INTRODUCTION: This pen pops up once in a while on FPN and from what I gather, it can only be bought in New York (I think it's the Muji store in the Empire State Building?) so whenever someone is going to be in the area, he will post on FPN and buy for whoever is interested. Fortunately for me, there is a Muji store in Singapore and I happened to chance upon the pen by accident. Seeing that the pen is only S$20 (~US$16) and its cult status on FPN, I bought the pen without a second thought.
1. Appearance & Design (9/10) – I will say that the pen is designed with function in mind, and it won't appeal to everyone. I like it though, as a simple straight cylinder, with sharp cut-off ends, lending it a futuristic look. I guess it appeals to the engineer in me. The pen grip area is thoughtfully textured like a metal file, with the purpose of adding more grip as compared to if it's made from smooth aluminium.
I'll like to add that out of all my pens, both expensive and cheap, this pen is one of the few that will start up immediately after lying around unused for a few months. One factor is that the Singapore weather is very humid, but another more factor is probably due to the well designed cap, which is reasonably tight, and also likely airtight. This is important to me because after graduation, I find myself using a pen only a few times a month at the very most, and penless for months at the very least.
There is also a small groove at the back of the pen that will allow you to post the pen. After posting, the cap is actually in line with the pen body, giving it a seamless and elegant look. Very nice!
2. Construction & Quality (10/10) – I believe the entire pen is made out of aluminium except for a piece of rubber at the top. As mentioned before, the cap is reasonably tight and so is the clip. I can't find any serious cause for complaint here.
3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – Since the pen is made from thin aluminium instead of thick plastic with a simple filling mechanism (cartridges), this pen is very very light (I would prefer a bit more weight). This pen is on the small side and some might find it too thin to hold but it's alright for my hands. YMMV
4. Nib & Performance (19/20) – The nib is a one tone silver Schmidt Fine, and I believe it is only available in this tone and nib size. Out of all the mass-produced nibs (Jowo, Heritage etc), the Schmidt nibs are my favorite: For one, their nib sizes run true to what I think nib sizes should be. For example, I find Jowo nibs to run half a size to a size larger. Also, while Schmidt nibs are smooth with no hint of scratchiness, they have some amount of feedback too, unlike the buttery smooth Jowo nibs. I think some feedback because it gives me a sense of control when I'm writing fast. And they are not too wet or dry, just wet enough to show the ink's true color, and not so wet that bleedthrough is terribly obvious. So the nib I got is a typical Schmidt nib: Smooth, with feedback and the right amount of wetness. I'll take a point off due to the limited choice of nib size.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (9/10) – The pen comes with only a short international black ink cartridges. However, looking at the length of the pen body, I believe you can fit in a long ink cartridge or a cartridge converter, like those from Schmidt or any brand that has an international opening. I like this filling system because it's the easiest to clean and maintain but I'm taking a point off because a cartridge converter was not included.
6. Cost & Value (10/10) – As I've mentioned before, this gem of a pen costs only US$14 and to me, that's a hell of a bargain for an aluminium fountain pen that looks good and writes well. It's the perfect workhorse pen that I don't mind bringing around as it won't be too terrible a thing if I lose it, drop it or scratch it.
7. Conclusion (Final score, 66/70) – This is a pretty short and sweet review but in hindsight it's not that surprising. This is a very simple and functional pen which is designed to look (relatively) good and write well. It also makes a good gift to people who are new to fountain pens. All you have to do is include a pack of ink cartridges and they're good to go for a while.
As a sidenote, this is the pen that I brought with me to my interview. A pen like the Platinum Preppy looks too cheap while a pen like the Sailor PG will look too pretentious. I like this pen has the "WOW" factor without giving off a snobbish air.
Edited by xuan87, 16 July 2012 - 15:55.