At first glance, this typical looking(distinguishable celluloid pattern) fountain pen gives the impression that it's a Wahl, but up close you will find that's not the case. It's a piston filler, and Wahl did not make any piston fillers(correct me if I am wrong, tks!). From what I gathered, FPN and elsewhere, Big Ben is a Danish company who produced good quality fountain pens. They were also a distributor of Wahl fountain pens in Denmark/Europe, thus they were able to source the celluloid used by Wahl and create a piston filler of their own.
Appearance & Design
The design of this Big Ben is very clean looking, the lines are smooth and even without any hint of ugliness. The color of the celluloid jumps out when it's shined with a bit of light, the pattern shifts with different viewing angle.
- This Big Ben utilize a filler cap with a filler knob inside instead of being built-on filler knob.
- The filling knob direction is reversed: turn clockwise to purge, counter-clockwise to fill.
- One cap band on the edge of the blind cap and crown, three bands on the cap.
- Striped ink-viewing window.
- Big Ben BRITISH PATENT No 451 168 imprinted on the cap.
Construction & Quality
The construction of the Big Ben is like that of a high quality fountain pen, but at a fraction of the price. Well built and not flimsy, feels very solid in the hand, and doesn't seem to damage easily with a mishap of butter fingers.
Weight & Dimensions
The length of the pen is 128mm capped, 119mm uncapped (nib to end). It's heavier than Pelikan 400 (my benchmark), a bit dense but nevertheless comfortable to hold during long writing sessions.
Nib & Performance
The nib on this pen is not an original, it was replaced with a Wahl Gold Seal med/bold flexible nib somewhere down the years. It fits pretty nice with the pen, and if I didn't see an original nib on the pen previously I would have thought that's the nib it came with. The gold seal nib is quite flexible-- too broad for my liking on flexible nibs though.
Filling System & Maintenance
It's a piston filler and not easily taken apart; maintenance is a problem because I am not sure how to take it apart. Probably not for the DIY-ers.
This is my third Big Ben, second one of the same model/color. Does that signify something?
Seriously though, Big Bens are great pens. Their piston fillers IMO are high quality pens that were very solidly built to compete with high-end pens of the day, it's only when you get your hands on one do you say "wow, such a great pen!"
Edited by Soot, 27 May 2012 - 17:05.