I am reviewing a Dryden Designs “Modern Classic Limited Collection”, only available with a Medium Nib, available both on Amazon and directly from their web site.
I have a strong preference for pens with a fine nib, and this particular model is only available with a medium nib. I bought the pen anyway because I really like how the pen looks. I thought about this purchase for a few months before finally buy one to test. I should also note that I spent most of my life using a slim ball-point pen, which is at odds with most fountain pens; which are usually much thicker.
The first thing that I did with the pen was use the included converter to fill the pen with Pelikan 4001 Turquoise ink. I have used the pen for a few weeks and I have used up the ink in the converter; I need to refill it. I filled pages of text in both extended multi-page writing sessions as well as short, one or two word, writing sections. The pen might site for days without use before its next use; I have about 10 pens inked right now.
The converter worked well. I had no issues filling the pen. I have not used it long enough to discuss longevity; I have only owned the pen for a month.
The pen has been very reliable and enjoyable to use. I did not experience skips or other problems related to starting or writing. The nib is reasonably smooth... Not as smooth as my Lamy Studio with a Gold EF nib or my Lamy 2000 with a Gold EF nib, but those are exceptionally smooth.
I have a strong preference for fine nibs based on my years of using fine point writing devices in Mathematics. I use EF nibs on my Lamy pens and F nibs on my Pilot pens. One of my Pilot pens has an EF nibs, which is very fine compared to any other nib that I own.
I compared the writing of the Dryden pen with a Jinhao X750 with a medium nib and the resulting writing width looks the same to me. It is surely narrower than my Parker with a broad nib. In other words, it acts like a Medium nib.
I do not like the clip. The clip has a small ball on the inside, which has a tendency to catch as I put the pen into, or remove my pen from, my pocket. Bottom line, I don't like the nib. Pretty much everything else, I really like.
The “threads” that appear to be in place for a cap to screw in place are not helical in nature. In other words, it would not be possible to use the threads to screw something to the pen. They are just grooves that go in a circle around the pen. When I use the pen, my fingers are touching these grooves in the pen. The grooves are not sharp and I never noticed that my fingers touched them until I specifically looked. Your comfort level using this pen is more a question of your preference to a thick pen versus a thinner pen (in my opinion). I find the pen very comfortable and easy to use.
The cap has a very positive click when it locks in place. I am not concerned about the cap coming off when it should not.
The nib is small, smaller than the nib on my Pilot Custom 74, and significantly smaller than the nib on a Jinhao X750 (see picture, top to bottom is the Jinhao, Dryden Designs, and Pilot Custom 74).
I sent an email to Michael Dryden, the CEO and founder of Dryden Designs and I asked him about this pen. He mentioned that all of their nibs are made by a company in Germany. The nib contains the text “GENIUS IRIDIUM” and looks remarkably similar to a nib that I saw on a Hero 901 pen (in terms of markings and coloring), but usually I see this also including “GERMANY” on the nib as well; for example, their bamboo pen. Some of their pens have pictures showing this on the nib. I am taking Michael at his word that this nib was made in Germany and this is not the same as the IPG (Iridium Point Germany) debacle, which means pretty much nothing about the country of origin for the nib. My best guess is that the nibs are made by Schneider.
Michael also told me that although the nib is NOT user replaceable, some users have managed to replace the nib. I did not pursue this, nor did I attempt to dismantle the pen (even though I like to do such things); I like the pen too much, and it writes to well, for me to risk $20 just to have a little fun taking the pen apart and finding out that I broke it in the process. For now, just assume that if you destroy the nib, you buy a new pen. On the other hand, I purchased some spare nibs that I can drop into a pen such as the Jinhao X750, and those nibs cost me about $15 each, which is about the same cost as the pen.
Michael Dryden did say that they were looking at the fact that the nib is not replaceable; I speculate, threefore, that this may be possible in the future. If the only available nib is Medium, it is less important that the nib is user replaceable given the low price point on the pen. I will admit, however, that I was very upset when I dropped a $15 pen and the manufacturer (Pilot) did NOT offer replacement nibs at any price. That particular pen is now using a compatible $1 Chinese nib purchased on ebay.
What else did Michael Dryden tell me?
• All of their pens are designed by them in the USA.
• Materials for the pens are sourced from 5 different countries of which the USA is one.
• All of their nibs are made in Germany.
• Finally assembly is done in their warehouse in China
There are many reviews on Amazon for this fountain pen, very highly positive. Most of the reviews do not strike me as though they were written by people who know much about fountain pens. What is notable, is that people who had problems, indicated that Dryden Designs made it right.
This is the only pen that I have tested from Dryden Designs. Some of their other pens have nib sizes other than Medium.
Based on my experience with this pen, I would say that if a pen from Dryden Designs catches your fancy, give it a try. I have been very pleased with mine. If you have used one of their pens, especially one of their other models, I would love to hear about it.