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Onoto Magna Classic And Chuzzelwit Combined Review

onoto magna classic review british pen chuzzelwit

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#1 dapprman

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 18:32

 

Do you have a source for that? If Churchill were in London, he would not need to write away for a replacement.

 

Here is a brief overview of the pen, with a link to the full review at the end of this post.

 

Appearance and Design: 9

While this model (the Chuzzelwit being based on the Magna Classic) is under a decade old, appearance wise there is something very classically British about the pens.  The core model unashamedly harks back to a time of old and is still hand made.  The odd sized nib helps give an illusion that this pen is smaller than it really is, as if it were the same pen Winston Churchill apparently asked his wife to obtain after he lost his in the Number 10 bunker.

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Construction and Quality: 9.5

The score is based upon my original Magna Classic, as the Chuzzelwit was a prototype bought as such at the 2018 London Writing Equipment Show.  The only problem with the latter is the clip is too stiff and had to be prized slightly away from the body.

The pens are hand made and the execution is superb.  Everything fits together extremely well.  The clip has spring and is easy to use and the pen feels secure when in a pocket.  If there were to be one gripe it would be that it takes roughly 3.5 turns to remove the cap, though this is down to the use of a single thread allowing the branding to line up nicely with the clip.

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Weight and Dimensions: 10

The pen is light and appears smaller than it really is, but I found this made it incredibly comfortable to hold and use.   The threads are thin and cannot be noticed unless you rub your finger up and down against them.  The smooth tapering also makes it very easy to find a comfortable position by which to hold the pen, it does not force you in to a specific position.  If you do want a heavier pen then there is a cost option (£30 ?) to have an additional weight added in to the barrel.

 

Nib and Performance: 9

As of late 2018 Onoto are changing their supplier from Bock to Jowo.  The gold nib on my Magna Classic is the former.  With the Chuzzelwit I had an option of a fine Bock or a medium Jowo, trying both at the pen show the latter was far nicer and so was the one I went with.  The size is #7 and the appearance is the same for the nibs of both manufacturers (steel).

The gold nib in the Magna Classic is fine.  It is a very nice writer, smooth and wet, though on the stiffer side.  Despite preferring softer, bouncier nibs I actually rather enjoy the experience of using this pen.  On the Chuzzelwit, the steel nib is also very nice and is possibly nicer than the gold one, which is something to bare in mind as Onoto pens, despite the costs, come with steel nibs as standard, the gold ones are an additional  cost option.

 

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Filling System and Maintenance: 8

There's not too much to say here.  The pens both came with unbranded standard international pattern convertors already installed and no cartridges.  The convertors are firmly in place and fit well.  I'm not one of the 'if it costs more than a couple of hundred quid it must have a piston' brigade, so I have no problems here.  As a result the pen is easy to clean.  Also the nib is in a unit that screws in and out.

 

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Cost and Value: 8 (9.5 for the Chuzzelwit as it is a prototype)

This is a difficult ones.  Onoto pens are not cheap, starting at just under £400 and going in to the multi-thousand.  Additionally they come as stock with steel nibs, the gold option costing £120-140 extra, however at the same time they are hand made in traditional ways and with great care.  The nibs are hand tuned, and also there is a life time guarantee on the pens (though I do not know if this is transferable).

 

Conclusion: 9

I was nervous when I bought the Magna Classic, but enjoyed using it so much that I actually went to the 2018 London Writing Equipment Show with the intention of buying another of their pens if I could get a decent price.  The prototypes have risk, but for me was ultimately worth it.  As ever I advise people to try before buying, especially with the cost of these pens and their rarity on the second hand marker - something of a good sign as it shows people consider them keepers.

 

My full write up can be found at:

https://dapprman.wor...nd-chuzzelwick/

 

(edit next day to correct spelling from Chuzzelwick to Chuzzelwit)


Edited by dapprman, 09 December 2018 - 09:06.


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#2 farazqamar

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 19:32

I own the newer chuzzlewick with the gold plated furniture and absolutely love it. I however do not like the many many turn you have to make to uncap the pen. Makes for a very difficult quick note taking.

#3 praxim

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 22:10

On a historical note, I think the written record, a letter from Churchill, requesting a replacement Onoto is from WW1 when he commanded a battalion on the Western Front, so not the No 10 bunker unless he lost another one.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#4 5Cavaliers

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 22:18

Gorgeous pens!  I know nothing of Onoto pens but these are beautiful.  I guess I need to do some more exploring. 


"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today

 

 

 


#5 praxim

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 22:45

Gorgeous pens!  I know nothing of Onoto pens but these are beautiful.  I guess I need to do some more exploring. 

 

They are outstanding modern pens with some beautiful celluloids. They may also undertake a degree of tailoring for you. I have one with Roger Wolfe's modern internal plunger mechanism.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#6 dapprman

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 22:59

On a historical note, I think the written record, a letter from Churchill, requesting a replacement Onoto is from WW1 when he commanded a battalion on the Western Front, so not the No 10 bunker unless he lost another one.

