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One Of The Best Workhorse Pens, The Staedtler Initium Resina.

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#1 Eric_H

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 21:41

(Skip to the second paragraph if you want the review) Yesterday was Boxing Day, and, as is the norm of many people, my family and I went out to grab discounted items, in the City area of Sydney. Although I had sworn to myself I would never head within 5 meters of the George St Dymocks, everything was 20% off, which was very rare since Dymocks never does discounts. Even with my genuinely awful history with Dymocks, it was an offer I simply couldnt resist, and I was going to get lucky, I knew it. I have been looking for a Staedtler Initium FP for 5 months, as I needed a pen for use at school that was nice,but very understated, tough, and still of high quality. The Staedtler Initium series has long been known to me as the best option, as I had used one beloning to one of my friends (Random note: I never say belonging to my friend because that makes it sound like I only have one friend. But then again, thats probably tr-You didnt read that) some time ago. And, maybe it was just my luck. But the Staedtler were 50% off. You can guess what happened next, right?

Note: I will be reviewing as if I paid the full price of $160, which, in proper Dymocks tradition, is $40 more than normal.

Packaging: 1/5*
I know, I know, you dont buy a pen for its packaging. But a cardboard box to the style of Jinhao really doesnt cut it at this price. No instructions, no cartridge, no warranty, no converter, just the pen. I dont think Staedtler would do this. *Dymocks effect again? I highly suspect it.

Looks: 4/5
I personally like the sleek and ultra understated design. The pen looks fairly normal and isnt the kind to gather comments. For this price, it is a relief to finally find something that isnt even a tiny bit showy.

Feel: 2/5
Fell describes how the pen feels in your hand, its weight, length, and width. The Staedtler is proportionately fine, but its a bit light for its size even though its mostly made of resin. It doesnt feel ultra high quality, but all resin (aka expensive plastic) feels like regular plastic, just a bit more scratch resistant. The Staedtler is not different. However, the pen has a steel section which is surprisingly grippy, and I sweat quite a bit. Things soon became very weird. Starting with the injection mounding lines on the Handcrafted Resin(as the Dymocks salesperson said), but fine. I dont really care. Then, the cap screwed with a sound suspiciously similar to plastic on plastic. Upon further inspection, it was. The metal
band on the end of the barrel was not metal at all. It had an injection mounding mark, and sounded like plastic when I flicked ir and felt the insides. The lever clip feels sturdy and hopefully wont randomly become misaligned like my Lamy 2000s (see Lamy 2000s are overrated).

Durability: 5/5
I have not and will not abuse my own pens, but my friends Staedtler gets abused quite a bit even though time and time again I tell him not to. His has held up well. The Fine nib is not misaligned even though he presses down quite a bit. Thats good. This pen matches its high quality feel (it feels high quality but that doesnt mean it is *cough injection moulding at $160 cough*) with outstanding durability.

Writing: 5/5
The Fine nib on mine is in the levels of Diplomat. It glides across the paper better than my 149 and is rather bouncy, almost flexy to an extent. I am impressed, but the nib is a bit small considering the size of the pen. Still, not much bad to say about the nib.

Practicality: 1/5*
This pen didnt come with instructions (but I dont really need them anyway) OR a converter (*Dymocks effect anyone?) I put a Parker converter caniballised from a nibless Vector I found on the ground, and it fits fine and works fine, execept sometimes the ball is stuck in the bottom of the converter and I cant do anything until I invert the pen. (Please see end of post!)

Total: 18/30

In conclusion, the Staedtler Initium is a great workhorse, and will not disappoint you. It combines perfect proportions with an amazingly smooth nib and longevity to match anything from Montblanc. It might be $160, but a steel nib Diplomat Aero is $240, and they write just as well as each other. Although certain parts of the pen are of questionable quality, I have no doubt it will stand the test of time and continue to write many years from now.

Pros:

Nice size
Wont fatigue you during writing
Has some bounce to the nib
Amazingly smooth
Understated (might be a con too)
Sturdy clip

Cons:

Questionable resin
No converter or instructions or warranty* (*might just be the Dymocks effect)
Nib slightly small
Expensive for what it is


Here are some photos

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Hope I helped!
Cheers, Eric :D

P.S.
I did a bit of YouTube watching and found that it was indeed the Dymocks effect at play here, a normal initium was packaged well with a Lamy 2000 style box, a bottle of ink, a converter, warranty and the all-important (not really)instructions manual. Normal packaging would be a 4/5, practicality a 5/5, and the total would be 25/30.

Edited by Eric_H, 27 December 2017 - 21:25.

