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Onoto Overlay No. 1


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Hennypenny

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 01:54

Posted Image

I gave my first impressions of this pen on August 17th, shortly after I'd received it. It's time to update and complete my review:

First impressions: I was immediately impressed with this pen and its packaging. The outer box was an unassuming navy cardboard box with "Onoto" lettered in gold, but inside was a lovely burl wood presentation box. While I'm generally not a fan of fancy packaging, this box is a handsome pen case that I now keep on my desk (there are excellent photos of this box on at www.onoto.com). Inside the wooden case, resting upon a cushion of plush satin, lay this striking sterling silver overlay pen. All in all, an excellent introduction for this elegant instrument!

I'll note at this point that included with the pen and its box were a Lifetime Guarantee, a Certificate of Authenticity, a care booklet, a booklet with the history of the Onoto company, 2 ink blotters, a booklet explaining hallmarks, a booklet on Henry Simpole's work, and a gray cleaning cloth (which I promptly lost - be sure to order one of Richard Binder's Sunshine Cloths when you order this pen). Richard Binder also included a note indicating the pen nib was Binderized.

Appearance and design: I can best describe this pen's appearance as graceful and elegant, and its proportions as perfect; although a modern pen, it exudes vintage character and class. I was immediately struck by the workmanship and artistry of the silver overlay. It was done by Henry Simpole, and is among the best modern overlay work I've seen. I'll let my pictures speak to the intricacy of the design (and I hope my pictures do it justice), but suffice it to say the leaves and vines appear to encircle and embrace the underlying pen. Both the cap and the barrel have the letters O-N-O-T-O cleverly and discreetly woven into the design (as explained on Richard's site).

This is a clipless pen, and I think this lends to its long, lean appearance. The cap is friction-fit, requiring a deliberate action of simultaneously pushing with the fingers of one hand while pulling with the fingers of the other, to open. I don't know that everyone would like this action (of course, is there anything that everyone likes?) - I consider it to be an opening ritual that brings me into the present with the pen, the page, the ink and, ultimately, the words I'm writing.

Balance and comfort: Although the cap posts securely to the end of the barrel (again, friction fit), I never post. Unposted, I find this pen to be comfortable and well-balanced; posted, it feels overly long to my hand, but is still well-balanced. This is an extremely comfortable pen; the overlay is pleasant to hold and very tactile.

Filling system: Cartridge/converter (Schmidt K5 converter), which is easy and neat. I imagine this could also be converted to an eye-dropper fill - perhaps Richard will give his thoughts on that.

Weight and dimensions I would recommend viewing this pen on Richard's site where its dimensions can be compared with other pens. According to Richard's site, it's 5 11/16" capped, 5 3/16" uncapped, 6 7/8" posted, and weighs 0.99 oz. Its barrel diameter is 0.49"

Nib performance: I like an EF/F nib and worried whether the Onoto Fine would be fine enough. Barbara Binder told me that the fine was on the narrow side, so that's what I ordered. Unbeknownst to me, the Binders had not yet received any fine nibs from Onoto so, rather than delay my order, Richard ground a medium nib down to a fine (the Onoto nibs are not stamped with their size), and tuned it to my flow preference. So I cannot comment on the performance of the Onoto "stock" nib; needless to say, the Binderized nib I received is smooth and wonderful. I've found it to be overly-wet with a few J. Herbin inks, but perfect with the Diamine Damson I'm now using.

The nib is a #3 nib, which is smaller than the large nibs common on many modern pens. I find it to be in proportion to the pen overall, and comfortable for my medium size hands. It's an 18K, 2-tone gold nib; the 18K makes for a softer feel when writing, although there is no spring or flex per se.

Overall conclusions: At $800, there's no denying that this is an expensive pen. However, I think the materials and workmanship fully justify the price of this modern heirloom. This is a pen that I will keep and use on a daily basis.

I have not assigned numerical ratings to this pen. Rather, I've tried to objectively point out its features, some of which will not be to some people's liking (for example, the fact that its clipless). If its features are to your tastes, however, this pen will not disappoint -- I'm smitten by it!
The sky IS falling. C. Little

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#2 richardandtracy

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 15:23

Oh, that has made a gorgeous pen.
I had the privilege of seeing some of the flat, pierced, overlays at LWES 2010, and took a photo while there (with Henry's permission) next to another of his pens, as below:
Posted Image

I'm so glad you like it.

Regards,

Richard.

#3 Ghost Plane

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 16:53

Can you talk a little more about the posting. These pens seem much too short for my preferences and unless a pen posts VERY securely, I find my back on the barrel stance will work the caps loose due to the leverage on the cap.

