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The Cleo Skribent Chiffre 05 Review


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#1 somnath1077

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 18:50

I have been a member of FPN for quite some time now but this is my first review. So have mercy! I'm reviewing the Cleo Skribent Chiffre 05 fountain pen. Neither the company nor the pen have been talked about on this forum much and this gives me the perfect opportunity to introduce this pen to the members here. Cleo-Skribent was founded in 1945 and is based in Bad Wilsnack in the state of Brandenburg, Germany. For more information, see their website: http://www.cleo-skribent.com and this article by Jim Mamoulides at http://www.penhero.c...leoSkribent.htm

Firstly, I must tell you that this line of pens has been discontinued by Cleo-Skribent and has been replaced by a newer line called the Classic. But as far as I could make out from the photos from this online seller
http://www.fuellhalt...php?list=KAT187, the new Classic line is the same as the old Chiffre line. I came across this particular pen when browsing through the catalogue of the online seller I mentioned. They had announced an end-of-line sale of the Chiffre line and were offering these pens for 45 Euros. I just couldn't let this opportunity pass.

Okay now with the review.

1. Apperance and Design:

I ordered my pen from Ludwig Blankenhorn (http://www.fuellhalter.de) and they delivered it within a week. The good thing about ordering with this particular company is that shipments within Germany are free. The pen was packaged in a box covered with what looked like black synthetic leather with the Cleo-Skribent logo on the bottom right hand corner. The pen was made of black plastic fitted with chrome accents. The pen is slim, quite light and without any obvious manufacturing flaws.

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From left to right: Lamy Studio, Lamy Safari, Pelikan M 215 and the Cleo-Skribent Chiffre 05.

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From top to bottom: Cleo-Skirbent Chiffre 05, Pelikan M 215, Lamy Safari, Lamy Studio.

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The Cleo-Skribent Chiffre 05 fountain pen.

Weight and Dimensions:

Length (with cap screwed on): 14.5 cm.

Length of pen (without cap): 13.5 cm.

Length (with cap posted): 16.5 cm.

The pen has about the same girth as the Lamy Studio or the Pelikan 215 but is lighter than both of them. Overall it's a medium-sized light-weight pen.


Construction and Quality:

The pen is solidly built and looks quite classy. The pen has a screw-on cap, a steel nib and an ebonite feed. The cap can be posted and is very well-balanced.

Nib and Performance:

The nib is broad and made of steel. On paper, the nib feels very stiff but smooth, almost glass-like. Having used this pen for a few weeks, I found that it can be quite dry if you don't use the right inks. With Lamy Black, the pen tends to dry out even when uncapped for a minute. But with Pelikan Royal Blue 4001 (spiked with a drop of dishwash), this pen comes alive. Overall, you have to use wet inks with this one.

Filling System:

This pen is available as both a cartridge/converter and as a piston filler. I ordered the C/C partly because I didn't know much about this company and partly because the close-out offer was for the C/C type pens only. The converter supplied with this pen looked longer than the usual converters (Lamy, for instance) and has to be screwed in, a feature I like very much. The slide-in converters in other pens feel so unsafe!

Cost: I paid Euro 45 for this pen and I consider this a bargain. I'm just ruing the fact that I didn't order a piston-filler that is available for Euro 58. But I'll definitely get the piston-filler sometime.

Conclusion: Overall I'm very happy with this pen. It's a little quirky in its taste for ink but otherwise it a good solid everyday workhorse. I highly recommend this pen.

Edited by somnath1077, 03 April 2010 - 10:32.


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#2 brunico

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 22:10

Thank you for your review. Reading about the Chiffre kept me coming back to this forum. I like unfussy, elegant designs, and I don't like gold trim, and I was looking to replace my old Waterman Maestro (great gunmetal colour, but gold trim, and a section that wasn't the most comfortable to hold).

Nearly ordered a Chiffre last month, but got a couple of Lamy Vistas instead, because there wasn't an italic nib option. Is this right?

But I took the italic nib off my charcoal Safari to go on one of the Vistas and replaced it with the original black M nib. Maybe I should give the M nib a chance for a month and see how I get on?

#3 Deirdre

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 22:27

I love my Cleo Skribent. It needs to get out more.
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#4 roger3

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 22:55

I love my Cleo Skribent. It needs to get out more.

+1 In complete agreement with you Deirdre. I once picked up one of my two cleos to list for sale and put it back. I was clearly out of my mind for that moment when I thought to sell one of them. Holding the pen reminded me of why I have it...but it does need to get out more. H***! I need to get out more! But where would I go? I 'm living in Spokane for gds sake! Aha! I could go to the airport and get outta here..Now that's a thought, a real good thought! That day is coming soon enough...

Edited by roger3, 02 April 2010 - 22:57.

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#5 Breck

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 23:28

Nice review. These are really great-looking pens, and I've never heard a peep of complaint form any owners.

#6 somnath1077

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:15

Nearly ordered a Chiffre last month, but got a couple of Lamy Vistas instead, because there wasn't an italic nib option. Is this right?



I'm not sure, but the online company (Ludwig Blankenhorn) I order my pens from does not list italic nibs as an option. You just have the usual fine, medium and broad options.

#7 Juicyjones

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:45

I really like that clean design. Thanks for the review.
"If we faked going to the Moon, why did we fake it nine times?" -- Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke

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#8 Ed Ronax

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 11:49

Nice review, thanks.
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#9 adichew

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 17:11

is this pen a hard starter?
Adi W. Chew

#10 somnath1077

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 08:43

is this pen a hard starter?


Not mine!

#11 saintsimon

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 20:44

Call yourself lucky that you got the C/C Chiffre 05. My piston Chiffre came apart. First the section began to rotate and leak, later the glue holding the window to the section failed. I like the looks and the feel of this pen, maybe I will buy a C/C instead one day.

#12 welch

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:46

I bought two of the piston Chiffre after member Ondina mentioned it as a German piston-filler not widely known. I've used mine steadily for three or four years. Most notable features:

- When capped, they almost never dry out. I keep one on my desk, and it can wait for a month but start and write perfectly.

- The blind cap is a nice touch

- I have both a medium and a broad. The medium both are smooth, but the broad -- something like the English Parker 51 medium-broad -- is among the smoothest pens I've used. The line is not too wide, and the nib floats across paper.

- The feel -- the weight and shape -- are just right. Given that it was priced about the same as a Pelikan 200, I'd prefer the Cleo. The only advantage I find in the Pelikan is that it is easy to swap nibs...a great feature of all Pelikans.
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