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Conway Stewart Churchill LE BCHR


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#1 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 21:48

Conway Stewart Churchill LE BCHR Review

First Impressions

I have had an interest in Conway Stewart Pens but I was really unsure of which one I really wanted. If anyone knows anything about me, they know that I am into large and oversize fountain pens. I really love the design of the Duro and the 100 but for some reason, the Churchill didn't really appeal to me, at least at first. As with most pens that I initially was not drawn to, some of them eventually start to grow on me and the Churchill was no different. There are so many different colors and patterns to choose from, it is really difficult to find the one I really wanted. The one that I really wanted was the Limited Edition Conway Stewart Churchill in the ripple design. Unfortunately, this edition was completely sold out and Kevin was unable to acquire a new one for me. The next choice was the Limited Edition Churchill in the Black Chased Hard Rubber style in Rhodium & Silver trim with a lever filler. What made me really want this pen was that there was a Limited Edition pen by Conway Stewart that Kevin Cheng (Winedoc) had commissioned and it was called the "Doctors Pen".

(Photo Taken By William Riepl on the Stylophilesonline website)

I believe it was in the 100 size and it came in either a piston filler or a cartridge/converter and it also had Rhodium/Silver trim and rhodium plated 18kt gold nib. Unfortunately this pen was sold out and impossible to find new or used, so it left me wanting a pen that I probably would never be able to acquire. The "Doctors Pen" was created for doctors and physicians and since I am neither, it would be something that wouldn't have as much meaning as someone who was a doctor would have. [/size]

I discovered that Conway Stewart created a limited edition pen similar to the "Doctors Pen" but would be more to my liking and personality. The Churchill is a bit larger in length and in diameter than the 100 size. So I emailed Kevin regarding this pen and I let him know what options I wanted. Since the ripple was sold out, he had luck in finding the BCHR in the style that I wanted. He said that there was only one left in the style that I wanted. So I made sure that he placed and order for me before this pen was gone for good. At first, I thought that gold trim would be fine but Kevin let me know that there was a pen that I would probably want more than the one in gold trim. So he ordered this pen in Rhodium/Silver trim with an Italic Medium nib with rhodium plating along with the pen being a lever filler.



This pen is quite special to me because it was a Christmas present from my wife and daughters in 2006. The pen came in a large box with a bottle of Blue Conway Stewart ink; a Churchill sized cigar and a small pocket sized book of famous Winston Churchill quotes and speeches. The packaging was quite impressive but the pen was even more impressive. Upon further review, this is #115 out of a Limited Edition 300 pens.



Appearance/ Finish 5 out of 5
This pen screams vintage, even though it is very modern. I see this pen as a blast from the past due to the respect it pays to the vintage pens from the heyday of the golden age of fountain pens, which were the early to mid 20th century. This pen, as stated above is made out of black ebonite with several cuts, patterns and designs called BCHR or Black Chased Hard Rubber. It is a bit difficult to explain, so I will let the phots do the talking. Like most pens that have a high pro glow finish, this pen is half matte finish and half shiny. This is due to the chased design on the fountain pen and that is what makes this so unique. This was the way fountain pens werte made in the early 20th century, so not much has changed at all especially with this particular model
.







Design/Size/Weight 5 out of 5

This pen is what some would call an oversize and I would have to agree. The length of this bad boy is 5 ¾ inches capped, a whopping 7 ¼ inches with the cap posted and a thick 9/16ths in diameter. So this is no petite sized pen, that's for sure!! Considering the size of this pen, it is really very light in weight which translates to marathon writing session minus the fatigue, cramping and discomfort of a heavier pen. The approximate weight is less than 1.00 oz (28.4 g), because it is made out of ebonite and ebonite is lighter than acrylic resin.



This pen has a nice sized cap band that is made out of either silver/silver plating or rhodium plating. I am not too sure which one it is but I think it is made out of silver because the ring does tarnish and it will easily buff out with a jewelers cloth. The clip is also a silver color with a nice ball at the end so that it will slide on to a shirt pocket effortlessly. This is not a spring loaded clip but relies on tension, as the vintage clips did at the early part of the 20th century.

