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Stipula Orient Express Se

stipula orient express special edition titanium nib t flex flex

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Uncial

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 16:40

This is only my second review, so please excuse any mistakes or anything important that gets left out. This review is of the Stipula Orient Express Special Edition. I saw this pen on ebay not very long ago. It was in my watch list  and I have no idea why, but I decided to chance an impulse buy (something I rarely do) even though I knew nothing of Stipula.

 

As far as I know, Stipula are relatively new to the market, having only begun in 1973 in Italy. This pen is the Orient Express SE and was limited to 500, of which this one is pen 221. It is a piston filler with a T-flex titanium nib (one size fits all!). It came in a slightly naff red box with a cheap looking red cardboard sleeve. I've since looked at other Stipula pens, but their design doesn't really appeal to me much -  I'm vain and stupid and I like shiny.

 

DESIGN

 

The pen has a deep and very rich celluloid in black and a reddish brown, a little like a tortoiseshell effect in flakes and it is very highly polished. It is very pleasing to the eye and the colour sets off the silver mounts very well. It has a vintage look to it which is carried through into the titanium nib which has dulled and tarnished -  but I quite like the look. It reminds me of nibs on an old flex pen and it seems to me to work with the overall look of the pen. 

 

The pen barrel has almost tubular double silver mounts at the cap and then again at the cleverly concealed piston nob, and these double mounts are meant to represent the railway tracks. Set into the barrel of the pen is an enamelled escutcheon of the faux coat of arms associated with the Orient Express. It is two lions holding an 'O' with an "E' inside it and surrounded by a tied cloth swag. On the pen cap, opposite the clip is a smaller enamel escutcheon with a small suitcase with a "V' shape on it (for 'voiture' possibly?). The clip is firm with a tightness to the spring and is in silver with an inlaid foiled enamel in imperial blue -  which is also the inlaid colour on the other two silver escutcheons. The escutcheons are just ever so slightly raised (almost completely flush inset) on the cap and barrel, making this a very tactile pen.

 

The pen is in a torpedo shape, looking very like an unclipped cigar, and although to the eye in pictures it looks very thin and small, it is actually quite a large pen at just a touch under six inches capped, five and a quarter inches uncapped and at six and a half inches posted (it's posts reasonably securely). The piston filler is a marvel. It is sooooo smooth and it feels like it has been very well made. There is no rattling or looseness to it at all and the pen holds a seriously good fill of ink.

 

When you look at it at first the grip section looks like it might be a bit difficult. The pen is actually very heavy, but quite well balanced (both posted and unposted, although I prefer posted). The grip looks very thin and tapers off quite dramatically towards the nib and at first I thought the threads would be an issue (it''s a screw cap). But here is the clever bit, the screw threads to place the cap are right at the very end of the grip, so where you hold the pen your fingers are not near them, unless of course you have a slightly unusual grip. It also means that when the pen is closed you have this little squished cushion of celluloid between the railway tracks that keeps the pen body looking tidy and neat. I find the grip surprisingly comfortable and can write holding at the silver mount or slightly further down the grip and both positions are very comfortable.

 

DSC_0151.JPG

 

NIB

 

The nib on this pen is a T-Flex titanium nib. I knew nothing of these nibs and still have no idea what the advantage of a titanium nib is, but it does tarnish - a lot - so if you like bright shiny nibs, this is not for you. The nib is nicely engraved with six arrow head leaves and the brand name Stipula and the words 'titanio' and 't-flex'. These nibs don't come in sizes; they are a one size fits all. First thing to say about this is that it totally blew me away. I had read a few reviews of Stipula that suggested the nibs were slightly temperamental and I think someone on here felt it wasn't a great writers pen. Maybe I got lucky, but this pen writes like an absolute dream. The Pilot Custom 823 is the...scratch that, was the most butter smooth nib I had ever used, but this Stipula only requires the very lightest of touch to write. It glides across the page with no effort at all. Now a note on the T-Flex and its capabilities (or lack thereof). 

 

The T-Flex has a video on youtube that I watched (after I had bought the pen  :rolleyes: ) that demonstrates the extent of flex in the nib. When you write lightly the line is nice and thin, but with only a tiny bit of pressure it deepens and thickens; but only slightly. It doesn't have the same capabilities as the Ahab for instance, but it is a much more refined nib. It is truly a thing of wonder - I have never experienced anything so damn smooth. With normal writing - dependent on the lightness of touch - I would guess that the nib writes close to an F or an EF, so if you like big fat B's and BB's, this is definitely not a pen you will enjoy. If you like to be able to glide across a page with super thin lines with not even a hint of a scratch, then you will likely enjoy this very much. With a shading ink you can get some very beautiful results.

