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Conid Pens


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#1 james3paris

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:12

Is this pen well known in Europe?  I have never heard of the company until I came back to this forum recently.   Thus far, I have only found the pen available at their site.  Do they  do all of their manufacturing in house?  It would explain the price point.  Is the price point justified?



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#2 Inkling13

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:28

This pen utilizes what is called "bulkfiller" mechanism, which is an evolution of the piston filler, to take up much more ink with 3ml being sported by the Kingsized. The mechanism was designed from what I understand by our own Fountainbel here on FPN, aka Francis. As a result, each pen  sports his moniker. The pens are sold only online and through shows, and only comes from their CNC manufacturing facility in Antwerp Belgium. The only part that isn't made is their nib, which is from Bock. The entirety of the pen can be stripped down and user serviceable, with the right tools. Price is a matter of taste. For the price of a Conid pen, one could buy a new MB 149, but you don't have the robust and personal service of Conid. Conid's materials are chosen for strength and longevity, and I don't think there is quite another pen out there. Closest would be something like Edison, who reproduces and makes many unique filling mechanisms themselves, but not nearly to the length taken by Conid. For example: all the metal is machined from titanium, the clip is formed from a solid titanium rod (not bent sheet stock). The machining skills for the Conid is impressive, and quite worth the money for a small startup pen company. 



#3 james3paris

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 20:44

 The entirety of the pen can be stripped down and user serviceable, with the right tools. Price is a matter of taste. For the price of a Conid pen, one could buy a new MB 149, but you don't have the robust and personal service of Conid. Conid's materials are chosen for strength and longevity, and I don't think there is quite another pen out there.

 

 

Quality wise, is it the same or better than 149?  I am asking strictly asking about the quality and not personal taste. I would have to imagine you own (or owned)  each one.



#4 mana

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 21:36

Don't have one but Conid pens will be my first "new" modern pens that I will buy when I get the means to do so... will start with the Kingsize titanium flat top demonstrator. I have read great reviews of them and that particular model. There is actually one review here on FPN > http://www.fountainp...eview/?hl=conid plus plenty of posts on Conid and their pens if you do a search.

I really like their designs and the whole "thing", the story, design & engineering, small high quality manufacturing side of it. Dedication and craftsmanship. That is something I can stand behind of and want to support in this day and age of mass marketed goods.

Pelikan is awesome but the vintage ones from them already have my heart, for modern stuff this is something closer to my values (and will get the #1 ticket). Thus it is also worth the somewhat higher entry fee, there is no air there unlike in many other pens of similar price. These are writers pens, not just display pieces.


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#5 Inkling13

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 21:38

From what I have seen in reviews, the machining tolerances and quality are top notch. Certainly not with the "uppity-ness" of MB, but certainly there has been much care and love in designing and building these pens. MB is built much around form, and Conid looks to be designed around function.  



#6 zaddick

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 21:39

 
 
Quality wise, is it the same or better than 149?  I am asking strictly asking about the quality and not personal taste. I would have to imagine you own (or owned)  each one.

I think the engineering is much better on a Conid, but the writing experience is better on a 149 for me.

Edited by zaddick, 28 December 2017 - 21:41.


#7 james3paris

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:28

Thank you for your input and link to review.



#8 james3paris

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 00:38

 The machining skills for the Conid is impressive, and quite worth the money for a small startup pen company. 

After 10 years,  I don't consider them a start up company. That's why I was wondering why the pens are only available on their site only or maybe, I just have not stumbled across their pens in other online stores.  Based on a limited number of reviews, the pen seems great.  I love the filling mechanism, capacity, and unique design.  Outstanding! 

 

However, their price point is a high with minimal track record.   About $500 USD with shipping for a basic pen with a steel nib is crazy.  Although, I have this pen in my head now it a no go at $500.  At half that $200 to $300,  I would get one with a 14k nib. I would give them a chance.  However, my preference is Kingsize with gold nib is $900 shipped.  There is way to much competition at that price point and below. 

 

 

 

I would be carious to know how many people on this site own one.

 

Anyone selling one used?


Edited by james3paris, 29 December 2017 - 01:05.


#9 zaddick

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 01:04

They sell ised, but there are few floating about at any time. Maybe a half dozen a year I have seen. I am not saying I catch all opportunities, but I keep a fairly close eye on several sites. More have been for sale since their minimalistica line came out.