“He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.”
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#2 Honeybadgers

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 00:01

I think the wing sung 698, 618, delike alpha, pilot e95s, vanishing point, lamy 2000, lamy safari/al star, lingmo lorelei, etc. all work great.


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


#3 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 01:11

We all have our preferences, the 2k is good if it’s not from Dymocks and the Chinese pens don’t seem to hold themselves together but hey, those are great workhorses too.
“He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.”
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#4 Honeybadgers

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 02:09

We all have our preferences, the 2k is good if it’s not from Dymocks and the Chinese pens don’t seem to hold themselves together but hey, those are great workhorses too.

 

If you haven't tried the chinese pens I've listed, then you really aren't in the know when it comes to the quality acrylics and materials china is putting out these days.

 

All of the pens I listed have survived months of use in the field as a paramedic. I'm harder on my pens in a month than anyone else here is in their lifetime.


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


#5 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 02:44

If you haven't tried the chinese pens I've listed, then you really aren't in the know when it comes to the quality acrylics and materials china is putting out these days.
 
All of the pens I listed have survived months of use in the field as a paramedic. I'm harder on my pens in a month than anyone else here is in their lifetime.

I have a few Wing Sungs and Jinhaos and all of them haven’t held up during school use (4-6 pages of writing a day).
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#6 Honeybadgers

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 04:56

I have a few Wing Sungs and Jinhaos and all of them haven’t held up during school use (4-6 pages of writing a day).

 

Jinhao was not on my list of well made pens.

 

And which Wing Sung have given you troubles?

 

4-6 pages of writing is a little less intense than 2-10 and occasionally being dropped, thrown, tossed, punched and kicked.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 27 December 2017 - 04:56.

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


#7 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 05:32

Jinhao was not on my list of well made pens.
 
And which Wing Sung have given you troubles?
 
4-6 pages of writing is a little less intense than 2-10 and occasionally being dropped, thrown, tossed, punched and kicked.

People throw my things all the time at my school, and it’s safe to say that someone nicking your pencil case to play soccer isn’t exactly good for it. About the Wing Sung, my experience with the 233 and 320 has been less than ideal.
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#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 07:11

Those are both old, pre-2000 pens. I have a 233 and can confirm it's of modest quality at best. Same goes for the 590 (a fun maxi pen but definitely has QC issues)

 

The 698 is a piston filler with an extremely high quality plastic and uses pilot nib and feed tooling (the nibs are interchangable, so you can toss a pilot stub nib in one) and the 618 is a nice interpretation of a parker design. Both are wet, consistent, well made and reliable pens that are not known to dry out or have many production issues. I seriously encourage you to try one. They're not insane bargain priced, but I'd take a 698 over a TWSBI eco any day, and it's half the price, and that increase in cost is very evident in the quality. The plastic is easily as good as anything TWSBI uses (and these two models have had no horror stories arise over the past year like TWSBI has) the only downside to the 698 is no posting the cap, though it's extremely well balanced and long enough unposted. I like it more than the pilot metro.

 

PenBBS makes gorgeous acrylic pens with a high degree of quality control for the ~$20 range. the lecai eyedropper is also proper acrylic (though early models had a weird thread pattern that required seven full screws to uncap, new ones are 1.5 turns) The Lingmo Lorelei comes in a lovely acrylic color range and are also great, reliable writers with no known QC issues (also pilot nib/feed)

 

The delike alpha is, hand on heart, genuinely better than the kaweco brass sport. it's got a few design tweaks that make it more usable and compatible with almost any converter, and the bent nib option is a fun medium architect nib. It's got an iffy converter, but I've been absolutely THRASHING one for six months now and apart from replacing the converter, it's as good as new. 

 

If you want my recommendation, pick up a wing sung 698 and a delike alpha (along with an extra, regular old standard international converter. Only the extra, extra long ones are too long, any standard length SI converter fits) for great everyday pens that will last.  Some people like the 618's hooded nib, but I don't love hooded nibs (if you like them, the 618 is a slightly better design since it can be posted and the clip is a little better but cleaning is a little more involved like most hooded nib pens)

 

I can safely say you've never had a psychiatric crazy patient kick you in the chest (with the intent to hurt you) right where your pen sits in your breast pocket,  :P my lamy 2000 laughed that off, as well as my delike alpha. I can't sing the praises of the alpha with the bent nib enough. I'm a walking fountain pen torture test. If I say a pen is tough, nothing you do in normal use will ever tax its durability. And before you ask, no, I'm not going to put my homo sapiens through the wringer  :D


Edited by Honeybadgers, 27 December 2017 - 07:16.