#4 Hennypenny

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 17:32

... took a photo while there (with Henry's permission) next to another of his pens, as below:


Thanks for posting that picture -- it makes the "O-N-O-T-O" stand out.

It's a wonderful pen ... HP
The sky IS falling. C. Little

#5 Hennypenny

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 17:34

Can you talk a little more about the posting. These pens seem much too short for my preferences and unless a pen posts VERY securely, I find my back on the barrel stance will work the caps loose due to the leverage on the cap.


I'll check on the posting tonight and let you know. HP
The sky IS falling. C. Little

#6 Ghost Plane

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 17:57

Appreciate it. :thumbup:

#7 olivier78860

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 18:29

If this pen had a flex nib, I'd be waiting for one in the mail now.

Posted Image


#8 Hennypenny

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 23:00

Ghostplane,

The posting is quite firm. The posting "knob" at the end of the barrel is about 1/3 inch long, so you can push the cap on quite firmly. If you grip the pen on the section, there's a good 3 1/2" inches of pen before you get to the step down for that knob. Here's a pic - hope it helps:
Posted Image
The sky IS falling. C. Little

#9 Truffle Finder

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 08:01

Thank you for giving such a nice report on the Onoto pen Hennypenny, it is so much better to read such a report where you do notr have to have a PHD in Fountain Pen Science to be able to understand what has been said!
I am really pleased that you like it, and will continue to enjoy it for a long time to come.
Do you live in the USA? I assume that you do, as I believe you said that you had purchased the pen from Richard Binder, so I suppose it is very unlikely that I will see you at the London Pen Show next Sunday! Any chance you might be going to the Columbus Ohio Pen Show in November? I will be attending that one, and I will be demonstrating craft at my stand during the show. It would be great to meet you if you are thinking of going.
Truffle Finder. :thumbup:
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#10 Ghost Plane

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 13:31

Ghostplane,

The posting is quite firm. The posting "knob" at the end of the barrel is about 1/3 inch long, so you can push the cap on quite firmly. If you grip the pen on the section, there's a good 3 1/2" inches of pen before you get to the step down for that knob. Here's a pic - hope it helps:
Posted Image

I have a tendency to hold my pens about where the joint of your thumb is in that picture :embarrassed_smile:

#11 Hennypenny

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 16:13

Do you live in the USA? I assume that you do, as I believe you said that you had purchased the pen from Richard Binder, so I suppose it is very unlikely that I will see you at the London Pen Show next Sunday! Any chance you might be going to the Columbus Ohio Pen Show in November? I will be attending that one, and I will be demonstrating craft at my stand during the show. It would be great to meet you if you are thinking of going.
Truffle Finder. :thumbup:


Yes, I am in the US -- North Carolina to be more precise -- so London is too far a drive for me. Hope you have a most excellent time there.

Not sure I'll make Columbus either, but am thinking about Philadelphia after the holidays -- any chance you'll be there?

In any event, our paths will cross soon -- love your work and would enjoy meeting you. I've now got to go refill the Onoto - it's one of the rare pens that I've actually used a whole converter-full of ink!! I believe I'll be keeping it inked up.. HP/Vicki
The sky IS falling. C. Little

#12 mjchuang9

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 16:52

The Onoto overlay no.1 is the smoothest pen I have that even smoother than S.T Dupont. But I found there is ink residue on the gripping section when I uncap the pen. Sometimes I found MB has the same issue sometimes especially when I just fill up the ink.

#13 Truffle Finder

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:29

It could be that when you are removing the cap of the pen, you are drawing ink down due to increased suction.
Try removing the cap slowly, and see how that works.
:embarrassed_smile:
With regards to your Mont Blanc, that has a similar problem, are you aware that when you fill the pen, you are meant to expel 6/8 drops of ink back into the ink pot [after you have filled the pen,] then screw up the turning knob at the end of the pen? This has the effect of ensuring that there is a small air-pocket inside the pen, which allows space for expansion, when the pen warms up, perhaps in the in-breast pocket of your jacket, or in a shirt pocket! Try it, I'd be surprised if you found that it doesn't work.
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#14 mjchuang9

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:41

Hi Truffle,
Thanks for your suggestions. I usually expel 2-3 drops of ink then put the nib upwards to expel the air bubble again. Almost my MB don't have the issue. In fact ,my plunger also has the same question and David said it intends to unscrew the section to cause ink leakage. I sent the plunger and overlay back, and the plunger is on the way back. I will try your method next time.






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