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Graf Von Faber-Castell Pen Of The Year 2003 – Snakewood

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#1 visvamitra

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 15:59

I have an inexplicable weakness for Faber-Castell / Graf von Faber-Castell fountain pens design. I enjoy their creations more than a bit. While I always thought GvFC series of POTY (Pen of the Year) looked intriguing, I haven’t expected I would ever try one. These pens aren’t cheap and unless you own your own oil refinery you wouldn’t buy one on impulse. I’m sure I wouldn’t. I’m not THAT spontaneous.

 

Happily one of polish collectioners (wodnik_olszynek on piorawieczneforum.pl andforumopiorach.net) sent me few high-end pens to try and review. It may happen I will help some of you to burn through a significant portion of pen-pleasure budget. Or maybe I’ll help you in making decisions it’s not worth it. I’ll start with GvFC Pen of the Year 2003.

 

poty2003_16.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_3.jpg?w=940

 

 

poty2003_13.jpg?w=940

 

Graf von Faber-Castell introduced first Pen of the Year in 2003 and that’s the one I had a chance to try. The first GvFC pen of the year was produced from snakewood, one of the densest and hardest types of wood in the world. A relatively rare wood found in Suriname, South America, it get its name from the black blots and splotches which looks like the skin of a snake. Typically used for luxury umbrella handles, walking sticks and violin bows, the eye-catching barrel of the pen is accentuated by the platinised metal fittings. The 18 carat solid gold nib (available in fine, medium and broad widths) is ‘run-in’ by hand before leaving the workshop. Each pen is individually numbered on the mechanism of the magnum-sized plunger (the part of the pen which holds the ink reservoir).

 

Overall impresions

 

poty2003_17.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_5.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_10.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_8.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_6.jpg?w=940

 

I’ll be honest. Graf von Favber-Castell design appeals to me. I enjoy most of their pens. This one isn’t an exception. It combines my favourite materials: wood and metal in elegant and interesting way. Visually I find this pen stunning. In hand it feels heavy and well manufactured.

 

The metal cap is substantial and looks great. If you enjoy industrial design, you will probably enjoy this one as much as I do. The clip is hinged and it has little grooves under the clip where it would be able to grip a shirt or pen case. Basically it’s a similar design as on their Classic line of pens, but, definitely, larger. The thing that bothers me in this pen is plastic inner cap - it feels cheap.

 

The blind cap unscrews to reveal the piston knob. The knob itself is large and easy to turn. It has a metal plate on the end with engravings indicating it is a pen of the year and the number of the pen.

 

Metal section is smooth and due to material it can get slippery if your hands sweat, but I believe in this case plating works fine to prevent it. This metal has different feel to it than Lamy Studio section.  As POTY is a piston-filler there’s also grey tinted ink window composed into section that alllows to see the ink level. My preference would be to have it lighter so that ink color is clearly seen.

 

As I’ve mentioned it’s a heavy open, not everyone will enjoy using it.

 

Filling System

 

poty2003_12.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_11.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_1.jpg?w=940

 

The POTY pens are the only ones in GvFC line that use the piston system. This piston-filler feels well made and is efficient and holds reasonable volume of ink – 0,8 ml. POTY pens can be send to GvFC in Germany once a year for a free servicing in case something unexpected and / or disturbning happens to the pen.

 

Nib

 

poty2003_15.jpg?w=940

 

poty2003_14.jpg?w=940

 

 

poty_pismo.jpg?w=940

 

New LE KWZI ink - Northern Twilight

 

poty_pismo2.jpg?w=940

 

poty_pismo3.jpg?w=940

 

While GvFC doesn’t offer wide variety of exciting nibs, the ones you can have are not only nice, they also perform very well. You can have Pen of the Year with either fine, medium or broad nib. The one I tried has medium nib that can be described as medium + (as seen on comparison), rigid nib that is very smooth. The nib is very wet and enjoyable. It does justice to inks that are allowed to run through it’s regal feed.

