ASA pens from Chennai is making all the right noises these days, with their beautiful and unique Nauka and Trans-nauka making the rounds and getting praise from everyone. Today I am going to review the first ebonite pen that I bought from ASA, the ‘Writer’, which gets somewhat less attention than their other offerings. My concern before buying any pens from ASA was the size of their pens, most of which are pretty large for my preference. And so one fine day I messaged Mr. Subramanium and he suggested either ‘Writer’ or ‘Genius’ and I settled for the former. I chose ‘Writer’ because this pen has the cap flushed with the body of the pen. This particular design feature seemed appealing to me.
The ASA Writer, note the cap flushed with the body and the name inscription lining with ASA branding
I didn’t have any idea about ebonite pens before buying this pen and Mr. Subramanium helped a lot in deciding the particulars like the nib, the finish, filling system and the site of inscription. I bought a matte/bakul finish of black ebonite with a German made medium nib-feed unit branded as ‘Versace’. I was very impressed with the pen after I received it and since then it has been one of my most reliable writers.
1. Appearance & Design (9/10): ASA Writer is a beautiful traditional cigar shaped pen with gentle tapering towards the lower end of body. The section also tapers in a smooth fashion. The cap is flushed with the body. The clip is a standard ASA ball end clip with good fit and springiness. The design feature I don’t like is the cap taking almost three turns to open. For a person who continually caps and uncaps his pen, this pen requires much effort in this respect. I have my name inscribed on the cap and that name inscription is in line with the branding just at the top end of the body. That’s a nice little bit of detailing. There is a small ring like protrusion at the top of section, just beneath the nib which probably seals the section to the cap when closed. This doesn’t pose problem while gripping. The matte/bakul finish is very attractive over the body and cap. The section is glossy ebonite. I have been using this pen for long, but the glossy section has not got many scratches. This is a light weight and well balanced pen. No pungent smell from the pen.
The Writer, note the glossy section and the ring like structure near the top end of section
2. Construction & Quality (9/10): The ebonite is of good quality. The nib and ebonite feed also feels very well built. I ordered the pen with a schmidt converter which again looks solid. The cap looks thin at the border, and there is no end ring to support it. But it seems very unlikely that the cap will break with regular usage. One negative point is that the threads over section is bound to accumulate some dirt over use. I don't know foe sure, but this may have to do with static electricity formed on ebonite.
3. Weight & Dimensions (7/10): It’s a light weight pen. The dimensions are as follows
Pen Length Capped 145 mm
Pen Length Uncapped 130 cm.
Pen Length Posted 150 mm
Average Barrel diameter 14 mm at the section base & 12 mm at taper end
Average Section diameter 12 mm at Base and 11mm near Lip
Average Cap diameter 15 mm
This pen feels very comfortable and well balanced unposted, while it becomes too large and awkward after posting. I never use any of my pen posted except the miniature pens like Pilot petit mini, so that is not an issue for me. it slips easily into hand and writes right away.
From left : Sheaffer No nonsense, Waterman Hemisphere deluxe, Waterman Harley Davidson free wheels, ASA writer (all capped)
From left : Sheaffer No nonsense, Waterman Hemisphere deluxe, Waterman Harley Davidson free wheels, ASA writer (all posted)
4. Nib & Performance (9/10): The #5 versace nib-feed combo that came with this pen is amazing. It is smooth with very generous flow and good line consistency. I was so impressed with this nib that I ordered my ASA Rainbow Acrylic pen with the same nib and once again I was bowled over by its performance. Later I swapped the nib with a JoWo 1.1 stub nib bought from ASA. This JoWo nib is a beautiful writer as well with perfect smoothness and flow. No feathering or blotting or burping, ink and paper remaining the same as other pens. Both nibs have very little flex. Line variations with 1.1 nib is good. There is no edginess or catching the paper at turns while writing with this stub, even at a high speed.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (10/10): This pen is 3-in-1, which means one can use it as either eyedropper, with a schmidt converter or with standard international cartridges. I have always used this pen with converter as it offers quick hassle free filling and keeps the barrel clean. No burping or any leakage noted when I tried it as an eyedropper. As mentioned earlier, the converter is of very good quality, can be disassembled and cleaned easily and fits perfectly with the body.
The cap and clip
6. Cost & Value (9/10): This pen is valued at INR 1500 (38$ ). It’s a pretty impressive considering the beautiful features and 3-in-1 filling system. This has the potential to become one of the daily workhorse of any fountain pen user with little maintenance.
Conclusion (Final score, 53/60): I ordered this pen as my first ebonite pen and it turned out pretty good. This pen from ASA has got little recognition, when by all standards it is one of the best pens they have to offer. You can order this pen from their website. Be sure to discuss any doubts with Mr. Subramanium before placing an order.
Have a nice day.
Edited by Samrat, 29 May 2016 - 19:18.