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ST Dupont Gatsby


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38 replies to this topic

#1 jar

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 18:03

ST Dupont is a late comer to the world of fountain pens. They first entered the luxury pen market in the early 1970s with a line of elegant, slim ball points called the "Classique". Soon they added a matching fountain pen.

The pens of the period were generally slim and the ST Dupont Classique was among the slimmest.

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From left to right: Parker 75, Waterman Preface, Montblanc 144, ST Dupont Classique, ST Dupont Gatsby, Parker 95.

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The only drawbacks to the Classique series was that the section, the part that you held to write had to be even slimmer than the cap to fit inside and so writing with it over extended periods often led to hand cramps and that the cap when posted could irritate the webbing of your hand.

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ST Dupont then issued their next series, the Gatsby, and addressed those two issues in a classically innovative way. It was a great example of ST Dupont's attention to detail at even the most mundane level.

Two Gatsby fountain pens.

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The way ST Dupont solved the problems found in the Classique series was to place the section completely inside the body so that you held the body itself. Although the overall difference in girth seems little it mad an enormous difference in the feel and comfort when writing over extended periods. The cap itself was inserted INTO the body when closed or when posted.

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As with all ST Dupont products, the attention to detail is outstanding. The pens, whether Chinese Lacquer or precious metal finishes are warm to hand and offer great tactile control and feel. The cap slips on with a positive 'click' and is always secure. Even after years of daily use they continue to perform flawlessly.

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#2 Brian

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 19:00

Nice review. This design is interesting and I think mirrors the age when the pens were made...when ball point domination was at a mature stage and just before the rebirth of the FP in the mid-1980s. The funny thing is that while today, pens that are thicker are all the rage, I can see a reversal of fortune for these types of pens. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day...

#3 jar

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 19:52

Nice review. This design is interesting and I think mirrors the age when the pens were made...when ball point domination was at a mature stage and just before the rebirth of the FP in the mid-1980s. The funny thing is that while today, pens that are thicker are all the rage, I can see a reversal of fortune for these types of pens. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day...



Times change. For most of the history of pens the norm was thin and long. Think about all those pen holders and quills and reeds. There were lots and lots of thin ones but few fat ones and a fair amount of writing was done with them. The earliest fountain pens were generally the same, long and thin. Then we saw a period with thicker pens, followed by another round of thinner pen and then back to bigger fatter ones.


I generally prefer thicker ones BUT... then I found the Gatsby. Believe it or not, a well designed thin pen can be as comfortable to use as a wider one.

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#4 saintsimon

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 03:04

The Gatsby was always my favourite Dupont pen regarding ergonomics, but I never managed to get one. I liked especially the Clous de Paris/Hobnail finishes. When I finally had the money, they were already discontinued.

As you can see in one of the pictures above, the cap lip is ribbed inside. This was used to unscrew the section insert.


Although: it seems there were two different pen families of this design, the later had a longer secion insert, a bulge around the cap lip, a somewhat larger diameter, and nib like the Montparnasse.I prefer your older design.

Edited by saintsimon, 22 November 2009 - 03:19.


#5 ArchiMark

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 05:14

Great review of Gatsby and comparison to Classique, jar!

It might be nice though to add some comments about how the Gatsby writes....

Thanks.

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#6 jar

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 16:08

Great review of Gatsby and comparison to Classique, jar!

It might be nice though to add some comments about how the Gatsby writes....

Thanks.


Like an ST Dupont of course.

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#7 ArchiMark

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 17:01

Great review of Gatsby and comparison to Classique, jar!

It might be nice though to add some comments about how the Gatsby writes....

Thanks.


Like an ST Dupont of course.


Of course, I know that, have some ST Dupont's, but those that have never had the pleasure, might not know.... ;)

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#8 jar

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 17:22

Great review of Gatsby and comparison to Classique, jar!

It might be nice though to add some comments about how the Gatsby writes....

Thanks.


Like an ST Dupont of course.


Of course, I know that, have some ST Dupont's, but those that have never had the pleasure, might not know.... ;)



So far I have never found an ST Dupont pen where the nib was not very smooth, gave feedback, wrote without pause or hesitation, worked equally well with cartridges or converter.

BUT... I did forget to mention one thing. The ST Dupont Classique, Gatsby, Lady and Montparnasse do NOT use standard international cartridges or converter. The diameter of the feed channel is slightly larger than the international. The converters for the Classique, Gatsby and Lady look very much like the standard Parker piston style converter and when I find one of my Parker converters (I know I must have at least one somewhere) I hope to test it.

The Montparnasse uses it's own converter, one that has a lock mechanism that holds the section in the body and is released by a twist lock found at the base of the body.

Back to the Gatsby and solutions.

As mentioned above, the section fits totally in the body.

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There is nothing there to really grab on to unscrew the nib and section without getting your fingers messy. Now that sounds unlikely from a company that pays attention to details in even the most mundane of things.

