Earlier this year, when Kevin from Fountain Pen Revolution (www.fountainpenrevolution.com) released his latest offering – the ‘Indus’ – he disclosed on his website that another pen (the ‘Jaipur’) would soon be on the way. A couple of weeks ago, it finally ‘launched’ – and as soon as I knew it was on the market, I placed an order. I’ve reviewed a few FPR pens (and pen pouches) before today, and received a couple of Indus pens for free in return for a review. This time around, Kevin kindly sent me a second ‘Jaipur’ (at his own initiative), to allow me to give a more comprehensive review of the options available. So, full disclosure up-front: I paid for one pen, and received two – but have no affiliation with FPR, and have not been compensated for this review.
Another comment up-front: one of the reasons I was so keen to review this pen is the fact that this is the first FPR pen that has been designed from scratch by its proprietor. Most other pens (the Guru and the Indus, and I think also the Dilli) were adapted from existing designs by other manufacturers. I’m a fan of the (comparatively) low-cost options provided by FPR, and especially excited to see this pen finally arrive on the market. This review is necessarily provisional – I’ve only had these pens for about a week at this stage – so please bear in mind, I can’t speak first-hand as regards its durability.
1. Appearance & Design
The Jaipur is available in two ‘versions’ – a ‘standard’ version (if I can call it that), and a demonstrator version. I ordered a clear demonstrator, with a 1.0mm stub nib; the additional pen Kevin provided me with was a demonstrator with black finial, grip section and piston knob. Like most of FPR’s offerings, the Jaipur is a piston-filler pen (more on this later).
The pen is designed along fairly straight lines – there is no taper to the cap or to the barrel (along most of its length). The top of the finial rises to a point, while the bottom of the piston knob is curved – but most of the rest of the pen is ram-rod straight. The barrel is just a little thinner in diameter where the cap fits over it, and has a slight ‘step-up’ beyond that point. I like the way the end of the barrel tapers down slightly to accommodate a narrower piston knob, which make it easier to post the cap deeply and securely onto the rear of the pen. Whatever version of the pen you buy, the ‘accents’ (cap ring and clip) are ‘chrome’-coloured stainless steel.
If I had my time over again, I don’t think I’d order the clear demonstrator – I bought it because I thought it would be easier to see how the pen fit together (which it is), but the black-demonstrator pen Kevin provided me with just looks a little classier (it reminded me a little of my black TWSBI Eco), and the ‘solid’ models look pretty good too.
2. Construction & Quality
The Jaipur is moulded (primarily) from the same vegetal resin as the Guru – which is less glossy than the plastic of a TWSBI Diamond 580 or Eco, but also less brittle and prone to cracking. It feels sturdily constructed to me, and the tolerances on the threads seem pretty tight.
These pens are very easy to assemble and disassemble: the nib and feed are friction fit into the grip section; the piston filler mechanism is similarly easy to remove for cleaning and re-greasing.
3. Weight & Dimensions
I’m a great fan of the FPR Indus – it’s a stylish looking pen, that reminds me of the Pelikan M200 (and is probably the closest I’ll come to owning one!) – but it’s not a big pen. The Jaipur feels a little more substantial in the hand, and there’s a reason for that: the grip section is 12mm on the cap thread (where I tend to hold it) and 11.5mm just beyond the thread, tapering down to 10.5mm at its narrowest. The cap band, the widest part of the pen, has a 14mm diameter, while the barrel sits around 12mm.
Lengthwise, the pen is 136mm long capped, 126mm uncapped, and extends to ~155mm posted. It weighs in at 17g (11.2g uncapped), which makes it a fairly light pen, but its added girth was something I really appreciated. The pen sits equally in the hand posted or unposted – and I didn’t find the presence of absence of the cap shifted the weighting significantly while writing.
4. Nib & Performance
The Jaipur is designed to take the #5.5 nibs that have been available on FPR for the past year or so, married to an ebonite feed – and this, to my mind, is one of their greatest strengths. The #5.5 nibs across the range look attractive and write smoothly – and the ebonite feeds provide a very generous flow of ink. Additional nibs and feeds can be purchased separately at a very reasonable price (I ordered an additional flex nib/feed combo for$8), and as I mentioned above, they’re very easy to swap in and out. If you check out the website you’ll notice that there are two types of 5.1mm feeds available for these pens – the standard ebonite feeds, which “are pretty wet offering a generous ink supply”, and the flex ebonite feeds (“Caution: this is a very wet feed!”).
The pen I ordered for myself came with a 1.0mm stub nib, and wrote smoothly the instant I filled it with ink. These stub nibs are excellent value: unlike the stub nibs that JoWo supplies for companies like Edison Pens, Goulet Pens, TWSBI etc, these nibs have iridium tipping which has been ground back to provide moderate line variation. They do sometimes need a bit of adjusting to get the flow going (I have several of them!), but the nib supplied in this pen was magnificent from the outset. The flex pen Kevin provided for free was also very smooth and free-flowing, and with Waterman South Seas Blue in the barrel, it flexed effortlessly, with a minimum of railroading. [OK, OK, when I say ‘effortlessly’, I mean ‘trouble-free’ – I find the FPR flex nibs much less stiff than Noodler’s flex nibs, but they ARE still made of stainless steel.!]
5. Filling System & Maintenance
The Jaipur is a piston-filler, like most other offerings from FPR (the Triveni being the exception). I’ve expressed my dislike of the Dilli several times in the past – I don’t like the fact that that the piston is permanently fixed in the barrel, making it hard to clean the pen thoroughly – so it was a relief to discover that the Jaipur is easy to disassemble.
I’ve read some recent comments on other FPN threads, from people who had problems with the piston seals on the FPR Guru (and some of the Serwex pens) being prone to cracking – I haven’t experienced this myself, but was conscious of the concern as I checked out this pen. A side-by-side comparison showed that although the Jaipur piston head is made from the same kind of material, it’s a little wider, and appears somewhat sturdier. The Guru piston was too small to make contact with the walls of the Jaipur, so it appears that the piston mechanism has been custom-made for this pen. The wider bore of the barrel is also reflected in its ink capacity – I was able to syringe-fill it with 1.5ml of water.
6. Cost & Value
The Jaipur is great value for money, at $18 per unit (add $3 if you want a B, stub or flex nib), plus $3 postage per order.
FPR’s #5.5 flex nibs are top quality for a bargain basement price, and married with an ebonite feed in this pen, you’re guaranteed a very wet, very enjoyable writing experience. I’ve been a fan of FPR from the time I bought my first pen from them, nearly 2 years ago – and this pen is another example of their commitment to provide good quality (fountain pen) writing tools at very affordable prices.