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Classic Pens CP8 and LM1


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#1 Vicary

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:19

My recent trip to the Ohio Pen Show yielded a few neat new pens, and I figured I'd take some time and write reviews for them.

One of the pens I picked up was the Classic Pens Flame Red LM1. It joined its sterling silver CP8 siblings that were already a part of my collection. This is the second such grouping I have from Classic Pens. A pair of CP7s and the Sailor/ Classic Pens LB1 marked Classic Pens' first foray into complementing a CP series pen with a resin version. My LM1 is one of my favorite writers, eclipsing even the fancier CP7s.

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This time around Classic Pens followed a different route. The LM1 was the first pen launched by Classic Pens with their new proprietary design, which was later adapted for use in the CP8 series. For Classic Pens it marks a departure in that it's not based on an extant pen from another manufacturer. It was designed in house by Classic Pens and is manufactured in Italy by the Aquila group. It's a pleasing cigar shaped pen, comparable in shape and just a bit bigger than a Montblanc 149. The trim is all specific to the pen, including a new clip design which has been passed on to other pens in the Classic Pens line. The trim rings as fitted to the CP8 have a more sophisticated quality than the LM1. On the LM1 the trim rings at the opposite ends of the pen stand a bit too proud for my taste. Their more flush fitting on the CP8 pens, and the gold trim rings on the CP8 are paired with silver rings for a nice added detail.

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The pens are generously sized, comparable to the aforementioned 149 as well as the Pelikan M1000, Conway Stewart Churchill, and the newer Omas Paragons. It's a bit more slender than those pens, but very comparable in terms of length- capped, uncapped or posted. Both the resin LM1 and the sterling CP8s use black resin sections, which I find preferable to the Paragon's metal section. But outside of that, as far as size or comfort in use the LM1 and CP8s are a perfect fit for those who prefer a larger pen. If those pens mark the upper end of your comfort level, you may find the LM1 still usable thanks to the lighter weight and gently tapered section. But you might find the CP8s a bit too heavy. The pens seem to have good heft and are very solidly constructed. One issue I've noticed with the CP8s but not the LM1 regards the posting of the cap. It doesn't post as securely on the CP8s. There are many who wouldn't post on a sterling pen but I'm not one of them. I post on any pen I use, so it's a bit of an issue for me.

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The finishes on the pens are the main attraction for most. The CP8s feature a pair of beautifull engraved guilloche patterns. Of the two I prefer the basketweave, or Vannerie pattern. This is similar to the pattern offered on the Waterman L'Etalon many years back, which was always one of my favorite engraved patterns. I wasn't a huge fan of that pen though, so I was ecstatic to see it return, and on a nicer pen to boot. The pattern has better depth here as well. The Flamme pattern is also appealing, but for me slightly less interesting if only because of its similarities to past CP issues. It seems like a more flowing, less toothy version of the pattern used on the CP3. But I don't have one of those, so I'm happy to have a version in my collection. The pens are crafted from solid sterling silver and have a very nice, substantial feel. The trim is available in gold or silver plated. I chose the gold to have a bit of contrast.

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For some the brilliant red material might be the primary selling point of the LB1. For me it was a source of hesitation. Not that I have any issue with the material, I'm just not a big fan of red. It is a grower though, and over the course of the last few pen shows it's caught my eye more and more. The red acrylic is custom made, and diffusion bonded in a pattern somewhat akin to Parker Vacumatic material but without the transparent layers. It practically glows from within and I found it tough to capture on camera. Parker found the material appealing enough to used it for a couple limited edition Duofold pens, both of which quickly sold out. I tend to prefer brightly colored marbled plastics to metal finishes, but I have to say in this series the Flame Red LM1 still comes in second behind the CP8 Vannerie.

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While there may be some that buy these pens as investments or to complete collections, it would be a true shame if they never used them. For me, the nibs on these new pens are the stars. The nib is made for Classic Pens by Bock and is among the highest grade of nibs offered by that manufacturer. It's a two tone 18k nib marked Classic with the Classic Pens logo. It's one of the highlights of the LM1 and CP8 pens. It's a smaller nib than the 149 or M1000 nib, but it gives up nothing in performance. It's outstanding: exceptionally soft and smooth with abundant ink flow. It's available in point sizes F, M, B as well as italic F and Italic B. I have the medium nib as well as the italic fine and italic broad. The italic broad is particularly good. It writes more like a stub than an italic, lacking any kind of sharpness but still offering excellent line variation. The italic fine is also very nice, a little more crisp but not quite as much line variation. Both nibs are very consistent writers, always starting right up with no skipping or hesitation. The medium I can't comment on yet, as I haven't used it yet. I have been swapping the italics back and forth between whichever pen body I feel like using. The sections are interchangeable so it's a breeze to swap nibs from pen to pen. The nibs are also friction fit inside a screw out housing, so there are several easy options for swapping nibs.