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


#9 Feanaaro

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 14:20

I don't want to be too negative... but this really is one of those pens I cannot see the reason for. $160 for a steel nib, and a basic small one to boot. A basic bland design, which is nevertheless not a classic design. Nothing special in the filling system, in the materials, in the colors, or anywhere indeed. Sure, it may write very well. But so does a $10 Pilot Kakuno...

 

In unrelated news: did they change the composition of Pelikan black in recent years? I have a couple of old bottles (10-15 years), of both the normal and the permanent quality, and both have a distinct brownish undertone (which I don't like) that does not seem to show in the ink smudge showed here.


Edited by Feanaaro, 27 December 2017 - 14:22.


#10 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:05

I don't want to be too negative... but this really is one of those pens I cannot see the reason for. $160 for a steel nib, and a basic small one to boot. A basic bland design, which is nevertheless not a classic design. Nothing special in the filling system, in the materials, in the colors, or anywhere indeed. Sure, it may write very well. But so does a $10 Pilot Kakuno...
 
In unrelated news: did they change the composition of Pelikan black in recent years? I have a couple of old bottles (10-15 years), of both the normal and the permanent quality, and both have a distinct brownish undertone (which I don't like) that does not seem to show in the ink smudge showed here.

It depends on your preferences. Some people are in an environment where there possessions get thrown around and beaten up, and are therefore willing to dish out extra money. Of course, a steel Parker IM would do the same, but you would be missing out on one of the best steel nibs in existence, and the IM is no good for long writing sessions, with the added weight and slippery section. I bought my Staedtler for $80 and IMs here in AU go for around $70. I would be willing to dish out the extra $10. Even at its full price of $160 AUD, quite a few people would still buy it. This pen is basically a Diplomat, just with different styling. A steel nibbled Diplomat Aero costs $240 AUD last time I checked, and many people have bought one of those. About the Pelikan Black. Its still got a slight brown undertone, but its not really visible until you wet the ink.

Edited by Eric_H, 27 December 2017 - 21:18.

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#11 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:10

Those are both old, pre-2000 pens. I have a 233 and can confirm it's of modest quality at best. Same goes for the 590 (a fun maxi pen but definitely has QC issues)
 
The 698 is a piston filler with an extremely high quality plastic and uses pilot nib and feed tooling (the nibs are interchangable, so you can toss a pilot stub nib in one) and the 618 is a nice interpretation of a parker design. Both are wet, consistent, well made and reliable pens that are not known to dry out or have many production issues. I seriously encourage you to try one. They're not insane bargain priced, but I'd take a 698 over a TWSBI eco any day, and it's half the price, and that increase in cost is very evident in the quality. The plastic is easily as good as anything TWSBI uses (and these two models have had no horror stories arise over the past year like TWSBI has) the only downside to the 698 is no posting the cap, though it's extremely well balanced and long enough unposted. I like it more than the pilot metro.
 
PenBBS makes gorgeous acrylic pens with a high degree of quality control for the ~$20 range. the lecai eyedropper is also proper acrylic (though early models had a weird thread pattern that required seven full screws to uncap, new ones are 1.5 turns) The Lingmo Lorelei comes in a lovely acrylic color range and are also great, reliable writers with no known QC issues (also pilot nib/feed)
 
The delike alpha is, hand on heart, genuinely better than the kaweco brass sport. it's got a few design tweaks that make it more usable and compatible with almost any converter, and the bent nib option is a fun medium architect nib. It's got an iffy converter, but I've been absolutely THRASHING one for six months now and apart from replacing the converter, it's as good as new. 
 
If you want my recommendation, pick up a wing sung 698 and a delike alpha (along with an extra, regular old standard international converter. Only the extra, extra long ones are too long, any standard length SI converter fits) for great everyday pens that will last.  Some people like the 618's hooded nib, but I don't love hooded nibs (if you like them, the 618 is a slightly better design since it can be posted and the clip is a little better but cleaning is a little more involved like most hooded nib pens)
 
I can safely say you've never had a psychiatric crazy patient kick you in the chest (with the intent to hurt you) right where your pen sits in your breast pocket,  :P my lamy 2000 laughed that off, as well as my delike alpha. I can't sing the praises of the alpha with the bent nib enough. I'm a walking fountain pen torture test. If I say a pen is tough, nothing you do in normal use will ever tax its durability. And before you ask, no, I'm not going to put my homo sapiens through the wringer  :D


First off, thank you so much for writing such a detailed response. I have a pen like the WS 618, a Hero 616. And the 320 isn’t too different. The 616 leaks but is otherwise ok and the 320 is so hard to uncap, that when I do, ink sprays everywhere. The Delike with an architect nib might be a good option. I write with the back of my pen pointing to the right, not pointing at me. That makes me unable to get proper flex out of any pen unless I switch to a normal writing position, which, for me, is uncomfortable.
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#12 KellyMcJ

