The Conway Stewart brand has always been one of Interest, Desire and Pride in the Fountain Pen community more so since the unfortunate events that befell it. But it seems that a conscious and considerable effort is being made to revive the brand.
I was fortunate enough to attend my first pen show at Los Angeles in February of this year. After the initial “pen”sory overload, the hunt for a memorable “First Pen Show” Pen began. A word of caution, such hunts can begin and end at a single table if you’re not careful with your cash! And for me this could have been Sarj Minhas’s table, hadn’t it been for the overinflated valuation of an Omas Arco.
So I had to move on…to Syd Saperstein’s table where a lively discussion on Conway Stewart was underway between a few patrons and Mr. Emmanuel Caltagirone himself. We come to know Manu has a few of the new Model 100 Conway Stewart pens for sale and we move to his table. And there is where my hunt ended; with me pocketing an Omas Ogiva Alba and the Model 100 in Classic Green (some call it Pistachio).
I have been using the Conway Stewart daily for the past 1 month and would like to share my review of the pen.
The pen comes in a hard case with faux leather. The Cover of the box can be inverted and used as a pen rest which is lined with velvet and has the Conway Stewart branding. Inside is a booklet, in the recent redesign, with a lot of information on the history of the Company right till the recent acquisition.
As per the specifications The New Conway Stewart Model 100 comes in 4 colors; Beluga Black, Blue Lapis, Pistachio and British Green.
Solid Semi Flex 18k Nib.
Special Engraving on the Nib.
Greek Art Deco band on cap.
Piston Filler Operated.
I chose the Classic Green just because I don’t have many green pens. It is the well-known Green Freckled material with lots of random sparkly bits (? Cellulose Acetate) and with Gold Trim.
The pen is of a good size, comparable to large pens. Here are some size comparisons.
(L to R): Platinum 3776 Kawaguchi, Omas Ogiva Alba, New Conway Stewart Model 100, Mont Blanc 149, Lamy Safari.
The pen seems to have the Classic Model 100 Shape; I do not have the original for comparison.
The Golden Trim I was told is Gold plated. The thicker Cap band has a Greek Key Motif and the New Conway Stewart Branding.
The barrel tapers gradually and there is no Engraving like previous Conway Stewart pens.
The cap takes exactly 1 complete turn to open and posts securely.
In hand the pen feels well made with tight tolerances, fit and finish. The material does not feel plasticy and the pen has a pleasant weight to it. The balance is towards the barrel end but I find that it rests well on the web of my hand. The cap is light and posting the pen does not alter the balance. The posted size is very comfortable too.
The section might be considered a bit short. It has flare towards the nib and the difference in thickness of the section is 2mm. The cap threads are polished and do not prevent you from gripping the pen over them.
The end of the barrel has the Piston Turning knob. I think this pen has a Captive Converter Piston. The knob does not move away from the barrel during operation as usual Piston fillers eg. MB 149, Lamy 2000. The piston action has been very smooth and the ink capacity is around 1.2ml.
The Nib is 18k Gold with engraving similar to the New Eversharp Decoband. Visually the difference between the glossy and matte areas is very striking. This is one of the few nibs that looks good with Nib Creep but also a pain in the butt if you like to keep your nibs pristine after inking.Compared to the Vintage Nib which I always found a bit boring, I like this better.
Due to the limited number pens available for sale at the show I could only get a Medium nib whereas I prefer Broad Nibs. I did a dip test and was happy with the performance. The nib was very smooth out of the box, an 8/10 on wetness and soft. Then Manu points out that the nib is pretty soft and suggests I push it a bit! And I was sold. Writing Sample below. The last 3 lines were written with the Vintage Conway Stewart nib.
I feel the people behind Eversharp’s Flex nibs might be behind this nib too and I feel the variation would be more apparent if the nib was a Fine to begin with.
Compared to the Vintage Nib, the new one gives out more line variation when pushed and feels more soft/springy during regular writing. I might go as far as to say that the New CS Nib has equal, if not more, variation that a recent Flex Nib from an Italian Manufacturer! Having tried both at the L.A Pen Show.
Size comparison to a Conway Stewart Wordsworth:
The Little Things:
The Cap Finial on my pen is dark brown in color with a bit of marbling. Would have been better if it was solid black or same color as the rest of the pen.
The Clip is very secure.
The capping/uncapping motion is very smooth. The flare on the section seems to create an air tight space like the Slip and Seal System found in Platinum pens. I have not faced any dry starts on this pen.
The Greek Key cap band has ITALY marked on it!
An ink window is sorely missed.
The Piston knob has a mild resistance at the 2 extreme positions but continues to turn even beyond this point. Might this damage the mechanism over time?
This being my first “Show Pen” it will be treasured always and being an almost perfect pen for me It has managed to be always inked. I do not know what the Retail price of the pen will be but for the sub $400 price I paid for it I am completely happy with it. The Conway Stewart Material, piston converter, and of course the Star of the Show, the Nib make for a good $400-500 Pen.
Looking at the “New” Conway Stewart as a company it obviously has a lot of Italian influences behind it. I guess the British Heritage behind the name should be forgotten and the New Model 100 makes a good case for it.