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Conway Stewart Centenary Silver Overlay Limited Edition


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#1 QM2

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 19:57

CONWAY STEWART CENTENARY:
LIMITED EDITION SILVER OVERLAY


CentenaryOverlayLimitedEdition.jpg

First Impressions 5/5

The Conway Stewart Centenary Limited Edition Silver Overlay is a stunning pen, there really is no better way to describe the first impression it gives you. Every aspect of it radiates the fact that it is a gift for a very special occasion – which for me, it was. It is a high-impact but very serious pen; not a frivolous pen that you would acquire lightly and think of as a trinket, even if you had the money to do so. Receiving the Silver Overlay Centenary made me feel in a way that I hadn’t felt about a gift since childhood: As an owner of such a pen, I must “shape up” and be good, very good – otherwise, it just won’t do!


Appearance 5/5

The pen has a long, lean, flat-top black resin body and cap, overlayed with ornate sterling silver. Created for Coway Stewart by Henry Simpole, the openwork filigree overlay has a floral/paisley look. Upon closer inspection however, one notices that the design incorporates the figures '1905' and 'CS', to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Conway Stewart.

There are three versions of this pen: silver overlay, gold overlay, and gold vermeil, each in an edition of 100. Mine is the silver, which is highly polished and very light, almost white in color when it is right out of the box. The elaborate swirls of the overlay and the contrast between the polished silver and the black resin beneath it, are quite mesmerizing.

There is an oval engraving plate that is positioned vertically along the body of the pen and incorporated into the design of the filigree, so that if you choose not to engrave it, it does not give that empty look to the pen. Black resin section, silver clip with CS logo; 2-tone 18K gold nib. Each pen is hallmarked at the London Assay Office and bears an individual limited edition number.

If you are interested in silver overlay, this pen is truly the contemporary epitome of it.


Design 4/5

The only reason I do not give the design of this pen a “5”, is that it is too visually striking, and for that reason impractical and risky to use as a “workhorse” writer in an everyday setting, especially in public. Also, while the size works for me, some might consider this pen too large for constant use (plus, it does not fit into some pen-cases). Aside from these two issues, the design is beyond reproach. Far from being merely “eye candy,” this pen feels amazingly comfortable to me and suitable for prolonged periods of writing.

First off, this is a large pen. I believe it is somewhat bigger than the regular Centenary: 5.75” capped, 5.25” uncapped, and 7.6” posted. Despite its size, it is not a heavy pen; in fact the weight and balance are just perfect. After handling a regular Centenary FP at a local pen shop, I realize that this is because resin Conway Stewarts are extremely light. I don’t know what resin they use, or whether this is just a freakish misperception on my part, but to me the resin Duro, or Wellington, or Centenary, feel almost like I have nothing in my hand except for the nib. This has made me hesitant to buy a resin CS, as I prefer a somewhat more substantial feel. The overlay Centenary remedies this completely, by adding the weight of the silver over the resin. The end result is perfect, at least for my hands; the pen is not too heavy and not too light; just right. I do not have a scale, but to create a sense of reference: it feels slightly heavier than the Visconti Van Gogh Maxi, slightly lighter (despite being larger) than the Krone Architectus overlays, and about the same as the Montblanc Franz Kafka.

The cap posts and holds firm. I like to use mine posted and doing so does not unbalance the pen, despite the length it creates. It actually looks and feels quite good in the hand posted, especially if you have narrow hands with long fingers like I do.

The section is resin and comfortable to grip. It is large enough so that most people will not be gripping the overlay. Having said this, the overlay on this pen is done in such a way so as not to hurt or irritate the fingers if they do come in contact with it. The overlay is very flat, and the edges of all the swirls and curls are smoothed out and tucked under, so that there are no sharp edges at all on the overlay. For those who own or have handled a Krone Architectus, then on a scale of “0” (being impossible to hold) to “10” (presenting no problems at all), I would rate Krone’s overlay as a “5” and CS’s overlay as a “10”.


Nib 4.5/5

This pen comes with an 18K two-tone nib. It is a delightful, soft and springy nib that produces considerable line variation. It seems extremely well suited for my handwriting. The nib worked right out of the box with no problems or issues. The only reason I do not give it a “5” is that the EF nib is too broad for me (though not nearly as broad as what Montblanc calls EF), so I will have to get it ground down a bit before I can truly enjoy it.