Thankfully there is no trim ring and the only rings on the section are located where the section attaches to the barrel of the pen. This prevents the possibility of corrosion due to the pen being dipped in a bottle of ink while filling it up. Another trait that reminds me of a vintage pen is that the top of the cap and rear of the barrel are flat. It is kind of like a Parker Duofold Senior or a Sheaffer FlatCap. The barrel also is a bit tapered towards the end like the vintage Duofold and FlatCap. This pen is very classy looking and you can tell that they took the time and effort to replicate the classic vintage pens of the past.



Nib Design and Performance 5 out of 5

This is where the rubber meets the road!!! How does this pen write? In a simple phrase, "it writes like a true champ"!!! The nib on this pen is made out of 18kt gold that is Rhodium plated. I ordered this pen with an Italic Medium nib, which translates to a .9mm to a 1.1mm line width. It seems to be very close to a .9mm+ width, which is perfect for me, even though I prefer a super wide width like a 1.3mm. I wanted a pen with a nib that I can use for small handwriting and with an Italic Broad (1.3mm) that would not be possible. Since I already have another Conway Stewart Churchill with an Italic Broad nib, I knew exactly how it wrote, so the Italic Medium nib would be my first choice for this pen.



The cut on this nib is perfect and it is sharp enough to give some nice line variation but not too sharp to where it will catch the paper when trying to write quickly or using a different angle. The nib is smooth and has a good amount of spring to it, not flexible but a nice amount of spring to it that gives plenty of feedback to the user while writing. The nib/feed is actually a unit, like Stipula, Pelikan or Bexley and it screws in and out of the section effortlessly. So if I ever wanted to swap out units for another CS unit, I can do it with ease!!! The feed is made out of plastic and not ebonite, to me that is a shame because I love the flow characteristics of ebonite feeds. The thing is that ebonite feeds are found on fewer and fewer pens these days. Regardless, the flow of this pen is perfect. It isn't too heavy but not light either, it is perfect!!!



The interesting thing about Conway Stewart nibs is that they do not have any breather holes; this is something that you don't see very often. Regardless, there are no performance issues at all with the CS nibs that are minus the breather holes. When the pen came and I inked it up, I experienced a bit of skipping while I was writing, and it became very apparent when I wrote loops, especially with my signature. I am 100% sure it is due to my unorthodox style of the angle I hold the pen. All it took was flossing the tines with a brass shim and some super fine nib smoothing Mylar sheets. 2 minuets later, the pen wrote as good as my best writing fountain pens in my collection.



The Filling System 5 out of 5

This pen uses a lever filler system that works great!!! I had the option of either getting this pen in a cartridge/converter or a lever filler. I am sure all of you know that I am not a huge fan of Cartridge/Converter fillers and a lever filler makes this pen even more authentic. The pen holds quite a bit more ink than the Cartridge/Converter does; this is a major plus for me. The only drawback is that if and when the sac decays, I will have to send it to someone to get it fixed; most likely it will have to go back to the manufacturer so that the warranty won't become null and void!!I heard that with the earlier Conway Stewart models that used lever fillers had some serious issues with flow and what not. Well that is most definitely not the case with either of the 2 Churchill lever fillers that I own. So I am sure the problems have been worked out. That is a really good thing!!!

Cost 5 out of 5

Considering how much the retail price of this pen is, which is listed at $660.00 with the lowest price of $479.00, this is not a cheap pen by any means!!! Luckily, I got a better deal than $479.00 for this pen but due to the deal that I received on this pen, I was asked not to disclose the price. That is understandable and I will respect Kevin Chang request but regardless, it was a steal, especially for a brand new limited edition pen like this.




For a pen of this caliber, the price was very reasonable and a perfect gift from my wife and daughters. So this has a very special pen that I hold quite dearly to my heart!! The price might be too much for some but a steal for others and as I said, this is not a pen for everyone due to the size and cost.