#10 mauckcg

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 01:11

After 10 years,  I don't consider them a start up company. That's why I was wondering why the pens are only available on their site only or maybe, I just have not stumbled across their pens in other online stores.  Based on a limited number of reviews, the pen seems great.  I love the filling mechanism, capacity, and unique design.  Outstanding! 

 

However, their price point is a high with minimal track record.   About $500 USD with shipping for a basic pen with a steel nib is crazy.  Although, I have this pen in my head now it a no go at $500.  At half that $200 to $300,  I would get one with a 14k nib. I would give them a chance.  However, my preference is Kingsize with gold nib is $900 shipped.  There is way to much competition at that price point and below. 

 

 

 

I would be carious to know how many people on this site own one.

 

Anyone selling one used?

Each pen is made to order and the nib is hand tuned before shipping.  

I have two and have had them for a bit over a year now.  They have been inked almost continuously.  Haven't had any issues.  The fit and finish is better than anything else i have and the nibs, titanium and gold are three of the best i have.  Whenever i order another one i'm going to make sure i get a couple of extra nib units so i can toss some other brand nibs onto them for variety.  

As for a track record, they have been around 10 years but it's essentially a custom product so you will never see the numbers a mass manufacturer will manage.  Other than an inability to try one out first, i can't recall any complaints about the pens.



#11 Krulle

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 12:18

I never wrote with a Conid in my life, but I visited Komec in 2010. Komec is their main company, the pen making is more of a hobby I guess. We didn't had the time to go in detail about their pen making, I was there for other stuff.

 

My impression of that company: serious guys with great technical skills. They also had a lot of specialty processes in house (more than most other CNC machining companies in the Benelux).

 

Their whole company works according to great quality standards, so I can imagine that their pens are great quality to.

 

Looking at it from a pen lover pov, I would expect more customisation options at that price point. But again, for them it is probably just a hobby, and it might not make sense to put on to many resources since the market is small.



#12 aeba

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 16:35

After 10 years,  I don't consider them a start up company. That's why I was wondering why the pens are only available on their site only or maybe, I just have not stumbled across their pens in other online stores.  Based on a limited number of reviews, the pen seems great.  I love the filling mechanism, capacity, and unique design.  Outstanding! 

 

However, their price point is a high with minimal track record.   About $500 USD with shipping for a basic pen with a steel nib is crazy.  Although, I have this pen in my head now it a no go at $500.  At half that $200 to $300,  I would get one with a 14k nib. I would give them a chance.  However, my preference is Kingsize with gold nib is $900 shipped.  There is way to much competition at that price point and below. 

 

 

 

I would be carious to know how many people on this site own one.

 

Anyone selling one used?

Street price for that 18k gold nib alone is $240. What Conid pays for them, I have no idea.


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#13 Mew

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 17:07

After 10 years,  I don't consider them a start up company. That's why I was wondering why the pens are only available on their site only or maybe, I just have not stumbled across their pens in other online stores.  Based on a limited number of reviews, the pen seems great.  I love the filling mechanism, capacity, and unique design.  Outstanding! 
 
However, their price point is a high with minimal track record.   About $500 USD with shipping for a basic pen with a steel nib is crazy.  Although, I have this pen in my head now it a no go at $500.  At half that $200 to $300,  I would get one with a 14k nib. I would give them a chance.  However, my preference is Kingsize with gold nib is $900 shipped.  There is way to much competition at that price point and below. 
 
 
 
I would be carious to know how many people on this site own one.
 
Anyone selling one used?


I do have one, and no, I'm not selling it. It's the fontoplumo exclusive Conid Monarch Kingsize Bulkfiller. I like it quite a bit and it will stay. And I have chucked out Nakaya's out of my collection, so that tells something about the pens Conid makes.

Also, they may be 10 years old, but they started making the Bulkfiller only after 2012.

Now, whatever I say after this is a combination of what I have heard from others and what I can infer. Feel free to read this, but any action you take based on this is entirely on you.
They are made to order, with pens being produced one at a time after the order is placed and everything is made at that time only. Each piece undergoes testing (much more than your other pens - Montblanc, Pelikan etc).
All of them are Engineers, and more qualified and capable than a regular factory worker. Accordingly wages/salaries would be higher. And the Bulkfiller system itself is more expensive to make than your regular Vac and Piston filler.
All these factors should contribute to higher costs, and accordingly, higher prices.