I'm hard pressed to come up with any real problems with these pens. I'm neither here nor there on the cartridge/ converter filler. There are some that may be disappointed that there's not something more exotic on offer, but it's tough to beat the practicality of cartridge filling. I will say however that the generous flow from the italic nibs coupled with the limited capacity of the ink converter means you'll be going for frequent refills if you're a frequent writer. The packaging isn't as elaborate as previous CP series pens, but is still of high quality and it's more compact as well. The CP8s aren't cheap at $1275, but there are only 250 of each design, and they are solid sterling, so relative to similar pens from other manufacturers they offer a relatively good value. The LM1 is from an edition of 500 and retails for $695. Compared to the 149 or M1000 this seems a bit pricey, but this is a limited production piece. There are also some dealers offering good deals on these right now, something you're not going to find on the 149.

Overall I have to say that I'm very happy with this new mini-collection within my broader Classic Pens collection. I don't know where they stand on inventory right now, but I'm glad I got off the fence and added the LM1 in Ohio. I'd recommend that anyone else wavering there join me...

Edited by Vicary, 30 November 2009 - 07:21.


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#2 hari317

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:44

Very nice review Vicary! I have only one Classic pen, the LM1 Flame red and I agree, the nib and finish is outstanding. Thanks for the bit about Aquila producing the pens, I was under the impression that these pens were made in the USA using the English material.

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#3 jellybelly1

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:46

Excellent review ! The pictures are sheer eye candy ! Congrats on a beautiful collection :)

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#4 MYU

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 16:56

That wavy guilloche pattern is strikingly similar to the one seen on the Aurora 80th Anniversary pen.

Very nice looking and well made pens. The Flame Red version really catches my eye. And thanks for this well deserved review on Classic Pens. :)

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#5 Tom L

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 14:23

Doug,
I knew you'd break down and get these. They're just too nice, especially for someone who loves substantial pens as you do.

The red and one of the sterling have been in my rotation since I got them when they first came out. The variety of nibs that are offerred with these was remarkable too. Were any of the prototype colors of the LM-1 still available? I personally like red, and having seen a couple of the prototypes, while also nice, the red is the most remarkable.

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#6 reprieve

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 15:40

I have a weakness for sterling silver pens. Prior to your review, the CP8 was not a pen I had been aware of. Your photos are gorgeous--they really show off the beauty and craftsmanship of these pens. Frankly, I'm not sure I would be considering the CP8 at all if not for your photos.

By the way, how broad is the broad italic?

#7 Vicary

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 19:41

By the way, how broad is the broad italic?


I believe the broad italic is a 1.3mm and the fine is a .9mm.

#8 Vicary

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 19:48

That wavy guilloche pattern is strikingly similar to the one seen on the Aurora 80th Anniversary pen.


The flame pattern is very close to the one you see on the Aurora 80th Anniversary pen, which is itself based on the Classic Pens CP3 Odyssey. In fact I think Aurora pretty much used the exact same pattern that CP developed for the CP3. If I recall correctly, this was the source of a dispute between both companies. Aurora must have come out on top of that one, though, because they used the pattern again on their limited edition St. Petersburg pens.

In any case the CP8 pattern is different in that it is a very smooth and flowing flame pattern, while the CP3/Aurora 80th pattern has a more serrated, toothy quality to the lines.

best,
Doug

#9 wspohn

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 22:15

The flame pattern is very close to the one you see on the Aurora 80th Anniversary pen, which is itself based on the Classic Pens CP3 Odyssey. In fact I think Aurora pretty much used the exact same pattern that CP developed for the CP3. If I recall correctly, this was the source of a dispute between both companies. Aurora must have come out on top of that one, though, because they used the pattern again on their limited edition St. Petersburg pens.



Thanks for a nice review of pens that I also own, Doug. You inspire me to put the LM1 back into rotation.

A slight correction on the CP3. Aurora had a bunch of barrels made by Murelli without permission, which resulted in some legal style fussing, as Classic had the copyright on the design.

The result was that Aurora did use up the stock they had already paid to produce but were not allowed to use that pattern again. Because they hadn't used up their stock of barrels with the 80th, they finished them off with the Petersberg.

It isn't the only time a major manufacturer used a Classic Guilloche design (the Parker Esparto on their Duofold International is one of the others - and I also own that one, same design as the CP6 Pelikan Marguerite design, and Parker also asked to use the LM1 material for their new China 60th Anniversary LE), but it was the only time they did it without Classic's permission.