[size="6"]Conclusion


Well, what can I say about this pen that I have not already said? This pen has everything going for it and writes like a dream, that's for sure. This pen looks like something straight out of the early 20th century with its vintage design, materials and functionality!!! I usually say this about a lot of my pens but this is truly one of the finest pens in my entire collection!!! This pen has everything going for it to include the looks, style, materials, filling system, reliability and most importantly, the performance. I highly recommend the Conway Stewart line of pens but specifically, this Limited Edition BCHR Churchill fountain pen. I have found no major drawbacks with this pens and so far it has been nothing but a positive and rewarding writing experience!!

Edited by The Noble Savage, 01 August 2007 - 21:53.

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#2 andyk

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 22:24

Great review, great looking pen. I also liked the LE Doctors Pen, bid on a couple, but from memory prices went far higher than I was prepared to pay. I quite like the look of BCHR, bt nearest I have come to owning one is a Sheaffer NN Old Timer (not quite the same thing I know, but a lot cheaper).

Despite some doubts about the filler (Button Filler) I love my Duro and also my 100 (with piston converter rather than C/C), I just wish they were a bit cheaper as IMO the retail prices are far too high, even if they are good pens.

Too be honest a bit disappointed with CS recently as they seem to have started to go for the pen as jewellery approach, with some very ornate, expensive and IMO tacky looking pens. Call me old fashioned but I prefer the more traditional resins to some of the gaudy painted and solid siver pens they are producing now.

But this pen actually looks pretty good, if I find one for a reasonable price this could be a potential target.

Andy

#3 southpaw

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:18

Another excellent review. Shame more companies aren't making ebonite pens. Real beauty you've got there Aaron!
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#4 AJP

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 03:04

Great review! I have the same pen and you summed it up perfectly. Especially, the vintage look of the pen. I couldn't agree more. Good job thumbup.gif
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Robert McClosky

#5 twdpens

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 07:33

Thanks for the review, TNS smile.gif.

The Conway Stewart Churchill (in BCHR) was originally produced as a limited edition for WES (Writing Equipment Society) members. The WES is running a competition this year to win one of these original Churchills. Details here.

Martin
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#6 Brian

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 08:31

This is another good review of a resurrected brand that is still relatively new. I like the BCHR and real attention to detail that makes this look like a pen you could have bought in the 1920s. It's really good to hear the lever filler works great. Could it be that it has been improved since first introduced in the line?

Thanks again.

#7 Jimmy

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 14:13

Nice review (among a bunch of other new reviews, how many at the same time, 6, 7 ?).

I've always been attracted by the look and finish of the 100 Doctor's pen. Any chance to see a new edition, or another CS pen with the same finish ?

Jimmy



#8 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 15:08

Greetings all!!

LEt me see if I can answer your questions in one post headsmack.gif !!!

The lever filler from what I have heard has been improved because there has been some serious issues with the CS Lever filler in the past. Regardless is works fantastic!!

I dont know the status of how many are remaining. There were only 300 made in this particular model. I think you can probobly by the Bespoke (sp?), which is a total custom pen by CS. Bespoke is not cheap either!! But if you cannot locate one, you might want to either contact CS or a CS rep to see if you can get this pen in a Bespoke model.

I took a quick glance at the WES CS Pen and it looks very similar with the exception of the trim. Looks like the WES pen is gold trim, according to the photo. Also the Cigar is missing crybaby.gif !!! Regardless, the pen looks fantastic!!!

THanks for all the kind words about the reviews. I am ready to post the 6th review either today or tomorrow. Believe me, it took me a LONG time to sit down and write the reviews, take the pictures, color correct and reduce the size. I also write reviews only after writing with the pen for a minimum of 3 to 5 refills. So this gives me a really good feel for how the pen writes.

This pen is Vintage to the Bone, if you know what I mean!!!! That is why I really love this pen!!! The next CS will be a Red ripple ebonite LE, that has been a bit harder to find, thats for sure!!!

Cheers

TNS
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