 

DSC_0153.JPG

 

PRICE

 

I have absolutely no notion what this pen normally retails for or what price should be paid for a second hand version, but I bought this on a whim on ebay for €130 and on the basis of how much I like this pen, the surprising aspects of it and the build quality I think I probably paid a fair price. I do hope I haven't been ripped off and I am really hoping that someone doesn't come and tell me that you can buy one for €50 elsewhere. If that is the case, just don't tell me! 

 

 

 

Overall this pen is a bit surprising and very pleasing as it has very quickly become one of my favourite pens. I doubt that it will ever be left uninked. It's a big, weighty, yet beautiful and refined pen with very well thought out design touches. Despite all the imperial blue on fancy and florid escutcheons it still feels like quite a 'male' pen (if there is such a thing), but perhaps I only think that because when I look at it the pen reminds me of a cigar. It is also a very tactile pen with a nice weight; the celluloid is not cold to the touch and I find it hard to put it down and stop rubbing my thumb on the almost flush insets. A very dangerous thing to say I know, but I couldn't recommend it enough.

 

 

SCORE

There are very few pens I own that get this score (I can count them on one hand) and after a very long time pondering what I could possibly dislike about this pen to knock off a point and make this review look a little more realistic (and not make me look like a kid with a sugar rush in a candy store every time I get a new pen) I have to confess I struggled. I just love it, so it gets a 10/10 in my book.

 



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#2 Art

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 16:48

Interesting pen. Nice review and info. I looked at ebay and only found one Stipula of this type it was quite expensive. Hope you enjoy your pen. 



#3 TMK

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 18:54

I also searched eBay. Nice pen and review! I am now a fan of the beautiful pen. Enjoy!



#4 jchch1950

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 04:05

Nice pen and a very good price.



#5 Drone

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 06:33

I don't own a T-flex nib but I have written with one. I doubt what you are referring to as "tarnish" on the nib is actually tarnish. The titanium alloy is a dull grey color to start with and on top of that the nib looks like it has been bead-blasted to a matte finish. Titanium on its own is highly corrosion resistant.


Edited by Drone, 15 October 2014 - 06:38.


#6 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 07:00

Normally this pen's price in new condition is 1100-1200€, so the seller who sold it didn't know the real value of his pen


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

#7 visvamitra

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 07:04

Nice review however this design feels awkward to me :)



#8 Uncial

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 10:32

I don't own a T-flex nib but I have written with one. I doubt what you are referring to as "tarnish" on the nib is actually tarnish. The titanium alloy is a dull grey color to start with and on top of that the nib looks like it has been bead-blasted to a matte finish. Titanium on its own is highly corrosion resistant.

 

Thank you. I presume then that the advantage of a titanium nib is its strength and corrosion resistance.

 

 

Normally this pen's price in new condition is 1100-1200€, so the seller who sold it didn't know the real value of his pen

 

 

Ouch! I feel a little bad now. The seller was Chatterly Pens on ebay, so I would imagine they would have known.



#9 Trom

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 11:27

 

Thank you. I presume then that the advantage of a titanium nib is its strength and corrosion resistance.

 

 

 

 

Ouch! I feel a little bad now. The seller was Chatterly Pens on ebay, so I would imagine they would have known.

 

Don't feel bad. If it was Chatterly Pens, they make enough money (on other pens) for you to get lucky (this time).

 

https://chatterleylu...s-fountain-pen/

 

Beautiful pen and good review. Thanks!


Edited by Trom, 15 October 2014 - 11:47.


#10 Drone

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 13:11

 

Thank you. I presume then that the advantage of a titanium nib is its strength and corrosion resistance.

 

 

Stipula markets the nib as flexible and implies this is due to the titanium alloy. That's the way I read it anyway. There is some truth to this, but I feel the flex thing when applied to this nib is more of a gimmick.

 

I've used T-flex pens (e.g., Model-T) and I would not call the nibs flexible. A little springy if pushed maybe or on the stiff side of semi-flex, but not flexible. Many who do actually attempt to get some flex out of one of these T-Flex nibs often complain of insufficient ink flow - so the pen skips. I wish the feeds were ebonite so they can be set to the nib.