Filling System 4/5

Cartridge/converter filler, which is fine for me, but will be considered a drawback for those who prefer pistons, levers, or other internal systems.


Cost and Value 5/5

From the standpoint that this a large, hand-crafted Conway Stewart silver overlay fountain pen in a limited edition of 100, I think the Centenary is a superb value. I received this pen as a gift, but I happen to know that my husband got a great deal and paid considerably below retail. Given the price he paid, this pen was a much better value for the money than a regular, resin Centenary would have been. I admit readily that my Montblancs are overpriced for their actual value, but I do not think so of this pen.


Conclusion 5/5

For me, this pen was the Holy Grail of silver overlay. The fact that it is extremely comfortable to use and a superb writer has made me fall in love with it twice. I use it in everyday life much more than I intended to, as it was really meant to be a pen for very special occasions -- and this is before I’ve even gotten the nib reground to my liking. Without a doubt, the Conway Stewart Centenary Limited Edition Silver Overlay is the crowning piece of my collection.

Edited by QM2, 28 December 2007 - 20:00.


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#2 arz

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 01:50

What a reasoned and thorough review of a gorgeous pen! I love the idea that what looks merely ornate at first glance has a "hidden" meaning/message. It's making me think seriously about overlay pens, although I'd need to start a bit smaller.
Thank you for sharing.

#3 QM2

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 03:32


Thanks arz,

If you like silver overlays, check out this site:
http://www.henrysimpole.com

Getting one of these things custom made will be my next obsession, I fear! Thankfully, I am still in the honeymoon period with my Conway Stewart, so hopefully that will last long enough to keep me out of financial ruin.

#4 tcheuchter

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 13:39

Good review. Been curious about it though the edition is now sold out. Will have to forage for one.

#5 greencobra

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 17:40

This is one beautiful pen QM2. I like Conway Stewart pens, the whole line up. Something majestic, I don't know. This one is at the top. I agree with you, I find the CS EF too broad for me also, in fact, every nib I have on a CS pen is broader than I really like. I like the pens so much I work around it. Congrats on a wonderful gift, enjoy it in good heath.
JELL-O, IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!

#6 QM2

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 14:31

QUOTE(greencobra @ Dec 29 2007, 05:40 PM) View Post
This is one beautiful pen QM2. I like Conway Stewart pens, the whole line up. Something majestic, I don't know. This one is at the top. I agree with you, I find the CS EF too broad for me also, in fact, every nib I have on a CS pen is broader than I really like. I like the pens so much I work around it. Congrats on a wonderful gift, enjoy it in good heath.


Thanks greencobra! This pen has "talked me into" working around its nib size as well. But that's it, on Jan 2nd I am finally forcing myself to wrench it out of my hands and send it to Richard for regrinding.

Which CS pens do you have?
I am curious if CS owners agree with me that the resin ones seem to feel extremely light -- or is it somehow my imagination?

QM2

#7 greencobra

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 16:11

QUOTE(QM2 @ Dec 30 2007, 09:31 AM) View Post
Which CS pens do you have?
I am curious if CS owners agree with me that the resin ones seem to feel extremely light -- or is it somehow my imagination?

QM2

I have a Duro w/Italic Fine (up at Richards right now), a Dandy Demo w/Binder 0.7 Italic, Churchill w/EF, a Swisher LE, w/EF, and a Levenger Edition w/Deb Kinney 0.8 Italic. I have no clue what models the Levenger and Swisher are in relation to the CS catalog, there's a lot of differences. The Levenger edition for example might have the 100 as a model.

And yes, I agree with the resin weight. The Duro, Dandy, and Churchill are featherweights. On the other hand, the two Special Editions weigh quite a bit more. In fact, the Swisher is quite heavy. I bought the Levenger CS from Kurt a few months ago. Maybe he can shed some light on what the material is (and what the base pen is, if any) if he reads this.
JELL-O, IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!

#8 QM2

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 20:30

QUOTE(greencobra @ Dec 30 2007, 04:11 PM) View Post
I have a Duro w/Italic Fine (up at Richards right now), a Dandy Demo w/Binder 0.7 Italic, Churchill w/EF, a Swisher LE, w/EF, and a Levenger Edition w/Deb Kinney 0.8 Italic. I have no clue what models the Levenger and Swisher are in relation to the CS catalog, there's a lot of differences. The Levenger edition for example might have the 100 as a model.

