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Flex Nibs Shootout: Montblanc 149, Pilot Custom 743 Fa, Vintage Waterman's 3

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21 replies to this topic

#1 MichalK

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 20:10

Not typical video for me (not urushi this time). With help from my girlfriend - a small shootout of flexible nibs. 

Enjoy

 


Michal
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#2 MoriartyR

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 21:19

A very enjoyable video and three great pens. I love the ink too.

I am enormously impressed with your girlfriend’s handwriting, which really shows what these pens are capable of in the right hands. I wish I could write like that. I have no idea how she can even hold a pen with those long nails, but it clearly works for her.

#3 Tasmith

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 02:31

Well done!



#4 Karmachanic

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 08:00

Enjoyed the video. Thank you.

 

As the price difference far outweighs the performance difference, I'll stay and be happy with the 912FA with an Ebonite feed.


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#5 hari317

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 08:21

Thank you. It was very illustrative. Vintage montblanc could have blown the socks off the modern contenders as well.
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#6 max dog

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 11:09

For the best of both worlds of a superb practical EF nib, and vintage like flex, it would be the 149 Calligraphy hands down. I have both a vintage Waterman 52V flex pen and Pilot FA, and the 149 is my go to pen for real world flex pen enjoyment that I can do everything with. A daily work horse and a reliable flex writer.

#7 cunim

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 13:50

Useful comparison.  Thanks.



#8 MichalK

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 21:55

Thank you. It was very illustrative. Vintage montblanc could have blown the socks off the modern contenders as well.


We compared 149 calligraphy with tiny 142 nib (50ties, celluloid pen) - it crushed modern 149.
https://youtu.be/-PCuTVsra9c
Michal
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#9 max dog

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 23:17

A $10 Speedball dip pen can blow the socks off and crush all of them.

fpn_1484394880__speedball_dip_pen.jpg

Flex purists and professional calligraphers use dip pens.  

 

The trick is harnessing all that raw flex capability in a reliable and practical modern factory nib for a great all around performer.  The 149 Calligraphy excels at that.  A great practical flex pen.    

fpn_1582961202__mb_149_calligraphy_writi


Edited by max dog, 25 June 2020 - 23:42.


#10 hari317

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 08:04

We compared 149 calligraphy with tiny 142 nib (50ties, celluloid pen) - it crushed modern 149.

:thumbup: I greatly enjoy my celluloid piston filled Montblancs, lovely nibs, very reliable daily users.
 


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#11 max dog

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 21:01

We compared 149 calligraphy with tiny 142 nib (50ties, celluloid pen) - it crushed modern 149.

I watched the comparison video linked here, at the 6 minutes mark, and the 149 flex nib performance compares comparably to the vintage 142 in the video.  Can you elaborate how the 149 was crushed, as I don't see it?



#12 MichalK

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 21:07

I watched the comparison video linked here, at the 6 minutes mark, and the 149 flex nib performance compares comparably to the vintage 142 in the video.  Can you elaborate how the 149 was crushed, as I don't see it?


1) nib 1/3 in size - same flex range? Hmm.
2) snapback - 149 gives much less feedback for the writer
3) control over the nib. It behaves as you want it to, does not fight,
4) subjective - more pleasurable to use.

Most of above points are from Jola. Her penmanship is much mich better than mine.
Michal
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#13 max dog

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 23:02

1) nib 1/3 in size - same flex range? Hmm.
2) snapback - 149 gives much less feedback for the writer
3) control over the nib. It behaves as you want it to, does not fight,
4) subjective - more pleasurable to use.

Most of above points are from Jola. Her penmanship is much mich better than mine.
Michal

Michal.  Jola's penmanship is superb!  I wish I could do that.

 

I can agree that the snapback on the 149 may not be on par with some vintage flex nibs, but I have to say after 4 months now of daily use, the 149 flex nib on mine has opened up and is nicely soft to yield flex writing with great control and ease.  I don't know how much use your 149 calligraphy pen has had, but I don't find it stiff at all, and can control it with the same ease as the vintage nib.

 

In comparison to my Waterman 52V, which is not a wet noodle but full flex, the softness of my 149 is about the same.  The snapback is slightly better than the 149, but not by a big margin.  Below I just did full flex writing comparison and the effort to flex the 149 is about the same as the vintage nib with the same amount of control.  The modern 149 flex nib can give flex results comparable to a vintage flex nib.  

 

Perhaps compared to a wet noodle or very soft vintage flex nib, the 149 might be stiffer, but that is very subjective.  As my writing sample below show objectively, the 149 performs comparably, and in my opinion has vintage like flex capability. 

 

Montblanc 149 Calligraphy flex vs vintage Waterman's 52V flex.  Top part done with 52V, bottom part done with the 149.

fpn_1593212170__mb_149_flex_vs_waterman_

Ink used is Parker Quink Washable Blue in both pens.  Note: the Waterman nib had to be dipped because it has no sac, so that's why the line looks darker and more saturated than the 149 line. 

 

Notice how fine a line the 149 can match with the hairline of the Waterman.  I could probably squeeze a little wider line at full flex with the Waterman, but I don't like to put it through that kind of abuse given it is over 100 years old.  I could press the 149 a little more, but I don't feel comfortable doing that.  Montblanc specs say the 149 can yield a maximum flex width of 1.6 mm.  Other than a single rail road incident at the end on the first set of swirls, the 149 performed without hiccup.  


Edited by max dog, 27 June 2020 - 00:36.