 

Corrosion resistance may be a real advantage with a titanium alloy nib, but I don't feel stipula is pushing from that angle.

 

I don't know how the T-Flex nibs rate with respect to strength. Properly chosen, a nib made of the right titanium allow would certainly be quite strong. But I felt the T-Flex nibs were a bit fragile, I was concerned the tines would bend permanently if pushed too far, and too far wasn't far enough IMO. I'm familiar with vintage flex - and it's just one of those things you "feel" about a nib. The spring back was too soft or something. It just didn't feel stable. But it could have been just the couple of examples I've tried. Maybe there are some fantastic T-Flex nibs out there.

 

Good luck with your new pen & have fun - David



#11 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 14:00

 

Ouch! I feel a little bad now. The seller was Chatterly Pens on ebay, so I would imagine they would have known.

 

Bryant knows the value of his pens wells and offer nices prices on end of series, they are priced at 295$ instead of 395$ but normally when they were put for sale on the market their value was way above 900$


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

#12 Doug C

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Posted 10 January 2015 - 21:34

I just got one of these from Bryant.  The pen is much more impressive in person (not that it is not nice in the photos).

 

I have been intrigued by this pen even though I tend to like much less ornate pens.  I DO NOT like the weight of the pen but since it nestles in the fleshy part of my hand, it is fine as long as I don't post.

 

I agree with you; this is the best piston I have from Stipula.  Very smooth.

 

The overall workmanship is excellent, and I am very impressed by the enameling.  Great review; you hit all of the major points on this unique pen.


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#13 Uncial

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 09:51

I just got one of these from Bryant.  The pen is much more impressive in person (not that it is not nice in the photos).

 

I have been intrigued by this pen even though I tend to like much less ornate pens.  I DO NOT like the weight of the pen but since it nestles in the fleshy part of my hand, it is fine as long as I don't post.

 

I agree with you; this is the best piston I have from Stipula.  Very smooth.

 

The overall workmanship is excellent, and I am very impressed by the enameling.  Great review; you hit all of the major points on this unique pen.

 

 

Glad you like it and that my review matches! (Phew)

This pen has been inked ever since I got it and used almost daily. I still really love it. It is very heavy, but there is something about its girth and shape that makes it forgivable. 



#14 joshua90

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 18:33

Awesome review!!!!!  :puddle:

 

 

Im thinking to buy this product since I found it  at chatterley luxuries at an amazing price.

Thats why I would love that you post more images of the product please! Alo I would like to know if thenib can be 

taken out easily so I can replace for a Gold nib.

 

Thank you very much

Josh  :ninja:



#15 Richard Ma

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 20:21

Thanks for the great review and congrats on the pen! How do you find the grip section, compared to other pens? I like everything else about this pen but I'm afraid to order it online because the grip looks so unconventional (I'm used to the grip size of a Lamy Safari, which I find very comfortable).

Thanks :)
Richard



#16 Uncial

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Posted 27 April 2015 - 23:53

Awesome review!!!!!  :puddle:

 

 

Im thinking to buy this product since I found it  at chatterley luxuries at an amazing price.

Thats why I would love that you post more images of the product please! Alo I would like to know if thenib can be 

taken out easily so I can replace for a Gold nib.

 

Thank you very much

Josh  :ninja:

I'm not sure if the nib can easily be swapped out and I don't want to start tugging on it to see how it's stuck in there! I can try and get a few more pictures done, but the uploader tends to tell me the pics are too big to upload :( The celluloid is not nearly as dark as it appears in the pictures.

 

 

Thanks for the great review and congrats on the pen! How do you find the grip section, compared to other pens? I like everything else about this pen but I'm afraid to order it online because the grip looks so unconventional (I'm used to the grip size of a Lamy Safari, which I find very comfortable).

Thanks :)
Richard

I initially thought I might have a problem with the grip, but I actually find it very comfortable. I do have a very light touch though when I write and don't hold the pen in a death grip. I normally hate steps in a section and tend to go for pens that have the same thickness between the grip and body (not always possible), but I find this pen very comfortable and very tactile. I mostly hold it at the silver ring with my middle finger resting against the actual grip section - probably a slightly unconventional way to hold a fountain pen, but it doesn't feel any way awkward, I will add that I am not a fan of the Safari grip - I find it too restricting.


Edited by Uncial, 27 April 2015 - 23:57.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: stipula, orient express, special edition, titanium nib, t flex, flex



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