Just as I said in the Milord review, this is the review of The Paragon edition of the Einaudi signature line from this year. I have spent a fair bit of time writing with the pen to make sure that the impressions I give are as good as I can give, especially regarding the ergonomics, which is the main reason I switched models in the first place. As always, I will put a plug in for Einaudi's music, it is calming and wonderful to listen to, and as I've said before, given how much I like his music, this was a must buy for me.
Length capped - 150mm
Length uncapped - 135mm
Nib length - 23mm
Section length - 26.7mm
Section diameter hi - 14mm
Section diameter lo - 11mm
Box and Contents
The box for the Paragon edition of this fountain pen is nigh on identical to that of the Milord edition; medium sized box with a microfibre lining all throughout, the pen contained within a microfibre pen sleeve, and a tray covering the usual propaganda materials just as with the Milord. For photographs of this, please see my Milord review.
Although objectively I cannot really fault the packaging, for it came with all the required pieces of information and clearly protects the pen well whilst in transit, thus fulfilling its required specification, I did find it somewhat disappointing that it was identical to its ‘younger sibling’ Milord. Considering the fairly significant price difference between the pens, as well as the name and stigma associated with a flagship pen, this one in particular, I would have been even happier with the overall presentation if the box had been slightly more grandiose and ‘flagship-esque’.
Most disappointingly, I found, it did not include a complementary bottle of ink as other editions of the Paragon do. Though this is subjective in the extreme, and I know a lot of readers on here don’t care for packaging at all, given these are luxury items, it would be nice for the manufacturers to make the consumer feel more like this is the case through the inclusion of random items such as a bottle of ink.
Regardless, I would say I am content with the packaging and contents, but again, slightly taken aback that it wasn’t a little more reflective of the item that it contains. The word ‘paragon’ does, after all, define something that is the ideal and ultimate example of whatever the subject matter is.
The Paragon is definitely the largest pen that I own, greater in both length and circumference than my 149, which I feel is slightly accentuated by the geometric finish of the pen compared to the organic curves of the 149. Personally, I love the appearance of The Paragon and Milord, finding them to be both functional and attractive, for whilst they will roll, they are not as prone to rolling as a cylindrical alternative.
The dark grey cotton resin works brilliantly with the medium grey ruthenium plating of the cap band, clip and section. Its subdued characteristics make this a very good EDC implement, I find, attracting less attention, if you like that kind of thing, and just as I said with the Milord, results in a ‘professional’ appearance that would fit in with any kind of surrounding. I make this point, because a tutor of mine remarked derogatorily on my old Vanishing Point Raden, saying it looked silly that I would carry around a glitter pen; in professional practice, this pen would be more at home than say a Burnt Orange M800 for example. This is again, subject to opinion.
The ruthenium highlights are slightly shiny when in bright light, but maintain their colour, unlike silver and gold highlights that mirror their surroundings. The section, where you will find the main difference in appearance between the Milord and The Paragon, is a metal, with the same finish as the cap band and clip, which looks better than the shiny black plastic used in the Milord in my eyes, fitting in more neatly with the overall appearance of the pen. Again, I find the highlighting of Einaudi’s signature on the front of the cap band to be extremely well done.
The nib is the same shiny ruthenium used in the Milord, and for details on this, I ask you again to look at my Milord review, so I don’t pollute this review with ‘old news’. There is a small difference in size between the Milord and Paragon nibs, but nowhere near as much as that which can be found between the 146 and 149 I would say.
Fit and Finish
The overall quality of construction on The Paragon edition is fantastic. Regarding the infamous facet alignment, I would say that the facets of the barrel and the cap align correctly, if you are not tightening the cap as far as it will go. I find that the cap will be a half turn off in my model if you use triple the force to tighten the cap all the way, but given the threads are fairly tight any way, I have no fears of the cap becoming undone at even halfway secured onto the barrel, if that makes sense.
This is where a minor gripe I have comes up. When securing the cap to the barrel, the threads have a tendency to squeak unless I slightly pinch the cap. This is a risk that is always incurred when rubbing two materials of differing densities against each other, and I think its a shame that OMAS didn’t put a metal mate thread in the cap as some other companies have in the past. Other than the sound that sometimes occurs, the threads a exceptionally smooth, with very little in the way of slack, less than the 149’s and comparable to that found in Japanese pens.
The cotton resin, as I said in the Milord review, is a very pleasant material, and is more tactile than the resin used in the 149, whilst also being less tacky than the celluloid like materials used on the Opera Elements and Pelikan Mxxx series. It is my favourite material next to the lava blende of the Homo Sapiens to hold in the hand, and wish that more companies used it.
The tolerances and fit of components across the rest of the pen are great; seams are crisp and clean without any voids, logo settings are perfect, nib alignment to the facets is dead on. Generally, everything is as it should be; they are even where they need to be even.
My main issue with the Milord was the filling system; the cartridge converter system made the pen feel less solid in my opinion, and introduced a number of issues like threads grinding against each and rattling. The piston of The Paragon is large in capacity, however, the performance of the piston mechanism doesn’t seem to be as good as it could be. Whilst The Paragon’s piston is certainly not bad, it is slightly ‘grindy’ in places during the filling process, put this up against the perfectly smooth, consistent and even mechanism on the German pistons, there is no comparison. This is not an especially large problem, but it is the main downside to the general experience of using the pen in my eyes, though whether my view has been tainted by using what are generally regarded as the finest pistons on the market I do not know, and whether someone else may think differently is something I cannot answer. Like everything written here, this is a subjective area that cannot really be quantified.
