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conway stewart doctor's pen


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#1 davyr

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 06:29

i've been looking for a reliable, everyday workhorse pen. although i have a penchant for large pens and some limited editions, those are usually not appropriate or suitable for work. imagine my surprise then, when i received an email from kevin cheng (winedoc) of internet pens, announcing his conway stewart doctor's pen. mild mannered kevin (or should i say dr. cheng), a pain specialist by day, a superhero pen dealer by night, was interested in introducing a classy, practical fountain pen for doctors. with mary burke, the us rep for cs, they worked closely together with cs and developed the pen you see here.

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it's based on the cs 100, and you can find kendallj's excellent review here:
The Conway Stewart 100 "Peppered White"
i think this was a wise decision, as the size is average i.e. practical. it fits nicely in a shirt pocket or jacket. the churchill, a larger pen, definately spills over a shirt pocket. it's made of ebonite, which is chased in a diamond pattern of alternating stripes. there is a striking bicolor look, with the body, section and cap in black, and the trim in sterling silver. the cap band differs from the regular 100 in that it is a wide strip of silver, rather than three stripes. the band has a laser engraved cadeueus anteriorly, which i guess is mandatory in keeping with the doctor theme. posteriorly on the band is the motto "primum non nocere," latin for "first collect the bill." :) sorry, bad taste. just kidding, of course, it means "first do no harm." "semper ubi sub ubi" would also have been equally appropriate. the pen is limited to 50, with the first 25 having an internal piston filling mechanism, and the last 25 c/c filler. mine is lucky #7.

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time out now for big ups to my man kevin cheng. i had the chance to meet kev and his brother tom (also a physician) at the dc supershow a few months ago. i had just recently started getting into fountain pens, and he gave me a nice primer on the art of maki-e. i drooled over the hundreds (or at least dozens) of danitrios there, and he talked me into purchasing a mikado-sized tamenuri. i subsequently bought more pens from his website, and i have to say that there's virtually no difference b/t buying from internet pens vs a b&m store, except that you have to wait a couple of days for your pen. if you require service, which i did a couple of times, he takes care of you promptly, efficiently, and utterly. a total gent. big ups to kev! i'm obviously a very satisfied customer. and no, he didn't give me a discount to say that. :)

the packaging is pretty nice, with green leather-like outer and inner boxes. but wait, no stethoscope, otoscope or rubber hammer? ;)

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the pen is well balanced whether posted or not, and is lightweight ebonite. the cap posts securely, and the pen is not overly long when posted. it uncaps in a little over one turn. the clip is the typical washer type found on other 100 models. it's 13.8 cm long, 13 cm uncapped, and about 3.6 cm in diameter for the section. the nib is bicolor 18k gold, the majority rhodinated, with a yellow gold diamond cs logo. i chose the italic medium point, which to me is really more like a stub or cursive italic. the corners are fairly rounded and thus allow for smooth, easy, quick writing, with some line variation. the feel of nib to paper is exquisite. the flow is generous. this pen is well suited for work. the computer has largely replaced the pen in my line of work, but i do need a pen to sign roughly 40 documents a day, and for the occasional brief note or much abbreviated history & physical. personally, i would feel self-conscious if i pulled out a flashy sterling silver pen, a humongo pen or a crazy limited edition pen in front of a patient, for the rare occassions that i see one. no such feeling with this cs.

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the filling system is internal piston. the piston knob is accessed by unscrewing the blind cap. i think it's a definately a step up from a cartridge/convertor system. the fit and finish is extremely fine. manufacturing tolerances here are tight. the body and cap are gently curved. there's a black plastic pointed cap "jewel", and the blind cap also ends in a similar point.

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ok, so now time for ratings. why? well, it seems that everyone loves them, despite the fact that they're so personal/subjective, and ultimately meaningless to many. but who cares, it's fun. remember, ymmv.

test results

cap and body (17/20): finely chased black ebonite with classy silver trim, very well made
section (9/10): black resin, flared at end, comfortable
nib performance (17/20): very smooth italic medium, good flow, no skipping
writing comfort (18/20): lightweight, well-balanced, fatigue free
design (9/10): very professional look, good detail yet understated
value (8/10): $425 retail (i think discounted to $390 for FPN'ers and pentracers) for this limited pen (only 50 made) is a good value
filling system (8/10): internal piston fill, need to unscrew blind cap for access
total: 86/100 (100 would be the perfect pen, which as you & i know, doesn't exist, unless of course you think otherwise, but then let me know if you do)

size comparison with cs churchill quartz burgundy:
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this pen has been my daily writer even since i received it one week ago. it'll undoubtedly stay by my side for a while, it least until my next pen arrives, heh heh. no doubt this pen is intended for a limited audience, but it's spot on for them. i'm sure conway stewart, paired up with another authorized dealer, could come up with other occupation-specific lines in the future (how about the quality assurance guy pen, insurance actuator pen, fast food flavor/taste developer pen, to name a few); just please don't copy internet pens' edition too closely... ;)

next review, montblanc kafkaPosted Image

Edited by davyr, 16 November 2005 - 18:26.

