It’s nearly 3 years since I reviewed a pen that had (at that time) just arrived on the market – the Fountain Pen Revolution ‘Himalaya’ – and in that time I’ve added a few more to my collection (the number now stands at 5!). It’s one of my favourite low(er) cost fountain pens, it’s elegant looking, it writes well…
The one thing I felt could be improved – and I guess I’m not the only one who relayed this to Kevin, the proprietor of FPR – was the size of the nib. As smooth as FPR’s #5.5 nibs are to write with, I just like the look of the larger #6 nibs better. So you can imagine my delight to discover that, in addition to the existing #5.5 nib version of the pen, Kevin was releasing an additional version with #6 nib. I ordered one the moment they went up on the website, and have been using it now for a couple of weeks.
Because this is not a brand new design, I’ll try to keep the review a bit shorter – you can find my review of the original version of the Himalaya at http://www.fountainp...pen-revolution/ (and just to be clear, this version is not going away – it will continue to be produced “as long as there’s continuing demand”.
[Disclaimer: though I have received free review pens from FPR in the past, this pen was purchased with my own money – in either case, the views expressed in this review are entirely my own.]
- Appearance & Design
Both versions of the Himalaya are now available in two materials (acrylic and ebonite), with multiple colour options. The acrylic versions come in 10 different colours – mine is called ‘Purple Amethyst’; while ebonite versions of the pen are currently restricted to a green/black swirl and a brown/black. Whereas the #5.5 nib version of the pen was only offered with a chrome trim (and this continues to be the case), the #6 sports a gold clip and cap band, and by default comes with a dual-tone (gold and chrome) nib.
The swirled acrylic of the Purple Amethyst pen – like the other acrylics I’ve purchased in the old version – is very attractive, with a lovely ‘chatoyance’ that leave you feeling like you’re staring into the depths of the material. I like the slight tapering of the pen towards the top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel, that gives it a more ‘curved’ look – as opposed to the ramrod “straightness” of the FPR Triveni.
- Construction & Quality
The pen feels sturdy in the hand, is expertly turned, and has no rough patches or visible flaws. My older Himalayas are by now (up to) 3 years old, and none have shown any sign of cracking or discolouring. The clip is sturdy, and is tight enough to hold the pen firmly in a pocket, but springy enough to be flexible. The threads are smooth, making the cap (and barrel) easy to open to pull the pen apart.
I have to admit there are a couple of minor ‘blemishes’ as regards the fit and finish of the pen – though for the price, these are understandable, and do little to affect my appreciation of the pen:
(1) There was a slight scratch on the metal cap-band when the pen arrived; and
(2) The machine marks left in the acrylic by the process of turning the pen have not been fully buffed out. It’s not really noticeable except when the pen is illuminated for photos – but in the strong sunlight (or under my Ott-lamp!) I could see lots of superficial scratching on the surface of the acrylic. [Then again, since I don’t really baby my pens, that wouldn’t have taken long for me to accomplish myself!]
I feel compelled to say that I would have preferred this pen with a chrome trim – I like the look better than gold – and I’m told that a chrome version of the larger pen may eventually become available, if there’s high enough demand. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that in the hand the gold trim didn’t bother me – and the dual-tone (chrome-edged gold) nib looks really good.
- Weight & Dimensions
As with its predecessor, I’d classify the new Himalaya as a ‘Medium’ sized pen – though both the grip section and the cap have been extended to accommodate the larger nib. It’s very comfortable in the hand, and long enough to write with either posted or unposted.
Lengthwise, the pen is 138mm long capped, 127mm uncapped, and extends to ~165mm when posted (as compared with measurements of 134mm, 121mm, and 152mm for the original pen). It weighs in at 16.7g (10.7g uncapped) – though I expect this would be a little heavier for the ebonite versions. The cap diameter (not including clip) is 14.5mm at its widest point, the barrel diameter sits around 12mm, while the grip section (19mm long) tapers down from 11mm diameter near the cap threads, to 9.5mm at its narrowest… before flaring out at the end to 11mm at the lip. This makes for a very comfortable writing experience – at least in my hands!
- Nib & Performance
This obviously is the big difference between the original Himalaya and the new version (other than the gold trim). The #6 two tone nib sits against a 6.3mm ebonite feed – both of which can be replaced. Other #6 nibs (JoWo, Bock, Jinhao etc) can easily be swapped in and out – and the ebonite feed can easily be heat set to ensure a close fit.
I ordered an Ultra-Flex steel nib, and inked it up with Diamine Robert, a high sheening ink only available at Cult Pens. The slightest pressure causes the tines to split, just marginally, allowing the pen to lay down a rich line of ink – and additional pressure easily produces broader lines. FPR nibs are consistently good (with the possible exception of their 1.0mm stubs, which tend to write like an Extra Broad rather than a stub!), and their Ultra-Flex nibs (I now have 3) are amazing.
- Filling System & Maintenance
The new Himalaya relies on the same filling system as the old: a push-type piston filling mechanism, similar to (but smaller than) the system Nathan Tardif uses in his Noodler’s Ahab. Its capacity is (I think) around 1 mL – which will run out relatively quickly with a flex nib! – but it can be removed to convert the pen to an eyedropper, allowing for a much larger ink capacity. As I’m aware, it’s not possible to use standard international (or other) cartridges with the pen – but you *can* buy replacement filling mechanisms, if you accidentally drop the original down the sink (don’t ask me how I know this: it should be obvious…).
- Cost & Value
At US$32 (plus postage, plus extra if you want a B, stub, or flex nib), the #6 Himalaya is very reasonably priced – especially for an acrylic or ebonite pen. The older Himalaya still has a base price of $29, which is equally impressive. The FPR Triveni has jumped significantly in price recently – and in my view is not quite as aesthetically attractive (I own several of these too). The #6 Himalaya, for me, has now become the best pen in FPR’s range.
I’ve been a long-time customer of FPR, and am a fan of their customer service – so it would be easy for me to be biased when it comes to their products. For mine, though, this is an excellent pen. It’s not as well “finished” as some of my more expensive pens – but for the price, I think that’s excusable. The Himalaya is attractive, fun to write with, highly serviceable… and in every other way a worthwhile buy. Thanks, Kevin, for listening to customer feedback, and making the #6 option on this pen a reality!