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Yard-O-Led Viceroy Grand Barley B Nib


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69 replies to this topic

#1 hari317

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 15:50

This pen arrived today. So this review reflects my initial opinion about the pen. I had been desiring this pen for a long time. The desire became quite intense in the last few weeks. I had to sacrifice a few surplus pens in order to raise the funds required for this pen.

I shopped around for the best price and found that Pam Braun had the best prices as usual. Also, I was very happy with her service the last time I bought my Pelikan 101N from her, so I decided to give her my business. With the help of a good friend in the US, I was able to transmit the funds to Pam and the pen was delivered to me in India within the week.

The presentation is quite simple, the package had been opened by customs and resealed. I was relieved to find the pen intact.

The Outer box:
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Label on the flap:
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The Wood type box, it is very light, I am not sure if the box is wooden or just plastic:
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The fancy hinge:
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Box opened to reveal the pen securely nestled inside, the pen pouch is also visible on the side:
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The guarantee paper and the Silver polishing cloth, it is a two stage polishing cloth:
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Pen capped:
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Pen opened:
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Clip closeup:
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The pen's serial number on the clip: 1891: the riveting job is shoddy.
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Clip engraving, nicely done, the clip is nice and tight. Perfect for my cotton shirts:
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Hallmarks on the cap:
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Hallmarks on the barrel: each symbol has a specific meaning as explained on the Filofax website. My pen was made in 2009(date code letter k):
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"Made in England" stamping on the cap, not done as well as the hallmarks:
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Clip's side profile, quite elegant:
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The pen opened: The section threads are very deep, there is an O-ring at the bottom of the threads, leads to the barrel being very securely screwed, no chance of unscrewing inadvertently. The converter has a metal sleeve on the knob.
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The nib is quite big, suits the size of the pen:
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Plastic feeder: It is slightly misalinged to the nib but the pen is working fine. I will fix it if I happen to disassemble the pen. The nib is very well made. Note the roughened area of the nib underside.
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The section neck has "925 STERLING" engraved on it:
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The Barley guilloche:
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The barrel end, it seems seperate end plug is friction fitted over the hollow barrel:
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The top of the cap. I have presented the pen as received, there is some tarnish on the pen from storage. I am sure the cap top will take a mirror finish:
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A writing sample:
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Writing performance:

I filled the pen up with Camel Royal blue ink, my staple reliable ink. No flushing was required, the pen writes well out of the box. I wrote(doodled) for about two full sides of an A4 page before writing the sample.

The pen is quite heavy. The construction is solid, the pen is not an overlay, it is machined out of a tube of sterling silver. I find the pen well balanced when posted, even when not posted, the pen feels fine. But it feels very light(due to balance) when posted. The cap posts very securely. I am afraid it might scuff the barrel but I have noticed no obvious scuff marks yet.

Cost:

I got a very good deal on the pen from Pam as compared to other sources. I think the price is justified. Even though handmade, a little bit more attention to details is possible. I have seen much better riveting on vintage Waterman's that I own. I cannot explain why the hallmarks are made superbly and on the same pen the "Made in England: stamp is weak and not done well.

Conclusion:

The pen writes well, no complaints yet. I will start carrying the pen to work from next week. I tried clipping the pen to my shirt pocket, it is a perfect fit. Overall, I am happy with the purchase.

Cheers!
Hari
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

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#2 jar

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 16:17

Great review Hari, glad you like it. How do you like the feel of the barleycorn finish?

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#3 PAKMAN

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 16:20

Absolutely beautiful! Still trying to convince myself to get a Grand size of this pen!

PAKMAN
 

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#4 jar

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 16:24

Absolutely beautiful! Still trying to convince myself to get a Grand size of this pen!


Remember that Pam's only gonna be around for about another two weeks.

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#5 hari317

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 17:02

Great review Hari, glad you like it. How do you like the feel of the barleycorn finish?


Thank you Jar. I thought I liked the Victorian better, but it was after your review that I realised that I like the Barley corn finish more. I might go in for a Pocket Victorian in the future.

I like the grip offered by Sterling silver pens, I really do not mind sterling silver sections, they are not slippery at all. The Barelycorn finish has a nice feel, it is not overly tactile. This pen has no rough edges at all. The most amount of tactile feedback and sharp guilloche, I found on a NOS Sterling silver Sheaffer 834 that I was fortunate to buy.

Best
Hari
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#6 sunfun

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 18:27

So beautiful pen! Thanks for review. What is the weight of this pen?

#7 watch_art

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 18:56

Is the roughed up bit under the nib supposed to help with ink flow?

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#8 pelman

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 19:02

A very nice review and wonderful pictures. The Barely corn pattern is quite striking. I am sure you will enjoy many years of writing with this gorgeous pen. Congratulations.

#9 jar

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 20:49

Is the roughed up bit under the nib supposed to help with ink flow?


I think it is more likely simply a characteristic of one of the nib tuners at Yard-o-Led. There are no signs of lines like shown in this thread on my Corinthian or Viceroy Victorian Grand but are there on my Viceroy Barleycorn Grand.

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#10 watch_art

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 21:25

gotcha. that makes good sense.

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#11 jar

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 21:45

So beautiful pen! Thanks for review. What is the weight of this pen?


It weighs around 67.6 gms, almost two and a half ounces with a full converter.

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#12 hari317

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:57

A very nice review and wonderful pictures. The Barely corn pattern is quite striking. I am sure you will enjoy many years of writing with this gorgeous pen. Congratulations.


