Fountain Pen in India is a cherished possession. Whether it be rich or pelbian everyone expects something from their fountain pen - whether it be writing for long duration (primarily Indian pens) or a flourished signature or just a status symbol (mostly from brands like Mont Blanc, Pelikan, Sheaffer etc).
While the fountain pens from India hold another kind of fascination as being utilitarian but are always applauded for their design, craftsmanship and build quality (and also for relatively inexpensive price). Some from outside India even happily pay upto 800% premium on ebay to buy Indian pens.
Despite all these the Indian fountain pen leaves something to be desired.
The established "brand" manufacturers with pan India market shares are happy with attracting customers with the appearance of pens and have done little with the quality of its heart & soul- the nib.
The reasons for dissatisfaction is invariably the heart of the matter - the nib often does not match up. The embellishment were often on outside, rather than quality of the soul (ie. nibs) on inside. There are scores and scores of posts on FPN applauding Indian fountain pens but with the caveat of change in nib by the user.
As nearly all the fountain pens are friction fit, the majority of users / buyers are happy to experiment. They swap nibs from other foreign pens (old Sheaffer etc.) or nibs from chinese pens and use them with their Indian pens. Infact, for some (as I learnt on FPN) such challenge is a matter of pride (!) - after all for these enthusiasts, a fountain pen is not just a pen - but a writing instrument subject to foibles of human imperfections !
In general, overtime, the fountain pens made in India went for the easy method of eye-droppers and friction fit nibs - as perhaps they were easiest to make & also satisfied the experimental minds of scores of FP users.
Generation One - One size fits all
Like the Ford T model, this generation of fountain pen (for different brands) can be characterised by - "one size fits all". This is the usual omnipresent fountain pen that is found - and I believe this will continue to exist and remain most popular. We all love friction fit nibs & love to fiddle with them a bit to adjust them to our needs as well as it gives us an ego boost that we can also be an "expert" at fountain pens !!! Even popular fountain pen manufacturers like Airmail/Wality and Camlin Kokuyu etc continue to stick to such a mindset.
Generation Two - Various nib options
Those hooked to fountain pens - the advanced users - are not really content with a single nib option. They want variations in nib in the friction fit configuration. Often, the "experimenters" took it on themselves to grind the stock nib to customise it in terms of their requirements or fit another nib or send it for grinding to some nibmeister.
In such a situation, it is quite a welcome measure that ASApens.in has taken the initiative to do something positive in this direction.
While it was quite clear that ASApens was upto something on the nib issue the details were not exactly clear. There were however some posts on FPN previously that ASA was going to introduce the Jowo/Meisternibs nibs - but when the Pens would roll out was still a mystery.
ASA has the method of suddenly coming out with something - like the magician bringing out the rabbit from hat.
I understand, ASApens.in was formed with the very purpose to provide high quality fountain pens to pen lovers at a reasonable cost - eliminating unnecessary costs like - the middlemen commission (like of ebay) and also the profiteering mentality found among various other sellers of fountain pen.
Such an outlook was a real positive in the scenario, where (keep aside professional sellers) even the pen enthusiasts fall into the trap of skimming profits rather than sharing the fruits of their passion.
Once an FPN member from outside India wrote to me his frustration ruing the fact that even amateur pen enthusiasts were selling Indian fountain pens on FPN at 400% of their price.
Its good to see that ASA has bypassed such mentalities, and rather preferred to share the joys of happiness among the Fountain Pen users and enthusiasts.
Generation Three - The ultimate - Threaded Nib variety with nib option
Usually pens with threaded nibs are considered "high end". Most of the high end pens of western origin are threaded nibbed and invariably very high priced.
Among the Indian FPs, one does not come across any threaded nibbed FPs in the market. As such, the threaded nibbed FPs are not new to India - and fountain pens like Chelpark Sona and Lincoln Beena were produced over 20 years back with threaded nibbed sections.
Its heartening that now the Fountain Pen revolution has occurred in India.
The revolution brought by ASApens.
These pens brought out by ASApens come with the German Jowo / Meisternibs threaded nibs - which are used on many of the "high end" fountain pens manufactured in western countries and whose quality is much spoken about on FPN. I read somewhere that JoWo (pronounced “yo-vo”). produce some of the best nibs on the planet (!)
