This review will be very similar to Graf von Faber-Castell Pen of the Year 2003 review. The reason is simple – these pens are very similar – materiał and finish are different but the construction andinternal are practically the same. As I’ve mentioned in previous review I find Faber-Castell / Graf von Faber-Castell design compelling and I enjoy most of their creations (except Basic – this pen writes well but is ugly).
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.
One of polish collectioners (wodnik_olszynek on piorawieczneforum.pl and forumopiorach.net andvodnikvolsovecek on FPN) sent me a few high-end pens to try and review. It may happen I will help some of you to blow through a significant portion of pen-pleasure budget. Or maybe I’ll help you in making decisions they’re not worth it.
Pen of the Year 2010 was made from Caucasian walnut wood – this wood is tough and not particularly elastic yet it does not warp or splinter. It also better withstands compression and flexing forces than oak. In short, it is the ideal wood for the stock of a gun – and for very special writing implements. It possesses a beautiful figuring, with fine but marked patterns. The hand-carved ‘fish scales’ pattern rounds off the overall impression of the barrel.
This pen looks great. Not as good as Poty 2003 but as it combines my favourite materials – wood and metal I find it hard to resist. Nothing compares to the feel of wood in the hand. I do realise it’s not the most durable material for making fountain pens but for me it’s a joy to write with wooden pen. This pen may be considered by some as rather ornate but I feel the design is balanced and not as gaudy as new additions to the POTY line. Let’s look at some of it’s elements:
One of the most characteristic feautures is a beautiful platinum-plated cap with a spring-loaded clip that is easy to operate.The metal cap is substantial and heavy. 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 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.
Other thing that is interesting about this model is the use of the case-hardened metal parts and the fine engravings.
Until the late 19th century, case hardening was the sign of a high-quality gun, with the inimitable shimmering coloration it provides. For centuries, the technique was handed down by word of mouth and was something of a secret art.
The metal parts are usually packed in carbonized leather and heated to convert the surface into steel; the colours appear on cooling. Some 20 parameters contribute to the beautiful visual effect, including the thickness of the metal, the temperature, and the rate of cooling. Before the case hardening, the engraver cuts a groove with a dovetail cross-section, which the 24-carat gold inlay work is later set into and then polished. In other words the embellishes on this one may look simple but it’s good to appreciate doing them and making them last requires a lot of skill and time.
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.
(Kyonooto’s Kokeiro on Rhodia)
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. POTY 2010 has a fine nib that writes smoothly and glides across the paper the way I like it most – without too much of a feedback. The nib is rather rigid and I wouldn’t risk trying to press it too differentiate line width.
Closed: 135 mm
Open: 130 mm
Barrel diameter: 15 mm
Weight: 81 g (yes, it’s heavier than POTY 2003)
Pen of the Year 2010 is an interesting and well made pen. 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 (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.
While I enjoy the feel of caucasian walnut in the hand I find POTY 2003 more appealing. On the other hand I appreciate the skills used the creatye this pen.