own.

Dennis B

I'm sorry you feel that way.
My opinion is irrelevant to this discussion.
And I truly do hope that everyone else who has tried or owns a Bexley has a good experience with it.






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