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Small Batch European Makers And Their Pens

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#41 Wolverine1

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 00:43

Zaddick- thanks for sharing your collection of custom pens with us. It is much appreciated. Thank you.



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#42 Ghost Plane

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 01:21

I like the size of it along with the understated yet intense colors.

#43 da vinci

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 09:15

A really nice example of a Manu Propria pen Zaddick. The colours are very subtle yet interesting and I really like the design, which is not one I recognise from Martin's pictures elsewhere. Like you I jumped in when the clear out happened although my pen, whilst nice, is rather more "run of the mill".

#44 da vinci

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 09:17

I wish you would send me the BB pen.
Let's see of that wish/command thing works for me too. :)
Nice looking pen. I think the others I have seen had the aluminum alloy section. Where did you find yours?


Nice try :D

I bought mine from a well respected UK collector, who in turn purchased it direct from BB.

As an aside I have found a copy of "The List". Just wondering whether to purchase or not...

#45 zaddick

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 17:22

Nice try :D

I bought mine from a well respected UK collector, who in turn purchased it direct from BB.

As an aside I have found a copy of "The List". Just wondering whether to purchase or not...


Of the two I saw for sale, and mind you I have not been hunting for it so I could have easily missed other opportunities, one was at aucton with a range of up to 20 pounds on the price and one was sold for 100 us dollars. I don't know that I would pay too much for a soft cover book. Of you do get it, let us know. I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

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#46 amk

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 16:33

I adore your Manu Propria pen. The muted colour palette allows what's a very strong design to be accommodated without overpowering the clean design of the pen overall. I like Martin's work as though it's entirely in the Japanese tradition he comes out with interesting abstract finishes that are quite unusual.

 

Very much enjoying this thread and glad to see it's getting contributions from other FPNers too.


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#47 zaddick

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 23:38

Oldwin Classic

 

Sometimes pens just pop onto my radar. I was happy my whole life not knowing they existed and living in oblivion until some troublemaker here on FPN posts a photo of a new toy and sends me right down the rabbit hole. That is what happened with Oldwin pens.

 

Oldwin pens are the house brand of a French shop – Mora Stylos. (The site is in French, but not hard to navigate, especially with a tool like Google translate.) The shop is owned and run by Andre Mora, the son of founder Boris Mora. The shop started in 1930 and at some point after that they started making their own pens (or probably having them made). The classic line came about in 2002 as a new, more somber direction for the offerings. The pens are baguette shaped with as strong taper on both ends and no adornments other than a clip. As time progressed the pen was offered in various materials and then an “Art Deco” model was added with flat ends that have several decreasing radius steps. Now you can get the pens in various materials – celluloid, vintage ebonite, resin, silver, gold, etc. – and several finishes with maki-e, egg shell, or even sting-ray skin.

 

fpn_1498088012__20170527_183255_resized_

 

The pens are hand-made and are pretty large in size. The utilize a bock #7 nib that is similar to the #8 and MB #9 in size if not shape. Feeds are ebonite and the pens are good writers out of the box. (Speaking of the box, the package is basically a plain black coffin with little clasps. Effective but minimalist.) The pens are all C/C with a nice taper to the end where the threads are immediately next to the nib. (They come with a Waterman converted and cartridges.) This is a great design feature for me because I like to vary my grip and this gives me a lot of options with the security of a threaded cap. The nibs themselves are nicely decorated with the brand name and gold content. The metal is either gold colored (plated brass for the clip) or rhodium plated. The exception I have seen is for the a series of vintage inspired pens created out of 1950s ebonite stock and provided with aged clips and nibs. The is basically just a treatment to give the appearance of a well-lived life. I am not usually for false antiquing of a pen, but this is an acceptable indulgence for me as it is made clear up front that is it artificial.

 

I saw the shop started carrying pens using old OMAS rod stock. Once I saw the green and brown arco pens, that was it. I had to buy them. Those were my first tow purchases. Then I saw one for sale in the Tibaldi Impero celluloid – an all-time favorite. OK, gotta have that one too. Then I found one of the limited edition 80th anniversary pens in vintage ebonite. So I had to get that one too. It was sadly not hard to end up with 4 pens in a short period of time. The pens caps and bodies are fairly thick so the pens are not super light, but you also don’t have to worry about them breaking too easily.

