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Picasso - a work of art?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 mrclegg

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:49

As Iíve been adding pens to my user collection I thought Iíd do a short review on one of my more recent buys.

Iíve stated previously that I bought Chinese pens to find out what it was like to write with different size nibs. Anyone whoís written with a Chinese F knows just how fine a line they produce, and as Iím sure weíre all aware fine usually means varying degrees of ďsmoothnessĒ.

So what pen am I going to extol the virtues of today, a Chinese pen with the brand name of Picasso; specifically the Baroque model. I donít know if Picasso is a subdivision of another company or a new company and Iím not sure it matters.
The range has some odd names... Sweden Flower King, Emotion of Rome, Amorous Feeling of Paris, Space Time of London, the names only really serve to highlight the ease of getting translations wrong and are worth ignoring if bad translation biases you against things.

As you can see by the pictures itís quite a sedate colour with silver coloured attachments and other than the logo only a thin silver line running along the body and cap. Itís quite an elegant looking pen and certainly not something youíd object to leaving on your desk at work.

Iím doing the comparisons with a Pelikan M200 fitted with an M150 fine nib. Why? I use it as one of my everyday writers and I think thatís where the Picassoís market is going to be: everyday writers for people who canít afford to buy or donít want expensive pens where they could easily be lost.

Anyway how is this Chinese pen different to any other budget Chinese pen? Well the quality is certainly better than the other Chinese budget pens I own but the key to this pens difference is the nib. Itís made in France and as such the normal micro-thin Chinese fine nib is gone to be replaced with a very European feeling nib that is very slightly broader than the Pelikan fine nib. I wonder if Waterman have produced this nib as it looks and feels similar to my Waterman.

I write posted and I find the weight and balance of the Picasso very pleasant itís comes in at almost twice the weight of the Pelikan but I donít notice it when writing and itís really not a problem writing 3 or 4 sides of A4, certainly itís not noticeably different from the Pelikan.

The attention to detail is very good: the finish of the pen is especially good with no flaws or variation in colour or texture on both the cap and body. Quite why you need a brand name engraved on the converter is beyond me but it has it and it make me think somebody in the company understand that price isnít the only thought people have when buying fountain pens. I never pocket my pens so the clips never get used but to me this clip feels very rigid and I donít know if it would survive regular use in the same way that time has proven the Pelikan can. However for me it isnít an issue so Iím prepared to gloss over it.

The all important bit... the nib, as I mentioned, is writes slightly broader than the Peilkan fine but not to the point that it is obtrusive or fills open letters with ink, Iím a fine nib man and canít use medium nibs due to the size of my writing, so this for me is an important point. My only concern when I first used the pen was itís a tendency to skip on downstrokes, but a couple of flushes with warm water and washing up liquid and it appears to have cured that problem. Iíve never spent much time considering if a nib is wet or dry but in comparison to the dry writing Pelikan the Picasso is WET, if you like that youíll love this and I do admit to noticing a lot more shading with this pen than with the dryer writing mono-colour Pelikan: this isnít a criticism of the Pelikan just an observation.

For me, where the Picasso scores over the Pelikan is in terms of smoothness. The nib in the Pelikan is only 6 weeks old and whilst Iím sure, with more use, will become smoother the Picasso is, ďout of the boxĒ the smoothest nib Iíve ever written with. Now remember this is a brand new fine nibbed Chinese pen fitted with a Frence nib and itís smoother than a well used, vintage, medium nibbed Townsend I own.
I donít know how theyíve done this for the price but theyíve taken the cheap Chinese pen out of the poor relation category and put it leaps and bounds ahead of all the ďwesternĒ made budget pens Iíve written with. I know many reading this will scoff or view me as an ignoramus but I canít see why anyone considering buying a cheap pen, be it as a starter pen or an alternative pen for work etc. would buy a budget western pen. I donít like modern Parkers generally but this simply blows them out of the water.

So what do I feel lets the pen down, well Iím getting to like piston fillers more and more, but I own plenty of converter filled pens and this is only a ďlet downĒ if you only want a piston filler. Like many Chinese pens the converter is removable and the pen can be filled with standard cartridges so if youíre a cartridge person itís ideal.
As I mentioned other than my doubts over the ability of the clip to survive long term pocket use (and I have no proof that it wonít) I canít see any downsides for this pen except that itís Chinese. And therein lies the rub, as a pen I think itís excellent and it will do everything 99% of us will want a fountain pen to do but in terms of prestige itís never going to be a Mont Blanc and I think many will never view it as anything other than a cheap Chinese pen.

So how much was this example of a perfectly useable everyday pen Ė including P&P from China under 13 pounds ($19). That might be more than many view as a good buy but Iíve seen some of them sell for the starting bid plus P&P. Whilst time might prove the Pelikan a better long term bet and it will no doubt hold its value better, who starts off buying a 50 pound ($75) pen?

Would I recommend this pen to the FPNmembers? Without a doubt - if youíre looking for something stylish or gaudy (they make them as well) that wonít break the bank and will make a good solid user you could do a lot worse and in my opinion for the money wonít find anything better.