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:20

It depends on your preferences. Some people are in an environment where there possessions get thrown around and beaten up, and are therefore willing to dish out extra money. Of course, a steel Parker IM would do the same, but you would be missing out on one of the best steel nibs in existence, and the IM is no good for long writing sessions, with the added weight and slippery section. I bought my Staedtler for $80 and IMs here in AU go for around $70. I would be willing to dish out the extra $10. Even at its full price of $160 AUD, quite a few people would still buy it. This pen is basically a Diplomat, just with different styling. A steel nibbled Diplomat Aero costs $240 AUD last time I checked, and many people have bought one of those. About the Pelikan Black. Its still got a slight brown undertone, but its not really visible until you wet the ink.

 

I agree with this. I eventually started carrying a Sailor Sapporo F nib everyday, and it's a great pen and a great choice of EDC. This was after I had carried several cheap pens and had proved to myself that I wouldn't likely lose it first time out of the gate.

I carried a 698 for a while. It was too wet for an EDC for me- I had to use it upside down all the time. The gold plating is severely scratched, but I wasn't careful with it at all.



#13 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:28

I agree with this. I eventually started carrying a Sailor Sapporo F nib everyday, and it's a great pen and a great choice of EDC. This was after I had carried several cheap pens and had proved to myself that I wouldn't likely lose it first time out of the gate.
I carried a 698 for a while. It was too wet for an EDC for me- I had to use it upside down all the time. The gold plating is severely scratched, but I wasn't careful with it at all.

Exactly. The gold plating on Chinese pens is of low quality. A few Jinhaos have a gold plated band on both ends of the section. I have 2 hinahos like this, the X450 and the 159. Both of them have lost the gold plating on the bands, due to ink corrosion, and my sweat. The same happened on my Kaigelu 316, which also has a chipped cap.image.jpg

Edited by Eric_H, 27 December 2017 - 21:34.

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#14 KellyMcJ

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:34

Exactly. The gold plating on Chinese pens is of low quality. A few Jinhaos have a gold plated band on both ends of the section. I have 2 hinahos like this, the X450 and the 159. Both of them have lost the gold plating on the bands, due to ink corrosion, and my sweat.

 

Mine lost its plating because I carried it clipped to the front of a fanny pack and proceeded to lean against a machine. A lot. Daily.

 

My Sapporo is better protected than that. But some scuffs, dings and scratches are, in my view, not a weakness but a sign of a pen that's seen actual use. They're tools, not jewelry. The limited editions, or the ones I know can't take the proverbial heat stay at home.

 

If I were going to pay extra for a pen that's actually designed to survive being hit by a tank, I would have bought a Kara's Kustoms, or a Rotring. (and still might).

 

That's not to say there's anything wrong with this Staedtler- they're a good brand. It doesn't appeal to me personally but it's a nice pen.



#15 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:36

Mine lost its plating because I carried it clipped to the front of a fanny pack and proceeded to lean against a machine. A lot. Daily.
 
My Sapporo is better protected than that. But some scuffs, dings and scratches are, in my view, not a weakness but a sign of a pen that's seen actual use. They're tools, not jewelry. The limited editions, or the ones I know can't take the proverbial heat stay at home.
 
If I were going to pay extra for a pen that's actually designed to survive being hit by a tank, I would have bought a Kara's Kustoms, or a Rotring. (and still might).
 
That's not to say there's anything wrong with this Staedtler- they're a good brand. It doesn't appeal to me personally but it's a nice pen.


Sailor is an exceptional brand of high quality, and I have no doubt that the craftsmanship has let the pen hold up well.

Of course. Karas Customs has been tested by Brian of GouletPens and the writing instruments they manufacture are of amazing quality, and the titanium nibs as an extra option is something I would like to try. On a completely unrelated side note, does anyone know if the Conid Bulkfiller is good, and if it is on sale in Sydney, Australia?
Thanks, Eric :)

Edited by Eric_H, 27 December 2017 - 21:38.

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#16 KellyMcJ

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:41

Sailor is an exceptional brand of high quality, and I have no doubt that the craftsmanship has let the pen hold up well.

Of course. Karas Customs has been tested by Brian of GouletPens and the writing instruments they manufacture are of amazing quality, and the titanium nibs as an extra option is something I would like to try. On a completely unrelated side note, does anyone know if the Conid Bulkfiller is good, and if it is on sale in Sydney, Australia?
Thanks, Eric :)

 

Conid pens are highly regarded here- I've never used one, and they are solidly out of my price range and don't appeal to me as much as some others were I to spend that kind of money on a pen. But from what I gather they are very good pens.



