It was about 12 months now, in December 2013, that I purchased the ‘Triveni’, the latest offering from Kevin at Fountain Pen Revolution (FPR - check out their website at http://fountainpenrevolution.com/). I’d already sampled a few FPR nibs, and found them very much to my liking – especially their flex nib. I wasn’t a great fan of their first pen, the Dilli - it was just too hard to clean - but the Triveni promised to be different: built from sturdier material (your choice of acrylic or ebonite, in a few different colours), a cartridge converter pen that could be easily converted to eyedropper, and built (so it seemed) to a much higher standard. And so it proved to be.
My one and only gripe with the Triveni, if you could call it that, was its size. The length of the pen meant that it wouldn’t clip comfortably into my shirt pockets – which meant that this was destined to be more of a stay-at-home pen. So I was pleased to hear that Kevin was planning a ‘Junior’ version of the Triveni – and very quick to ‘pull the trigger’ when the Triveni Junior came out, this time ordering an acrylic version.
Let me say it up front: I love this pen. It’s my first acrylic pen (which means I have no real point of comparison), very reasonably priced, looks great feels comfortable to write with – and is a better size for daily carry and use. I won’t be ‘scoring’ the pen as such in the review below – but hopefully you’ll get the idea!
[Please note, I have not been compensated in any way for this review, and obtained the pen at my own expense.]
1. Appearance & Design
The first thing I noticed about this pen when it arrived was the bright colouration of the acrylic – that, and the ‘pearlescence’ of the material. It’s impossible to capture in photographs, but as you turn the pen it seems like you can ‘see into’ it, especially the blue/white swirls. The clip is simple but functional, and sturdily built.
Two key differences between the Triveni Junior and its ‘big brother’ become evident when you uncap the pen: first of all, gone is the black plastic grip section the original Triveni ‘borrowed’ from the Serwex MB – replaced by a custom-made grip section that matches the pen, and is made from the same material; and secondly, the stainless steel #5 nib has been replaced by a larger (#5.5) two-toned nib. I understand the full-sized Triveni now also comes with the larger nib – and that the grip section will be updated sometime early in 2015, once the current stock has sold out and been replaced. The new section is a big improvement, both in terms of aesthetics and of comfort.
2. Construction & Quality
As with its larger predecessor, the Triveni Junior seems well-made. The screws on the cap and grip section have tight tolerances, preventing nib dry-out (in the case of the cap) and allowing the pen to be used as an ‘eyedropper’ pen (in the case of the grip section). I admit, I prefer the relative simplicity of using a cartridge converter – but the option is there if you want a larger ink capacity.
I love the acrylic material this pen is made from – the swirl patterns and the pearlescence are pretty easy on the eye. I don’t consider myself qualified, though, to comment on the quality of the material – but the pen barrel is around 1.5mm thick, which I think makes for good durability.
3. Weight & Dimensions
In most respects, the Triveni Junior matches the specs of the Triveni – except as far as length is concerned. Weighing in at 20g, the ‘Junior’ is 13cm long capped, 11.5cm uncapped, and ~15cm when posted (compared with 14.7cm, 13.6 cm, and ~18cm respectively for the larger pen). The pen is just long enough to write with unposted – but I find it more comfortable, and maybe a little better balanced, when posted.
The diameter of the lid is around 14mm, and the barrel is ~12.5mm at its widest point. The grip section tapers down slightly from a diameter of 11mm just beyond the threads for the cap – these are smoothly machined, and I tend to find myself holding the pen here.
4. Nib & Performance
The pen came as requested with a flex nib installed – I also ordered an EF nib as an optional extra. With the flex nib installed, the pen glided across the page nicely, laying down a consistent, fine-ish line, offering just enough feedback to know that the pen was sitting on the page. With a moderate amount of downward pressure, it was possible to get the pen to flex. The feed on the Triveni pens is plastic, so cannot be heat set or adjusted, but for the most part, I found it kept up pretty well with the demand for ink. I found it was less prone to railroading if I ‘primed’ the feed by cranking the cartridge converter a little.
The EF nib, unfortunately, was fairly scratchy when I first swapped it into the pen – which surprised me, as every FPR nib I’ve tried in the past (I have a fair stockpile!) has been wonderfully smooth. The problem was very easily solved, though, by running the tip of the nib gently over some micromesh. Being an EF nib, it still offers a little more feedback on the page than the flex nib, but no more so than the F nibs on my two Pilot pens, or the EF nibs on my TWSBIs.
Overall, the performance of these new two-tone #5.5 nibs seems pretty comparable to the stainless steel #5 nibs I’ve purchased from FPR before. These are good quality nibs, at a very reasonable price.
5. Filling System & Maintenance
The Triveni derives its name, at least in part, from the Triveni Sangam, a confluence of three rivers in India (according to the website) – but also from the fact that the pen has three possible modes of filling: eyedropper, standard international cartridge, or cartridge converter. The converter that comes with the Triveni Junior is a screw-type converter (I got a slider-converter with the older Triveni). In terms of quality this was a step (or several) above the cheap plastic converters that come with most Chinese pens, and worked well. The grip section threads a long way into the barrel, to facilitate conversion of the pen to eyedropper mode.
6. Cost & Value
This, in some ways, is probably the best thing about both Triveni models: for US$29 (ebonite) or $35 (acrylic), plus $3 postage you can have a well-made, smooth writing fountain pen in your hands (add another $3 for a flex nib or a broad). That’s very competitive pricing, for a pretty good quality product. Bear in mind, too, that for only $3 (or $7 for flex and for broad), you can order an additional nib to swap in.
I loved my ebonite Triveni pen when I first purchased it, and it’s a pen I continue to enjoy using at my desk – but for me at least the Triveni Junior is an even better option: a pen that’s more readily portable, but offers much the same writing experience. If you’re looking for a lower-cost ebonite or acrylic pen, this is definitely worth a look!
Edited by Jamerelbe, 18 December 2014 - 14:13.