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C.e Levi Pens Nox With #5 Sheaffer Feathertouch 14K Fine Nib
Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:00
For more reviews of my pens, please visit my blog at http://inkoholicanon...s.blogspot.com/
For more information on the pen and the brand, please go to http://celevipens.com/wordpress/
Disclaimer: I bought this pen for a $150 discount. In exchange, I will have to write a detailed review of the pen. I understand this might affected the integrity of the review but I promise to keep my review as unbiased as possible. In addition, I will provide my value of the pen with and without the discount.
INTRODUCTION: There are websites that I visit daily first thing in the morning when I switch on my computer and one of them is the MarketWatch on FPN. I saw a thread posted by Cameron that he will offer a $150 discount in exchange for any of his pens in exchange for a detailed review. $150 is a lot in exchange for a review so I was naturally curious. I went to his website and looked through his pens. Basically Cameron has one base design for his four pens: The Colossus pen is made from either bronze or brass, the Nox pen is made from matte black German ebonite with bronze trimmings, the Small Nox is a smaller version of the Nox, and the Solstice is a longer version of the Nox. All pens are outfitted with vintage gold nibs personally tuned by Cameron and are only available clipless.
The ordering process is very simple: You can choose to buy one of the ready-made pens from Cameron or you can choose to make one made. If you want a pen made, you just need to make a $50 deposit and you’ll be put on the waiting list. When it’s your turn, you can choose to pay the remainder, or choose to wait another round. Simple as that. You can choose to have your pen customize to an extent by changing the dimensions of various parts of the pens and by providing your own nibs. You can choose to provide your own material but that will cost you extra.
1. Appearance & Design (9/10) – The pen looks like nothing out there and I like how it differs from most pens out there. The ebonite body looks and feels like it was made from ebony wood and it certainly gives it an expensive feeling. I will say that the design is a love-it-or-hate-it design and I simply love it! In fact, I was so in love with it that I chose to inked it first instead of my Nakaya Urushi pen, which arrived on the same day. Expect a review of that pen sometime next month. A perfect 10 for the design. One small complaint that I have is the number of turns you need to uncap the pen. It can be hard when you’re taking notes in lectures.
2. Construction & Quality (10/10) – A lot of details were placed in the construction of the pen and I cannot find a single flaw in the pen. The trimmings are made out of machined bronze and you can see from the photo that there is a thin band of polished bronze sandwiched between two thicker bands of brushed bronze. That’s a nice detailed design that I imagine will take a long time to machine. The ebonite pen body is nicely polished such that it is uniform all over. Overall, I can’t find anything for me to take a point off on.
3. Weight & Dimensions (9.5/10) – The exact dimensions and weight of the pen can be taken from Cameron’s website so I will not post them here. Overall I find it comfortable to hold, and the pen has a nice heft to it, probably due to the button filler mechanism and bronze trimmings. Most of the weight is in the pen body so the nib portion of the pen feels light when you’re writing. This might appeal or not appeal to somebody but personally, I feel this makes writing effortless. The only small issue I have is that the pen section is slightly too narrow for me; I will prefer a slightly thicker grip section. You can be sure that I will request that for my next C.E Levi pen!
4. Nib & Performance (19/20) – This is where the pen truly shines. I told Cameron that I prefer a Fine nib that writes abit on the wet side (but not overly wet like the Pelikan Gold nibs), and is springy instead of flexible. He recommended the #5 Sheaffer Feathertouch and I took him up on his offer. This nib is almost exactly like my EF Visconti Dreamtouch nib is almost every aspect. They both give the same line width, and both write with the most minimal of contact. Also, both are equally smooth with the slightest bit of friction that I desire. However, the Sheaffer Feathertouch is able to flex more than the Dreamtouch nib, so I actually prefer the Feathertouch nib to the Dreamtouch nib. I just have one gripe: There’s a lot of nib creep; this is caused by the narrow interior of the cap. When I uncap the pen, I often drag the interior of the cap across the top of the nib, causing the interior to spread ink all over the nib.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – The pen is a button filler and one big reason why I decided to spring for the pen. I’ve never had a button filler before and I thought the design is pretty cool. I think Cameron should make a demonstrator pen to show off the mechanism. Again, I see no reason to take off any point in this department.
6. Cost & Value (10/10) at $300 and 9/10 at $450 – It’s hard to be unbiased here since I got a discount in exchange for a review so I give 2 ratings, one at the price I paid ($300) and one at the full price ($450). Right now, there are only two pens in my collection that can be comparable to the Nox and they are the Visconti Homo Sapien ($350) and the Nakaya Neo Standard in Kuro-Tamenuri with Snake clip ($750 but I have not inked it up yet ). At $450, there are a lot of pens that I would like to buy but I can’t because they are too expensive so I can’t give a perfect score at the original price. However, this pen is almost like a grail pen to me. In fact, I am highly considering the idea of sending the pen to Ernest Shin so that he can give it a urushi coating. At that point, it will really be a grail pen!
7. Conclusion (Final score, 67.5/70 or 66.5/70) – If you’re in the market for a totally unique, one of a kind pen, then any of Cameron’s pens will suit you perfectly. If you’re looking for a new pen body for your vintage nib, then Cameron is the guy for you to go to. In conclusion, I highly recommend getting a C.E Levi pen.
8. Some things to consider: Here, I’ll like to list some concerns that potential buyers might have when looking to getting a custom pen from Cameron. Firstly, you cannot have a pen made from a different material without providing extra pieces of the material and paying extra. This is because Cameron needs the extra pieces to get a feel for the material and to experiment with. This means he needs more time to make your pen. Also Cameron basically only has one design, it has to be clipless and a button filler. The most you can customize is the dimensions of the pen.
9. Simple Comparison with a similar pen from the Edison Pen Company: The Edison Pen Company is arguably the most well-known custom pen company in the FPN community (with the exception of Nakaya) and I myself own 3 Edison pens. This portion of the review is not a comparison on whose pen is better, but rather to give a potential buyer the idea of what kind of pen you can expect from the Edison Pen Company and C.E Levi.
C.E Levi: For $450, you will get a clipless pen made from black ebonite, with a button filler mechanism and a vintage 14K gold nib.
Edison Pen Company: A black ebonite pen, with a modern 18K gold nib, and a bulb filler mechanism will cost you $450 as well.
I will like to end this review by saying that both pen makers produce pens of exceptional quality and values and it all boils down to your personal preferences.
Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:24
Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:51
Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:18
Posted 16 September 2011 - 18:06
Posted 16 September 2011 - 18:16
I tried my level best to be objective in this review but it's hard to when the pen is just so good!
I know the feeling. Great review, and I really like your comparison to the Edison.
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.
— Samuel Johnson
Posted 16 September 2011 - 20:52
I think I have seen this review before.....
Oh yeah, by DCPRITCH, Jim Hughes, and me....
Nice review Xuan87. We are all in agreement.
Posted 18 January 2012 - 23:11
Had the chance to see and handle it in pen and it's a unique pen. Just one question -- how do you disassemble it to change the sac?
All of my pens are put together just like vintage ones. When the sac needs changing (which shouldn't be for quite a few years), the friction fit section is pulled out the front of the barrel. Any competent pen repairer can do the job.