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The Fountain Pen Revolution ‘Darjeeling’

fountain pen revolution pen review indian pen darjeeling

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#1 Jamerelbe

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 12:14

Just over a month ago, on August 25, I received a notification in my email inbox that a new fountain pen was being released by the folks at Fountain Pen Revolution – the first pen in their line-up to take advantage of their #6 nibs.  If you trawl through the Fountain Pen Reviews sub-forum here you’ll see that I’ve reviewed a number of his pens before – I’m an unabashed fan of most of the pens these guys release (the Dilli being the one real exception).  What attracted me to this pen was the larger nib, the aesthetic (it’s pretty similar in appearance to the Jaipur, albeit larger), and the capacity to swap nibs in and out – not to mention the very competitive price tag! – so I placed an order, pretty much immediately, for two pens: a ‘solid’ coloured teal, and a clear plastic demonstrator. 

 

Discerning viewers will notice a distinct resemblance between this pen and the Click Aristocrat – that’s no coincidence.  I’ve confirmed with Kevin from FPR that this pen is the product of a collaboration between the two companies – based on an original pen design from the folks at Click. 

 

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1.       Appearance & Design

The Darjeeling is currently available in 6 solid colours (teal, red, blue, white, black and green) – I opted for the teal – or as a clear demonstrator.  I’m not sure what material the pens are made from, but they look and feel like some kind of plastic, and have the distinctive smell of products made from vegetal resin.  The clear demonstrator especially has a noticeable odour attached to it – which doesn’t bother me at all (in fact I quite like it!), but may be an issue for some people.  If you’ve ever purchased a Noodler’s pen (or certain other Indian-made brands), you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

 

L8VgFXC.jpg

 

The first thing I noticed about the pen when I looked at the photos – and confirmed when I had one in hand – was the similarity of design to the Jaipur: a fairly straight pen that terminates on a shallow ‘conical’ bottom end, with a cap that screws over the top of the grip section and has a similar conical ‘top end’.  The barrel tapers slightly towards the bottom, to allow the cap to post deeply on the pen. 

 

The main difference between the two pens, visually speaking, is the fact that the Darjeeling is a cartridge converter pen, so there’s no piston knob at the bottom of the barrel.  The ‘accents’ on the pen (i.e. cap ring and clip) are ‘chrome’-coloured stainless steel. 

 

 

Qgbe4Lf.jpg

 

Comparison of several FPR pens - from top to bottom: the Jaipur, Darjeeling (solid teal), Darjeeling (demonstrator), Himalay, and Triveni Junior

 

 

2.       Construction & Quality

The Darjeeling appears to be moulded (primarily) from the same vegetal resin as the Jaipur and Guru – the solid pens are relatively glossy, and the demonstrator pen is nice and see-through. The fit and finish on these pens is pretty good – especially considering the price tag. 

 

One of the new design features of this pen is the capacity to screw the entire nib assembly in and out – previous pens from FPR tend to be designed so that only the nib and feed are easily replaceable.  You can still buy replacement nibs and do a swap – but it’s now possible to buy entire nib assemblies for a few dollars extra, to simplify the process of changing over nib sizes.

 

3.               Weight & Dimensions

I’m away on holiday as I write this review, and I forgot to bring my scale with me (!) – but the FPR website says this pen weighs around 16g, and from memory that seems about right.  It’s a very lightweight pen, especially given its size – which means it sits equally comfortably in the hand either posted or unposted. 

 

 

0cKagRo.jpg

 

The grip section on the pen is 25cm long (including threads), with a diameter of 11-11.5mm, depending on where you hold it.  The cap band, the widest part of the pen, has a 15.5mm diameter, while the barrel sits around 13mm.  Lengthwise, the pen is 140mm long capped, 130mm uncapped, and extends to ~170mm posted. 

 

 

4.       Nib & Performance

The Darjeeling is the first pen designed by FPR to take its #6 nibs – and, as mentioned above, it’s now possible to buy a nib assembly that simply screws into the grip section.  I haven’t had much exposure to FPR’s #6 nibs prior to this, as they’re a little wider at the base than JoWo, Bock or Jinhao nibs, and don’t fit as easily into my other pens (e.g. the Jinhao 159).  I’ve been very happy with the nibs I purchased, though – a flex nib purchased for another Indian pen, the M and 1.0mm stub nibs that came with this pens, and the EF nib I swapped into the teal pen. 

 

eljO8FT.jpg

 

It’s worth pointing out that these pens seem to write very wet, despite the fact that they use a plastic feed (as opposed to the ebonite feed in the Jaipur).  As with the #5.5 nibs, I find the stub nib doesn’t provide the greatest amount of line variation – but it writes very smoothly, as do the rounded tip nibs.