Thank you very much my friend. I certainly hope the pen is long lasting.

Is the roughed up bit under the nib supposed to help with ink flow?


I think it is more likely simply a characteristic of one of the nib tuners at Yard-o-Led. There are no signs of lines like shown in this thread on my Corinthian or Viceroy Victorian Grand but are there on my Viceroy Barleycorn Grand.


I have seen less conspicuous roughening on some vintage gold nibs. I have seen a very similar pattern on some modern 146 and 149 nibs using the modern plastic feeders. I guess this may be more important when using a plastic feeder. I also think that the roughening on this YOL nib has been done before plating it white. Regarding roughed Vs non roughed nibs on YOL, maybe it is a vendor/process change? the datecode on my pen is k-2009. Can you post the date codes on your pens? it will be interesting if we can do some date correlation.
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#13 Inkwisitor

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:50

Great review. I have, and love, an older pen of this model with the barley finish and a wettish medium nib. For anyone wavering over the decision to invest in one (they are very expensive) I can heartily recommend it as a distinguished writing instrument that performs well and oozes class.
"The cultured man is the man whose interior consciousness is forever obstinately writing down, in the immaterial diary of his psyche's sense of life, every chance aspect of every new day that he is lucky enough to live to behold!" - John Cowper Powys

#14 hari317

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:03

Thank you Inkwisitor. To buy this pen is akin to making an investment. Investing in pleasure. Haha.

On a side note, does Yard O Led have its own website? I can only find the Filofax website.
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#15 Ghost Plane

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 13:07

With lined, barley, and Victorian in the grands, I have to say these are phenomenal pens. Never picky about inks used, sturdy, and the nibs have a uniquely pleasurable feel. Well worth the investment. Plus the c/c fill lets me take them places where bottled ink is not an option :thumbup:

#16 jar

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 13:08

Thank you Inkwisitor. To buy this pen is akin to making an investment. Investing in pleasure. Haha.

On a side note, does Yard O Led have its own website? I can only find the Filofax website.


Filofax owns Yard-o-Led today and so that is the official website.

Not all of their fountain pens though are shown on the website, for example the Corinthian is not listed.

My Barleycorn was made in 2010 and my Corinthian was made in 2007. The Victorian is a new pen and made this year IIRC so it doesn't seem to be a date related issue.

My understanding is that the YoL nibs are white gold and not plated but as usual, I may well be wrong about this.

I have also been told that different craftsmen work on different lines and that the folk working at YoL can tell exactly who made a given Victorian at a glance. That specialization may also hold true with nib tuning.

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#17 hari317

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 13:30

Filofax owns Yard-o-Led today and so that is the official website.

Not all of their fountain pens though are shown on the website, for example the Corinthian is not listed.

My Barleycorn was made in 2010 and my Corinthian was made in 2007. The Victorian is a new pen and made this year IIRC so it doesn't seem to be a date related issue.

My understanding is that the YoL nibs are white gold and not plated but as usual, I may well be wrong about this.

I have also been told that different craftsmen work on different lines and that the folk working at YoL can tell exactly who made a given Victorian at a glance. That specialization may also hold true with nib tuning.


Jar, thank you for the very interesting tidbits of information. Do you have more information about the serial numbers? It is quite low on my pen, are only such few numbers made? I guess the factory might keep a record of each pen made, the craftsman who worked on it etc.

I went through two converters of ink today. First with the Camel royal blue and the second with MB Violet. After I switched to MB violet, the pen started skipping, so I flushed the pen out, I pulled the nib out to fix the niggling feed misalignment. The feed used, seemed to be of very low quality. Poor quality of molding. I should have taken some pictures. There was a large mold flash on the feed topside, I had to break it away and gently cleaned the feed channels with a 1 thou brass shim. After the flash was removed, the feed fits well conformed to the nib and the pen writes well too with MB Violet. I just finished doodling away one converter fill of that ink just now.

While the nib was out, I noticed that the edge of the heel of the nib was darkish-bluish in shade and had lost a slight patch of plating with the yellow base metal visible through(maybe that is the area where the electrode clamp grips the nib for plating). I was slightly disappointed when I saw that. In case I need to take the pen apart again, I will surely take some pictures.
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#18 jar

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 14:04

Filofax owns Yard-o-Led today and so that is the official website.

Not all of their fountain pens though are shown on the website, for example the Corinthian is not listed.

My Barleycorn was made in 2010 and my Corinthian was made in 2007. The Victorian is a new pen and made this year IIRC so it doesn't seem to be a date related issue.

My understanding is that the YoL nibs are white gold and not plated but as usual, I may well be wrong about this.

I have also been told that different craftsmen work on different lines and that the folk working at YoL can tell exactly who made a given Victorian at a glance. That specialization may also hold true with nib tuning.


Jar, thank you for the very interesting tidbits of information. Do you have more information about the serial numbers? It is quite low on my pen, are only such few numbers made? I guess the factory might keep a record of each pen made, the craftsman who worked on it etc.


The number system IIRC is based on order made during a year, so the serial numbers may well repeat but when combined with the date mark give an identifier. I do not know if the numbers start again every year or when they reach 9999.

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#19 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 15:46

very nice pen :thumbup: thanks for the review
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#20 encremental

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 15:48

As a Yard-O-Led owner myself, I found this précis of a WES lecture very interesting:

http://www.pentrace....icle.asp?id=502

Still made by only six people using machines from before the first world war.....

John






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