 

 

Dimensions

 

 

Closed: 135 mm

Open: 130 mm

Barrel diameter: 15 mm

Weight: 72 g

 

Summary

 

What can I say – this pen looks stunning. It’s more a collector’s / discriminate user’s pen than every day cary choice for everyone. The price of this model can reach 3 000 euros and more (although usually it’s sold for 2000-2800 euros). It’s crazy expensive. Sure, I guess sometimes it’s possible to make good deal but even 25 % of MSRP is a significant amount of money most of us could use in a different, probably more mondaine way. If I could afford this pen though, I would buy it. For its classy look and the feel in my hand.


Edited by visvamitra, 01 October 2016 - 16:00.


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#2 Tas

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 16:59

:wub:  Ahhhh . . .

 



#3 zaddick

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 17:40

This is one of my favorite GvFC POTY issues. It is almost hard to overstate how much more solid it feels than the classic line (which is also very very nice). It is like in the Captain America comic where Steve Rogers is wholesome but scrawny before the serum but then becomes beefy after. This pen has a lot of the same characteristics of the GvFC pens, just more and better.

Thanks for bringing this pen to the attention or more people.

Edited by zaddick, 01 October 2016 - 17:41.


#4 visvamitra

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 17:54

Thank you Zaddick. In few days I'll post POTY 2010 review. Poty 2003 looks much better though. PS: it seems wodnik_olszynek is also on fFPN: Vodnik Volsovecek thank you for borrowing me these pens :)


Edited by visvamitra, 01 October 2016 - 17:58.


#5 mmg122

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 19:17

Excellent review, Vis. Your photos are glorious. This is a pen I would certainly love to own but definitely out of my league budgetwise. One can dream...

Zaddick...love your simile. Steve Rogers, indeed.

#6 VodnikVolsovecek

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 21:40

Indeed, I'm also on FPN.

 

 unless you own your own oil refinery you wouldn’t buy one on impulse.

 

As I have just a humble number of shares of some refineries, it was a totally planned purchase. With a lot of appreciation for the general rules GvFC design, I have been attracted to this particular model since long time, seeing it as one of my flagships.

I just love it! To me, an essence of elegance.

 

Yes, the prices are discouraging. It's a potential investment, as there are only 1500 of them, several hundred less than in the case of following editions. It's worth to remember, that few years ago, the last pieces in sale were available at 999 EUR. At this moment, it's almost impossible to get a used one at this price. That particular was relatively inexpensive, but there were some issues to fix, too.

 

And great thanks from my side, as well. A sort of mutual benefit - we can share the fun, you can increase the number of your amazing reviews, and I have my beloved stick shown to the world in the scenery of your garden  :) 


Edited by VodnikVolsovecek, 01 October 2016 - 21:56.

It may be worth to have a look at my classifieds :)


#7 piter22

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 14:54

Due to rarity of that pen I think it would be cool to show some pics from my little workshop:

 

ib0A39sl.jpg

 

Nib unit is screw in type and looks similar to Pelikan ones

 

Gcmf2Fnl.jpg

 

Section is glued to the barrel

 

SOy0kI8l.jpg

 

It's possible to do this but it's not important.

 

4jG3XjLl.jpg

 

Screw in type piston unit. It looks exactly the same as Pelikan...

 

Kp0z5aAl.jpg

 

Snakewood part is glued to the barrel, metal ring is friction fit. 

 

ncchLyPl.jpg

 

 

 



#8 visvamitra

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 14:55

Thank you Piter :)



#9 Bobje

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 23:56

Your photographs do a great job of showing off a sweet-looking pen, Visvamitra. The contrast between the shiny cap and the textured wooden barrel is stunning.


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#10 Reed_thoughts

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 02:31

Pen looks gorgeous! Love that it's a piston filler

#11 rudyhou

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 04:22

very nice.  i had wanted this for the longest time once, but couldn't get one.  until i got an Omas snakewood.  then i moved on to a different GvFC instead, the walden wood special edition.


-rudy-

#12 Sagarb

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Posted 10 October 2016 - 06:08

Nice review..and photographs are fantastic..


Sagar Bhowmick


#13 mehandiratta

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 06:43

I also believe that the pens designs are best that come out of the GvFC/FC lot....

They are unique....

Thank you for the review....