Look though at this picture.

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See the ridges on the section and in the cap? The way you get the section out is to cap the pen and then using the cap, unscrew the section. Clean, no mess, works flawlessly, classic attention to details.

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#9 jar

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 17:37

The Gatsby was always my favourite Dupont pen regarding ergonomics, but I never managed to get one. I liked especially the Clous de Paris/Hobnail finishes. When I finally had the money, they were already discontinued.

As you can see in one of the pictures above, the cap lip is ribbed inside. This was used to unscrew the section insert.


Although: it seems there were two different pen families of this design, the later had a longer secion insert, a bulge around the cap lip, a somewhat larger diameter, and nib like the Montparnasse.I prefer your older design.


I know where there is a later Gatsby and been talking to the owner about it. The nib as you mention is a sample of the transition to the modern wrap around nibs with the angular design like the Classique and older Gatsby but wrapping all the way around the feed in an almost Sheaffer Triumph manner. Maybe if he decides to sell I'll get myself a Christmas present.

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#10 jar

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 17:56

As mentioned above, there were two versions of the Gatsby line. This adds some information on the later and large second edition Gatsby.

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The second edition Gatsby was slightly longer, having a capped length of 5¾" instead of the 5½" of the original and a posted length of over 6½". The girth of the pen also increased to about 3/8"

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This pen began ST Dupont's practice of offering two versions of their flagship pens, later seen in the standard and extra large Montparnasse and Olympio/Orpheo lines.

The nib was another transitional feature. While the older Gatsby used a nib similar to the Classique, this model adopted a wrap around enclosed feed that later was used in the Montparnasse.

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ST Dupont continued making small improvements, for example they extended the alignment ridges on the section, made them wider and that helped when capping the pen. It became self centering and so even more precise.

This version shows a clear line that culminated in the Montparnasse.

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edited for appalin spallin


Edited by jar, 06 April 2010 - 21:52.

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#11 balique

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 05:25

I REALLY appreciate this review of this ST Dupont line. I have the Gatsby (dark blue Chinese Lacquer) shown on the right in the penultimate picture above. It leaked, and I sent it to Lotus in Rhode Island for repairs. When I got it back, I was sure it had a different nib, the nib on the Gatsby pictured to the left, without the ridges. Unfortunately, I had no photo of it, and I had not used it for a long time so I wasn't even 100% sure that it had been changed, but when I told them that the nib looked different, they ignored me. They told me that the only way to repair the leak was to replace the part (they were not referring to the nib then, but to the black plastic threaded part), and the old part is no longer available, so I was stuck with the little black "cuff" sticking out from under the barrel (and, in my opinion, a different nib to boot). Are there any suggestions for getting my pen back to the state that it was in before? I love the way it writes, of course, but I admit that I bought it (some decades ago) for the aesthetic appeal. Thanks for any suggestions.

Fay ce que vouldras


#12 jar

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 14:43

I REALLY appreciate this review of this ST Dupont line. I have the Gatsby (dark blue Chinese Lacquer) shown on the right in the penultimate picture above. It leaked, and I sent it to Lotus in Rhode Island for repairs. When I got it back, I was sure it had a different nib, the nib on the Gatsby pictured to the left, without the ridges. Unfortunately, I had no photo of it, and I had not used it for a long time so I wasn't even 100% sure that it had been changed, but when I told them that the nib looked different, they ignored me. They told me that the only way to repair the leak was to replace the part (they were not referring to the nib then, but to the black plastic threaded part), and the old part is no longer available, so I was stuck with the little black "cuff" sticking out from under the barrel (and, in my opinion, a different nib to boot). Are there any suggestions for getting my pen back to the state that it was in before? I love the way it writes, of course, but I admit that I bought it (some decades ago) for the aesthetic appeal. Thanks for any suggestions.


First, welcome home. :W2FPN:

ST Dupont made several changes, particularly to the nibs, on the Gatsby line. There were at least the two shown above but I have also seen a very early Gatsby with what I would describe as a butterfly nib, similar to what was seen on the Montblanc 25x series pens. When they introduced the large size Gatsby they transitioned both large and standard models to the sheath style nib that then was carried over to the Montparnasse.

I also have one of the dark blue ones but unfortunately the previous owner bent the nib it seems. It is waiting now for a trip to Mike-it-Work for revival and resurrection.

Every once in awhile I do see Gatsby pens and sections come up for sale on eBay, not often, but occasionally. I'm not surprised that Lotus does not have any of the oldest stock since they took over the US distributorship fairly recently. Before that Colibri was the US distributor and it appears the transition was acrimonious. I get the feeling that Colibri simply sold off their remaining inventory of parts in bulk.

The newer design does have a few advantages. While I can leave one of my older standard sized Gatsby or Classique pens open and unused for five or ten minutes and expect it to start immediately, the newer sheathed nibs seem to be able to sit uncapped, unused for fifteen minutes, even twenty minutes and still start up right away.