Interestingly, such threaded nibbed FPs are made by brands like Mont Blanc and Pelikan. And I havn't heard such FPs from Sheaffer, Waterman, Pilot among others. Though American pen makers like Edison and Newton do use the same threaded JoWo nibs in some of their pens that is used in the FPs issued by ASApens
And it is good that ASA is making its own revolutionary contribution in making of the high standard fountain pen in a substantive manner.
With its tieups with JoWo (of Germany) and Gems (of Chennai), it has created a real fountain pen revolution in India. It is a treat for the fountain pen users that such high quality fountain pens are gradually coming to existence as part of regular production in India and at moderate and reasonable prices. And the initiative taken in this direction by ASA is commendable.
World class Quality, Reasonable Pricing and High on Value - is the real revolution. Gama Revolution, along with Brahmaputra and Himalaya Top are first of the regular production JoWo threaded nibbed FP to roll out of ASA. These are an excellent blend of professional Indian craftsmanship and German nib technology. As of date, I can say, these are the best fountain pen available in India. And I guess, gradually many other models of fountain pens are also going to be released with this threaded nib feature.
It has come out initially with three models: Revolution, Brahmaputra and Himalaya Top. While Revolution is a bit smaller and slimmer than Hawk. The Brahmaputra is similar to Hawk - however, my Brahmaputra that came was a bit larger in size than the Hawk. The Revolution and Brahmaputra are in black color only. While choice of colors are available in Himalaya Top.
The nib - In the JoWo nib - the German engineering works quite good to give it a smoothest run - encouraging and inspiring one to write. Besides, as its threaded nib - one can easily fit different types of nibs on the pen. Here I may add, that the threaded nibs have been very securely put on the pen. And I could not open it with normal force. I was told that I should apply a bit more force without any problems - but discretion took the better of me, and I have kept it in the configuration that I had asked for.
I really enjoyed writing with the F and M nib which are very smooth and the ink flow is exactly as required. The F nib I did feel a very little bit of feedback (but no tooth) - but something, which I guess is characteristic of the Fine nibs - yet enjoyed writing with it.
Infact, if you see the writing samples, the difference between the F nib and M nib is not much perceptible. Maybe with writing for some days, the tines would open and show their true colors !
The Broad nib, which I do not really use, but got for this pen was super-super smooth - it sort of glided. The smoothness was not due to any excessive ink flow, which do characterise some of the Broad nibs found.
Ink Flow. Ink flow is instant
Filling Mechanism The filling mechanism is marketed as triple fill - converter, cartridge, eye dropper (yes!) - but, I am told, it can also take a fourth one - the aerometric filler (!). Though its not piston filler, in my view the filling configuration is superior to the piston fill. The reason is while at normal times one can fill the tank, its easier to carry cartridges in times of desperate needs - rather than carry an inkpot (which is inevitable if the FP is piston filler), So in my view, the ink filling configuration of Revolution is quite a plus.
What was really the most positive is that I filled the Revolution less than half - the nib and ink performed flawlessly. No issues as we witness with friction fit nibs. I understand, all these threaded nibbed models would/should have no problem using till the last drop, when used as ED.
For now, these outcome of the fountain pen revolution in India - Gama Revolution, Gama Brahmaputra, and Himalaya Top are perfect embodiments of the fusion and smooth blend of quality of professional Indian craftsmanship, German engineering, and high standards of service quality of ASApens !
I am simply happy that such pens are now available even in India :-) and also happy for all FP users and enthusiasts throughout the world who wish for a high quality FP without bartering a fortune.
The website of ASApens : http://asapens.in
My images are below. For better quality image, you can check them out at http://asapens.in/eshop/asa-first
The pens capped. Top to bottom- Himalaya-Top, Brahmaputra, Revolution
The pens uncapped. Top to bottom- Himalaya-Top, Brahmaputra, Revolution
The three types of nibs -
The pens come with converter (international converter)
The backside of feed Revolution vs Hawk. Hawk has friction fit nib
The etching seems to have changed. The top is the Revolution, the bottom one is Hawk
The Revolution does not have the "window" of the Hawk
The pens with different ink filled options. Revolution has been used as ED,, Brahmaputra with converter, and Himalaya-Top with Pelikan cartridge
Top to bottom, Sheaffer Prelude, Lamy Safari, Gama Revolution
The three pens L-R, Revolution, Safari, Prelude