"i love the smell of celluloid nitrate in the morning...you know, the smell, that camphor smell, it smells like...victory."

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#2 Roger

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 13:47

Great review, Davy!

Doc Cheng is one vendor that I have yet to hear anything but rave :) reviews about. In fact, if you stay within the fairly close knit community, nearly all the vendors are super people with great ethics.

I looked at that pen, long and hard, and only decided not to purchase it because I was not a physician. Not that it was a requirement, mind you, but, I'm strange that way (many other ways, also :P )

I really like your point system, Davy. I might offer a suggestion to make it read more clearly. How about showing it at the beginning of each category as: 17/20? That would save the reader from having to go to the end of your description for your assessment.

Lastly, your images are super! That one image of the nib shots on the book is a killer, though, as its size is such that the reader will be scrolling horizontally to see it all and to read the text for the entire review. This assumes the resolutions that I suspect that most of us are using.

Keep 'em coming.
Roger
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#3 amin

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 15:04

Great review Davy.

When I read about this pen in Stylophiles, I thought it would cost >$2000 for sure, so I never bothered to look into it. Now, with the retail price you quoted, I wish I had asked. I think this would be an ideal gift for my 66 yo dad, who still sees patients six days per week as an endocrinologist. He has also recently rediscovered his enjoyment of fountain pens. I emailed Kevin today to see if by chance there are any left. I doubt there will be, but maybe I'll get lucky.

Addendum: I contacted Kevin, and I am happy to say that these were not all yet spoken for. We just bought one for my father :).

Edited by amin, 16 November 2005 - 23:25.


#4 antoniosz

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 15:23

Nice review - you are a tough grader ;). The only "problem" is that absolute numbers in these reviews do not make much sense unless you have other reviews with a similar ranking that allow for comparative evaluation. For example what makes your what makes the cap and body to be graded at 17? Any example of 18, 19 or 20? Is it the conservative color/appearance?

Antonios Z.

PS> by the way "semper ubi sub ubi" translation is here. for those of us that are Latin-less :lol:

#5 southpaw

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 15:40

Great review of a pen targeted at a special audience.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#6 Blade Runner

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 16:41

Congratulations on a nice pen and fine review.

Is the filler an embedded convertor that can be easily replaced if necessary or is it a piston filler in the sense that the inside of the barrel is the ink reservoir?

It would be great if this color could be massed produced without the doctor's logo & with a lower price. I like the color/material combination the best by far.

Regards,
Jeen

#7 davyr

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 16:48

hi roger,

Doc Cheng is one vendor that I have yet to hear anything but rave smile.gif reviews about. In fact, if you stay within the fairly close knit community, nearly all the vendors are super people with great ethics.

yeah, most pen people seem to be real nice in general, and kevin in particular.

I looked at that pen, long and hard, and only decided not to purchase it because I was not a physician. Not that it was a requirement, mind you, but, I'm strange that way (many other ways, also tongue.gif )

hey, it's no different than buying a pen that has someone's else's initials or name engraved on it, eh? :D

I really like your point system, Davy. I might offer a suggestion to make it read more clearly. How about showing it at the beginning of each category as: 17/20? That would save the reader from having to go to the end of your description for your assessment.

excellent suggestion. i have now implemented your idea.

Lastly, your images are super! That one image of the nib shots on the book is a killer, though, as its size is such that the reader will be scrolling horizontally to see it all and to read the text for the entire review. This assumes the resolutions that I suspect that most of us are using.

sorry for that! i have a 17" widescreen notebook, and i just haven't thought of that. is this a problem for all my reviews? i've resized the nib pics.


hi amin,

I think this would be an ideal gift for my 66 yo dad, who still sees patients six days per week as an endocrinologist. He has also recently rediscovered his enjoyment of fountain pens. I emailed Kevin today to see if by chance there are any left. I doubt there will be, but maybe I'll get lucky.

i saw one for sale on doc's ebay store yesterday, so i think he has some left. what a nice son you are!


hi antoniosz,

Nice review - you are a tough grader wink.gif. The only "problem" is that absolute numbers in these reviews do not make much sense unless you have other reviews with a similar ranking that allow for comparative evaluation. For example what makes your what makes the cap and body to be graded at 17? Any example of 18, 19 or 20? Is it the conservative color/appearance?