And yes, I agree with the resin weight. The Duro, Dandy, and Churchill are featherweights. On the other hand, the two Special Editions weigh quite a bit more. In fact, the Swisher is quite heavy. I bought the Levenger CS from Kurt a few months ago. Maybe he can shed some light on what the material is (and what the base pen is, if any) if he reads this.


Thanks for the information. How do you like your Dandy compared to the others? Dandy is probably my favourite shape, I am attracted to it because it has the best flat-top design and the lever option. I would really like one with chrome trim -- but I was told by Pam Braun that they have been discontinued.

Also, is it my imagination, or did CSs used to be available in textured ebonite/rubber and also in white casein as bespoke options? I tried to find the website where I initially saw this, but no success. I thought it was Richard Binder, but now his site offers only a few styles in white casein, and nothing in textured ebonite. I don't mean the "wood grain ebonite" option, but rather the black, "wavy" old-fashioned type with the look of a hard-rubber pen. Anybody have a clue as to what I'm talking about? : )



#9 andyk

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 22:32

Nice review, never really been attracted to overlay pens, but this looks very nice, not many overlay pens woud tempt me, but this might at the right price.

I know what you mean about the modern resin CSs, I have a Duro and a 100 (also a 100 RB) and for relatively large pens they are quite light and well balanced.

Hope you continue to enjoy your pen for a long time.

Andy

#10 alvarez57

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 00:07

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful pen. I enjoyed reading your review for the personal comments/impressions. I like CS's nibs.

sonia alvarez

 

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#11 greencobra

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 06:05

QUOTE(QM2 @ Dec 30 2007, 03:30 PM) View Post
How do you like your Dandy compared to the others? Dandy is probably my favourite shape, I am attracted to it because it has the best flat-top design and the lever option. I would really like one with chrome trim -- but I was told by Pam Braun that they have been discontinued.

Also, is it my imagination, or did CSs used to be available in textured ebonite/rubber and also in white casein as bespoke options?

I think the Dandy is my favorite out of all of them. The Binder 0.7 nib was on it when I got it and Richard out did himself on this one. From the issues I've had with the feed on some CS's, I'm guessing he adjusted that too. This pen writes super. My Duro is up there now for feed issues, hopefully it'll come back like the Dandy.

I don't remember the white casein as a bespoke option and the only pen of CS's I'm aware of with it is the LE 100. And your not crazy about the ebonite. CS has put out several Churchills over the last few years that featured it but I believe those too were LE's. Didn't they do a doctor's pen in textured ebonite? I thought I saw Kevin Cheng (winedoc) writing about them and maybe offering them for sale. I might be wrong on that.
JELL-O, IT'S WHATS FOR DINNER!

#12 omasfan

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 02:14

Wonderful pen! This is one of my favorite designs with Conway Stewart. It is masterfully executed and lovely to behold. My only gripe would be that they should have fitted the pen with a filling mechanism that matches the historical design. With a C/C it is a bit anachronistic, I think (albeit more convenient to use). Nonetheless, it's as gorgeous an overlay pen as it gets and as you'll find among contemporary pens. There is no modern overlay that I like better. thumbup.gif

The pen weighs about 48 grams. This would equal the weight of a S.T. Dupont Orpheo if I am not mistaken. It's the uppermost weight I am able to use in a pen.

Edited by omasfan, 01 January 2008 - 02:16.


#13 Titivillus

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 16:20

QUOTE(QM2 @ Dec 29 2007, 03:32 AM) View Post
Thanks arz,

If you like silver overlays, check out this site:
http://www.henrysimpole.com

Getting one of these things custom made will be my next obsession, I fear! Thankfully, I am still in the honeymoon period with my Conway Stewart, so hopefully that will last long enough to keep me out of financial ruin.



Another modern overlay that is stunning is the MB Carnegie. The art nouveau butterfly wings and delicate tracery are the other end of the spectrum from the CS.


Kurt


#14 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 16:28

very nice pen smile.gif may it give you many years of writing pleasure
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#15 tcheuchter

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:33

QM2 have you seen any cracking or chipping on your cap? Girlieg33k over at the Conway Stewart forum has posted that her Centenary Silver Overlay has this problem. Don't know how to link her post here tho. I am interested in buying one of these. But if the cap will chip or crack, not interested thanks.

#16 tcheuchter

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:36

Wonders of technology I have figured it out how to show a post in another post
http://www.fountainp...n...st&p=496047






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