Ah! My first review!
I understand that several FPN members have written reviews on the CS 100, and a year ago, Mobybick2 wrote a wonderful review on this exact same pen. However, since this pen is so popular, I think an additional review is necessary. After all, I really have to start participating more in this friendly and educational community.
A Brief Background:
I purchased this pen last Christmas. After reading several reviews and drooling over Conway Stewart's official website, I bought the pen from Pen Gallery. I thought it was the best pen in the world: classy, prestigious, beautiful, and an embodiment of alcoholic activities. Little did I know the frustration and joy this pen would bring me.
This pen looked great in pictures. When looking at the Conway Stewart's official website or browsing over Google Image, this color looked subtle, deep and magical. However, the pictures do not fully reflect the pen's variations in appearance. The pen does look good under dark lightening. The red marbling perfectly mixes into the black marble background, exuding an aura of elegance and splendor. However, when put under bright lightening, the pen suddenly changes into something different: it becomes energetic and coarse. The red and black marble falls apart, giving a sense of contrast rather than a sense of harmony. It has moods - just like a pretty girl.
The clip fits tightly onto the cap. Thickly plated with 18K gold, the traditional clip is the perfect decoration to any shirt pocket. Three solid, 18K gold bands adorn the cap. The middle one is very thick, and on it there are some engravings that I can hardly read. At the very top of the cap a black jewel crowns the pen. The jewel pleasantly fits with the pen's general color scheme.
In the middle of the pen's barrel there are some engravings. The engraving is very elegant, and it is very special. It is different from engravings generally seen on plates and trophies.
Section Grade: (9/10, A-)
Size / Weight:
This is a large pen. Though a bit shorter than Mont Blanc 146, it is a little wider than 146. The length is 13.9 cm, 16.7 cm cap posted. The cap is around 1.5 cm, and the diameter is around 1.3 cm. It is not a light pen, but not too heavy either. The weight is somewhat similar to a 146.
Section Grade: (10/10, A+)
Nib / Feed:
Here is where my frustrations began. I originally ordered a Fine Nib, but after it's inked, the lines were dry. The nib was flexible alright, but I habitually tilt my nib a little to the right whenever I write, which means the nib becomes extremely scratchy. I sent the pen to Conway Stewart for a nib exchange - I thought a medium would fix the problem. The people at Conway Stewart cordially changed the nib without charging me a penny. However, the nib was still very scratchy for me. I knew that sending the pen to CS factory again would not solve the problem, and for a while I thought of selling the pen - until I met Fred.
Mr. Fred Krinke is the president of The Fountain Pen Shop, Inc. in Monrovia, California. He is one of the most exceptional human beings I have ever met. It took him a few seconds to smooth up the nib, and ever since his magical hands touched my pen, that nib has become perfectly smooth.
Here is a writing sample:
The ink flow is very generous, and the nib offers some line variations. Sometimes it has trouble starting, but the problem is not very serious. The 18K nib is HUGE! Monotone, the nib bears the engraving "Conway Stewart 18ct Gold". The design is fantastic.
Section Grade: (8.7/10, B+)
The model features two different filling mechanisms. One is "twist fill", another "cartridge/converter". I thought of trying something new and get the "twist fill", but after knowing that such filling mechanism does not have an ink window, I decided not to buy it. I do like to check on my ink level every once a while, and I do like to use cartridge when traveling or taking exams. So I chose the cartridge/converter filling mechanism.
The pen's original converter is terrible. The ink often fail to flow down, and after some writing, the ink flow would simply stop. Since the pen takes international cartridges, it was easy to find a replacement. The converter is now working perfectly.
Section Grade: (10/10, A+)
This pen is very expensive. The Conway Stewart website puts it at 320 pounds, or $565 USD. I bought it from Pen Gallery during its Christmas sell, and paid around $370 USD. Sure the pen is expensive, but when thinking about the company's history, when knowing that Tony Blair and Winston Churchill both are proud owners of CS fountain pens, and when considering the amount of gold and human labour put into this pen, the price is somewhat justified.
Section Grade: (9.2/10, A-)
Sure there have been some problems and disappointments, but overall this is a decent pen. It will definitely be my close companion for a very, very long time.
Final Grade: (46.9/50, 94%, A)
Edited by bohan, 06 July 2007 - 17:34.