We have all heard the saying 'Cheep and Nasty'. Question; is this true when it come to fountain pens. Well yes, in a lot of cases it's easy to say just that. At this point your waiting for a BUT! well I'm not going to disappoint you. Yes in a lot of case, but the 397A is a exception. It true to say as fountain pens go with the 397 you don't get a lot for your money at only 130mm long and 9mm at the widest point, we are not talk big fat Mont Blanc style here, what you do get is a great little pen.
The pen its self is a all metal construction in black with a cheque board (lattice) style silver banding, silver clip which is not the strongest in the world but full functional and topped and tailed in chromed metal. Although light weight, 14 grams, it does not feel that way and when posted is remarkable well balanced.
The cap is the pull off push on type with a very satisfying click when in place. A really nice point about this pen is when you post the cap it clicks into place... no chance of the cap dropping off. The grip section is in grey with a series of milled bands to help with grip, I didn't notice any extra grip because of them. Remarkable for the price the 397 even comes with a converter rather than the Aerometric filler on most cheaper fountain pens. Nib wise it's, nothing new under the bonnet, a fairly standard fine steel nib.
Writing wise, even with the thin barrel I did not fine it uncomfortable, a little scratchy but nothing undue or that couldn't be fixed with a quick grind, the wetness was fine not to dry not to wet, line variation... well no there was none.
Over all a nice nice little pen a bit on the light side but very functional with the odd nice touch and for a few pounds or dollars well what can I say.
Edited by orac, 11 November 2014 - 13:18.