Bexley America the Beautiful
This isn’t the first review of this recent collection from Bexley, but I wanted to add my experience with it for those considering a purchase.
Bexley pens always offer an interesting variation in shapes and color choices. The America the Beautiful collection continues this with an unusual shape supposedly modeled after the “equipoise” shape of some vintage pens. The main body of the pen has some pronounced curves while the very long cap is more of a standard cylinder with a pronounced point at the top. The same point is used at the end of the body. When capped, the pen looks very top-heavy. A rollerball clip is mounted far enough down the cap to help balance the lengthy cap. Two trim rings are set into the cap. Overall, the pen is very minimally furnished.
I opted for the black pen with rose gold. For me, it was a toss-up between this and mahogany version. I’ve been looking for an elegant black pen for a while and not wanting yet another Pelikan, a heavy Waterman or an overpriced Montblanc, so this medium-sized Bexley seemed to fit the bill.
The plastic is very glossy, which makes me think that glass has been added to the resin to achieve this high gloss. The rose gold is very subtle, but I was looking for a pen that was refined and not showy, but also interesting. This Bexley hits all the right notes from a design perspective, with one exception. The nib is the standard two-tone Bexley nib—which means that it writes very nicely, but the gold of the nib doesn’t match the rose gold used on the rest of the pen. I’m sure it would have been too expensive to produce rose gold nibs, but for true design consistency and impact the nib should use rose gold.
Quality of Materials
The resin is a solid, very shiny jet black. The clip and rings are uniformly (if not thickly) plated. The nib is the solid, reliable Bexley Bock nib. Nothing much to fault here—although I have some doubts about the longevity of the roller on the clip. It seems a little lightly constructed.
All of the parts are tightly joined and the threads turn down the cap securely. If you look closely at the barrel, you can see lots of tiny turning marks, which to my mind is a manufacturing flaw. I would expect a perfectly smooth, glassy surface rather than visible turning marks and if I look at the black cap on my Pelikan 800, even after long use, I don’t see these kinds of marks. Oddly, they’re nearly invisible on the body, but noticeable on the cap. If hold the pen at normal working distance these marks aren’t visible, but if I hold the pen 10-12 inches away the marks on the cap can clearly be seen.
Again, this is the standard Bexley two-tone Bock fine nib. It’s a bit springy. I bought this pen from Richard Binder, so he adjusted it to a slightly wet writer. Oddly, when I received the pen the nib was protruding more than a half-inch further out from the section than seemed right. As I was polishing it for a photo, it and the feed just fell out of the section. I pushed it back in as far as it would go and contacted Mr. Binder about this. He was convinced that someone during the delivery process had banged the box very hard and dislodged the nib because he told me that when it left his shop the nib was seated the whole way in. He asked me to return the pen to be sure all was okay. I declined because even though this nib definitely does not write like a fine, I love what Mr. Binder did to the nib. It’s much smoother and clearly broader than the Bexley medium nib on my Submariner, but I’m not complaining. I really like how this pen writes. The only reason I don’t give it a 10 is because I’m still not sure what to think about the nib coming out so easily—gorilla package handlers or not.
The usual—standard converter or cartridge. Ink flows easily and the pen starts right up. One thing I’ve noticed with both the America the Beautiful and the Submariner is that the converter seems to be slightly loose or doesn’t seat far enough down in the section, because if the pens are jostled the end of the converter clicks against the inside of the body.
Medium size, light weight. Easy to operate. Uncapped, almost weightless. Well balanced capped or unposted. The long cap, when posted, looks awkward, but writes tolerably well. Still, even with the feather weight body, I prefer using this pen unposted. Note: the Submariner functions incredibly well posted and is equally light weight, but the cap is better proportioned and sits lower on the body when posted. This pen flies across the paper when unposted.
This is not an inexpensive pen at $220 from Richard Binder. Compared to a similarly priced Pelikan, the construction and materials are a notch below. However, no Pelikan is as interesting to look at. Also, being a bit patriotic, I like the idea of supporting an American pen company and as someone who wants to also support good design, I want Bexley to flourish because the company is a great source of fresh ideas and great design, so how much are these worth? A lot in my book. Would I buy this pen again? Absolutely. In fact, I will be buying the mahogany version shortly.
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Bexley America the Beautiful
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