For my birthday this year, I decided to buy myself an Edison. I had been coveting one for a while but hadn't decided which model to get. I knew I wanted something in brown ebonite with silver trim, a combination that's hard (if not impossible) to find. The additional option of a bulb-filling mechanism is what finally got me to make up my mind and send Brian an email. I went with a bulb-filling Pearl in brown ripple ebonite with an ink window, silver trim, and a pair of steel nibs. Everything about the process lived up to my expectations. And then some.
First Impression: 10/10
Although I thought a lot about this pen while saving up for it and waiting for my order to make its way into Brian's queue, I hadn't spent much time considering things like the box it might (or might not) come in or the included accessories. I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped open the lid to the nice, leather (or maybe it's leatherette, but if so, it's a very nice leatherette) box and saw the Edison logo inside. The logo really helped legitimize the unveiling, made it feel like I was unboxing a fine pen crafted by an established business and not just something some guy threw together in his garage.
Brian also included a small velvet pouch in the package. I stared at it for a while trying to figure out what in the world could possible be inside. I opened it and found a small plastic jar with a screw-on lid. Inside that? Silicon grease for the section threads. Talk about a perfect touch.
The package also contained a note written with my modified nib that showed the line variation and width. I love handwritten notes with pens, so this was another welcome surprise.
Sometimes, it really is the small things.
Anyone who says there's no such thing as love at first sight has never seen my Pearl.
I'd seen Brian's photos and watched him make the pen online, but you can't really understand how beautiful this ebonite is until you see it with your own eyes. The ripple pattern is fantastic–the best I've ever seen–and the silver-colored trim goes perfectly with the black and brown. I'm sure there are many people who would have gone with gold trim, but those people would have been wrong. No, seriously, I'm sure gold trim would look great on this pen if you're into that kind of thing, but I personally hate the look of yellow gold. It looks...well...yellowed. Anyway, I think my silver trim adds a modern look to an otherwise vintage-looking pen. An excellent mesh, in my opinion.
One word: perfect.
I'd compared Brian's posted dimensions to my other pens before ordering and knew the Pearl would probably fit my hand well, but I was still surprised when I pulled the pen from its box and held it for the first time. I felt like a Harry Potter character who'd finally found his wand. Then I wondered if maybe Brian had secretly snuck into my house, taken a mold of my hand, and custom made the pen to fit it down to the last sub-atomic particle. Okay, okay, maybe that's stretching it a bit, but it really did feel perfect. What surprised me most was how sturdy the pen felt. With nothing inside the barrel but a little bit of rubber, I was expecting it to be on the light side. It's not. Like a Lamy 2000, the only other pen to similarly deceive me, the pen is heftier than it looks. And I mean that in a good way.
Posting? I'm normally a poster, but I've found that my Pearl is comfortable whether it's posted or not. It doesn't seem like that should be possible, but it is. After two months of heavy use, I still use the pen both ways and honestly can't decide which is preferable.
I know some people worry about the step between the threads and the barrel, and for some grip styles, this might be a problem, but then pen feels right at home in my hand. I can feel the step with the side of my thumb, but none of my other fingers touch it at all, and it doesn't bother me in the least.
I ordered two nibs with my pen, a .9 mm stub and a plain medium, both single-tone steels. I had ordered a fine and a broad from Brian some time ago and figured adding the medium and the stub to my lineup would give me plenty of options. The standard steel nibs (the fine, medium, and broad) are all fantastic: my best steel nibs and better than many of my goldies. The stub was very good, but just a hair toothier than I was hoping for. To be fair, I didn't specify how smooth or wet I wanted the modified nib to be. I'm still relatively new to stubs; I wanted to try the standard Edison stub and go from there. Like I said, it's a great stub, nothing wrong with it, but it did take a few runs over the micromesh to get it tuned to my liking.
Filling System: 10/10
I think I have now tried almost every filling system there is (the only exception I can think of at the moment is the Japense eyedropper/shut-off valve system). For me, the two best filling mechanisms are pistons and bulbs. Ease of use, ink capacity, reliability, simplistic elegance...they both have it all. That said, the bulb-filling mechanism has now become my favorite. While piston-filling pens fill more quickly than bulbs, they also have more wearable parts. The bulb-filler takes a little more time to draw ink into the barrel, but it's nice to know that the only internal parts I might ever need to replace are a cheap rubber bulb and a tube.
Cost and Value: 10/10
With the bulb-filler, modified nib, extra nib, and shipping, this pen cost me $412.00. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. For a custom-made pen with a backup nib and one of the best filling mechanisms I've ever used, my Edison was well worth the money. I wouldn't even think about hesitating to buy another. In fact, I'm saving up for a black satin ebonite, bulb-filling Huron right now. For the equivalent cost of a few fancy dinners, I have a tailor-made fountain pen that will last the rest of my life. If you have the money and have ever considered an Edison, my advice is this: move it to the top of your wish list.
Order one right now. You won't be sorry.
Edited by watch_art, 02 March 2013 - 15:57.