This is my first review so hopefully I won't disappoint too much. I am a University of London graduate and I happened to be in London this past July to visit old friends. I did not manage to make it to my alma mater (Royal Holloway) to pick up one of their biro and fountain pen sets. I did manage to wander to the University of London student union as it was near a library I use and I picked up this pen. I have attached a photo along with a sample of my handwriting (and you may see my other vice, wetshaving products).
1. Appearance & Design (6/10) – The pen has an unusual design that is beginning to grow on me but the pen cap is just a bit odd with the slightly rubbery material surrounding a metal core. The pen does feel comfortable to hold in the hand, however, and it is not overly heavy. I think it may be a brass body with some sort of rubbery material over it (the grey material) and that outer covering gives a good grip. I do mark harshly for the appearance as it is a bit too non-traditional for my tastes but it is not an ugly pen.
2. Construction & Quality (8/10) – The pen feels very solid and, to be honest, if there is one thing I might fault that would be the silkscreened University logo and such. I suspect it will wear off fast but I did give it a few coats of protective lacquer when I returned home to the States. I did not rate it higher than for this reason. The pen itself does feel solid and it is of decent construction but it is not something that screams 'high quality'.
3. Weight & Dimensions (8/10) – The pen is 5.5 inches (140mm) long when capped and, when posted, it is 6 1/8 inches (approximately 155 mm). At its widest, it is about 1/2 inch (14mm). Then pen, unposted, is 4.5 inches long (111 mm). The cap does post and I do write with it posted but, sometimes, I do leave it unposted and it is (of course) lighter. It's not a very heavy pen and I have written for several hours with it at a time without being tired.
4. Nib & Performance (7/10) – The nib is just a stainless steel medium, I think, but there is no marking to tell me. I base this off of what my handwriting looks like as compared to my know nibs. The nib ismarked 'Iridium Point, Germany'. It is neither dry nor wet so I think it is moderate and it writes fairly smoothly but there is a bit of toothines to it. I've tried it on basic A4 from Tesco, my own little memo pads (just basic sheets of paper I got from a stationer's shop which they make from scrap paper). It works well on my '100% cotton' resume/CV paper which I use for letter writing. I think it is best on good, heavy paper.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (5/10) - The pen uses cartridges and this is not a deal breaker for me. I use cartridges once in awhile but I replaced the cartridge inside the pen (which someone at the shop had left inside for some reason). I had a spare aerometric converter from another pen which I now use cartridges in. I cleaned out the pen to get rid of the cartridge's remnants and put in a mixture of black and Diamine Sepia. No leakage so far and it was easy to fill and clean up. I gave the pen a 5 since I don't generally care for cartridges if I can use ink from a bottle.
6. Cost & Value (8/10) – I bought the pen at the university shop for about 4 or 5 quid (I'm leaning towards 4.95) but I can't remember exactly. So I got my money's worth and the pen writes reasonably well.
7. Conclusion (Final score: 7) - This pen has met my expectations and for the price, I am not disappointed. The slightly unusual design is growing on me but I'm not sure it is for everyone and I don't know if the shop has many more. There were only 3 in the shop when I bought mine and it is a different design to the last fountain pen I saw in their shop last year (also a cartridge filler).
Edited by Historyguy, 05 August 2009 - 19:18.