The only real issue I have with the piston is the lack of a method of checking the remaining capacity. Even though the ‘translucent’ barrel of the M800 I have barely lives up to the name without a very bright light source, it still allows me to check the remaining capacity. It could be argued that an ink window would ruin the aesthetic of the pen, and personally, it is not a deal breaking point for me, but I certainly think that an ink window would have worked in between the metal section and the beginning of the barrel facets, especially if darkened like on the 149. Regardless, to some people this is going to be more of an issue to others, and for me, it is more a non-issue than it isn’t, I can live with it, but it is certainly a downside to the pen whichever way you look at it.
I will just say it here. For me, this is THE perfect pen ergonomically. Weight, size, balance and feel, all of these are captured perfectly for me in this writing instrument.
The section of the Milord was the primary reason for me not feeling comfortable using the pen, for someone with a quadropod grip as I have, I like larger sections, however, for me the 149 section is not a perfect fit due to no taper and sheer size, and I haven’t had the opportunity to try out an M1000 properly so cannot form an opinion. The taper on The Paragon allows me to hold it comfortably at any angle; in bed or at a desk, and the faceted flange at the front prevents me from losing my grip at any point. If you find Sailor, Pilot or other companies with smaller sections to be comfortable in your hand, I would not imagine that The Paragon’s section would be comfortable for you, unless you adjust your grip, but to those who enjoy larger pens, this is the best sized section I have found so far.
Much as people like to complain that metal sections are too slippery and cause people to lose grip on their pens, I find that The Paragon’s section is not a victim of this as much as others due to the flange at the bottom. Without this, it might be more of an issue, but as it is, it is far less slippy than something like a Lamy Studio or Opera Elements.
Weight wise, the pen is definitely on the upper end, mainly due to the internals rather than the materials. The piston does change the weight distribution and balance of the pen compared to the Milord, but in a highly positive way. The balance is almost perfectly central, indeed, hold the pen at either end and you would be challenged to distinguish between which is the heavier of the two, courtesy of the metal section offsetting the piston mechanism’s weight. Posting the pen massively shifts the balance, and I wouldn’t recommend it, seen as a lot of effort has obviously gone into making the pen as well evenly balanced as possible.
Due to the clip being much larger than the Milord, it is a lot easier to lever it up, however, it is still on the stiff side, meaning that sliding it in and out of pockets, whilst secure, is still a little difficult to do with ease. It doesn’t travel all that far from the cap surface, and is stiffer than the flat clips of Montblanc and Pelikan by a fair margin, at least on those that I can compare it to.
The nib of The Paragon is absolutely brilliant in my case. Perfectly tuned flow wise, and has a wonderfully smooth tip with just the right amount of feedback. It has started up every single time I have put it to paper, and puts down a very even line that is just on the wet side, but keeps colours true without saturating them beyond recognition.
The version I have is a medium, but it seems to be a ‘finer’ medium than that which I am used to dealing with from Pelikan, Montblanc and Visconti, who’s pens either write on the wet side or have a different definition of what a medium nib’s line weight should be. Either way, I find it ideal for any kind of writing, and due to the slight bounce in the nib when applying pressure, accentuates any line variation you force into the script.
On the subject of nib ‘firmness’, just as with the Milord as I discussed a month ago, the nib is definitely not a nail like that of Waterman or Parker pens, but cannot be compared to that of an M1000 or Visconti palladium nib, both of which had a lot more give when writing. As I usually never attempt to put expressiveness into my writing except when completing headers or demonstrating fonts to people, this is not a concern for me, but for those who prefer softer nibs, I would advise you to look elsewhere, for you will be far better off.
Closing Thoughts and Conclusion
Although aspects of this review may seem critical, I felt that if I spent the whole time lauding over just how much I love this pen, it would seem a little biased, and the points that I have criticised, for the most part, are minor and don’t influence the function of the pen 90% of the time. I could not be happier; it ticks all the boxes and was worth the long wait I had to endure to get my hands on one…I have a bad feeling that this is only the first of many Paragons I will find myself buying…
As I said in the ergonomics section, this is pretty much my ultimate pen in hand, and I absolutely adore it. I have zero regrets about returning the Milord for this model, and imagine that this is going to be a pen that I will carry with me wherever I go.
This makes the pen worth every penny for me, but to some, especially those who may not foresee themselves using this as a primary writer, the price tag may be a little steep. At the discounted price of ~£400 from La Couronne du Comte, this pen stands fractionally more expensive than the M1000, and in my opinion is a good buy. At full retail price of £500 however, I don’t know whether or not I would still feel so comfortable recommending it, for whilst it is a Special Edition, you have a smaller nib (have to hold the pen closer to the paper, which some people dislike), no ink window, and a nib without springiness. To some people these might be deal breakers, to others not so much of an issue.
I think, therefore, I will conclude by saying that I would recommend this pen without hesitation, if you like larger pens, this is absolutely worth a look at.
-edit- Pictures are not uploading now, but tomorrow I will put them up in here
Edited by Merackon, 25 December 2015 - 01:50.