It's a real long shot but you might also want to contact the service center in Australia and in Paris. They might be able to help you. The member her Tanalasta can tell you how to contact the Australian service center.

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#13 balique

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:57

Thanks for the quick reply and all the information. I've sent a note off to Lotus; the story is more complicated but to make it short the repair with the "cuffed" nib piece was not perfect, the information that you provided helped me to understand why and how, and I'm hoping that they can at least make it look better. They seem pretty good to deal with. Actually, I do get to Paris about once a year, and I had thought of trying there, but hmmmmm. I'm thinking that if they can make it look decent I will live with it, although the sleek nib looked so much more elegant. I had left it in the drawer for a long time before undertaking the repair, and I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to write with it. Much nicer than my Waterman! And this is my first participation in a "post" group, it's great to find other fountain pen fanatics.

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#14 balique

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 20:53

Just a bit more information : Lotus dug around and came up with a nib identical to the original, and the pen looks GREAT! If only I had been a bit more careful to guard against the small chips in the lacquer, back when I was first using it - young and careless. I'm so inspired by this post group that I bought a couple more Duponts from Iguana Sell, and concur with your opinion of their service. The pens are beautiful, of course, although as someone mentioned, the Lady did not come with a converter. I'm okay with cartridges, but would like to have a converter to use with it. Could I get some information on the Parker converter that was recommended in another spot for the Lady? Thanks.

Fay ce que vouldras


#15 jar

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 21:08

Just a bit more information : Lotus dug around and came up with a nib identical to the original, and the pen looks GREAT! If only I had been a bit more careful to guard against the small chips in the lacquer, back when I was first using it - young and careless. I'm so inspired by this post group that I bought a couple more Duponts from Iguana Sell, and concur with your opinion of their service. The pens are beautiful, of course, although as someone mentioned, the Lady did not come with a converter. I'm okay with cartridges, but would like to have a converter to use with it. Could I get some information on the Parker converter that was recommended in another spot for the Lady? Thanks.


Sounds great. You get that red Lady? Is the color as deep as it looked?

The Parker converter is just any old Parker piston converter. The Aurora works too. Also Parker long and short cartridges and Aurora cartridges work.

Montgomery Pens.

Melpens.

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#16 balique

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:12

The color is spectacular, you really have to see it to appreciate it. I would call it scarlet, but not screaming. It's a little guy; although I have large hands, I usually find a posted pen too long to be comfortable, but this pen is small, so you really need the cap to balance it.

Thanks for the information on the converter. I will look into it. I did compare the cartridges that came with it with those that I use in the Gatsby (once again, prompted by your treasure of information on Duponts), and the cartridges are of course different; also, the pen is short so it can hold only one at a time so far as I can tell. I guess I'd like to get a converter in case I ever have trouble finding cartridges.

Fay ce que vouldras


#17 Cincy_bob

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 00:08

jar, I recently purchased the NOS S.T. Dupont Gatsby that Iguana Sell was offering for sale. (I took delivery of the pen on Monday, and I might add it is a STUNNING pen.)

I am curious about the material used to manufacture the barrel and cap. Do you know whether this is a silver plated pen (over brass or some other base metal) or whether the barrel and cap are made from solid sterling silver?

:hmm1:

#18 jar

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 00:47

jar, I recently purchased the NOS S.T. Dupont Gatsby that Iguana Sell was offering for sale. (I took delivery of the pen on Monday, and I might add it is a STUNNING pen.)

I am curious about the material used to manufacture the barrel and cap. Do you know whether this is a silver plated pen (over brass or some other base metal) or whether the barrel and cap are made from solid sterling silver?

:hmm1:


They made models in both forms but the Sterling Silver ones are very rare and hallmark stamped. I believe the one Jorge was selling is like one of mine, a large size Gatsby with very heavy silver plate.

They used brass as the body material. I have a couple Gatsby pens that are silver plate over brass and love both of them, as well as several other models in that material. All have done well over an extended lifetime.

Here you can see a standard size Gatsby and also a Fidelio in the silver plate.

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and a large Montparnasse.

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and a standard sized Montparnasse.

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#19 Cincy_bob

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:00

Wow, that is quite an impressive collection of Dupont pens, jar.

And you are correct, there is no hallmark stamp on the Gatsby pen that I recently purchased from Jorge, so I gather the pan is silver-plated brass.

Thanks for the education!

Bob

#20 APE

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 20:24

Hello Gentlemen, I am on this post as I have a vintage 1970's (I believe) gold plated Gatsby, it has the ID number on the clip and with a magnifying glass I can see that on the underside of the clip is stamped "Made in France". I would like to sell this pen if you know of anyone who may be interested. Audrey 443-362-0334 I realize this is not the classified section, but found it a bit confusing to place the ad........Thank you very much. 2/27/2012






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