Full Picture of the Pen by jamesthebard, on Flickr
Appearance and Design: 9.5 out of 10
I don't think that the picture accurately shows how the pen looks (it does, however, accurately show my poor photography skills). The body, cap, collar, all look glorious in a rich combination of mohagany and a cherry red that swirls about the pen in various shades. The two-tone nib (steel) accentuates that and pulls off what I'd call an awesome retro styling. The final touch is a simple gold clip that is firm but not too firm.
The design is simple and well executed. I have to give my thanks to the both Brian Gray and Brian Goulet for their collaboration: it works. I think the simplicity of the design along with the quality materials used (I do love ebonite) makes this a design win.
For those who like a bit more design complexity: I'm not saying that this pen isn't a beaut, but you might want to look at a different pen.
Construction and Quality: 9 out of 10
Picture of the Cap by jamesthebard, on Flickr
Picture of the Nib by jamesthebard, on Flickr
This one is hard for me. The pen is well crafted, everything fits perfectly, and from what I've read it represents the efforts of Brian Gray and the Edison Pen Company perfectly. I hesitate to really place scores here as the only other points of reference I have are an older Levenger (can't remember the model), a Lamy Safari/Al-Star, and a TWSBI Diamond 540. The pen oozes quality to me, and everything fits together perfectly. No chips, no cracks, no gaps...
Weight and Dimensions: 9.5 out of 10
I don't have a ruler nor a decent way of empirically conveying the size of this pen at the moment.
I can say that I have smaller hands, and that this pen writes perfectly for me posted. It's light enough to write for hours but not so light that it becomes a distraction. The balance is great for me posted and believe that most will prefer it that way.
Nib and Performance: 6.5 out of 10
I know I'm being hard on the pen at this point, but when the pen is very, very good overall--well, it makes issues stand out that much more.
Fine Nib Demonstration by jamesthebard, on Flickr
I ordered two nibs: steel F and EF. The fine nib writes very smoothly and puts down a consistent set of lines. The last half-an-hour has seen me carve through paper and ink in an effort to handwrite a novel. The only real issue I had with the fine nib were a few false starts (which I believe I'll test tomorrow or so and append the findings to the review).
Extra Fine Nib Demonstration by jamesthebard, on Flickr
The extra-fine nib is a different story. I was a bit surprised at the nib once I started writing due to the fact it was laying down a pretty thick, wet line. The Diamine Midnight flowed like a river and I was glad I had a second nib to compare with (I tested the EF first). I shall be emailing Brian about it and seeing what can be done about it.
The saving grace is that from everything I've read, the customer support is superb. I'll update that as well once I get the email out.
Filling System and Maintenance: 8 out of 10
I forgot to take a picture of the converter, but it fits firmly into the pen (friction) and hold what I would consider to be an average amount of ink for a converter. The seal is good and it keeps the ink off of my hands. The converter itself is pretty high quality and seems to fill pretty well the first time.
Maintenance should be fairly easy. I flushed the pen out completely without too much hassle and was able to take everything apart.
Cost/Value: 8.5 out of 10
Value. For me, this pen was completely worth it. I love the look and feel of ebonite on my fingers and the fact that it lent itself to a fairly light pen. I also love the fact that it's one of the few hand-crafted pens that I can truly afford from Edison and the effort he puts into them shows.
Support: 10 out of 10
I added this section because a fountain pen isn't just a writing utensil, it's something more. I buy a fountain pen with the intention of writing and keeping it around for a long while.
This is why support, for me, is a big thing.
I emailed Brian on Friday after I got home from work (not exactly early) at around 5:45 Eastern Time. I expected a response on Monday. He responded about an hour later, shipping me an EF nib to swap out. (Also, I'd like to point out that the pen is the equivalent of a gateway drug and cannot wait until the next collaboration between GouletPens and EdisonPenCo is released.)
Some people are happy with $1,000 pens. I have a hard time purchasing a fountain pen around that price range and, to be honest, this pen does not help. I have a very well-made pen that costs significantly less and, after a few emails, should write beautifully and captures what I like in fountain pens. If you can justify the price and if there are any left, I'd recommend picking one up.
Edited to include support as a category and to fix some 'clarity' issues.
Edited by JamesTheBard, 13 April 2012 - 23:09.