Metal pens are cool - I've been enjoying them since the beginning of my perfect fountain pen quest. The moment I saw Yard-o-Led photo few years ago I wanted to try one but I couldn't excuse the cost.
Recently I received a package of higher end pens from a fellow FPN member. Before I give them back, I'll have reasonable amount of time to test them. While there's a stunning Omas in the package and Pelikan and another Dunhill, it was Yard-o-Led that caught my eye the moment I opened the box. Also this pen made really great impression on me.
This pen is simply stunning.
Before I will describe it I would like to say that I'm surprised that Yard-o-Led isn't well known company and remains a little bit obscure.C'mon guys, they have been making writing instruments since 1822!
I would like to say it but I can't. I'm not surprised at all. Their products are very expensive and made of variety of good quality materials.For some bizarre reason many fountain pen users dislike metal sections and prefer warmer materials. I love wood and ebonite but I also like the feel of cold metal in the hand. It calms me down. Also I prefer bigger pens and usually dislike golden accents. Basically Yard-o-Led is my dream pen: all metal, big, heavy and handmade.
The Viceroy comes in a choice of three finishes: plain, Barley, and Victorian. The Barley and Victorian are hand engraved, and all pens are numbered and hallmarked. Additionally the pen comes in three different sizes: Pocket, Standard and Grand - the chances are every fountain pen user will find one that fits his/her hand perfectly well.
Viceroy Grand in plain finish looks clean and elegant. I would describe it as tasteful but tastes do vary between us so we may have different opinions here
The pen comes in the black wooden case with metal clasp enclosure. Sterling Silver pen rests in black velvet. No plastic elements here.
The pen is made of plain hallmarked sterling silver. The barrel feels solid and has a nice torpedo shape. As it is made in sterling silver it will need some cleaning from time to time.
Part of the typical Yard-o-Led design are the 6 marks. The YOL company mark, Lion symbol of English sterling, Anchor symbol for Birmingham Assay Office, 925 meaning 925 parts of silver, 925 European Convention mark for silver, the mark for the year of production.
The cap is quite heavy and I don't think it would be comfortablle to post it. It's snan-on type of cap. It feels pretty solid. The section is made of metal and if you tend to sweat a lot chances are you won't fall in love with it. I enjoy both the shape and ergonomics of this section but it's individual.
While reviewing the pen it's impossible not to mention the distinctive pocket clip. This stylish clip is attached to the cap with two screws. It is elegantly curved and ends in a curled fold.
Writing samples were made with Kyo no oto ink called Azukiiro.
Viceroys nib is big and looks stunning. It's not as nice as some Pmas or Montblanc nibs but I always thought that simple chrome / rhodium plated nibs look great. This one does. I believe the nib and feed are made by Bock and because of this it's rather predictable in terms of pen-to-paper performance. The nib can be bought in free sizes: fine, medium and broad.
18 kt nib writes nicely and smoothly although some "tooth" is present and you'll definitely feel some feedback. Unless you use pelikan Edelstein tanzanire, Sailor Miruai or other ink that's extremelly lubricated. It's possible BUT RISKY to produce some line variation.
The feed does its work efficiently and the flow of ink is consistent. Actually it's very wet writer and I would be surprised to experience any ink starvation while using it.
While it's not the best nib I had in hands, I think it's definitely above average. It wouldn't make to my Top 5 but I appreciate the looks and enjoyable springiness.
Viceroy can be filled with international standar cartridges or with supplied converter that holds reasonable amount of ink. The converter looks a little bit different than most converters used by YOL market competitors but it's just cosmetics. Functionality is equal.
Length: 148 mm
Weight: 65 g
Diameter: 13,5 mm
Yard-o-Led Viceroy is an elegant, functional writing tool that can fit comfortably in most human hands - remember, you don't have to choose Grand variant, there are smaller models available. Viceroy Grand may be too big, too metal and too heavy for some fountain pen users. For me though it's a stunning pen that I would prefer to keep than give back to its owner. It definitely gets on my list of Grail Pens (at the moment the list is short, I try to place there pens that are more expensive then I feel comfortable to spend on a pen but aren't beyond reach). It fulfills practical and aesthetic functions very well.
The price though is very high - the pen costs close to 580 GBP and that's a lot. Sure the pen is handmade in Europe and the costs of work and life ion general are rather high on Old Continent. On the other hand for this price you'll easily buy few better and nicer pens made from cool materials. I believe this is the pen that will appeal to limited number of people but once they'll try it they won't be able to stop thinking about it. Additionally the pen has a life time guarantee, quite unusual among pen makers as the guarantee is usually 2 years.