 

 

Ej2S0GK.jpg

 

 

5.       Filling System & Maintenance

The Darjeeling is a cartridge converter pen, that will take standard international converters, and comes with a simple push-pull-type converter (rather than a screw-type).  I find these a little fiddly, but they work perfectly well – and you can always swap in a better converter if you prefer.  The pens are also designed to work as eyedropper pens, and will accommodate an impressive amount of ink (I’d guess 4-5ml or more?).  I’ve eyedroppered the demonstrator pen, and it’s been hassle-free.  The only downside doing this with the solid coloured pens would be the lack of an ink window. 

 

 

6.       Cost & Value

The Darjeeling is excellent value for money, starting at $15 per unit (add $4 if you want a B, stub or flex nib).  Since FPR’s base of operations relocated to the US, postage is higher for international buyers – but still pretty competitive compared to other US retailers.

 

 

7.       Conclusion

I’ve once again been really pleased with FPR’s offerings – I wish I could say this was my favourite so far, but honestly, I still really like the Jaipur, the Himalaya, and my collection of Trivenis (the Gurus and Induses are pretty good too, but for different reasons are a bit lower down my list).  If you like piston filler pens, I’d go with the Jaipur or the Himalaya; if you prefer the greater convenience of a cartridge converter pen, this is a great pen for an amazing price.

 

Happy to answer any questions you may have – though my internet access is going to be very patchy for the next few days. 


 



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#2 pseudo88

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 19:57

Great review. Blue... Section in the same colour as the rest of the body... Big Nib... Chrome accents... And cheap! How's the reliability of this brand?


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

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#3 Jamerelbe

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 21:49

I've been pretty happy with the pens I've bought from FPR in the past though they're all made in collaboration with different manufacturing partners. Click seems to have a pretty good reputation, the pen looks very well made, and vegetal resin I believe is a fairly durable material (the smell will eventually fade too...) - so I'd say it's worth taking a chance on!

#4 pseudo88

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 00:26

I've been pretty happy with the pens I've bought from FPR in the past though they're all made in collaboration with different manufacturing partners. Click seems to have a pretty good reputation, the pen looks very well made, and vegetal resin I believe is a fairly durable material (the smell will eventually fade too...) - so I'd say it's worth taking a chance on!

 

Awesome, thanks!


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

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#5 Jamerelbe

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:38

A little something extra to know about the Darjeeling:

 

When I purchased my first two (teal and transparent), I noticed that the entire nib assembly could be screwed out of the pen - but replacement assemblies weren't available on the site.  It's now possible to buy either a bare nib to swap between pens, or to buy a whole assembly for a little bit extra.  So when I placed my most recent order, I asked if I could purchase a couple of extra "nibless" assemblies - and Kevin was happy to supply them.  They are, I believe, proprietary to this pen - I don't think they're compatible with the threading on Bock or JoWo nib assemblies - but they work very well!

 

So here's a photo of the the nib, grip section and cartridge of my newest (white) Darjeeling - with a few nib assemblies (B, M and flex) thrown in for good measure:

 

pyUXN2Q.jpg



#6 Jamerelbe

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:35

For anyone who's interested in buying a Fountain Pen Revolution pen with #6 nib, but not keen on acrylic, FPR have just announced the release of the FPR Triveni (and Triveni Junior) in ebonite, redesigned to fit a #6 nib (instead of the #5.5).  From the description on the website, it doesn't appear that any other dimensions (section diameter etc) have changed to accommodate the larger nib - but I'll be able to confirm this when I have one to hand (I've placed an order today - so probably allow 2 weeks for delivery down-under).



#7 5thhistorian

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 03:12

I got an orange Click Aristocrat the week before FPR announced the Darjeeling. To my amusement, I noted it is the exact same pen, with a FPR nib. That being said, the FPR version is cheaper (if you live in the US) and the FPR nibs are great. I found my Aristocrat had flow troubles until I changed from the rather small converter to eyedropper mode.



#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 06:18

My only complaint with this pen is the plastic feed on the flex nib is not really up to task.

 

That said, I bought one with the "buy one get one free" deal when I ordered my himalaya, and got the clear and the orange, it's very reminiscent of a parker duofold, and the overall weight, size, and feel is quite nice, I just don't recommend a flex nib in them (wound up putting one's flex nib in my monteverde invincia, which has been a match made in heaven, and a conklin #6 F into the darjeeling, which was great too.)


Edited by Honeybadgers, 26 January 2018 - 06:20.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#9 Jamerelbe

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 14:30

FPR and Click Pens collaborated in the design of the Darjeeling / Aristocrat - so yes, apart from the nib, the two pens are essentially (though maybe not exactly?) the same. I've asked Kevin from FPR about this and he was happy to confirm it. I've also noticed the apparent similarity to the Parker Duofold - though I don't own. A Duofold to compare directly, it's certainly an attractive design!

#10 MuddyWaters

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 18:39

I have been looking at these pens since FPr is holding a sale this weekend. Any more thoughts on this pen?


