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Duke Model 2017
Posted 07 July 2006 - 06:39
Have you ever seen a pen, and thought "that looks different...I wonder if it's any good?" Well, this is a story about one of those pens.
I'd seen the Duke 2017 on a few websites, and was struck by the the unusual styling. While most people describe it as having "modern" styling, every time I looked at the pictures I was reminded of Fred Astaire in a top hat and tails. Why, I don't know, but the pen just screamed "circa 1930" to me. I had to try it!
The first thing you notice when unwrapping the 2017 is that it's a big pen; the next thing you notice is the very shiny surface. It is jet-black, and the lacquer is polished to a very high shine, as are the chromed accents. I almost felt a twinge of guilt handling it and seeing my fingerprints disrupt that polished surface!
The styling is perhaps radical; the cap and body are sensuously curved. In fact, the only straight line on the pen is the very narrow clip. The combination of smooth surface and the plethora of curves make this a tactile delight. I've had it for several months, and when I'm using it I find myself unconsciously running my fingers over its surface. It just feels good, what can I say!
The clip is a reverse profile design, meaning that it is thinner in width than it is in depth. Looking straight on, the clip is almost invisible; when you turn it to view from the side, it becomes visible - curved to match the profile of the cap. It is attached to the cap at the very top - some refer this as a "military" clip. Like the rest of the pen, it is very highly polished.
The chromed accents are exactly the size and shapes to compliment the body, without being overpowered or becoming gaudy. Particularly nice is the joint at the cap and body - a wire ring on each side of a flat, the flat carrying the "DUKE" name. The wire boundary is repeated at the top of the cap, which reminds me for all the world of a chromed fez - complete with a "tassel" (the clip) falling down the back!
Pull the cap off and you'll find the dramatically curved section. This is the only thing I was worried about - would that unusual design be comfortable? I needn't have worried; it proved to be not just comfortable, but downright inviting! My fingers fell so naturally into place that it seemed I'd always owned this pen.
The section is actually fairly narrow, but the part of the body that rests in your hand's web is large. The combination gives this big, heavy pen the feeling that it is smaller and more maneuverable than it looks.
Someone at Duke really knows his or her way around good design; the 2017 looks good and feels great.
As I mentioned, this is a big pen - 5-3/4" long capped - and quite heavy, due to the lacquer over brass construction. This pen is built, in the way that your average Abrams tank is "built". Everything about this pen fairly screams "durability."
The cap is of the snap variety, and seats with a solid - but not too tight - "click." My wife, on first playing with it, said that it reminded her of the early Lexus car commercials, where they demonstrated the quality of their products by recording the sound of the door closing. The cap comes off smoothly, with no jarring or excess force required. Just taking the cap off and putting it back on is a kinesthetic treat!
Speaking of the cap, in general I don't post pens, as I don't like the top-heavy feel that it produces. This pen isn't nearly as bad as the weight would lead you to believe - it's actually fairly well-balanced when posted. In fact, it surprised me how nice it was! I still don't usually post, but the 2017 is usable should you want to do so.
The pen fills with a common international size converter.
The Nib and Writing Performance
The steel nib - marked "Germany" - is ostensibly iridium tipped. It produces an American "fine" line of average wetness.
The nib has just a bit of tooth; it's not scratchy, but there is the slight sound of nib across paper. I don't like those perfectly smooth, silent gliding nibs - I always feel as though they're about to slide right off the paper! At the same time don't like a lot of tooth or any scratching; I want smooth feedback from my nibs. This nib delivers the goods.
Ink flow is fine (though I tend to like my nibs just a hair on the wet side), and starts easily after sitting a few days.
The overall writing experience is very pleasant. After owning this pen for a while, I find myself picking it up when I have a lot of note-taking to do. This preference seems to a combination of the pleasing shape, the feel of the surfaces, and the nice nib. It's just a really pleasant pen to write with!
What's more, the pen is a value. I paid less than $20, and given the build quality and overall performance I'd have to call that a screaming deal.
I don't know if you're like me, but though a own a dozen or so pens I find myself using only a few consistently. This pen has worked itself it into my regular use drawer, not because it's a standout on any one criteria but because it's a good looking, well balanced package at an outstanding price. I didn't consciously choose it for daily use, I just found myself using it all the time; I think that says it all.
Posted 07 July 2006 - 23:01
Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:24
Posted 08 July 2006 - 05:03
I don't need any more pens I don't need any more pens I don't need any more pens.
But I am intrigued.
Posted 08 July 2006 - 05:28