Last time I reviewed the Gama Kuyil in detail, which is in the mid-price range for Gama products. Today I'll review one of their entry level fountain pens, the Gama Forever, which cost about half of Gama Kuyil, but functionally have similar usefulness and appeal.
The history of Gem and Co., the producer of Gama brand of fountain pens is discussed in the review of Kuyil.
The Forever is a smaller model from Gama, with minimal design elements.
Why I like this pen- It’s a small but effective pen for everyday use. The price is very much affordable, even for a student. The built quality is very good and it will last long with proper care.
Cons- It's an eye-dropper pen, so many things can go wrong. Eye-droppers are always for advanced users, as there might be occasional leakage, burping and other messy issues during initial handling and in some of the copies. The nib is a standard dual tone nib of Indian fine category, so limited nib choice. The ebonite looks good, but minute impurities and defects might be there. Also as these are hand turned pens, there might be some asymmetry in shape.
1. Appearance & Design: It's a Parker Duofold like pen, though much simpler in design. Parker Duofold was a very successful pen for the company. Basically Duofold was designed with the idea of changing the mundane black rubber design of fountain pens prevalent during that period, thus having a pen body of red rubber and making the section, clip screw and barrel end with standard black rubber. This contrast of red and black colour, coupled with a useful size, great ergonomics and balance, were instrumental to the success of Duofold design. Later more colours and material were introduced; other sizes and permutation-combination of different trims and design aspects were marketed as well. Interestingly the particular red rubber used to make Parker Duofold was termed "Pompeiian Brown" by the company. The success of Duofold in the 1920s inspired almost all major manufacturers like Waterman, Conklin, Sheaffer etc. to launch their own orange/ red / brown version of flat topped dual coloured 'Duofold' copies/inspired models. So it’s not surprising that even to this day, manufacturers don't look beyond this design when they want a relatively small, useful but attractive fountain pen. Gama Forever is no different in this respect.
The Gama Forever
It’s a flat topped cigar shaped medium sized pen with slight tapering towards both ends. The top of the cap is a bit thicker than the bottom of the body. I bought the light brown/yellow coloured ebonite with red ripples. As expected, both the ends have black coloured polished finial of about 7mm thickness and the section is black as well. The black portion at the bottom of the pen is flushed with body and there is no gap between them. The top black finial is acting as a screw to hold the clip ring,there is a minute gap between the top finial and the body of cap. Personally I like Kuyil like flushed finial which conceal the cap ring. The pen has gold coloured trims. The pen sports a simple ball end clip, made of brass. It's Gem's old stock, these clips are not made today and they'll be used till the stock lasts. There are two rings at the lip of the cap, each about 1mm. thick and separated by a distance of about 3 mm. The section gently tapers towards the nib, just before ending it has a flaring part for finger rest, which is a typical design feature among Gama pens. The body has Gama written on it, the letters have crisp margin. The nib is dual tones Indian fine nib with only ‘Iridium tipped’ and Germany imprinted on it along with some basic designs. It appears to be the same nib which have been branded ‘Gama’ in their latest models.
Construction & Quality: The Gama forever is a well-made pen. The ebonite wall is quite thick, which is a common attribute of Gama pens. The polish of ebonite is good and the ripples look beautiful. On minute inspections, the ebonite has many impurities or small spots, but this being a low priced pen this is expected and these are not causing any problem with the overall look. There is no defect or rough area on the ebonite. The clip is sturdy and functional, but the gold colour fades with some usage. The trim is made of vintage brass material from their old stocks. The rings at the lip of the cap occasionally become loose and may require some effort to realign and re-position them, when these get dislodged. There is no leak from the junction of section and body. The cap easily sits with the body with about two and half rotations. The section screws on the body relatively easily without much tightness. Overall the construction is very good for the price; this pen will last long if proper care is taken.
3. Weight & Dimensions: It’s a lightweight medium sized pen.
The dimensions are as follows
Length of the pen: 145 mm
Length of uncapped pen: 135 mm
Diameter of section: 11.5 mm
Due to flaring up at the end of the section, the diameter at the end surface is 13 mm, but the area where fingers will grip the pen is 11.5 mm.
Maximum Barrel diameter: 14-15 mm
Section length: 18 mm
Nib length: 25 mm.
Ink capacity- about 3-3.5 ml
I use the pen without posting. These pens typically don’t post deep, so the length increases disproportionately when posted. The balance is very good and long writing sessions with the pen is very comfortable. It’s basically an EDC pen for rough usage with some good looks of a hand turned Indian ebonite pen.
From right to left: Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Gama Forever and Gama Kuyil, all capped
Lamy Safari and Gama Forever, uncapped
4. Nib & Performance: The nib is very good performer. Its Indian fine grade, meaning line width between Japanese fine and European fine, though I don’t think there is any strict criteria followed while making these nibs. It’s a smooth wet writer with some feedback. Burping issues might be there in some copies or in case of sudden temperature or pressure changes such as in flight. I didn’t face any issues as such till now. I would like to see them providing different nib grades with this pen. One can contact Mr. Subramanium of ASA pens or Mr. Pratap of Gem and Co. for customization.
5. Filling System & Maintenance: This pen is an eyedropper. Probably makers can modify to allow other filling systems, but for a cheap entry level pen, such efforts are not much fruitful. There are other much glamorous Gama models to go for customization.
6. Cost & Value: This pen is valued at INR 675 ($23, £18) in ASA website. It’s an affordable workhorse pen with great value on the long run. The build is solid, nib is a great performer in its default variety and ink capacity is good.
7. Conclusion: I would love to recommend this entry level ebonite pens to advanced fountain pen users for its looks, feel and usefulness. It’s a pen that would feel very comfortable in hand, appear as a quality product and would be a reliable everyday use pen. For those users who entered the fountain pen world recently with limited experience of eye droppers or hand turned ebonite pens, this might be a good first buy to experiment with an Indian ebonite pen.
ASA website ASA
Whatsapp no of Mr. Subramaniam - +91 9176607660
ASA email- firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
No of Mr. Pratap- +91 9884209055
my other reviews (In no particular order):
1. ASA Swan
2. ASA Writer
3. Ranga Thin Bamboo
4. Krishna Butterline Stub nib pen
5. Guider Egg- acrylic and ebonite
6. Kanwrite Desire
7. Kanwrite Heritage
8. Franklin Covey Lexincton Black
9. Gama Kuyil
Edited by Samrat, 23 November 2016 - 04:49.