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Ce Levi Colossus


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#1 theabysswithin

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 00:51

Disclaimer: A $150 discount was offered with the promise of a review on FPN.

The Colossus:
I have small hands, and was worried that I’d find a pen turned from a solid piece of bronze to be too hefty for me, but I decided I had to have one because I was sold by the philosophy behind the Colossus: a pen made of a material that gets better with age.

1. Appearance and Design (9/10)
I love the clean lines that define CE Levi pens, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I love the look of this pen. The design is very clean - a cylindrical bronze pen barrel with a brass blind cap of a slightly smaller diameter and a bronze pen cap of a slightly larger diameter, and a grip made of ebonite. The pen body is totally bare, save for two circles machined into the pen cap. I love the clean design of this pen.

col1.jpg

2. Construction and Quality (10/10)
The pen’s construction is flawless. I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the pen from every angle. It was well polished, no scratches anywhere. The blind cap and pen cap screw very very smoothly to the barrel. They fit the barrel so well, it feels as though the joints are greased. They aren’t.

col3.jpg

3. Weight and Dimensions (10/10)
I have small hands, and I hold pens using the regular tripod grip. The pen feels very heavy when you pick it up, and I was worried. But Cameron wrote on his website that he paid close attention to the weight distribution and balance of the pen, and the weight of the pen “disappears on the web of the thumb and index finger (I’m paraphrasing him). Well, the weight doesn’t “disappear”, that is, I feel it all right, but it was very well balanced, neither top nor bottom-heavy. I won’t use this pen for massive amounts of writing (eg note-taking during class lectures), but it’s perfectly fine for intermittent notes. I use it when I’m making notes and comments and underlining my textbooks and readings.

4. Nib and Performance
I asked for a Sheaffer Feathertouch nib for the pen, and it writes beautifully. Smooth, no tooth, with a tad of bounce to it.

col2.jpg

5. Filling system and Maintenance (10/10)
The pen is a button filler. I never had one before, and certainly am newbie enough that I don’t know how I would take the pen apart to resac when it becomes necessary in, oh I don’t know, in a couple of decades? But the button is smooth to operate, and it’s easy to refill the pen.

6. Cost and Value (10/10) at $350, and (8/10) at $500
I suspect the higher cost of the Colossus compared of the Nox ($50) is due to the cost of the material and the increase in difficulty of machining bronze compared to ebonite. I can only imagine the skill and time that is needed to machine bronze to such a precision. The quality and design of the Colossus is top-notched, but I bought the pen mostly because of Cameron’s philosophy concept for this pen material.

7. Conclusion
I have had people comment on the Colossus whenever I use it. It’s shiny and striking, but it’s hefty. I like the Colossus, but if the philosophical concept doesn’t appeal to you the way it did for me, you will have to like heavy pens to like the Colossus. Personally, I love the Nox better, because I like my writing instruments to be lighter. If you love the look of CE Levi pens, go for it.

Some caveats: the pen cap won’t post, and it’s clipless. I don’t post my pens, and I use a pen case, so I don’t miss them. If these are must-haves for you, look elsewhere.

EDIT: Please scroll down to see the picture of the Colossus compared with other pens.

Edited by theabysswithin, 25 March 2012 - 22:05.


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#2 1point1mm

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 01:34

Nice review. Any chance of comparing a side-by-side picture shot of other well known fountain pens that you may have for size reference?
See with what large letters I have written you with my own hand. GaVIxi

The pen is the interpreter of the soul: what one thinks, the other expresses. (MdC)

#3 jimhughes

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 02:21

Thanks for the review and your excellent description of Cameron's work. His pens are works of art and engineering perfection. The combination of the new design and vintage nib is perfect. This is definitely a form follows function piece of art. Enjoy your pen, Jim

#4 Chi Town

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 02:47

Beautiful pen! I have been watching these evaluations for quite some time now and am convinced that you will not go wrong when you pick out one of Cameron's pen's. As Jim said above they are all just works of art. I can't wait to get mine.

Edited by Chi Town, 25 March 2012 - 02:49.

Mike

            Visconti Last Lira aka Luigi Einaudi #63 of 975, Stipula Yellow Da Vinci Carbon Fiber T, Stipula Model T, Vintage Fountain Pens, Delta Amerigo Vespucci LE, Pelikan Special Edition Sahara F/P, TWSBI Micarta, Danitrio Mikado, Genkai, Nakaya Decapod Cigar, Watley in Woodgrain, Marlen Yellow Liberty LE, Santa FE Style Custom "51" made by Ralph Prather, president New Mexico Pen Collector's Club.


#5 Scrawler

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:26

What I like about CE Levi pens is the solid machined appearance. I would love to have reviewed one of these, but right now even the discounted price is beyond my reach. The brass plunger filler mechanism reminds me of the machined brass steam engines that I used to play with. I realize that the parts are drilled to reduce weight and contribute to balance, but even those additional holes improve its appearance and create a tasteful stylistic impression. When I look at this Colossus I can imagine a bar of brass being machined into shape on a lathe, and the threads cut with tap and die, by hand, in the same way as I used to machine the pistons for my toy stationary engines years ago. I agree with Jim that these are works of art and engineering perfection. The value of these items is in the excellent design and patient handwork that went into their creation. These are not things that can be just squeezed out by a machine. All in all when you consider the time and effort taken to create these, they actually represent superb value for money.

#6 theabysswithin

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 03:32

As requested, here are the pictures of the Colossus with other pens for size comparison.

From top to botton:
Lamy Vista
Lamy 2000
CE Levi Small Nox
CE Levi Colossus

Attached Images

  • IMAG0072.jpg
  • IMAG0073.jpg


#7 1point1mm

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 03:42

Thanks for the pictures. It appears the girth is quite similar to the Lamy 2000 at its widest.
See with what large letters I have written you with my own hand. GaVIxi

The pen is the interpreter of the soul: what one thinks, the other expresses. (MdC)

#8 ethernautrix

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:27

Great review and a very handsome pen. Nice.

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#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 09:02

stunning pen thanks for sharing :thumbup:
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

#10 ElykNordneg

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 19:43

I'm currently on the wait list to get one made. I'll be getting a woodgrain rubber nox! can't wait :)

#11 reprieve

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 19:49

The bronze is so pretty! I am having a hard time resisting a C. E. Levi pen.

#12 Scrawler

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 20:53

I'm currently on the wait list to get one made. I'll be getting a woodgrain rubber nox! can't wait :)

I do hope you will bring it to a pen posse meeting so that I can see one in person. What nib have you chosen?

#13 ElykNordneg

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:21

I'm currently on the wait list to get one made. I'll be getting a woodgrain rubber nox! can't wait :)

I do hope you will bring it to a pen posse meeting so that I can see one in person. What nib have you chosen?


I haven't worked all the details out yet but once it's my turn to get one made I'll try to get a vintage fine with some flex for added fun. I've made the deposit so now it's a matter of waiting till my name is chosen :). Maybe at the next pen posse meeting we can discuss suitable nib choices.

#14 JLT

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 00:42

Just yesterday I sent Cameron a deposit for one of his works of art. As mentioned in a number of previous posts, these pens are a monument to elegant engineering and I can't wait to put one of these beauties through the paces. I'm a huge fan of vintage Sheaffer nibs - that's a bonus.
JLT (J. L. Trasancos, Barneveld, NY)

"People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest."
Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)






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