(filled with Rohrer & Klingner Alt Bordeaux)
Demonstrators are not really my area. I do somewhat appreciate them as a sort of curiosity, but I prefer more traditional finishes and colors. That being said, a piston filling demonstrator does seem like an interesting idea, and since I've never had one and lately it became possible to buy them for less than $20, I thought I'd try one. I already had the solid black Wing Sung 698 so I wanted something different (and while I do like WS 698, I'm not that crazy about its design).
So, Caliarts Ego II it is. To be precise, I ordered the first Caliarts Ego, which had a very different clip and an opaque black piston mechanism, but ended up receiving the second version. Deciding that it's not worth to make a fuss about it, I accepted what I got.
Caliarts Ego II is a clear demonstrator, and when I say clear, I mean totally. The only elements of it which are not transparent are the nib and the clip. I do like the design of this pen, much more than Wing Sung 698's. It's just more neat, better shaped and the clip is much better looking.
For the record, Ego II also comes with the piston knob and the cap finial opaque in a few colors (those seems out of stock on eBay now) and one fully solid color in a very bright blue.
The pen came in a steel box, packed with a little wrench for disassembling and a spare feed and EF nib, while the one on the pen is marked as F. Both nibs are stamped "Caliarts Iridium Point". I think those are Pilot 78G/Metropolitan/Plumix etc. compatible nibs but I haven't tried any swapping.
The wrench quickly proved useful. At first glance I noticed that the piston didn't come all the way up as it should. So I took the wrench, and not really knowing what I was doing I tried to twist the piston. There was some noise, for a second I thought something cracked, but no, surprisingly the piston went up to the exact position I wanted it to be. Now, however, it doesn't come all the way down. The piston seems to be too short to fully utilize the pen's ink capacity on a single filling, but this can be easily remedied by pushing the air out and drawing ink the second time to fill the pen completely.
I filled the pen for the first time with Pelikan 4001 Dark Green and it didn't write well out of the box. It was very dry and required some pushing to get a consistent line. First I thought about opening up the tines of the nib little more - the nib on the nail method (as demonstrated by SBRE Brown). Done wonders for my Parker Sonnet but here it was completely unnecessary and it was probably a bad idea, but the unexpected result is worth mentioning. I slightly pushed the nib on my nail... and the nib instantly bent. I mean instantly. I didn't even use much force, I barely started, and the nib just completely bent immediately as if I hit it with a hammer. I thought I broke it and would to have to get another nib, but no, another surprise, as easily as it bent it got back to its right position. The nib seems to be perfectly fine.
The dryness was actually a slight baby's bottoms. Not having any micromesh I decided that rather than spending $25 on the sheets I'm going to spend ca. $2 on the three grit nail file at the nearest drugstore. Did the job, the pen writes like a charm. Smoothly, moderately wet, with some feedback that I find pleasant. The nib is a stiff one, a little bit of line variation is possible, but you'd really have to force it.
The cap is screwed on. That's always a good thing. Posting is possible, I guess, but not really useful. It posts very shallowly on the piston knob and not even securely. Also, posting makes it very long, and the pen is already pretty big without it.
Caliarts Ego II did bring me some annoyance, two times I thought I broke it. After just a little work with the nib, it turned into a very pleasant writer. A piston filler, good ink capacity, and very affordable. If you like demonstrators then I think it's worth getting. It probably won't become my EDC, but overall I'm glad I have it.
Lenght capped - 142 mm
Lenght uncapped - 131 mm
Cap lenght - 60 mm
Lenght posted - ca. 170 mm
Barrel diameter - 13 mm
(the feed is clear, but the pen was inked when I took the photos)
Edited by WJM, 17 December 2017 - 15:48.