 

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The pens are not perfect. The way they are made then you screw the section back onto the body, the paten of a pen does not line up. This is a bit frustrating in a material like the arco, but less noticeable in the impero. If you are a perfectionist this can be frustrating. Also, a few people have reported some rougher finishing around the threads. I did not experience this, but I can see the potential. Finally, my biggest complaint is the lack of choice in nib width. I get a small shop is not going to stock 6 or 7 options, but I think F, M, and B are reasonable. Currently they only offer an unmarked M. This limits nib modifications for me and I like a wider line.

 

fpn_1498088123__20170123_114040_resized.

 

If you can live with a misaligned pattern, no nib width choice, and a large tapered pen, the Oldwin can be an amazing addition to your collection and a pleasure to use. You can see the constantly changing variety of materials available and find one you can’t live without. If you don’t like the shape, the flat top Art Deco pens are also nice to use and maybe even more desirable.  

 

 

A few comparison shots next to a Pelikan M800 and MB 149.

 

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Lastly, how can you not love this arco material?!?!

 

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#48 dms525

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 19:58

My guilt reservoir has run dry, otherwise I would take credit for triggering your Oldwin orgy!

 

Anyway, I concur with your assessment of the Classic's strengths and weaknesses. FYI, I did send my Oldwin Art Deco off to Michael Masuyama for a CI grind. I was gambling that it wouldn't be too narrow to be useful for my italic handwriting. Michael managed to get a 0.65-0.7 mm line width. It's at the narrow end of my preferences but useable for writing checks, note taking etc. I do wish they had a B nib or even a BB option. I may ask Michael to do the same for my Classic in OMAS Wild celluloid. Haven't decided yet.

 

Thanks for sharing your collection!

 

David



#49 Mulrich

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 20:22

Awesome to see discontinued celluloid put to good use. I've been trying to find a pen with Tibaldi Impero celluloid for a while but they're hard to come by.



#50 zaddick

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 21:12

Awesome to see discontinued celluloid put to good use. I've been trying to find a pen with Tibaldi Impero celluloid for a while but they're hard to come by.


Yes, probably my favorite celluloid. I had a Bexley 2006 owners club in the Impero for sale but it never sold. I'll list it again at some point. Other than being a smallish pen (to me) it has a lot going for it including the materials and the Parker vacuumatic filling system.

I am also looking for another pen in the material. Good luck with your search!

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#51 zaddick

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 21:15

My guilt reservoir has run dry, otherwise I would take credit for triggering your Oldwin orgy!
 
Anyway, I concur with your assessment of the Classic's strengths and weaknesses. FYI, I did send my Oldwin Art Deco off to Michael Masuyama for a CI grind. I was gambling that it wouldn't be too narrow to be useful for my italic handwriting. Michael managed to get a 0.65-0.7 mm line width. It's at the narrow end of my preferences but useable for writing checks, note taking etc. I do wish they had a B nib or even a BB option. I may ask Michael to do the same for my Classic in OMAS Wild celluloid. Haven't decided yet.
 
Thanks for sharing your collection!
 
David


I only blame you for 50% of that splurge. :) The other 50 goes to Omas (35%), Tibaldi 2.0 (10%), the stong US dollar (3%), and my own weak will (2%).

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#52 zchen

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 17:21

So jealous of the Oldwin in Impero



#53 zaddick

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:47

Romillo EO #9

 

There are several pen makers who are working out of Spain now, but probably the most famous is Alvaro Romillo of Romillo Pens. He started his one-man shop back in 2007 using Bock nibs and feeds with his ebonite barrels, but things started getting interesting in about 2012 when he began making his own gold nibs from scratch in #7 and #9 size. If you have looked into people who companies that make their own nibs, you have undoubtedly come across his handiwork. He makes pen in several different sizes, and recently added celluloid to his possible materials. There are slip caps and screw caps, clips, stoppers, and possible medallions available. But really, the pens are all a fairly similar shape and material colors are fairly limited, at least with ebonite. If I took a photo of one of the pens without scale, it would be hard to identify the model, excel the Sil which has no threads. So if you like the basic look, good. If you want swoopy swoops and fiddly bits, move along – nothing to see here.

 

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The pen I have is an EO with the #9 nib. The pen is made of terracotta color ebonite. It is about 145 MM long, the cap is 16.5MM in diameter, and the body maxes out at 14.4MM. The pen weighs about 38 grams empty and almost all of that weight is in the section as it has a fair bit of brass. (Measurements and weight are from the Romillo website). The pen is a stick with a section that tapers, but has a nice little flare out just before the nib. The threads are not obtrusive. What s nice about the semi-custom pen is the ability to pick the nib size and writing angle, a roll stopper or not, and the wetness level.