Cheers for that, though it was 2nd World War



#7 Silent Speaker

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 04:12

Thank you very much for this review dapprman as it has come at a critical time for me and also thank you, and your friend, for your overview of the London pen show! Taking the time to film the interviews with folks like the Scribo fellow rather than simply enjoying the show without any other care etc., is most appreciated for all those around the world who could not make it to the London show, or have no opportunity to make it to any pen show at all for that matter (like myself). Video editing/uploading etc., I have found a tedious exercise and the efforts of your friend are, again, most appreciated.

 

In fact it was PenUltD's vid panning over the Onoto table that has only just gotten me truly interested in the modern company again. (this past week in fact)

 

I only saw it for a split second, but some freeze framing and advanced {{[Enhance!!!]}} CSI techniques allowed me to confirm my suspicion: Onoto do make a black and yellow pinstripe model without the goofy looking Shakespeare medallion affixed, somewhat clumsily looking, like an afterthought, to the finial. I've since been in contact with them and am mulling over weight options this moment hence my delight to see such a fresh Onoto review here.

 

I am somewhat perturbed with myself that I did not notice the nib change, as even though they are No. 7's and, hopefully, the same in proportion, there are some (minor) details that differ between that old gold Bock you've showcased here, which is the style I've had in my head for years, and what I assume to be the newer gold Jowo's as seen on some, but not all, product images on the Onoto site.

 

The Bock's have that more filling text; the big ONOTO makes better use of the space IMO compared to the Jowo which seems to float the expanse a little too much and the little flowing onotonotonoto's that pass for scrollwork better take up their enclosed space on the Bock.

 

I also much prefer the fatter rhodinated segment on the old gold Bock you have there compared to the comparatively skinny one on that steel Jowo, though I believe the gold Jowo's also are less stingy with that slivery section if what I'm seeing on some of the pics on the onoto site are in fact the gold Jowo's.

 

Details, details.. sigh. Just when I thought I had it mostly figured out here you come with some minor niggling detail I had overlooked that throws the question of the thing into the flux of indecision once more! (thanks for the head's up!). For, as you say, Onoto's are not cheap, and in such instances with the market being so abundant in "not cheap" options for comparatively the same coin, it's those niggling minor details that may perhaps tip the scales one way or another. I wonder if any of the old gold Bock's are left in their stock? I mean, it shouldn't matter, feel wise, as I would hope to get it customised by them anyway, but if the option between two slightly different style looks is there...

 

Were you able at all to compare the old gold Bocks and the newer gold Jowo's at the show? (are the nib shoulders the same width abroad?).

 

The last time I looked at getting one of these things must've been at least 4 or 5 years ago or so, and it was the Dickens Nickleby that caught my eye with that striking red. I seem to recall that the original Chuzzelwit was perhaps the first of the Dickens set to sell out (?); from what farazqamar intimates above, there seem to have been several editions of at least that model...? Whatever happened to a "limited edition of 200"? I'll admit that I was surprised that the Nickleby and Copperfield, the two that I would've pegged as popular picks, are still around all these years later. Perhaps they just really are slow movers, and it is a smaller, more niche company after all I guess.

 

Have you have the chance to hold and compare the weighted variant of these magna variants? What did you think of it compared to the lighter, base model? Any thought about getting any of your current pens modified?



#8 praxim

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 04:47

Cheers for that, though it was 2nd World War

 

Do you have a source for that? If Churchill were in London, he would not need to write away for a replacement.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#9 dapprman

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 08:54

 

Do you have a source for that? If Churchill were in London, he would not need to write away for a replacement.

Nope but think I found your source as Paul from Onoto posted here about a lack of proof until he found a book on Churchill's letters, confriming what you said.



#10 dapprman

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 09:00


Were you able at all to compare the old gold Bocks and the newer gold Jowo's at the show? (are the nib shoulders the same width abroad?).

 

Have you have the chance to hold and compare the weighted variant of these magna variants? What did you think of it compared to the lighter, base model? Any thought about getting any of your current pens modified?

 

The only reason I found out is because I tried a steel fine in the Chuzzelwick and did not like it, then went to try the Medium, noticed more than a difference than I expected at which point they explained why.  I thought the nibs looked identical but I wasn't paying that much attention.  Looking now my gold nib has the same feed as the steel, despite being over a year older.  Perhaps they switched to Jowo with the gold one at an earlier stage or may be due to numbers of pens sold and the quantity of nibs to be ordered in a batch, some size/material combinations are still the older manufacturer.  On weight the two pens feel the same with the body.  Cap wise the clip on the Chuzzelwick is a different material as it was done for appearance sake (I asked them about it being so stiff just a few days back and they explained).
 



#11 overwriter

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 17:03

Beautiful pens and a great review. Thank you.



#12 jmccarty3

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 18:07

I have the Onoto "The Doctor's Pen" in black. It has a wonderful oblique fine 18k nib. The only problem, as mentioned above, is the large number of turns needed to uncap or recap the pen, making it a bit impractical to use at the office. The clip of this pen is a beautiful bicolor Staff of Asclepius, the correct symbol of the medical profession. I got this pen from Lisa Vanness at Vanness Pens--she is particularly knowledgeable about Onoto and Conway Stewart pens, and I highly recommend her to US customers who might be interested.

 

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: onoto, magna classic, review, british pen, chuzzelwit



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