Link to a post about ergonomics I made: http://www.fountainp...with/?p=4179072


#11 Jamerelbe

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 20:08

I have 4 of these pens now, though they're almost never all inked up at one time. I'd still say it's a pretty good pen (I prefer the Triveni, but it's a lot more expensive, and has recently gone up in price!). I probably wouldn't buy the Demonstrator again, but the orange and black has an appealing vintage look.

In my experience the ultra flex nib goes well in this nib assembly - I have one installed in a Triveni (which uses the same nib units), and really enjoy using it. No comparison (I suspect) to a vintage "wet noodle", but it flexes more easily than a Noodler's standard flex nib.

#12 Honeybadgers

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 23:48

My thoughts are that the market has come a long way in the $15-25 price range, and the darjeeling just ain't up to snuff anymore.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#13 Jamerelbe

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 01:33

My thoughts are that the market has come a long way in the $15-25 price range, and the darjeeling just ain't up to snuff anymore.


Interested to know what other offerings you'd put up against it - with 20% discount running right now it's $12,which is easy is a pretty good deal!

#14 Honeybadgers

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 03:36

Wing sung 601. Delike alpha. Kaco edge. Wing sung 698. Nemosine singularity. Penbbs 322. Any of the more standard penbbs models like the 323, 308, etc.

 

Moonman M2. Wancai Mini. TWSBI Go. Pilot metro. Platinum plaisir.

 

ONLINE switch.

 

I just don't think the fit/finish on the darjeeling are as good as any of those pens, and the vegetal resin they're made from just doesn't feel very nice in the hand.

 

There's nothing wrong with the darjeeling, per se, but there are a lot of great alternatives out there these days.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 07 January 2019 - 03:36.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#15 doriath19

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:55

I just don't think the fit/finish on the darjeeling are as good as any of those pens, and the vegetal resin they're made from just doesn't feel very nice in the hand.

 

 

I agree that the Darjeeling is lacking in the look/finish department. I can't even put mine in my pen case because the metal trim will scratch up my other pens. However, I sort of like the feel of the resin, and the size is just right for my hand. All the pens you mentioned definitely have a more attractive look. The Darjeeling just fits my idea of an everyday beat up pen. And it is easy to switch out FPR nibs if that is your style.



#16 Jamerelbe

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:24

Apologies for late (follow-up) reply: was out all day yesterday... 

 

I really *don't* have an issue with the Darjeeling's look and feel - it's no more plastic-y than (say) the Pilot 78G, and has a vintage "Parker Duofold-ish" vibe (esp. the orange and black version) that I find appealing.  Granted, there's some great competition out there - I think it's still worth having one (or more?) of these in your collection.

 

Points in favour (over against some of the very impressive pens @Honeybadgers listed):

(1) It's at the bottom end of the US$15-25 price range (pens like the Metro are heading upward towards $25).

(2) It comes with the capacity to screw replacement nib units in and out - granted, these are (unfortunately) incompatible with any other brands (JoWo or Bock), but that's not an option provided by a lot of other pens in this price range.

(3) You can alternatively order bare nibs from FP Revolution (or elsewhere) to fit the pen - any #6 nib from pretty well any company will do.

(4) Kevin from FPRevolution stands behind his products - if something goes wrong with a cheap Chinese pen (esp purchased from eBay) 6 months down the track, you toss it out and chalk it up to experience.  When I've had problems with Kevin's pens, he's been very quick to send me repairs or replacements.

 

Obviously, this *still* won't be everyone's favourite pen - and I'll be honest, I *much* prefer my Trivenis and Himalayas (which are a fair bit more expensive).  But it is, what it is, a nice looking, "honest" pen that will wear fairly well - and the nibs supplied with these pens make for a really pleasant writing experience.  If you want to try out Kevin's #6 nibs (especially his "super-flex"), but don't want to invest $50+ in an ebonite or acrylic pen, this is a very good option.



#17 Honeybadgers

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:53

the pilot metro just seems like the 74/91 and 3776, I think the price increase was international only, as I still routinely find it for $9-$14 on amazon.

 

the alpha, edge, wancai, TWSBI, and switch are all standard #5 compatible and the singularity and penBBS models are all #6 compatible 

 

Like I said, there's nothing necessarily wrong with it, but I have two (I like the orange one too, but even it got thrown in a case after a week and I'll probably never use it again - it and the clear model are going to be pruned with a soon upcoming PIF on my cheaper pens) and the fit/finish is just so lacking. it doesn't feel smooth and clean like the nemosine, it just feels a little rough and I really don't love the weird softness of the plastic.

 

I agree that kevin is the only reason I'd ever say a darjeeling is worth any money at all. And the himalaya is a fantastic thing. I love my brown ebonite himayala.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: fountain pen revolution, pen review, indian pen, darjeeling



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