 

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The pen construction overall is fine, not amazing. The little production number stamped into the tail end of the barrel is rather crude and could be improved (seems to be a common complaint), but you know you are getting a handmade pen when you see it. The ebonite itself is ok. It looks a little gritty and I wish there was a bit more shine to it. I know that would eventually wear off, but I would like to see the transformation.

 

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Really the reason to buy this pen is the nib. It is a work of art, in my opinion. It is wonderful to look at and the engraving really adds to it. Since it is handmade, the shape is unlike other production pens. It is kind of funny with long old times. The nib is soft and provides some give, but I am careful with the pen because I think it would be easy to deform the nib with too much pressure. The pen has a stub nib with about a 0.9mm width. It is a good writer and the ebonite feed generally keeps up. It is not butter smooth and it tuned to give feedback similar to a vintage nib

 

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I don’t usually post pens so I have not really tried posting this one. It is long enough to use without posting, and I have no desire to add stress to the lip of the cap.

 

The thing that worries me about this pen is the idea of brass and ink freely interacting in an eyedropper pen. This seems to go against all good judgement. Apparently the story from Alvaro is the pen needs to be an eyedropper to keep up with ink demands of the nib. I am going to call BS as the Sailor KOP with a King Eagle nib can lay down a lot thicker line than this pen and yet is a C/C pen only. If the story was the capacity of a converter was not enough I might be able to follow the logic on a wide nibbed pen (the aforementioned KOP will fly through a converter of ink in minutes almost), but still I worry about corrosion over time. For now I just keep the pen clean and well dried.

 

I had another Romillo, the Essential Writer #9 (now just called the Essential). It was longer and thinner. It was also an older pen. I thought the quality of that pen was lower and there was an issue with the threads. I also thought the nib as a bit too soft and felt I had to be careful not to bend it when trying to get line variation out of it. I ended up trading that pen for a different custom pen.

 

At the end of the day I would still recommend this pen to those with a love of unique nibs. The nib is a thing of beauty and gives you a very different experience than any other large nib. The rest of the pen is fine and will probably last a lifetime if take care of properly, but it is not the reason to consider plunking down a large amount of cash to get into the production queue.

 

fpn_1499237001__20170703_134714_resized.

 

Below are size comparison shots. The pen on the bottom/left in a Pelikan M800 and the top/right shows an MB 149. Pens are lined up at the bottom even if they look off.

 

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Finally, one shot of just the nibs.

 

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#54 Barkingpig

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 08:13

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful pen; the nib is sublime & that section tapering, to those "few" threads is a work of art!  I especially appreciate your keen evaluation of the pen; so many reviews make the pen seem like it is without equal & yours was far more honest.  This pen is one I would consider worth the wait & cost because it is truly a pen designed around the nib, & a beautiful graceful body @ that.

 

I appreciate your making the pen available to us for viewing.



#55 Ghost Plane

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 22:21

Oh yum! That nib tickles my fancy.

#56 amk

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 15:13

The Romillo nib is stunning; the design seems to be in three dimensions and has a feeling of movement that's absent from most nibs. Good to hear the negative points as well - your reviews are really in-depth.


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#57 coryrh

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 04:14

Thanks so much for posting.  Very interesting!



#58 da vinci

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 10:19

The Romillo pen is a stunning design, and that the nibs are made in house makes it a very interesting pen. I would love to get one but I have found the owners rather elusive, especially when I have tried to meet them in Madrid.

In the meantime, a rather late post of my 2 Oldwins. I have a black cigar shape pen, rather like the drawing of a pen on the outside of Mr Moro's shop in Paris. The other is a flattop made of a dark blue material with flecks in it - I think a Conway Stewart material but I may be wrong, that I bought when I visited the fabulous shop some time ago...

IMG_0653_zpsjlm2rxvc.jpg

#59 da vinci

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 17:35

Of the two I saw for sale, and mind you I have not been hunting for it so I could have easily missed other opportunities, one was at aucton with a range of up to 20 pounds on the price and one was sold for 100 us dollars. I don't know that I would pay too much for a soft cover book. Of you do get it, let us know. I would be curious to hear your thoughts.


I bought a copy of The List from the auction site. When I get it I will let you know whether it's any good. If you'd like to buy it for $100 just let me know! :)

#60 da vinci

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 22:22

Just to note that The List is an informative (but not detailed) catalogue format listing of interesting limited edition pens.

Zaddick, whist you have already made a huge contribution with the posts in this thread, are there anymore to come...? :) :thumbup:





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