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Review: Porsche Design "TecFlex" (P'3110)


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#1 Sazerac

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 21:08

I was immediately attracted to this pen because of its mixture of the classic and the new: overall it is more or less a classic cigar-shaped pen, but with new, high-tech material. (Supposedly the body is made out of the same material as the brake hose sheath of Porsche cars. Okay, sure.)

With no B & M shops around, I had only seen it in pictures, and was surprised when I did actually see one in a shop. It is bigger than it looks in pictures – that is longer and fatter. (5.5 in. closed + 6.3 in. posted) Also, I expected it to be heavy as it is made out of metal. Indeed it is heavy – weighing in at almost 57 grams, but it is pleasant in the hand. A bit too heavy for a shirt pocket though.

It came in a modestly-sized, black textured cardboard box – nothing fancy, just the crisp, clean lines you’d expect from a pen with a “tech aesthetic.” I do think the better pictures one can find on the web do its overall look justice, although the mesh weave of the steel threads do catch the light differently, given the lighting situation. It is never obtrusive, though. With the brushed cap and ends, the overall look is one of muted steel – very cool. The high-polish nib is the exception. Overall, it works aesthetically; although, I think a grayish titanium nib might complete the look better and add to its high-tech appeal. Speaking of the nib, having the writing on the nib lengthwise rather than across is a very nice touch.

Mine is a broad nib, and you can see from the picture (especially the shadow of the nib) that it is what I will call a “chisel-tip” broad nib. The nib itself looks kind of like a small stub or italic nib rather than a ball. It is a true broad – not excessively wide like some. I have added in my picture a sample of my hand writing to show how the design of the nib gives a little line variation, although, as a big-block printer, my penmanship offers no nib the opportunity for much variation. I would imagine in another hand, one could get some line variation. The nib wrote a nice wet line right out of the box, but it is not a soaker like an Omas. Also, it has a large, forgiving sweet-spot. This pen would fit many handwriting styles. It is a great writer.

In these ways, the pen writes like the nib on my Pelikan 805. In fact, the nib shape and the feed look a lot like a Pelikan nib and feed. I suppose this nib is made by Bock, as are Pelikan nibs, but this nib almost seems to be made to Pelikan specs. It feels a writes a lot like a Pelikan nib. This nib, however, is different from my Pelikan nibs in one crucial way: this nib is very firm. There is no flex in the Tecflex. It is the kind of nib – and I don’t mean this in a bad way – that does not accommodate to the users hand as much as the users hand accommodates itself to the nib. In the end, I would agree that this is a first-rate nib that would be comfortable for almost any writing style.

As you would expect from a pen that comes from the Faber-Castell factory bearing the name “Porsche Design,” this pen has many nice touches, showing that a great deal of care went into its design and production. The cap, for instance, comes on and off with a little more that a half a turn, and the metal seat for the converter is perfectly sized ensuring a snug fit for the converter. I also like the embedded metal balls on the tail to ensure the cap posts firmly. I don’t post this pen because it is long as a telephone pole when posted. But it has just enough heft in the body to write comfortably without being posted.

My only gripe with the pen stems from my own personal predilection for fat pens (think Delta Dolce Vita OS); consequently, I find this pen is too narrow at the gripping section. I knew this one would be narrow, but I struggle to find a comfortable writing position. This means that I find it uncomfortable to write with for long writing sessions, say of more than one page. Also the nib is a bit too stiff for my liking, but it does force me to slow down, which improves my penmanship.

My final verdict is that this is an excellent pen, especially if you like thin, heavy, very cool-looking pens with stiff nibs. I got it delivered to my door, brand-new for just under $200. I would not pay full price for the pen, but at $200, it is worth it. Since it is very user friendly, I think the Tecflex would make a great gift for a technophile who is (or is not) familiar with fountain pens, that is, if you’re willing to spend that much on a gift pen.


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#2 Shelley

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 00:25

beautiful pen and nice review, I have always admired the Faber-Castell and especially the von Graff FC products, I believe (but can not confirm) that FC produce their own nibs, rather tan sourcce them from Bock-at least thats what their lierature implies.
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#3 jd50ae

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 01:55

The Porsche Design "TecFlex" pens I own actually have some flex and line variation, and are very nice writers. Both of mine are "F" nibs.
I think the price you paid was a good deal and if I remember correctly that is what I paid five years ago, and I can be fairly certain they are not getting any cheaper.
I do not use them as often as my other pens, but they make for a great change up and I will not be getting rid of them. I also like big pens.


#4 Mike S.

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 02:10

Thanks for a very thorough review. The one I've seen in my local pen store is a ballpoint, not a fountain pen.

One follow-up question about the nib: is it steel or gold?

#5 Sazerac

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 07:45

QUOTE(Mike S. @ Jun 5 2007, 02:10 AM) View Post
Thanks for a very thorough review. The one I've seen in my local pen store is a ballpoint, not a fountain pen.