good thing i'm not a teacher, huh? you have to remember, tho, that to receive full points in each respective category, it must be perfecto. so really, a grade of 86 is very very good. maybe the best pen so far in the world has a score of 95. a perfect 100 pen would be God's pen, i suppose, i.e. the pen registering names at heaven's gate. i agree, absolute numbers in these reviews are meaningless, but i will use this system from now on in my reviews. my only frame of reference are the few modern pens that i have, what i've seen at b&m stores, one pen show, and what i have culled so far from the web (very little experience, as you can see). that's why i was sort of hesitant to do it in the first place, but like i said, it can be fun and the numbers are up for debate. i try not to live and die by published numbers, i.e. i often strongly disagree with consumer reports reviews, esp. of cars. wonder if they review pens too? ;)


hi southpaw,

Great review of a pen targeted at a special audience.

yeah, i considered not reviewing this pen since it's so narrow in the audience scope-o-meter. i forgot to mention, if you like the chased rubber look, cs also made it for the churchill and dandy models, w/o the doctor stuff.


hi jeen,

Is the filler an embedded convertor that can be easily replaced if necessary or is it a piston filler in the sense that the inside of the barrel is the ink reservoir?

It would be great if this color could be massed produced without the doctor's logo & with a lower price. I like the color/material combination the best by far.

i think the filler is embedded, i.e. the barrel itself is not the reservoir, and you can swap it out if necessary (although i haven't yanked it out yet - too scared to).
i wonder if you could contact kevin or mary burke and request one w/o the engravings? also, like i said just above, the black chased rubber is also available on the churchill and dandy lines.

Edited by davyr, 16 November 2005 - 17:03.

"i love the smell of celluloid nitrate in the morning...you know, the smell, that camphor smell, it smells like...victory."

#8 Roger

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 17:26

Thanks again, Davy. This time for the changes...

The absolute grading is, as you say, only absolute wrt your experience, ownership and assessment at the time that you're seeing and feeling it. Even if you didn't state the numbers and did it all via words, it still would represent your verbal grade, so I see no problem in absolute numbers. We are certainly adult enough to understand that it's Davy's assessment and Davy's only! :D I could purchase the pen and totally disagree with your characterizations OR I might agree and thank you for the pointer. That's life!

Your image resizing hit me perfectly for my 1024 x 768 pixel screen resolution. Hope your change helped more than it hurt.

Can't wait for the MB Kafka.
Roger
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#9 winedoc

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 17:54

Great review and thanks for the kind words. Most importantly, glad you like the pen. This pen also is in my daily "pocket" rotation. It will even fit a Gap shirt pocket :lol: I use other pens, but the one in my pocket is this one without making my pocket looking too full or "saggy".

I do try to give pentracers and FPNer discounts whenever possible as this pen is selling in my net store and ebay store for $425, but you must identify yourselves as such... otherwise I wouldn't know :lol:

Again, thanks for the review.

Kevin
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#10 davyr

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 18:22

hi kev,

Great review and thanks for the kind words. Most importantly, glad you like the pen. This pen also is in my daily "pocket" rotation.

yeah, you created a winner with this one. wow, it must be a great feeling to know that you conceived and helped produce this pen. it's your baby! B)

I do try to give pentracers and FPNer discounts whenever possible as this pen is selling in my net store and ebay store for $425, but you must identify yourselves as such... otherwise I wouldn't know

oops, sorry for the goof, i'll edit to reflect that. :doh:
"i love the smell of celluloid nitrate in the morning...you know, the smell, that camphor smell, it smells like...victory."

#11 Stylo

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 19:01

the band has a laser engraved cadeueus ...

So does that mean that if a REAL doctor bought this pen he might be accused of playing an impostor? :lol: :lol:

Thanks for the nice review and I am glad you did it. I think most of us here are interested in reading any pen review, but this one is also partly relevant to the regular CS 100 :)

#12 amin

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 15:38

If I may, there are two small changes I would suggest to make this pen perfect. The first would be to replace the caduceus (traditionally a symbol of commerce, based on the staff of the merchant Hermes) with the staff of Aesclepius, which as far as I am aware is a more geniune symbol of medicine. The two are often confused. The Aesclepius' rod has only one snake and lacks the wings. Second, and this is more of a personal thing, I would prefer the pen without the inscription. As physicians, we are ourselves ingrained with this tenet; however I'm not sure I'd like it on my pen.

At any rate, I hope I haven't come across too critical. I am greatful to Kevin for his part in creating such a great pen specifically for physicians. The above comments obviously reflect only my opinions. I'm sure many doctors would disagree with me. Either way, there are clearly many great qualities of this pen which will perfectly suit the working physician. I am confident that my dad will love this pen and use it regularly!

#13 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 16:27

Beautiful pen, Kevin, and great review, davyr.

Now if it only came with a matching thermometer holder. . .

John
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You should get a Yink, I think.

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#14 hsianloon

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:17

hm I think a doctor's pen has to be cap on pen rather than a screw on cap...quite impractical to be screwing and unscrewing the cap on during ward rounds and hauling charts around etc






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