They do sell their models via other retailers, but those models are exclusive to such retailers: like Fontoplumo has Monarch and Penworld and Knox have AntwerpPen.

I would suggest getting a Conid. I had an MB 149, and found Pelikan Pistons to be better and overall a more solid pen than MB so I have 5 Pelikans, but none of them compare to the Conid. It's really that good.

#14 james3paris

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 17:20

 

Looking at it from a pen lover pov, I would expect more customisation options at that price point. But again, for them it is probably just a hobby, and it might not make sense to put on to many resources since the market is small.

Thank you for you unique perspective.

 

Actually, I was thinking that they may be doing it for more for fun.  I am on the fence, because the startup cost had to be substantial with patents and specialized processes.  They may not know how to expand beyond what they are doing. There are too many unknown factors,  However, I can imagine one: micro-managing.   They don't want to lose control and obviously, quality is their goal before production output.  This would drive down costs to a make it available to a  wider market.

 

If they are looking for impact and market share, their starting price in the top-tier is a huge mistake.  The niche is too small.  95% of people who spend this kind of money want the prestige.  There brand is unknown to most of the pen market, never mind the broader market.   This is a reality.

 

At their price point, I would expect also more customization as well.    However, another reality, other than the nib, there is nothing that they can customize.  In my opinion, if this pen was priced right, it would do well in the wider market.  The pen looks  great.



#15 james3paris

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 17:26

Street price for that 18k gold nib alone is $240. What Conid pays for them, I have no idea.

Conid charges for Gold (Rhodinated) 135 Euros or $165. This is their best nib offered.  If this is 18k, street price is much lower than $240.


Edited by james3paris, 29 December 2017 - 17:27.


#16 james3paris

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 18:41

 

I do have one, and no, I'm not selling it. It's the fontoplumo exclusive Conid Monarch Kingsize Bulkfiller. I like it quite a bit and it will stay. And I have chucked out Nakaya's out of my collection, so that tells something about the pens Conid makes.

Also, they may be 10 years old, but they started making the Bulkfiller only after 2012.

Now, whatever I say after this is a combination of what I have heard from others and what I can infer. Feel free to read this, but any action you take based on this is entirely on you.
They are made to order, with pens being produced one at a time after the order is placed and everything is made at that time only. Each piece undergoes testing (much more than your other pens - Montblanc, Pelikan etc).
All of them are Engineers, and more qualified and capable than a regular factory worker. Accordingly wages/salaries would be higher. And the Bulkfiller system itself is more expensive to make than your regular Vac and Piston filler.
All these factors should contribute to higher costs, and accordingly, higher prices.

They do sell their models via other retailers, but those models are exclusive to such retailers: like Fontoplumo has Monarch and Penworld and Knox have AntwerpPen.

I would suggest getting a Conid. I had an MB 149, and found Pelikan Pistons to be better and overall a more solid pen than MB so I have 5 Pelikans, but none of them compare to the Conid. It's really that good.

 

I have no doubt that their pen are better quality.  If engineers are putting these pens together, they are doing it for the love of the pen and the quality. I see this as a fun project/hobby for them.  I am more agreeing more and more with the person who went to their factory and made the comment above.

 

Thank you for the additional online stores.

 

 

Now, this has nothing to do with Conid pen.  

 

For your information, based on my experience,  "factory workers" and adding machinists can be highly skilled. 99.9% of products are produce by them and that includes high end luxury products.  I would take their ability over most engineers in the production phase and further, I would listen to their input on improving any production line carefully.  They can be highly innovative and improve processes.   "Normal" factory workers can be trained and there are a lot of intelligent line workers.  They see things that engineers will not see, because the line worker does it and breaths it everyday.

 

Engineers are not meant to be production line workers.   This is a  huge waste of talent/resources.    They are meant to be developers.  Otherwise a 4 years in a University is a colossal waste of time.  I would never hire an engineer over a highly skilled machinist/line worker.   It would be like hiring an engineer to fix my car.  Not going to happen.

 

I would not be burying myself  covering a bloated payroll.  This only increases overhead and overtime,  people expected pay raises. Never mind the cost of the product. Most companies who use this model will be out of business in a few years.


Edited by james3paris, 29 December 2017 - 18:51.


#17 Mew

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 18:53

Factory workers and adding machinists of Pelikan, Visconti and to an extent Montblanc give us complete BS. Is that the breathing you are talking of?

Edited to correct a typo.

Edited by Mew, 29 December 2017 - 18:53.