#14 Lloyd

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 01:57

Please be aware that there is some variability in nibs even from the same model.  Not every Pilot #15 FA, MB expressions,Waterman 52V, etc., is the same.


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#15 MichalK

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 09:44

Michal.  Jola's penmanship is superb!  I wish I could do that.

 

[...]

 

max dog - Right, I dod not use my 149 too much - too many pens ;) I noticed change over time (initial period of use) with other nibs and with this one It will probably the same. So We should make a proper comparison in several months ;) 

 

As for writing samples - they are realy close, but what I was refering to was more "dynamic" - to just statis results, but also way you can use the nib, feel, control over the nib. From my point of view Pilot FA is bes for me and my (not impressive) writing. For Jola it was Waterman or MB 142 every time. She has much more control over pen, and expects much more from the nib than I do. So, some things are objective (wide line, narrow line, pressure) some are more subjective probably (snapback, softness, controll, feedback etc). 

 

I love pens and nibs, and i do not compare them for the sake of choosing a winner.

I could not use a vintage pen as EDC - I tried and I was disappointed with some other things than quality of writing. But still I admire some of vintage nibs. Same with MB 149 - I is a great pen, nice nib, good move from MB. I like it. 

 

Please be aware that there is some variability in nibs even from the same model.  Not every Pilot #15 FA, MB expressions,Waterman 52V, etc., is the same.

 

Lloyd - you are probably right. 


Michal
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#16 cunim

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 14:48

LLoyd is right.  There is great variation between identical-looking vintage nibs.  Really, after all these years most of them have been pretty thoroughly trashed and the pens do have leakage issues.  After all, the feeds must keep up when flex is called for so it's all about flow.  Therefore, much as I love my vintage nibs, I look for moderns that can serve as EDCs.  Not an easy thing though the 149 flex is attractive because it is such an ordinary pen.  Off the shelf, well made, service available. I am tempted.

 

Still, you can find alternatives.  Here's a comparison of a Zebra G (in a fountain pen), W94, W7, W52, Regalia X-Flex (a modified steel Jowo), and Leonardt Principal (dip).  The Zebra is the best of the fountain pens, but not really practical for EDC.  The three vintage nibs are all good and the 94 and 52, in particular, have the snap that sets really good nibs apart.  The really interesting one is the Regalia.  That doesn't have quite the hairlines of the Zebra,  but it snaps well and its flex range is broader than any of the vintage.  How does Ralph Reyes turn out a nib that is so much better than the other moderns?  Is he doing this consistently, or did I just get a good one?  Don't know and, sadly, I don't go to US pen shows so I can't find out.  He doesn't sell on line.

 

fpn_1590289615__compare.jpg



#17 MichalK

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 16:52

LLoyd is right.  There is great variation between identical-looking vintage nibs.  Really, after all these years most of them have been pretty thoroughly trashed and the pens do have leakage issues.  After all, the feeds must keep up when flex is called for so it's all about flow.  Therefore, much as I love my vintage nibs, I look for moderns that can serve as EDCs.  Not an easy thing though the 149 flex is attractive because it is such an ordinary pen.  Off the shelf, well made, service available. I am tempted.
 
Still, you can find alternatives.  Here's a comparison of a Zebra G (in a fountain pen), W94, W7, W52, Regalia X-Flex (a modified steel Jowo), and Leonardt Principal (dip).  The Zebra is the best of the fountain pens, but not really practical for EDC.  The three vintage nibs are all good and the 94 and 52, in particular, have the snap that sets really good nibs apart.  The really interesting one is the Regalia.  That doesn't have quite the hairlines of the Zebra,  but it snaps well and its flex range is broader than any of the vintage.  How does Ralph Reyes turn out a nib that is so much better than the other moderns?  Is he doing this consistently, or did I just get a good one?  Don't know and, sadly, I don't go to US pen shows so I can't find out.  He doesn't sell on line.


Great comparison, thank you. Impressive penmanship!
I cant write so nice, but have similar approach - vintage are (or- can be) fantastic, but not as EDC. That is why I bought Pilot with FA, this Montblanc and recently Scribo feel with 14k “flessibile” nib.
Michal
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#18 peroride

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 17:48

Great comparison, thank you. Impressive penmanship!
I cant write so nice, but have similar approach - vintage are (or- can be) fantastic, but not as EDC. That is why I bought Pilot with FA, this Montblanc and recently Scribo feel with 14k “flessibile” nib.

 

Oooo! I'd love to see Jola battle out the Scribo Feel, MB 149 Calligraphy Flex and Pilot #15 FA with FNF, Proszę :notworthy1:

And @MichalK please tell us you're not going to urushi the Scribo ?  :huh:



#19 MichalK

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 18:05

Oooo! I'd love to see Jola battle out the Scribo Feel, MB 149 Calligraphy Flex and Pilot #15 FA with FNF, Proszę :notworthy1:
And @MichalK please tell us you're not going to urushi the Scribo ?  :huh:


I’ll ask her, bit she is not easy to cooperate in this area ;)
Zrobię co w mojej mocy ;))

I took Melograno so it will not get urushi makeover ;) Fine 14k nib - i like if very much. But planning 18k too, but this time something broad. Or broader. Or insanely broad ;)

Michał
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#20 Ryanlim

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Posted 18 July 2020 - 17:45

Thank you for a nice comparison of 3 great pens with flex nibs. I am still working on a consistent 'flex' writing with my 743 FA nib...(for the past 6 months now,....) and it is still quite temperamental....depending on my mood when using the pen..Maybe it's just a lack of training on penmanship.

 

Amazing handwriting by your GF, btw. Cheers,







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