I hadn't tried any Stipulas until I had the opportunity to buy this -- and some more -- for a very good price some time ago. One of them was the Stipula Suprema Pelago; a piston filler made of celluloid with a grey-blue fishbone pattern. If you hold it against the light you see the delicate pattern and the deep, blue colour.
This one has an oversized fine steel nib, but the original nib (before close out sales) was a two tone gold nib. When I bought it I didn't know that it was a limited edition. The Suprema also came in an amber version that was numbered, but non-limited, but the Suprema Pelago was limited to 193 pens. As I understand it the Suprema Pelago was originally sold and marketed as a "sterling silver edition" and had an inscribed piece of silver to accompany the pen. I bought mine at an eBay auction from a reputed dealer as NOS -- without box and silver piece and with a steel nib for a considerably lower price than originally.
It is important that pens get their share of fresh air...
Appearance & Design
Besides from a general curiosity about Stipula and the opportunity to get one for a very low price, it was the curved shape of the barrel, combined with the unornamented nib, that caught my eye and made me go for it - shape freak as I am. When I got the pen I was very happy to find that the cap has a very beautiful jewel, which I believe is made of sterling silver.The clip is nicely shaped and created to be used which I like very much. I thus wasn't disappointed either in the nib or the curved barrel who had tricked me into buying it in the first place. Aesthetically the nib is very beautiful and goes well with this understated, classic pen and I believe that it is much classier than the original, ornamented two tone nib. In ordinary indoor light the pen looks like it is grey-blackish, but in bright light one sees the shimmering - it almost looks like metal threads inside the celluloid. I also like that the design is created to enhance function. One thing i particularly like design wise is the discreet piston knob that hides the mechanism (it doesn't screw out as with MBs or Pelikans). It is in all a classy, understated pen with some originality as the curved barrel. 8/10
Construction & Quality
It is hard not to compare it with the Vedo - Stipula's contemporary "affordable" FP (but a bit overpriced after the price increase) since the Pelago is its bigger and more prestigious sibling and because of the simple fact that it cost me less than half (~$50) of what I paid for the Vedo. Compared to the Vedo (which is a well made pen within its range) this definitely has a more solid feel to it - especially if one scrutinizes the cap. The Vedo cap hasn't got a cap band and I must say that the comparison between them makes me believe that it is hard to make a resin pen without cap band without making it look somewhat cheap. This is a solid quality pen. An extra plus for the celluloid and a little minus for the stiff steel nib and the bad posting qualities. 8/10
Length capped 13.5 cm
Length uncapped 12.5 cm
Length posted 16.5 cm
Weight inked and with cap: 29 g
Weight inked without cap: 17 g
It is a rather large pen – 1 cm longer capped than the Ventidue/Vedoand 1.5 cm longer than the V/V when it is posted.
The nib is not only pleasant to look at - it is nice to write with too. I was very happy to find that the Pelago lays down a very fine line - almost as fine as a Pilot fine nib (see comparison below) which makes it especially well suited for notes in the margin. It writes on the dry side, but not too dry and is rather smooth considered its width and that it is a steel nib. The nib isn't made for those who detest stiff nibs - it is stiff and very precise – almost a bit too stiff for me who normally like stiff nibs because of the control and precision. In all a good nib. Nothing to write long letters about (but maybe with... ) but a solid, nice nib that is well suited for margin notes and notetaking. 7/10
Over all writing properties
This is a very well balanced pen with a shape that my hands like very much. Even if the nib is a tad stiff this pen is very good for longer note taking sessions (in class/at meetings etc). A big drawback is that it doesn't post securely - I prefer to post my pens and write fast, so that bugs me, but it is nevertheless a pleasant, classy everyday workhorse. The nib is a bit too boring, but it is overall a very good writer. 7.5/10
Filling System, Ink Capacity & Maintenance
It is a piston filler. I haven't experienced any problem with filling, but, since the turning knob is a bit small and sits very tight, strong, dry fingers are needed to fill. This makes the cleaning process a bit trying, since it is hard to get a grip on the know with wet hands. No big thing, though - except for this minor inconvenience it is easy to fill and rinse. When one gets a grip the piston moves just fine and smooth. The curve makes the ink reservoir of the Suprema huge and it must have one of the greatest ink capacities of the piston fillers of the market - a splendid option for those favouring long writing sessions and/or big, wet nibs. I like piston fillers, but knock off some for the knob inconvenience. 8/10
Cost & Value
Strangely enough these mustn't have sold particularly well since they are possible to buy as NOS for a fraction of the original price. One part of the answer is - of course - that is that these have been sported with a steel nib instead of the original 18 k gold nib. But even with that taken into consideration the Pelago is a steal. The only big drawback is that it doesn't post very securely, but for this price I can live with that. It felt a little bizarre to buy this quality pen in celluloid for less than half of the going market price for a Vedo - which in comparison is an inferior pen. Bizarre or not - I 'm glad that I decided to try it. A very nice encounter on the whole.
Pelago with its siblings: Pelago, 22, 22, Vedo
This might not be the best or most outstanding pen I have, but it is a comfortable, usable everyday workhorse with a huge ink capacity which I definitely recommend as a daily writer. Perfect for students and teachers and researchers (or others that scribble a lot during the day). This pen set off a slight Stipula fever. I now have four Stipulas -- three of them also bargains/steals. The one I've paid most for is ironically the Vedo - their low end pen... One could thus reach the conclusion that I am rather satisfied with the Stipula Suprema/22/Vedo pens. But ,it suprises me that this is a LE pen. It doesn't really feel as "original" as I think a LE should be - with or without silver piece. It is nothing wrong with it - on the contrary - it is only so much better suited as a daily workhorse. Instead of being sold as a LE (or a demonstrator as the Nuda version) the Suprema ought to be a part of their regular production as a big sis to the Vedo. Preferably with a gold nib...
Edited by dandelion, 08 January 2010 - 22:41.