I always look for value-for-money fountain pens. That’s because my pens go through a lot of rough usage and handling during busy OPD hours at hospital and it’s impossible for me to pamper them in a desirable delicate manner. Reliability of a fountain pen is my greatest concern and by this word “reliability” I mean the ability of a fountain pen to perform each and every time it is put to paper. Leaks, burping, dry start, scratchiness are strictly ‘no-no’ when it comes to the urgency and gravity of the situations that my pens have to go through.
Kanwrite Heritage is one such ‘Reliable’ piston filler.
Why I like it: Very good quality piston filler at a very affordable price and with varieties of nib options.
Kanwrite is a stationary production house based in the erstwhile Manchester of the East, The Industrial Hub of Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur. Those of you who have some experience with ‘Noodlers’ Ahab pen might recognize this name, as this company manufactures and supplies parts (or whole) of many of Noodlers flagship models. The history of this company is relatively young, with Shri Laxmi Shankar Awasthi, presently mentor, together with his sons Pradeep and Sandeep, founding this company in 1986 with an aim to “……provide consumers with the best quality fountain pens at most ‘easy’ price.”
Now the ‘easy’ part is not that easy after all when we consider Indian market scenario for fountain pens. In most parts of the world where fountain pens are still considered practical and popular, the starting price for a good standard fountain pen is few times greater than the price expectations for a similar type of model from Indian ‘consumers’. Working inside that limitation and coming up with a good practical piston filler at the price point, Kanwrite heritage is one great mid-level fountain pen, that has the potential to cater to both entry level fountain pen enthusiasts and seasoned users alike. All parts are made in house and that makes it a truly greater experience.
The Kanwrite heritage
1. Appearance & Design: This is a rod shaped well designed pen, with multiple parts assembled to form the final shape. It is almost spindle shaped when capped, with middle portion much thicker and both the body and cap tapering towards blunt ends. The cap has an inverted cone shaped screw or finial that pins the clip to the tapering upper end of the cap. The clip is chrome coloured with ‘Kanwrite’ imprinted on it. It’s a bit stiff and tight for my taste, but I hardly get time to clip my pens to shirt pockets. It’s a solid clip with good quality metal. The cap ring at the other end is a thick chrome ring, again imprinted with ‘Kanwrite’ which in my opinion is not necessary at all, rather imprinting the word “Heritage” or leaving it blanc would have been more appropriate. Indian fountain pens have suffered from lack of good quality trims; Kanwrite Heritage is trying to reverse this trend with provision of quality metal parts.
The cap is a screw on cap, it opens with 2.5 turns, may be slightly less, there is no tightness while opening or closing the cap. The section tapers gently towards the nibs with a small flaring just beneath the nib for good support of fingers during long writing sessions.
Just below the threads there is an ink window, about 5 mm thick with chrome coloured thin rings lining both the top and lower margins. When capped, the ink window is covered by the cap. Now that might seem like a disadvantage, as you have to open the cap to see the ink level. But I have tried imagining the ink window below the cap ring, it really doesn’t make much sense design wise. At the end there is another chrome coloured ring, followed by a cap which covers the knob of twist piston filler.
The end finial margin of the cap is not flush with that of clip metal and rest of the body of cap, there is a gap. Though it doesn’t take away anything, if Kanwrite is to go premium with variations of this model, such minute issues might get greater importance.
I would love to see this model in premium acrylic and ebonite material, which will attract great deal of attention from fountain pen lovers.
Parts of heritage
2. Construction & Quality: Its made up of injection molded CAB plastic. CAB stands for “Cellulose Acetate Butyrate”, a form of plastic which is slightly softer and more durable. This will prevent easy cracking of the pen. This material is more eco-friendly than ABS plastic, that is used to create many other transparent pens. We must dispel the idea that just because Kanwrite produces cheaper fountain pens for masses with CAB material, this is a cheap or poor material.
The downside of using CAB is one kind of funny smell. Besides, pens made from ABS plastic can have better transparent finish and they are more scratch resistant. I haven’t found transparent Kanwrite CAB pens to attract scratches more easily, but if one is still skeptical, I would advise to buy some coloured transparent pens like blue or yellow. Durability is more important to me and Kanwrite pens are more durable. The smell is not intrusive while writing (it’s not detectable unless the pen is sniffed directly) and hands doesn’t smell for long after using the pen. Trim quality is good. Overall the pen feels substantial in hand and pictures might not reflect the actual feeling while using this pen.
3. Weight & Dimensions: The dimensions are as follows
Weight: 22 gms
Length: 140 mm
Length of uncapped pen: 130 mm
Posted length: 160 mm
Diameter of section: 11.5 mm- 12 mm
Barrel diameter: 20 mm
Ink window: 5 mm
Ink capacity- 1.2 ml
The pen is beautifully balanced. I have seen those pens which have around 130 mm uncapped length and ≤ 12 mm section diameter (11.5 mm best) work best for me. So for my grip and finger pressure, this is a perfectly balanced fountain pen. It feels easy in my hand and I can continue writing for prolonged periods with it. The smooth nib compliments the grip and balance. Posting is not a good option for me as it gets much longer than my taste.
From right to left : Pilot metropolitan, Sheaffer No-nonsense, Xinhao X750 and kanwrite heritage
4. Nib & Performance: Kanwrite produces a large variety of nibs. Heritage model accepts international #35 sized nibs. The nib comes in a screwed in interchangeable nib-feed unit, but you can pull out and replace the nib only with other spare Kanwrite nibs. All kinds of nib options are available, like EF, F, M, B, BB, Italics, Oblique and very attractive steel semi-Flex ones in different tip sizes. Sandeepji can produce almost all steel nibs under the sun. He is developing gold nibs as well. The review of Kanwrite nibs demands one separate page, but for short these are extremely versatile nibs. The gap between the tines is perfectly designed and tip is smooth with nice wet sustained flow of ink. There is a definite ‘feedback’ while using Kanwrite nibs, they are not glassy smooth. This resistance is what makes writing experience with Kanwrite much enjoyable. Occasional nibs might be scratchy as with all production houses, but just a little bit of micro mesh-ing will quickly turn them into very good nibs. I enjoy Kanwrite fine nibs more than medium or broad ones. As these spare nibs are cheap, one can actually indulge in a great deal of experimentation and customization. There is no skipping, hard start, burping or leaking.
Reverse writing possible but scratchy. And forgive me for my hideous handwriting while trying to write quick, that depicts the true ability of a doctor's writing skills.
5. Filling System & Maintenance: This pen is twist type piston filler. It can easily be disassembled, cleaned and put together without much problem. One has to grip the threads for the small cap at the back and twist to open the piston system. It is made up of plastic and robust. The pen can be cleaned from above by easily removing the nib unit as well.
The following pic from Dr. Soumya Mukherjee as he disassembled his Kanwrite for better cleaning.
Heritage after disassembly
6. Cost & Value: This pen is valued at INR 1500 ($30 USD). It’s an affordable workhorse pen with great value on the long run. It’s available in Amazon and also one can contact Sandeepji directly.
7. Conclusion: This is one of the best pens to happen to Indian fountain pen scenario and truly deserving worldwide market. The possibilities are endless with almost all nib types available in house. Some newer developments would certainly take this pen further. This is a 'must have pen' for any fountain pen lover.
Whatsapp no of Sandeep ji is +91 9305456599.
Amazon link: Kanwrite
Thanks to Dr. Soumya for providing me with a sample of Fabiano Ego paper to try out.
Edited by Samrat, 24 September 2016 - 03:31.