This will be my third review of what’s essentially the same pen, so it’s going to be briefer than the previous – a little over a month ago, the folks at Fountain Pen Revolution (fprevolutionusa.com) announced that they were releasing yet another iteration of the ‘Himalaya’. Having gotten advance notice of this (via Instagram or Facebook I think?), I contacted Kevin and asked if he would let me know as soon as they were available for sale – then ordered a couple. The pens arrived late last week, and I’ve been tinkering with them ever since.
The original Himalaya came with an ebonite feed, a ‘push-piston’ converter, and was designed to accommodate FPR’s standard #5.5 nib. I accumulated 5 of these (4 acrylic, one ebonite) – if that’s any indication of how much like them – but always felt there were two things that would make them better:
- The push converter can get a bit ‘sticky’ – if you want to prime the feed a little for flex writing, it’s easy to push too hard and end up with a jet of ink!
- Though the #5.5 nibs are great, and don’t look out of proportion to the pen body, I like the look of a #6 better.
FPR’s first update to the Himalaya (earlier this year) delivered on that second ideal – lengthening the cap slightly to accommodate the longer nib – but also came with gold-plated ‘furniture’ (clip, cap band and nib), which I’m a bit less keen on. The V2 update returns to chrome fittings, but also introduces a twist-style converter that give greater control when trying to prime the feed.
So, what do I think of the pen? Unsurprisingly, I’m a big fan.
Appearance & Design
The Himalaya V2-Chrome is available in a wide range of colours – eight acrylic and two ebonite. I wasn’t enamoured of the new Candy Pink/Red option (I’m sure others will love it), but the Vermillion Red-Orange looked amazing, and I’d been thinking of pulling the trigger on a Jade Smoke for some time – so those were my choices.
As with the #6 Himalaya, the main difference is the larger #6 nib, which necessitates a slightly longer cap. Other than that, the attractive tapered styling of the original is conserved. I’ve always like the look of the pen, so the conservatism as to the overall design is a big plus.
I’m really impressed with the quality of the acrylics that are used to make these pens. The finish is not *quite* as highly polished as it might be on a higher-end pen (hey, it’s a $35 pen not a $350 pen), but the depth and ‘chatoyance’ is just amazing!
Construction & Quality
The fit and finish on these new pens is absolutely consistent – as per the previous iterations. Threads are smooth and comfortable in the hand. The caps on my previous versions provide good protection against ink dry-out, and I’m confident the same will apply to the V2. I *definitely* prefer the chrome finishing to the gold – but that’s purely a matter of personal preference.
One small downer was the FPR branding on the clip band: the engraving was fairly shallow, and the right ‘leg’ or downstroke on the ‘R’ was largely missing. I understand FPR have invested in their own engraving machine recently, so that issue may resolve itself in the near future.
Weight & Dimensions
As with its predecessors, the Himalaya fits solidly in the ‘Medium’ sized category – longer than my pocket pens (the TWSBI Diamond Mini, Kaweco Sports etc), but a little shorter than a “full-length” pen like the TWSBI Diamond 580 or Eco. It’s very comfortable in the hand, though, and long enough to write with either posted or unposted.
As these pens are individually machined, there are slight variations in their ‘vital statistics’. Lengthwise, the Vermillion pen was 138mm long capped, while the Jade Smoke pen was about 0.5mm shorter. Uncapped it was 127mm, and ~16mm posted. My digital scale isn’t working today, but the FPR web page indicates that it’s around 16g empty.
The cap diameter (not including clip) is 14mm at its widest point, the barrel diameter sits around 12mm, while the grip section (18mm long) tapers down from 11mm diameter near the cap threads, to 10mm at its narrowest… before flaring out at the end to 11mm at the lip. These measurements are very similar to the gold-trim #6 Himalaya – and a bit longer than the original.
All three versions of the Himalaya are comfortable in the hand for long writing sessions – the light weight and the girth of the grip section combine to make this a very pleasant writing experience.
Nib & Performance
In conjunction with the release of the V2 Himalaya, FPR also offered a brand new nib option – an EF ultra-flex nib. I’ve become a real sucker for their regular (F?) ultraflexes, so ordered both pens with the new EF.
The ebonite feed on the Himalaya V2 is longer than for the V1, to reduce the distance between the rear of the feed and the top of the converter, and reduce the chance of the pen getting air-locked (according to FPR's YouTube video introducing the pen) - unfortunately I forgot to photograph this before inking up!
These pens are both very wet, and lay down a lot of ink – maybe a shade less than the F ultraflex, but they produce beautiful wide lines when downward pressure is applied. The Jade Smoke pen wrote just a little dryer and railroaded more readily than the F ultraflex and the other EF ultraflex, but it was only recently inked, and with a pigment ink – with a bit of TLC I’m confident it’ll flex more consistently.
Writing with all three of my #6 Himalayas is a wonderful experience – I don’t tend to flex my nibs out much, but love the slight line variation possible with small variations in pressure, and the amazing smoothness of the nibs against paper. I believe FPR do a fair bit to customise these pens to ensure consistent performance, and it really shows.
Filling System & Maintenance
The new twist converter is the main point of difference between the Himalaya V2 and its predecessors, and it’s a definite improvement. Ink is easy to draw in, and it’s straightforward to inject a small amount of additional ink into the feed to prime it for flex writing (if necessary). The converter can be disassembled to renew the silicone grease around the piston head (the whole back part just pops off), and I like the way it screws in to the grip section to provide a secure fit.
I had an unfortunate accident with my Vermillion Himalaya over the weekend: I noticed some leaking of ink between the grip section and the converter, so pulled it apart to clean it.
Unfortunately, I tried to reassemble the pen with wet hands, and applied too much torque when screwing the converter back into the grip section – I mean, *way* too much – and produced a crack in the threaded acrylic. I’ve been able to apply a temporary fix with superglue, which seems to be holding for now – and Kevin from FPR has kindly agreed to send me a replacement.
[Since sending out the first batch of pens, he’s begun applying silicone grease on the converter threads, to reduce the chance of leakage. I think the damage was entirely my fault, but if the manufacturer wants to share the blame, *and* the cost of a replacement part, who am I to argue? It serves to reinforce my impression that FPR stand behind their products with excellent customer service – so I thought it worth mentioning!]
Cost & Value
At US$35 (plus postage), the Himalaya is slightly pricier again than its predecessors ($29 for the original Himalaya, and $32 for the #6 gold trim version) – but it’s still an absolute steal for such an attractive pen, and very well constructed. You’ll pay an extra $4 on top for a B, 1.1mm stub or regular flex nib, or $14 for an EF ultraflex – but its’ still excellent value, even with the pricier nibs
For mine, this is another ‘win’ for the Himalaya line. Much as I enjoy my older models, I wish I could trade them in for the new. You can’t go wrong with any of these, but for mine, the #6 nib, chrome trim and twist converter put the Himalaya V2 in prime position for future purchases.
p.s. If you want to check out my earlier reviews, for comparison, you can find them at:
Edited by Jamerelbe, 25 November 2019 - 13:02.