#18 mana

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 20:05

Regarding customization... what is that actually? I mean, show me a pen of similar price, quality, mechanical complexity and as high level engineering that has "more customization"? :)

There are loads of other makers that churn out much more simple products from similar or even lower quality materials for much more high prices. Some makers who do much higher volume runs for similar size and quality pens that cost the same or more (thinking of Pelikan or Montblanc especially, Caran d'Ache also falls into this category). Do they offer "customization"?

Does anyone have an idea on how much it takes just in man hours to produce a pen like the ones Conid does? If they are indeed "made to order" it also means they haven't invested in the tooling and equipment to do mass/high volume runs (because it would easily run into six or seven figures with very, very long timetable to reach just 1:1 ROI and profit) so there is plenty of manual work involved in all of the separate steps that it takes to produce pens the likes they offer even if they machined the parts in small batch runs (which would be sensible).

So... plenty of hours per pen with many separate professionals employed. Even with modern, programmable and highly capable machines to produce parts to their standards this hikes the cost up considerably especially in Europe where living wages are expected to be paid for people (and very much more for highly skilled workers). :D

And this line worker/engineer debate... plenty of "line workers" who do manual machine operation and production work in high quality small to medium sized companies like Conid are actually trained (certified) mechanical engineers. So it is not just assembly work or "guys/gals operating the CNC/lathe/extrusion machine". In Europe, most of the education is government supported so we have a flush pool of people who have a bachelors or even masters degree in engineering doing ops level work. As in actually operating the line/machines instead of just drafting/designing stuff.

 

Also, it is just not for the love of the craft or "fun" that these guys are doing it, it is a business and as such it has to make money. If it would hemorrhage money (operate at a loss) it wouldn't be operational for long. Knowing something of business and product design and how companies and operations of various sizes operate the prices that Conid charges are very reasonable.

And unlike some other makers who fundamentally do the same size (or even bigger) runs they don't resort to giving us CC pens in exotic materials (like "boutique"/vintage celluloid or 18/23k nibs which I kind of consider low hanging fruit) but instead they produce complex, very high quality writing instruments that are meticulously engineered of high quality materials and produced to exacting tolerances and standards.

You can get several nib sizes and also nibs in various different materials... also, the pens and their parts in different materials (that they have available). So... what else would you like to have customized? This is actually a really interesting discussion. What does customization mean to you guys?


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#19 Krulle

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 20:33

since I brought the topic "lack of customization" to the table ... this is what I would expect more for this price range:

 

- More materials for the barrel and cap

- Custom engravings (I'm not just talking about an engraved name, but about patterns like on their Gentlemens' Pen, or guilloche patterns ...) 

- only two options for the tips (flat top/stream line), this would be easy parts to provide more options, or let the customer design those parts themselves (crown shapes, cooling fin shapes, cones, ...)

- why not cooperating with jewelers to create high end finishes? ... after all they are only 10km away from the Diamond Quarter in Antwerp.


Edited by Krulle, 29 December 2017 - 20:34.


#20 mana

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 21:14

since I brought the topic "lack of customization" to the table ... this is what I would expect more for this price range:

 

- More materials for the barrel and cap

 

This could and would raise the price considerably depending on the materials requested.

 

- Custom engravings (I'm not just talking about an engraved name, but about patterns like on their Gentlemens' Pen, or guilloche patterns ...) 

 

Could be arranged, but still, if not production run items (as in one-offs) > expect a considerable hike (or multiplication) in price. 
 

- only two options for the tips (flat top/stream line), this would be easy parts to provide more options, or let the customer design those parts themselves (crown shapes, cooling fin shapes, cones, ...)

Hmmm... additive manufacturing (as in 3D printing) allows for all sorts of funky things at lower price points but at this level such requests go directly into the boutique territory and are also something that the company itself might not want to endorse (they do have pride in their designs after all, this includes what is built but more specifically, what is not). It is not just "customization" you are talking about here, seriously.

 

- why not cooperating with jewelers to create high end finishes? ... after all they are only 10km away from the Diamond Quarter in Antwerp.

This is something that falls into line with the request #2 > Custom engravings. Again, expect a considerable hike in price if they are not introduced as line items. I mean, the things you are talking about can easily raise the price of the pen three to four fold. Might seem like a simple things but... someone has to make it happen. Manual work = money. Introducing something to production = money. It really is not simple or cheap to do any of these things.


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