Yesterday, I received from Grifos, the Italian pen maker based near Turin, Italy, the Grifos Masonic Square & Compasses (the “Masonic”) fountain pen with a medium gold-plated nib. I inked it up with Waterman Purple ink, began writing with it the same day, and have written with it today. First, here are photos I’ve taken, and then I’ll provide my early first impressions of the pen.
This Grifos pen appears to be unique among the many Grifos offerings on its website; those other models normally contain heavier components, including more metal. The Masonic is made primarily from a light-weight, black resin. It has gold-plated trim – the clip, cap band, and thinner ring near the end of the barrel. The cap band has on its front the words, “Alius Ex Alio,” which means “one for the other.” On the cap band’s back is a small Griffon head and the inscription, “Made in Italy.” The Masonic is 5.5” (almost 14 cm.) long and is quite light-weight (I couldn’t find my scale). The only other metal is in the black section’s threads, which screw into the plastic threads of the barrel. I could be wrong, but I think that the Masonic is the only Grifos FP with a snap-on cap; all the other models, I believe, feature screw-on caps. If you know differently, please post here to correct my statement.
Other than the GP trim, the only decoration on the pen is that on the lower half of the barrel, which features, in a copperish-gold color, the Masonic square and compass logo with a capital ‘G’ (for Grifos, I assume) in its middle.
The Masonic comes with an International Standard converter and a pack of six short Life Line branded black cartridges.
After filling the converter from a fresh unused bottle of Waterman Purple ink, the Masonic wrote immediately with a medium line neither too wet nor too dry, but in the “Goldilocks” zone. I wrote with the pen a few brief paragraphs, shown here. I left the Masonic to sit in my pen box for about 20 hours, and it wrote just as readily this evening. The medium, gold-plated nib is attractive and firm with just enough (slight) give to impart a pleasant feel when writing. The section thins out a bit in its middle, but I would not characterize the section in any way as a “step-down” type of section. Further time will tell how it performs with more intensive use.
My one criticism so far is that the snap-on cap, although easy to remove is a bit awkward feeling to reinsert at times. That awkwardness may be caused by the cap’s inner plastic liner nearer to the top of the cap, and this minor issue may resolve after further use; we’ll have to wait and see.
For the Masonic, I paid a sale price (15 % off), which was 179.20 Euros (about $201 USD). As of today, that’s still the price in Euros. I believe that we all are seeing small-batch pens at or near that price range with only stainless steel or GP nibs, so the price is not a shock. The pen has a special design that might attract those who are Masons (I am not) and also are fountain pen fans.
In summary, at this early point of experience with the Masonic, it is an attractive and light-weighted pen with a nice gold-plated nib that writes well.