Manoj Deshmukh of Fosfor pens (http://www.fosforpens.com) is a master pen turner and I always wanted a pen made by him. Given that the Islander model is considered the flagship of his line, it is only natural that I would like to have one of those in my modest collection.
Normally Islanders are made of exotic wood burls or hand cast resin that Manoj personally prepares based on individual preferences. Personally, I am not a big fan of wooden pens and didn’t have much faith in my aesthetic abilities in specifying the right colours to cast the resin. Instead I opted to use Conway Stewart Flecked Amethyst blanks that I had got from Vince Coates (http://www.theturnersworkshop.co.uk). I had always thought that the Flecked Amethyst material would be complemented nicely by the silver trims used in the Islander and decided to round off the look with a solid steel polished Jowo #6 nib in broad tipping.
The Islander design is quite unique and distinct amongs't the India pen models. The cap portion is cylindrical while the barrel has a cigar like tapering towards the end filial. Both the cap and the barrel are ends are flat and polished. The body of the barrel and the cap are polished smooth and shiny. The cap is flushed with the barrel with no step down where the cap and barrel meet.
The most important design element of the Islander and the raison d'être of this pen in my collection is the beautiful hand crafted silver band and clip combination. It is an artisanal product and I am not aware of any other pen with such and unique clip/band combination. The clip is springy and it is curved with a raised bottom for easy clipping. There is intricate hand-made design in the band above the clip and it is made of pure silver.
One of the joys of getting a Fosfor pen is the customization in terms of section design that Manoj allows you to do to best suit your preferences and comfort. I opted for modified hourglass design which has proved to be extremely comfortable. In hindsight however, the design may have benefited is the edge at the end of the section was rounded off a bit.
Size and Balance
At 150mm capped, this is not a small pen. Despite it’s length, it is nicely balanced and can easily provide comfortable writing for extended periods. While the cap can be posted with some effort, I use it unposted as I find the length to be too long when you post the cap. The acrylic material is light and yet strong and hence the pen despite being oversize doesn’t compromise on weight or balance.
The standard Islander comes with a choice of Schmidt #6 nibs (Model FH 452) in either F/M/B. Schmidt nibs come with their logo embossed and I wanted a cleaner look on my pen. So I decided to go for a Jowo #6 polished steel nib instead which was devoid of any logo. Since I have many nibs with medium tipping, I opted for a broad tipping on this pen.
My Islander is a non-proprietary cartridge/converter pen that accepts standard international cartridges and compatible converters and it comes with a Schmidt K5 converter out of the box.
As I have mentioned in many of my earlier reviews, this is my favourite filling system since in my opinion it represent the optimum combination of value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility.
Manoj has a reputation for focusing on the details and the pen clearly benefits from his focus and the resultant build quality is impeccable. One can easily appreciate that the pen has been made with care and a considerable amount of time has gone into producing it.
Jowo is generally considered as being amongs't the top two or top three western nib OEMs and their nibs are widely used on a variety of pen brands. Their popularity itself is a testament to their general quality. Needless to say, I have been very satisfied with Jowo nibs in general and have quite a collection of them in different tipping. It is little surprise then that I am very happy with how the Islander performs. The broad Jowo unit is super smooth and glides over the paper laying down a nice wet line. There are no skips or false starts and overall the pen is a superb writer.
Price and Value
Currently as of December 2015, Islander pens are listed for a price that ranges between $75 and $99 based on the type of wood being used. These prices however are for pens with Schmidt nib units. If you opt for Jowo, then there is a slight price premium. I am not aware of any other custom pen-makers who offer this level of quality and individualization at this price point other than Manoj and Mr. L Subramaniam of ASA Pens. Needless to say, these pens are incredible value and the quality lingers in your hand long after the cost has left your mind.
The measurements in this section have been taken with a simple ruler and may not be precise being subject to some amount of parallax error.
Length (capped) – 156 mm
Length (uncapped) – 141 mm
Length (cap) – 70 mm
Length (section) – 24 mm
Maximum width – 16 mm
Minimum width – 10 mm
Maximum section width – 12.5 mm
Minimum section width – 10.5 mm
This is my first Fosfor pen and I am very happy with what I have received. It is very comfortable, well balanced and an excellent writer thanks to its Broad tipped Jowo nib. The silver clip and band is unique and adds a touch of exclusivity. I have no hesitation in recommending this model to others.