Craig

P.S. I bought a medium nibbed Picasso (different model in Orange) at the same time and it also has a wonderfully smooth nib but itís a medium and I simply canít write with it, same quality and attention to detail as in the Baroque.
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#2 smoores

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 13:18

I thought Picasso pens were made in France? I could definitely be wrong. :) Just re-read this slower and realized that you mentioned that! :headsmack: Oops! My husband has one that is a very nice, consistent writer and looks very nice. I have tried to steal it a few times, but he really likes it so I will just get my own. :)

Edited by smoores, 29 April 2010 - 13:21.


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#3 xuan87

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 13:29

wow, chinese pen with a french nib! definitely worth checking out. will like to compare it to regal pens, which i'm a big fan of.
Please check out my blogshop for fountain pens and inks at http://inkoholicanonymous.blogspot.com/ Reviews of my pens can be found there too!

#4 Ed Ronax

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 16:39

Great review, thanks, that looks like a really good buy.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


#5 hecya

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 22:25

I am myself waiting for a Picasso "Emotion of Roman". According to the pictures it seems to be of a very good quality.

Thanks for the review.

#6 karinh

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 22:40

I recently got a matte mid-blue & silver coloured Picasso with an F nib - don't know which model it is, sorry. It is really nice and smooth to write with and I think it is excellent value and quality, especially for what I paid for it. Certainly nicer than anything else I have that was so cheap. (Mine was about $25AU, bought in China.)
So yeah, I second your praise, MrClegg. This is one good Chinese pen.
"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light." - Groucho Marx

#7 PianoMan14

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 23:10

 

So what pen am I going to extol the virtues of today, a Chinese pen with the brand name of Picasso; specifically the Baroque model. 

...


So how much was this example of a perfectly useable everyday pen – including P&P from China under 13 pounds ($19). That might be more than many view as a good buy but I've seen some of them sell for the starting bid plus P&P. Whilst time might prove the Pelikan a better long term bet and it will no doubt hold its value better, who starts off buying a 50 pound ($75) pen?


Great review! Now I know that Hero is not the only Chinese brand that makes decent pens. Just two comments:

I always thought Picasso was Cubist, not Baroque   :)

I started out with a $90 pen (an m215) which is still my daily user. (If you don't count a $3 calligraphy set)

Edited by PianoMan14, 29 April 2010 - 23:11.

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#8 lovemy51

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 05:57

wow, craig... that's one short review!!! :headsmack:

i have a picasso and whilst the nib is very small (it's the only complaint i have, oh yes and the rigid clip!), it is one of the smoothest steel nibs i have.

also, i don't know how they do it, but the snap cap has the smoothest click i've ever seen any pen, anywhere!!!... it feels almost like it's done with a hydraulic system of some sort. very well made pen (mine was $15 = shipping from isellpens.com).

i've enjoyed your review and i thank you very much for sharing.

#9 lovemy51

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 06:17

never mind this post... :embarrassed_smile:

Edited by lovemy51, 30 April 2010 - 06:20.


#10 mrclegg

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 09:37

wow, craig... that's one short review!!! :headsmack:

also, i don't know how they do it, but the snap cap has the smoothest click i've ever seen any pen, anywhere!!!... it feels almost like it's done with a hydraulic system of some sort. very well made pen (mine was $15 = shipping from isellpens.com).

i've enjoyed your review and i thank you very much for sharing.


I didn't know if the review should be longer or shorter, as it turned out I ran out of time and had to go to work so I left it at that.

Does the clip suffer from use or do you not use it either?

I like the way the cap fits, you're right it is very, I'm struggling for the right word: smooth, precise, professional, it's hard to encompass, perhaps "pleasing" describes it best?
I own a few Cross Townsend pens and I think they're the best closing cap of any pen I've ever opened/closed and whilst not quite as good, the Picasso cap does add to the enjoyment of using the pen - does that sound weird?

I have another 4 Picasso pens on their way to me, the cheapest I got for the opening bid of 59 pence (less than $1) and I still know it will be a good quality usable pen.

Anyway thanks for your comments.
Craig
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Witch Hunt - Neil Peart


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#11 TMac

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 20:56

Craig, great review.

I have an Orange Picasso 908 that is truly an underrated pen.

After reading your review last night, I won a 916 in Violet that looks to be the same pen that you reviewed.

Make sure you write reviews on the other Picassos when received.

#12 hecya

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 02:28

I received my pen today and is much better than I thought. The finishing is impeccable and the design is quite elegant. The model I chose was F917 "Emotion of Roman" with F nib. Color is black and the metal trimmings are silver. I posted a review here in FPN.

My only (minor) disappointment is that the nib is more Medium than Fine.

The most valued feature of the pen is its incredibly smoothness. Much better than my Lamy A-Star and Pelikan M215 that now I feel scratchy in comparison.

#13 lovemy51

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 08:41

I have an Orange Picasso 908 that is truly an underrated pen.

this is the one i have, but i couldn't remember the model. thanx.

#14 lovemy51

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 08:46

Does the clip suffer from use or do you not use it either?


can't really say since i don't use this pen a lot. i've taken it out of the house maybe 10 times.

#15 dnb

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 09:57

Nice review, Craig. Thanks.
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