Today I am going to review another creation from Mr. Subramanium of ASA pens, named ASA 'Azzadi' . This pen have been reviewed before, but never formally launched by ASA pens in their website, which in my opinion is a big mistake. This is one of the best models created by ASA along with their Nauka model. You can say the beauty of the product compelled me to do a full review and urge Mr. Subramanium from the FPN board to launch this pen and give the world a chance to use this product.
now, kindly read the following line carefully:
It is comparatively easy to attain and perform at a certain level in any sphere of life, but even minute improvements after that common platform require huge amount of extra efforts.
This is true for sports, academics, politics, management, business and obviously pen making. We'll refer back to this line throughout the course of the review.
As these pens can be fitted with #6 standard JoWo or Schimdt or Bock nib units, the selling point becomes the design, appearence and materials. We would focus on these parts more than the nibs.
1. Appearance and design: Its a medium sized pen.
The pen is a homage to CS Churchill model. It was designed by a few Indian fountain pen enthusiasts, lead by FPN member Prithwijit (@Prithwijit). He successfully created a pen design which gave the feel of a CS pen, but at fraction of the price of original one. I have one piece made of stock blue- dark blue swirl acrylic offered by ASA and another pen made from CS blank. Both looks beautiful and elegant. Its a duofold like design with almost cylindrical appearance. The cap has straight lines with a black coloured ebonite finial. This finial has five concentric circular grooves inspired from the finial of Churchill pens. At the other end there are two metal rings to protect the cap lip. the clip is a simple ball end clip without a clip ring. The golden trims are vintage brass made trims that in my opinion compliments the design better. The body gently tapers both towards the section above and towards the bottom below. At the bottom of the body there is a black ebonite lower finial separated by another golden ring. There is a step down from the body towards section, followed by cap threads on the acrylic material. The section proper is made of black ebonite and starts after the threads, tapers slightly towards nib, and then flares up 5 mm below the margin, creating a nice notch to grip the pen. Both the top and bottom surface of the pen are well polished flat end. Overall the design is rich, attractive and very easy to use. Though this design is inspired, it has its own flair and originality as well.
2. Construction and Quality: The most important part.
Here my above statement comes into play. You get what you pay for. I am not going to describe the CS blank in much detail as its a known material in fountain pen community and any user who have commissioned pens with that material can vouch for the quality.
The stock acrylic material offered by ASA comes in four colours till now. Blue-dark blue, Red-black, Orange-black and white-black. the dark portion creates swirling patterns on the body. The material has opalescent glow when direct light reflects off it. Its fascinating to look at the depth of the material while turning the pen in hand. I have the blue-dark blue swirl acrylic and its slightly transparent. The polish and finish is very good on both pens. I had expected good finish on CS material as its a common norm and ASA did superb job in turning a very well finished custom product keeping up with their reputation. But, the finish on stock acrylic pen is superb as well, going as far as the material allowed. I have two beautiful pens as far as finish and making is concerned.
The construction is good. The pen feels sturdy and well built. I have been using the pens for 2 months now and there is no problem yet.
The trims are also made of quality material. The cap secures on the body with slightly more than two turns. The section is secured tightly with body by ten turns. If we consider the clip as 12 o' clock, the ASA Azzadi branding is there on the top of the body at 9 o' clock position.
Now the negative points. The cap threads are a bit tight at the end in both the pens, so it might be due to the tools used to create such threads. I would request Mr. Subramanium to look into this. It might not be a big issue, but some people might be influenced by this while comparing this pen with pricey machine made pens. The branding is not to my choice as its almost imperceptible and looks like some impurities or defect. Though these appear simple issues, as I have stated above, minute improvements like these can take up substantial efforts, but once corrected, these improvements can go a long way in establishing any brand. I would also ask him to look into the threading of Schimdt nib units in the section as in one of my pen, the schimdt unit got stuck. JoWo unit in the other pen was easy to remove and replace.
The cap rings and lower end rings in both the pens are well fitted.
Its a medium sized light weight pen.
Length capped- 142 mm
Length uncapped- 131 mm
Section length (including cap threading)- 30 mm
Cap length- 68 mm
Top finial- 8 mm
Bottom finial- 12 mm
Thickest part of body- 13 mm
Diameter of notch in section- 10 mm
Weight- Medium weight
Posting- Not possible or practical
4. Nib & Performance:
The pen can be fitted with any standard #6 nib units like JoWo or Schimdt. The nibs perform according to their reputation. \
Its a very well balanced pen, suitable for long writing sessions.
5. Filling System & Maintenance:
Its a cartridge converter pen accepting standard Schimdt converters. I would suggest not to use it as Eye dropper as the lower finial can leak in unfortunate cases. Though ASA states that the lower finial is sealed well, still there is no need in my opinion to push this pen to be an ED. There was no leak or burping while using the pen with converters in my 2 months of usage.
6. Cost & Value :
This is an awesome pen at the price it is being offered, around 60$. Its beautiful, engaging, sturdily built, and can be used as an EDC pen.
There have been some issues raised by a few Indian FPN members regarding missing of deadlines by ASA pens in supplying custom orders and stock pen orders. I am sure Mr. Subramanium will look into this and sort out any malfunctioning in his supply line. Timeliness is a big issue in any business and even in this case, minute improvements might need drastic forward steps for ASA. But yet again, satisfied customers are the basic support of any seller, and he should do everything in his power to make them happy.
Kaigelu and Conklin duragraph are other two pens with similar designs that I have used. In my opinion, ASA Azzadi is better than Kaigelu considering the superior customization options and superior nib choices. But when it comes to Duragraph, ASA Azzadi needs to improve its finish even further to compete. The Duragraph material is really amazing and one of its kind. The Conklin nib is also great if you've not received a lemon. I would suggest Mr. Subramanium to try to improve his product further, even if those improvements take much efforts.
Whatsapp no of Mr Subramanium (as this pen is not listed on their website)- - +91 91 7660 7660
Their website- ASA
My Suggestions to ASA pens: 1. List this pen in main website
2. Look at the threading process for cap
3. Try constantly to improve finish, which he will gladly accept.
Edited by Samrat, 29 July 2017 - 17:01.