I also own the 80th, which is a really nice pen, but haven't pursued the Petersberg as I could never figure out the sense in having a really nice pattern...and then covering it up with transparent enamel (red and blue as I recall) ??? Posted Image Posted Image

PS - I own every one of the CP series (as well as ZJ1 and ZJ2 and a few others) and they are among my very favourite pens!

Edited by wspohn, 02 December 2009 - 22:16.

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#10 Vicary

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 04:21

Thanks for the clarification, Bill. I always new there was a story there, but hadn't heard it in full. It does make sense though. After the hubbub though I was surprised to see that Parker Esparto. But I know Andy has a pretty good relationship with Parker, as evinced by the use of the LM1 material in a couple of different Duofold LEs.

I'd love to add the CP3 set to my collection. I have the CP4s and the CP6s, CP7s, and CP8s. I also have the LB1 and LM1. But those CP3s don't come up for sale too often. And when they have they've been out of reach pricewise....

best,
Doug

#11 wspohn

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 16:57

Thanks for the clarification, Bill. I always new there was a story there, but hadn't heard it in full. It does make sense though. After the hubbub though I was surprised to see that Parker Esparto. But I know Andy has a pretty good relationship with Parker, as evinced by the use of the LM1 material in a couple of different Duofold LEs.

I'd love to add the CP3 set to my collection. I have the CP4s and the CP6s, CP7s, and CP8s. I also have the LB1 and LM1. But those CP3s don't come up for sale too often. And when they have they've been out of reach pricewise....



Yes, Andy and Parker get along and they asked for permission, which Aurora neglected to do, which would make a big difference to me anyway. That's why they got to use the LM1 material (shown below beside the LM1 on the Chinese version of the Duofold.

The Esparto isn't my absolute favourite pen. First, I prefer larger pens and they did it on the smaller International size. Second, they didn't go for a shell of silver, they went for solid, which means that it is a fairly weighty pen for the size, and third, (and this will only matter to perfectionists) the quality of the engraving is different from the same pattern when used on the CP-6. They used a CNC machine to engrave it, while the CP-6 were all done by hand. I think that adds slight variation and some character to the hend made pens.

As for the CP-3, they are very hard to find now. I checked my inventory program and I searched quite awhile before finding my Odyssey, which I bought from Mora Stylos in Paris, it took me 2 years and a bunch of luck to locate and buy a CP-3 Illiad on the 'green board'. I think that those pens and now the CP6 are probably the hardest to find.

Nice that you have the CP6. I'd also recommend the CP-5, based on the Parker Duofold Centennial size to you - I love using mine!

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Edited by wspohn, 04 December 2009 - 18:54.

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#12 Cheapogit

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Posted 04 December 2009 - 17:25

Beautiful pens...lovely photos. I especially love the Flame Red and that Parker, but wouldn't say no to the other two!

Edited by Cheapogit, 04 December 2009 - 20:10.

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#13 gee09

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 22:07

Very nice review by Vicary, the Vannerie and Flamme pattern looks wonderful on the Legend.

I would like to show off some of my Sheaffer Legacy 1 CP4 Prototype Pens, I only intended to add one to my collection, but like always one is never enough.

My personal favorite is this moire pattern, I liked it so much I bought it in the CP3.

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These are the other CP4 Prototypes Legacys in my collection.

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This Sheaffer Legacy 1 was engraved by Dale Harris, sadly Dale passed away before the intended CP Limited Edition went into production. I beleive 2 prototypes were made.

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Classic pens often hold stock of past CP Limited Editions, Andy and Margie have given me great service over the years.

Thanks for Looking.
Gary

#14 Vicary

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 19:59

I would like to show off some of my Sheaffer Legacy 1 CP4 Prototype Pens, I only intended to add one to my collection, but like always one is never enough.
Gary


Wow! That's all I can say. What an incredible collection. I'm jealous...

best,
Doug

#15 gee09

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 22:01

I've managed to get around to taking the photo of the CP3 Aurora Moire Prototype, here it is along with the CP4 Sheaffer Legacy Moire.

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I've also taken some new pictures of my CP1's.

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and CP2's

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I'd be interested in seeing any other examples of Murelli's work on CP Pens.

Cheers
Gary

#16 wspohn

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 22:07

I've managed to get around to taking the photo of the CP3 Aurora Moire Prototype, here it is along with the CP4 Sheaffer Legacy Moire.I'd be interested in seeing any other examples of Murelli's work on CP Pens.


Gee, I have been content to just buy one complete CP series with no duplications and no prototypes! Posted Image
Bill Spohn
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