One follow-up question about the nib: is it steel or gold?


Thanks for the replies.

The nib is 18 k gold. I I forgot to mention that.

#6 SteveS

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:48

I have the rollerball version of this pen--same barrel and cap. A couple of years ago, I slipped and fell on the ice in my driveway early one morning, before sunrise, and didn't notice that the pen had flown out of my pocket and onto the ground. Needless to say, when my wife left for the day, she ran over it with her car. The cap was flattened, but the rest of the pen survived in great shape, with just a minor scratch. Now that's what I call "build quality."

#7 hardyb

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:59

I have one and it is very nice, medium nib, steel flex. I use it regularly.
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#8 oberon

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:06

Pretty cool, That is a good price, where did you purchase it? Could you post an un posted side view photograph?
Regards,
Oberon

#9 Pen Nut

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:28

Got a rollerball version of this pen and its a great everyday user where a fountain cannot be used.

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#10 yachtsilverswan

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 22:43

Hey Sazerac -

I have this same pen in the two tone gold and steel model - also with a broad nib. Like you said - a smooth wet writer.

The companion ballpoint is also cleverly designed. It's made of the same braided metal hose (yes, this is what Porsche uses to cover brake hoses). But in the click to open - click to close ballpoint, when you click the pen, then entire braided hose contracts and shortens - like an accordian. It's really a cool visual effect.

Porsche_ballpoint.jpg

These are my favorite pens when I do car stuff or sports stuff.
Ray
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#11 Sazerac

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 16:42

QUOTE(oberon @ Jan 29 2008, 08:06 PM) View Post
Pretty cool, That is a good price, where did you purchase it? Could you post an un posted side view photograph?
Regards,
Oberon


Oberon:
I purchased it from A Pen Lover's Paradise when they were closing it out. I think they have sold out.
I've been hunting for some of the other photos I took of the pen to see if I have a side shot. So far, I've not be able to find the files. But I'll look more later tonight.
Yeah, I really love the looks of the pen.

#12 oberon

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 18:06

Was wondering how it compares in size to a Lamy 2000. Feel sure that it weighs more. Looking for a larger weighter pen than the lamy 2000. I like the fact that it seems tough and durable.
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#13 sandeep108

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:55

I did see these pens (including the two tone gold and steel) at a shop. I agree with the reviewer that it is very very heavy and not very comfortable to hold. Otherwise it seemed a very impressive pen.

#14 Saiful

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 00:17

Do you find that the broad nib equates to an OM of Lamy 2000 FP or more similar to the OB of Lamy 2000 FP?
I'm looking for a more substansial pen than the Lamy 2000

Thanks

Saif

#15 Deirdre

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 00:32

QUOTE(sandeep108 @ Jan 30 2008, 10:55 PM) View Post
I did see these pens (including the two tone gold and steel) at a shop. I agree with the reviewer that it is very very heavy and not very comfortable to hold. Otherwise it seemed a very impressive pen.

Actually, the weight of this pen is less than several of the pens I do find comfortable. Granted, my daily writers are all under 20 grams.
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#16 Sazerac

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 00:57

Saif: I'd bet it compares well to a Lamy 2000 OM. I have a Lamy 2000 OB, and its line is broader than the TecFlex. I believe it is longer than the 2000, about the same girth though. Much heavier than the 2000.

#17 cyborg009

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 07:49

I bought one of these bad boys and I was pretty amazed. The writing quality is absolutely terrific (I took a M nib)--better than several pens I own that were twice the price. I got my two tone for $230.00, which I think is a terrific value considering the nib and build quality.

The pen is metallic and so weighs about average for such a design. It won't be problematic for people who are used to using silver or steel pens, but if you have trouble using anything non-plastic, you won't like this pen. I personally like the texture, but if you prefers completely smooth or vey fine textures, steer away.

To sum up, if you like metal pens with a pronounced texture and a cartridge/converter fill system, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than this pen in its price range.


#18 linnicky

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 15:03

Anyone know what is the meaning of the number at the lower part of barrel ( you can see it when you remove the nib from the barrel)? Mine is written 309. Is it a serial number?

#19 Ed Ronax

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 16:15

Excellent review, have been looking at one of these, thanks.
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#20 beluga

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 23:13

beautiful pen and nice review, I have always admired the Faber-Castell and especially the von Graff FC products, I believe (but can not confirm) that FC produce their own nibs, rather tan sourcce them from Bock-at least thats what their lierature implies.



To correct a common error:
I was told on FPN that Pelikan nibs are no longer made by Bock.

And I was also told from a source within Faber-Castell that their nibs still are.

Even Faber-Castell steel nibs perform admirably and I have been along term fan of their products.
If you're in doubt, just try a Faber-Castell Mondoro or Ambition pen.




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