On New Year's Eve, I visited the web sites of some of my favorite pen vendors and found that Todd (www.isellpens.com) had placed the new Conway Stewart Excalibur on sale. One of the two he had came with an Italic Broad nib. That eliminated my second thoughts about purchasing it. Actually, it pretty much eliminated my first thoughts as well. I was left with my impulses alone. So, a beautiful Wellington has joined the Bellivers and Model 100 in my Conway Stewart collection.
Appearance & Design (1-10) – Pleasing proportions with an unusually-shaped cap
The Wellington is a handsome pen. It appears generally cylindrical, but closer inspection reveals a convexity to the upper portion of the cap. As usual, the coloring of the pen is more striking “in person” than in the photos. It is not simply black with a red swirl. There are gray highlights which appear deep in the pen's body that give the surface a feeling of three dimensionality. The color, which is named “Red Knight” on the Certificate of Authenticity, is not as striking as some of CS's other resins, but it conveys subtle exceptionality underlying a conservative surface. It reminds me of a white car with red upholstery I once had. 7.5
Construction & Quality (1-10) – Flawless, but not made to post
I cannot find any thing to fault in the quality of construction. However, the shape of the barrel and cap are such that the cap will not stay on when you attempt to post it. This is not a problem with performance, as the size of the pen and its balance are near perfect for writing un-posted. However, assuming this is not an idiosyncrasy of this specimen, the Wellington would not be a model for some one who needs to post their pens. 9.5
Weight & Dimensions (1-10) – Substantial size. Comfortable weight
The Wellington is a tad longer than the Belliver and about the length of a Pelikan M800 and a bit larger in diameter than either. It is a bit heavier than an M800. It is not so large that its size is a distraction from other visual attributes. I find this size and weight most comfortable for writing, although I more often carry smaller pens to work, just because they fit better in my shirt pocket. 9.0
Nib & Performance (1-10) - Wet and smooth, with better than expected line variation
The pen was purchased with an Italic Broad nib. Conway Stewart's italic nibs have been described as more like stubs than cursive italics, and the one on this Exalibur fits that description. I rinsed the nib and converter with filtered water with a few drops of dishwashing soap, then pure water, before filling it with MB black ink. It writes with wonderful smoothness and excellent ink flow. I prefer a “crisper” nib, since I do use most of my pens for italic writing. The nib is too broad for my regular cursive scrawl. These are not faults; the nib is flawless for what it is. But I will probably have it crisped up a few notches by a nib meister, as I have had done with my Bellivers. 8.0
Filling System & Maintenance (1-10) – Cartridge/Converter filler
The installed converter works smoothly and provides consistent ink flow. Since I rotate the pens I use frequently, and, because of the special nib on this pen, I won't use it as an everyday pen, the lesser capacity of the converter compared to a piston filler is not an issue for me. I gather that nib swapping is not encouraged by Conway Stewart. In fact, I haven't a clue regarding how one removes the nib. I regard this as a disadvantage of CS pens relative to those whose nibs can be easily changed. 7.0
Cost & Value (1-10) – An expensive pen, but got at a good price
For what I paid, I feel I received good value. 7.0
Conclusion (Final score: 8.0/10) – The Excalibur is a handsome pen that is a good size for me. It writes flawlessly, and I'll enjoy it even more after I have the nib customized. The quality of construction supports my positive estimation of Conway Stewart, and the physical characteristics of the Excalibur will have me looking again at Wellington's when new releases appear.
Edited by dms525, 08 January 2012 - 01:53.