As a multi-time poster on FPN, it struck me today that I'd never taken the time to write a review of any of my favorite fountain pen examples. It's not that I hadn't figured that I should before; I've never felt moved or compelled by a writing instrument to take the time to write down my thoughts - ironic given my love for pens and writing.
That said, when I came home yesterday and saw a note on my door telling me that I'd missed a package from Antwerp, I was both so incredibly excited for the wait to be over, and so incredibly disappointed that I'd have to wait another day. So today, I went out, picked up my package from the post office, grabbed lunch, came home, set up my portable photo tent for when I'm out of my studio, and opened the package.
Firstly, the package. An beautifully crafted box, from the outer sleeve with its lovely embossing to the inner aluminum packaging. Everything down to the carving of the inner foam is on point and perfectly executed. It's a marvel to look at.
Additionally, the nib stroke sheet is helpful and shows Conid's commitment to accuracy and consistency.
Next up is the nib. I ordered a Fine titanium ground down to an Extra Fine titanium for my example. This is my second Conid, with a Slimline Titanium Fine stub as my first. I love the stub, although the edges can catch paper fibers and cause some scratching. That said, when it hits the sweet spot, it's very sweet. This example's EF is simply incredible. When I put the nib to the page, ink just started to flow. And flow. And continue to flow. This might be the most pleasantly wet and smoothe nib I own, literally gliding across the page. With some titanium nibs (I swapped, for example, my TWSBI Vac 700 and Diamond 580al steel nibs for Titanium Bock Fine nibs) and found them to be a little scratchy. With the CAISO, Fountainbell's nib work is outstanding, and I have to give him some serious kudos for his attention to detail and professional skill.
Let's swing over to the barrel. Smoothe, with a lovely cool texture and beautiful titanium fittings, it looked beautiful, albeit a little utilitarian before, filling. Sharing a photo, I was told it looks "quite masculine," and I can understand, in many ways, why. That said, its image completely changes when filled with ink, maximizing the body and accentuating the curve throughout the center. It almost becomes a completely different pen with every fill.
In the hand, it feels just right: weighty, but not overly so, well balanced, cool, smoothe with some feedback, and just the right width to be comfortable. The (not so) blind cap is beautiful, sitting flush against the clear acrylic connecting to the machinery inside, while the titanium milled cap body and cap balances out the other end. Conid logo sits tucked into the cap made from acrylic. It's so well polished, you can't tell any separation between the acrylic from the logo and the titanium of the cap. Conid's attention to detail, as many has said, is outstanding, and I'm still blown away by how precise a job they've done.
Then there's the most interesting part of the pen: the cap-actuated bulkfiller. At this point, the Bulkfiller mechanism is fairly well known. You write a syringe by turning the blind cap, pull it back, screw it into a plunger screwed into the back of the pen, press the syringe down, submerge into ink, draw ink into the pen, spin the syringe in the opposite direction until it unscrews from the plunger, and press the syringe back down into the pen. It's much easier to see than describe, so watch an animated video here:
Or watch Francis (fountainbell) filling a regular Bulkfiller here:
Most Bulkfillers seal when screwed all the way down, making flying, travel, and storage simple. This pen's mechanism is cap actuated. When you put the cap on, a plug in the cap depresses a needle in the feed, which seals the section from the main body of the pen. Ink is sealed away from passing into the feed, until you remove the cap again. For frequent travelers (who don't write as they fly, as removing the cap will open the feed to the main body of the pen again) this is a wonderful addition. Beyond that, from a technical perspective, it's quite the feat of precision engineering, and Francis has really outdone himself.
There's only one downside, as I can see it, to this system: the plunger in the cap covered in ink when it screws into the feed upon closing. For those of us with a minor obsession with keeping out pens clean, that can be a bit of a headache. That said, it's a tiny tradeoff for everything else this pen provides.
Size wise, the pen is larger posted than the Montblanc 147, but smaller than the posted Visconti Homo Sapiens. Posted, it's slightly larger than the Conid Slimline, but feels much more substantial in the hand. That said, the Slimline holds 2ml, while the the Kingsize holds a whopping 3ml of ink, at a complete fill.
Size wise, it's almost exactly as long as the TWSBI Diamond 580 when capped. There is a significant weight difference, as well, given that the Diamond 580 holds significantly less ink. The pens also feel considerably different from a material perspective, as the Kingsize was CNC'd, I believe, from a solid piece of acrylic while the TWSBI's shape was injected into a mold. The quality difference is apparent as soon as you take the pen out of its case.
I'm stunned by this pen. I have plenty of pens, from $3 Jinhao that write expertly to $7000 Montblanc that I'm not convinced I'd ever write with. That said, this has to be the single most well constructed and precision manufactured pen I've received, with what may be my favorite nib out of any pen I own. Yes, I know, I've been gushing this whole review (I never actually intended to write a review, but just post photos for folks who were curious), but as I said at the beginning, I was more moved to write this than anything. I have a feeling that this pen just made it to the top of my rotation, and will probably stay there for a while.
Now I just have to figure out how to order additional nibs, and I'll be all set.
For good measure I included a few photos of the Kingsize along with the Slimline.
Edited by TheGreatRoe, 24 August 2016 - 22:41.
With OP's permission I have included lower-res pictures (which are hyperlinked to the full-size images)