#17 Feanaaro

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:47

It depends on your preferences. Some people are in an environment where there possessions get thrown around and beaten up, and are therefore willing to dish out extra money. Of course, a steel Parker IM would do the same, but you would be missing out on one of the best steel nibs in existence, and the IM is no good for long writing sessions, with the added weight and slippery section. I bought my Staedtler for $80 and IMs here in AU go for around $70. I would be willing to dish out the extra $10. Even at its full price of $160 AUD, quite a few people would still buy it. This pen is basically a Diplomat, just with different styling. A steel nibbled Diplomat Aero costs $240 AUD last time I checked, and many people have bought one of those. About the Pelikan Black. Its still got a slight brown undertone, but its not really visible until you wet the ink.

 

It's not the ONLY pen that I don't see how it is not completely dominated on both price and quality by many other pens, but it is one of them. Parker IM is another pen, respectfully, with no purpose that I can see.

For 160$ you can get any number of Japanese FPs (you can also get them for 80$ if you look on the "grey" market), which will be just as well made, and have a gold nib.

Or for $40 or $45 you can get a Faber-Castell Loom or Basic, which have a similarly "modern" style (they look much better imho, but that is strictly subjective), and a flawless nib as well. The Loom is a tank of a pen basically. You may also get an Ambition, with the same great nib, and still for a significantly lower price than this.

Diplomat Aero may be found for around $130, which is still on the expensive side for what they are imho. But at least those have a unique style, which this one does not.

Again, all imho and all without any intention to attack or offend anyone.


Edited by Feanaaro, 27 December 2017 - 21:59.


#18 KellyMcJ

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:51

 

It's not the ONLY pen that I don't see how it is not completely dominated on both price and quality by many other pens, but it is one of them. Parker IM is another pen, respectfully, with no purpose that I can see.

For 160$ you can get any number of Japanese FPs (you can also get them for 80$ if you look on the "grey" market), which will be just as well made, and have a gold nib.

Or for $40 or $45 you can get a Faber-Castell Loom or Basic, which have a similarly "modern" style (they look much better imho, but that is strictly subjective), and a flawless nib as well. You may also get an Ambition, with the same great nib, and still for a significantly lower price than this.

Diplomat Aero may be found for around $130, which is still on the expensive side for what they are imho. But at least those have a unique style, which this one does not.

Again, all imho and all without any intention to attack or offend anyone.

 

"there's no accounting for taste" as they say. I can't figure out why people will gladly shell out hundreds for a Visconti when they're known to have issues and frankly, I think they're kind of ugly BUT...that's why I don't buy them and others do. People buy them because they like them, no other reason. There's nothing wrong with that.



#19 Eric_H

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 21:52

Conid pens are highly regarded here- I've never used one, and they are solidly out of my price range and don't appeal to me as much as some others were I to spend that kind of money on a pen. But from what I gather they are very good pens.


Thanks!
“He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.”
― David Frost

#20 Eric_H

Eric_H

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  • Location:Sydney, Australia.
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Posted 27 December 2017 - 22:01

It's not the ONLY pen that I don't see how it is not completely dominated on both price and quality by many other pens, but it is one of them. Parker IM is another pen, respectfully, with no purpose that I can see.
For 160$ you can get any number of Japanese FPs (you can also get them for 80$ if you look on the "grey" market), which will be just as well made, and have a gold nib.
Or for $40 or $45 you can get a Faber-Castell Loom or Basic, which have a similarly "modern" style (they look much better imho, but that is strictly subjective), and a flawless nib as well. You may also get an Ambition, with the same great nib, and still for a significantly lower price than this.
Diplomat Aero may be found for around $130, which is still on the expensive side for what they are imho. But at least those have a unique style, which this one does not.
Again, all imho and all without any intention to attack or offend anyone.


Of course, Faber castell is also a great brand. The Loom is $110 at Dymocks in Sydney. So take away $40, that leaves $70. I see what you mean. $70 for the Loom, which is great, is a good price. The nibs on Faber Castells are also great, but the pens don’t look nice in my opinion. I like the E-Motion and the Basic, but that’s about it. The E-Motion is also $160 at Dymocks. And for the price, it’s a better pen no doubt. Looks nicer, feels nicer, made nicer. The nib isn’t as good but not far off, but it’s a better choice and also a good workhorse. I’m not sure about the longevity as I don’t have one of my own but it seems it would keep on going for a while too.
“He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.”
― David Frost





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