Introduction and History. When it comes to handmade pens, there is always a "human vibe" attached to them that i cherish. There is so much history behind each pen you purchase. History; Because anything handmade requires art, requires skills and an eye for detail to be consistent in each product that is put out in the market. And those qualities do not come overnight. It requires years of experience.
The companies that manufacture hand-crafted items are usually small-scale and the people who are involved in running such companies have to go through many ups and downs contantly to keep the company functioning. The struggle to survive in a world of speed and mass production is ever lasting for these small scale manufacturers.
So, when you buy a pen or any hand-made product for that matter, not only do you support these small companies, but also, you give an ode to the skills and craftsmanship (which are usually passed down through generations in a family) of the makers of such products.
The Gama "Forever" pen is one such product. Here is the description of the Gama brand I took from the ASApens website.http://asapens.in/es...ma-ebonite-pens
"Gama is the inhouse brand of Gem & Co, pen specialists since 1920's. Gem & Co is part and parcel of pen manufacturing heritage of Chennai, India. Started by Mr. M.C. Cunnan and Mr.Venkatrangam, the present owner Mr.Pratap Kumar is the 3rd generation in the family business house. Five decades, back they were sole importers of pen spares from Great Britain. Independent India saw the birth of brand Gama,
Over years Gem & Co has remained true to their core business, i.e. Pen Specialists."
Pen Review. I purchased the pen about a week ago from http://asapens.in/eshop and recieved it this morning. I usually buy my fountain pens from them. And no, they do not give me any commission or additional service to say that. It's just that the customer service of Mr. Subaramaniam (The owner of the e-shop) is impeccable. Usually the whole process of purchase is smooth, but if there is any problem, you can be sure that he will take care of it.
Now, if you are still here and reading, and not bored to a yawn, let's start the pen review! The Gama "Forever" Fountain Pen.
The review is divided into following sections.
1.) The packaging / presentation
2.) The material and finish.
3.) The Nib and the Section.
4.) The Filling Mechanism.
5.) Measurements and size comparision.
6.) Writing Sample
Note: This is a full ebonite bodied, medium sized hand-made fountain pen with a classic square design profile. I chose the "Shiny Black" finish, but it comes in 3 other finishes at the time of this review.(As listed on the ASApens site.) 1. Green-Black mottled. 2.Light brown-black mottled 3.Dark Blue-Black Rippled.
The packaging / presentation: Apart from the usual Mail packing, the pen comes in a branded velvety pen pouch which i liked. It is a relatively thin pouch but the pen was in a plastic sleeve which was bubble wrapped and the whole pouch itself was bubble wrapped too. As for the usual daily carry or storage, i think the pouch can provide a decent amount of protection from scratches from normal rubbing against other items in a bag or a drawer. However, it may not stand against sharp or pointy objects. Overall i like this minimalistic yet elegant presentation.
The material and finish. As i said, the whole pen is made of hard rubber/ebonite (except the metal fittings of course. Says captain obvious) and hand-made. The ebonite on this pen really feels and appears decent in quality and is quite thick. The polish however, I think could have been a little better. It is "shiny" no doubt, and maybe i am being nit picky, but a little more bling could not hurt anyone. I really like ebonite as a pen material because it is a semi-natural material unlike acrylic or "precious resin" (which is still plastic). It feels smooth and warm to touch. It is something you really have to touch to know how exactly it feels like. It is smooth yet offers a very nice grip. It kind of "absorbs" oil/sweat off of the fingers during long writing sessions.
As for the finish, I will start with the cap of the pen because it has all the accents and fittings really. The barrel is all ebonite. I will come to that later.
As for the cap the finishing is quite nice overall. However, as you will observe, the finial, clip ring and the actual cap body are not flush. Although the difference is really visible only on close observation, it is still there. On the other hand, the two metal bands on the lower part of the cap are nicely set in and even. Which I really like. Gives a classic and vintage aura to the pen.
The finial can be unscrewed and clip can be removed easily for those who might like that kind of configuration.
The Barrel in this particular finish is turned from a single piece of black ebonite. However, the other finishes of the same model have "dual-tone" setting. Which means, they have the finial and the end cap made of black ebonite, and the cap and pen body are of whichever available finish that you choose.
The Brand logo is embossed in the barrel as you can see. If you were to observe closely, you will find that the logo is not eactly centred.
On uncapping the pen (which takes quite some number of turns to be honest!) you find a very symmetrical design which is pleasing to the eye. The N.o. 10 sized nib balances the bulky pen body quite nicely.
The Nib and the Section. The nib on this pen came as a pleasant surprise. I did expect it to be smooth, but for a fine nib it is really very smooth and the flow is excellent. Wet and generous. Just perfect. Though some may prefer a bit drier flow, personally i love the wet flow. I can say they chose their nib well. It is an IPG nib. And, unlike what many people say, they are really not that bad. In my experience, i found IPG nibs to be good writers more often than not.
Design-wise, one can find minimal scroll design on the nib. There is a circle in the centre which is devoid of any design or markings, which i think should have contained the nib grade.
The section The section is elegantly tapered and decently big. It provides a nice and comfortable grip. Although, those with smaller hands may find it too big for long writing sessions. The threads are not sharp. However, the there is a slight step where the threads ends on the section. So, people with higher grip might find it a little in the way during long periods of writing. But it is not a deal breaker.
The Filling Mechanism. The pen is an eyedropper filler. Personally, i really like this method of filling as it is very very easy to clean, there are no mechanical parts that if damaged, may render the pen unusable and in need of immediate service because the pen body itself acts as the reservoir of ink. And also, it has a very significant amount of ink capacity (2.5 to 2.7 ml as measured by me.) As for the common eyedropper problems that people talk about, like burping and leakage, those issues are not that frequent even when the ink is low in the barrel and i feel it is just over hyped.
Measurements and size comparision. (approx.)
1.) Capped length: 140mm
2.) Uncapped: 130-132 mm
3.) Posted : 170 mm (thats huge!)
4.) Section diameter: 14 mm tapers to 12mm
5.) Barrel diameter at the widest: 15mm
Here is the size comparision: The Jinhao X450 (left) Gama Forever (middle) Sheaffer 100 (right).
Uncapped comparision. Uncapped it is quite bigger than the other two.
Writing Sample: I inked the pen up with Parker Quink Black.
Here is how it writes.
CONCLUSION: I like this pen a lot. The "flaws" that i pointed out are really small and by no means a deal breaker.
This is a solidly built pen made by a company over 80 years old, from ebonite, which is a material whose History stretches over more than 100 years of pen maufacturing period the world over.
With the craftsmanship and experience of the pen makers of Gama, a nib that provides a writing experience worthy of this rich fountain pen culture, a simple hassel-free filling mechanism. This pen is a great buy if you like that vintage and classic look. The pen has such simple design features that there is virtually nothing that can go wrong. No complicated filling mechanism, easy to clean, easy to maintain. I think the simplicity of this pen is its strongest point.
It is a classic, timeless, understated design with a powerful prescence. When you take this pen out of your pocket, it says "I am not an attention grabber, but my persona does it for me anyway. I am like The Beatles or Kishore Kumar, my era never really ends."
Edited by cjpandya, 07 July 2015 - 06:50.