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Graf Von Faber-Castell Guilloche In Black Resin With Platinized Metal Parts


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#1 phrenzy

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:50

Authors note: I wrote this review a couple months ago and held onto it while I made what turned out to be futile efforts to take a few nice pictures of the pen, box and carry bag to include in the review. Instead of leaving it on my iPad unpublished indefinitely where it's no use to anyone I've decided to publish it sans pictures. At some later date I will try and get a few shots and add them to the thread.

Review proper:

Finally and at long last it arrived! Honestly, I was starting to think it wouldn't get here, as it took nearly 25 days to come from Spain to my doorstep in South Australia. But here it is, my black Guilloche Graf von Faber-Castell fountain with a medium nib.

I hadn't realized just how new the Graf von Faber-Castell range actually was. Faber-Castell are this year celebrating their 250th year of making writing instruments, indeed I have been the proud owner of Faber-Castell pens since my first connector pen textas at age 6. Given this long and illustrious history you could be forgiven for wondering why you have never heard of a vintage GvFC fountain pen. The reason is simple, they've only been making a line of luxe pens for a little over a decade. Something that was a shock to me given the quality and feel of the product and the way people here talk about them, but it does explain why there are ten articles and reviews for the big names like Montblanc or Pelikan for every one on GvFC.

I'm going to try hard not to sound too much like an advertisement and to be fair at the time I got the guilloche I had never bought/owned a pen worth that much so I had little to compare it to, but I'm utterly intoxicated.

It is admittedly an interesting look that seemed almost a little odd to me at first, especially as someone who fell in love with fountain pens by looking at traditional torpedo Montblanc Meisterstucks, but it slowly grew on me little by little until I became completely obsessed by its proportions and curves. Particularly when capped it looks quite elegant. The fluted, flat capped look is common to the entire GvFC range, including those from the classic collection which I intend to review soon.

These pens haunted my dreams and were a constant productivity-draining preoccupation for weeks until I broke down and bought a Classic in Pernumbuco. My mother kindly offered to intercept the package and give it to me for christmas. The fact that the Pernumbuco went back in the box and "under the tree" means it had gone back to eating away at both my waking and sleeping hours, leaving me devoid of any useful purpose, and had it not been for the arrival of my Guilloche mid-December it may have led to a pen-related grinch-style domestic incident.

Let's start at the beginning.

The packaging:

The pen comes in a cream colored card box with nice wooden end sections, that folds open to reveal slots for three pens. It looks like something you would want to display on a shelf and although it's not as nice as the all-wooden case that the Classic comes in, it's certainly owell made and something worth hanging onto. Also supplied is a heavy cotton draw string bag to carry your pen around in, I assume to prevent scratching if and when you want to pack and transport the pen. This too feels well made and substantial. Although I'm not likely to make much use of the cloth bag it's a welcome addition that gives the impression that GvFC put some effort into thinking about the little extras the end users want or need.

The looks:

This frankly is what sold me on the pen. I just love the way it looks. Either capped or posted it looks elegant and well built, particularly the platinized metal parts. I have to say I prefer the hardwood of the Classic to the resin of the Guilloche and if I had it to do over again I might choose one of the more colorful indigo or sahara yellow options, but even in black it's a pen that will impress anyone who cares to notice these sorts of things. It is also available in a coral red and rhodinized (similar to a platinum plate) versions that I just can't make my mind up on; I think I'll have to see it in person to decide.

Writing:

If the looks were the reason I bought it, the reason I intend to keep it until it's buried with me is the way it feels when it touches paper. I have to add the caveat that most of my FP use (at the time I wrote this review) has been with steel nibs (Safari/Al-star, Monteverde Invincia, Parker Profile etc.), so I have few gold nib experiences to compare it to, except the Cross Townsend, but I really like it. It flows over the paper instead of dragging and gives me much more subtle control than my steel nib pens. Mine is a medium nib which I'm quite happy with, though I could see myself one day making use of both an F and a B. Line width is probably on a par with my M Safari.

I've heard other people comment that they don't like to use the Guilloche for long periods because of how thin it is. I have to admit the first day I got it I used it for several hours and did start to get some cramping, but after some experimentation I've adjusted my grip higher onto where the section and barrel meet. I've found this much easier on my hand while also improving my handwriting and control. I have quite big hands (I'm 6'3" with hands big even for my height) and with my adjusted grip I've found the pen to be straightforward and comfortable to use.

Lastly for this topic I'd like to address using the Guilloche posted. The caps on all the GvFC pens are quite hefty and well made but with these attributes comes another, weight. I've heard people talk about the pen being unbalanced when posted. This hasn't been an issue for me, I assume because the size of my hands allows me to support the pen with the crux of my hand right at the point where the barrel and cap meet, so there isn't unsupported weight on the end of a lever like there would be if my hands were smaller and the pen had to rest against my hand lower down on the barrel. This might be an issue for those of you with smaller hands but if that is the case I would suggest that writing unposted could be more comfortable and practical and any loss would be purely aesthetic, assuming you prefer the posted look.

Overall:

I've heard many people express a lust for GvFC Pens of the Year and admittedly overall this pen must look somewhat sedate when viewed side by side with the 2004 Pen of the Year, but I think it speaks to an understated elegance that will make it a classic (excuse the term). I will be able to proudly own and display it long after other fashionable "pens of the moment" (though certainly not Pens of the Year) have fallen out of favor. Combined with the quality of the nib, I think I'll be using this pen to write for special occasions for years to come.

I have to mention here GvFC customer service. Before I had even received my pen I was planning to write this review and looking for some more information on the company and the pens, so I made contact with GvFC (via Faber-Castell Australia). I called a general information line, explained my interest to an operator who took my details and I figured I may or may not be contacted again in the next week or so... I couldn't have been more wrong! About ten minutes later Sue McVay called me back, answered all my questions and sent me out some very nice booklets about GvFC, along with her card should I ever need more help or information. I've heard that their warranty and repair service is similarly attentive and personal, though given how well-made the pens are I doubt I will have much call to test the theory. 

Overall I love it. Possibly not as much as my Pernumbuco Classic, but something tells me that the Guilloche will end up doing more actual writing. It's something I could take to work or carry around to sign and write with every day. I got mine at a bargain price, hardly used second hand, but I think it's a great pen even at rrp. So finally, if you want a great writing pen that's both practical and elegant I couldn't recommend the Guilloche more highly. In any color or finish it would be a pleasure to own and use.
WTB: the following GvF-C classic FPs (pref. B or OB nib) or rollerballs: platinum plated, gold plated, solid sterling silver, ebony anello and gold anello, PM me!
(also interested in most other GvF-C products in general, i.e any writing tools, leather goods, advertising/packaging)

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#2 SASTROOPER

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 15:36

Great review mate :thumbup:
Got me the exact same pen just a few days ago and have to agree, she's a beauty!

#3 penmanila

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 15:43

does it look like the pen on the left?

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i love my faber-castells as well: a black guilloche, a pernambuco, an e-motion, and a mondoro. the pernambuco, i think, is particularly lovely:

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Check out my blog and my pens


#4 italiansallion

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 03:23

ohhhhh... that pernambuco in the last picture looks amazing






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