The very first time I saw this pen, I actually thought it was a bit... well, gaudy. I like pens with a more understated appearance, like the Parker "51" and the Lamy 2000, so this shiny, jeweled pen seemed like a little much. I've owned it for a few months now, and I must say it's really grown on me. The Diabolo came in a nice, red Cartier box, with the logo written elegantly on the inside of the cover. The top of the box was covered with a flowery design. This was one of the most impressive presentations I had seen for a fountain pen; Cartier really wanted you to know you were getting something nice.
Appearance and Finish
The Diabolo comes in a variety of different finishes. Mine is the platinum model, and has a simple, yet engaging, design. Parallel lines run down the length of the pen, broken by the presence of a few perpendicular rings and a simple clip. The word "Cartier" is imprinted on the ring that runs around the base of the cap, and the company logo is displayed proudly on the clip. The lines in the cap converge at the top onto a small, blue cabochon jewel. Overall, the design is both sleek and classy-- a great looking pen. I posted a picture of the nib above; I don't think I could say any words that could adequately describe it. It's one of the nicest nibs in my collection. I often find two-tone nibs to be quite beautiful; however, the single tone works well in the Diabolo, and helps to maintain a consistent color scheme. The nib section appears to be a typical black, plastic section.
To start off, here are some measurements of the pen:
Capped: 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Posted: 6.125 inches (16 cm)
Unposted: 5 inches (12.8 cm)
As you can see, it's a fairly average sized pen. Since it has a metal barrel, I find it a little heavy when posted. Unposted, it is perfectly balanced. I find its weight to be similar to the Pilot VP, but quite a bit heavier than the Lamy Studio (definitely heavier than the Lamy 2000). The Diabolo has a screw cap, with the threads attached to the barrel. The clip is quite sturdy, but stiff; it gets the job done. Overall, the pen is well made, and appears to be quite tough. You won't ever have to worry about it shattering or cracking.
A C/C system... a bit of a letdown for some, I'm sure. Still, the converter is a good size, and doesn't appear to have any problems with ink flow. I've managed to get quite a few pages from one fill, although nowhere near the amount I would get from my Lamy 2000, with its piston filler. In the end, it all comes down to what you're happy with. If you have to have an uber large ink capacity, then this isn't the pen for you.
Nib Design & Performance
The nib, as can be expected, is smooth... the Diabolo lays down a wet line. I would rate it as 6/10 in wetness (with Pelikan Black) and a 8/10 in smoothness. When I filled it up with Parker Quink, it became a much wetter writer. The nib is stiff, but has a good amount of spring to it. You might be able to get some line variation with it, but it's not really meant to be flexed. I've found that the nib is a bit touchy: its smoothness varies with the paper you're using. It's always a joy to write with, though. I'm sure there are people who absolutely love this nib, but I actually prefer writing with my Lamy 2000. I'll write with the Diabolo occasionally when I'm in the mood for something different. Still, it's a wonderful pen, that has provided me with hours of enjoyment.
Below is a sample of the Diabolo's writing, and how it compares to some other pens in my collection.
The regular Diabolo FP can be had for $300-400 at various online stores. You might be able to find a cheaper price if you look hard enough. The platinum version, though, costs $700. My jaw dropped when my parents told me how much they had spent on the pen. The first thing that popped in my head was "I could get a Pelikan M605, Sailor PG, P"51", and still have a good bit of money left over!" (sign of a true fountain pen addict, when you start counting currency in pens!). I guess the big question that comes to mind is: "is it worth it?" To tell you the truth, I can't really say. I don't own any $300-400 pens (or even $700, for that matter), so I don't have anything to compare the Diabolo to. I think it's a great pen, but the price for the platinum version seems a bit steep to me, especially when there are so many other great pens out there that can be had for much less. At $300, the price of the pen sounds much more reasonable. Ultimately, I think the Diabolo falls into the category of "lifestyle pens," but the fact that it was a gift from my parents causes its sentimental value to go through the roof. Even if it cost a quarter of the actual price, I'd still cherish as just as much as I do now. It's a pen that I'm going to have for a very long time... and is definitely something I could pass on to my children.
Richard Binder once mentioned that the Diabolo is a pen manufactured by Montblanc, but stamped with the Cartier logo. If that's the case, then I can honestly say that Montblanc knows how to make a good pen. The Diabolo is a good, reliable pen with a very smooth nib. It's a bit too precious (and expensive) for me to take to school, but I enjoy using it at home on a daily basis. I recommend the Diabolo to anyone who is looking for a nice, well-made pen with a stylish design. It also makes a great gift (believe me, I know!)
Edited by blak000, 08 November 2007 - 20:35.