I wish they launch the Intution in Snakewood



#14 mjchuang9

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 14:28

fpn_1476454487__img_0674.jpg

 

 

I own five GvFC Pen of the year including the 2003 snakewood. However I lost it when I moved to the new home several years ago. As you said it is difficult to get and the price is unreasonable high ( I bought it in about 1000 euros ) .  The series of pen of the year is actually for collectors instead of daily use, so I decide to get the new limited edition first this time. The B on the classic snakewood version writes extremely smooth, I like to use it everyday now. Although I still miss the 2003 F snakewood so much.


Edited by mjchuang9, 14 October 2016 - 14:37.


#15 VodnikVolsovecek

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 22:47

Sorry to hear about the loss of your 2003 PoTY. However, an exceptionally nice wood-grain pattern on your Classique (I also have one in Snakewood) should give you some comfort :)

 

I also find them overpriced, but rather at the RSRP level. Considering 1000 EUR (or, maybe, USD) per piece, I would be ready to buy the majority of the PoTYs issued,  even not the brand new ones. These are enough exceptional creations, worth some extra money. However, the newest editions are a bit baroque when it comes to the design; I prefer the earlier simplicity.

 

And I believe that the PoTYs can be used on the daily basis. Mine had to be serviced a bit by piter22, who posted a few photos of this process above, but seemingly it was in an extensive use before I acquired it.  I find no particular quality issues beyond that as a result of being handcrafted, the geometry is not necessarily perfect. This one has the ink window somehow roughed up on one side, since the cap rubs it a bit too hard when twisted on and off.


It may be worth to have a look at my classifieds :)


#16 lowks

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 23:29

That pen looks great! Sigh, I guess just have to contented using my E-motion for now :(



#17 Jesuo

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 11:01

 

What can I say – this pen looks stunning. It’s more a collector’s / discriminate user’s pen than every day cary choice for everyone. The price of this model can reach 3 000 euros and more (although usually it’s sold for 2000-2800 euros). It’s crazy expensive. Sure, I guess sometimes it’s possible to make good deal but even 25 % of MSRP is a significant amount of money most of us could use in a different, probably more mondaine way. If I could afford this pen though, I would buy it. For its classy look and the feel in my hand.

 

 

I have just bought one of these, but I failed to find its number. Near its converter, on the piece holding it, there is the number 020707 and on its nib there is the number 750. I doubt the first number is the pen number, there being only 1761 copies of it. But I find it difficult to believe the pen's number is on the nib, which could be easily changed...

 

I was told it was a great pen when I bought it (incidentally, it cost me only €600, not the €3000 you mention), but after I've written around two pages, it halts. The shop owner has tried to solve the problem, though with no success for the time being. What is your advice? Should I change it for another one? In fact till I read your article I thought it was just another pen...

 

Any guidance on this will be appreciated.


A man, an idea, a pen.


#18 VodnikVolsovecek

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 11:16

In fact till I read your article I thought it was just another pen...

 

Any guidance on this will be appreciated.

 

The number '750' on the nib is nothing more that the amount of gold in gold :)

 

PoTY 2003 have been limited to 1500 pieces. The Classique snakewood  was the one to be limited to 1761, and surely not numbered, so which model do you actually consider?


Edited by VodnikVolsovecek, 30 October 2016 - 11:20.

It may be worth to have a look at my classifieds :)


#19 Jesuo

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 12:23

PoTY 2003 have been limited to 1500 pieces. The Classique snakewood  was the one to be limited to 1761, and surely not numbered, so which model do you actually consider?

 

 

Oh, probably that's why I could not find its number. Thanks. I did buy it already, and it is a Classique Snakewood. though in the box it says just "Snakewood".


Edited by Jesuo, 30 October 2016 - 12:24.

A man, an idea, a pen.


#20 VodnikVolsovecek

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Posted 30 October 2016 - 12:36

 

 

Oh, probably that's why I could not find its number. Thanks. I did buy it already, and it is a Classique Snakewood. though in the box it says just "Snakewood".

 

Then, assuming that paying almost a full price (which is something like 695 or 795 EUR)  you bought it in an official retail store, you undoubtedly  have a right to have the nib section tuned/ replaced. If the seller fails, go directly through your local GvFC representative, or even the company headquarters. They care :)


Edited by VodnikVolsovecek, 30 October 2016 - 12:42.

It may be worth to have a look at my classifieds :)






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