Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

Duke Complete Esteem


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Goodwhiskers

Goodwhiskers

    Certified language nut

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,124 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles County, California, USA

Posted 17 December 2005 - 22:23

(Edit: Updated slightly on Feb. 1, 2006)

Duke is a relatively new brand. The factory is in Shanghai, China. I understand that Duke nibs (or at least the nibs' engineering, and possibly other aspects of Duke pens' design and/or engineering) are from Germany.

I paid about $27 plus sales tax for my Complete Esteem at Vroman's here in Pasadena.

The Complete Esteem's nib seems unique to this model. I haven't seen it on other Duke models, either in person or in photographs. More about the nib in a moment.

The pen comes in a large, beautiful presentation box inside a beautiful, foil-covered and textured outer box; all this is a pleasant surprise for the pen's price.

The whole pen is sleek and beautiful.
The barrel and cap are enameled brass (the available colors are what I'd call ecru and "Forbidden City" red), and the section is some kind of metal.
The grip area on the section is comfortably contoured in a shape that reminds me of a bamboo section boundary.
The pen is heavy.
The cap snaps on.
The trim rings and clip are gold plated, as is the bottom end of the barrel. In the trim ring at the top of the cap, there is a colored, smooth, "jewel" (probably plastic; ruby-colored on my ecru Esteem).

The reservoir is aerometric-style, sqeeze-fill. The sac is some type of black and opaque plastic, which I guess would be tough enough for lifetime (or at least a career) of fillings. Because of that opacity, I don't know whether it's a true aerometric (with an internal tube partway up the sac), or not.

The pen does not deposit ink in the cap, even being tossed around in a portfolio (while pointing every which way) in my book bag :D .
Exception: a bit of ink does get deposited in the cap when I drop the closed pen onto the floor.

Back to that delightful nib:

I have called it "fine by non-East-Asian standards" in previous postings, but now I'd call it "extra fine by non-East-Asian standards." It is gold plated.

The shape of the nib is unique, fascinating, and difficult to describe without a photograph (sorry), but I'll try.

The nib on the smaller side of the size range, and it seems "art deco."

It is not hooded.

The tip material is a distinct but proportionally pleasing ball.

The nib's slit is the apex of a ridge of flat sides which are angled upward toward the slit.

The part of the nib closest to the section is incomplete-cylindrical in order to accomodate the airhole, which is under the nib and not in the nib (Lamy Safari style; the hole in Safari nibs is not an airhole).

The "Duke" brand name, in English cursive, is inscribed at an angle across the top of the nib, "Du" starting from sectionward and left of the slit, and "ke" continuing pointward and right of the slit.

The entire comb of the feed must be inside the section because only a smoothly contoured backing under the nib (with the airhole where that backing meets the section) is visible.

My Complete Esteem pen is filled with Noodler's Black, which creeps a bit onto the nib but has not been deposited inside the cap (except when the closed pen is dropped onto the floor).

Now, for how it feels to write with (drumroll, please) :

Delightful :drool: :)9 :drool: :)9 :drool: :)9
on every grade of paper!


It always starts up with the first touch to paper, even after a week of sitting capped :D .

It is as smooth as my Pelikan M200 fine (medium by East Asian standards) and my Lamy Safari medium and broad (broad and double broad by East Asian standards). :drool: :)9

It is smoother than both my Safari extra fine and my memory of my Sheaffer Javelin fine, which is saying a lot because those two are smooth for their sizes. :drool: :)9

It never snags up fibers from paper, even cheap paper. :drool: :)9

Now, here is why the Complete Esteem is not my #1 favorite anymore:

The ink reservoir's capacity is small.

The clip is too tight for pocket edges that aren't protected. I've always had to pry the clip up with a fingernail while inserting the pen into any of my pockets.

The heavy cap doesn't post securely. However, since the sealer inside the cap is plastic, pushing and twisting a bit while posting does make the cap stay posted on the barrel most of the time.

The gold plating on the trim ring where the section meets the barrel, a ring which is also touched by the cap, began to wear off after a few weeks of daily writing use. I guess I'm not gentle to my daily-use pens.

I've gone back to my Lamy Safari extra fine for daily extra fine point use.

The Complete Esteem is now for marking my students' papers and writing in non-blue-and-black colors.

Edited by Goodwhiskers, 01 February 2006 - 18:37.


Sponsored Content

#2 southpaw

southpaw

    Museum Piece

  • Premium - Emerald

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,232 posts

Posted 17 December 2005 - 23:56

Thanks for the review. Shame to hear about the problems, especially the brassing so early. No reason for any pen to do that. :(
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#3 His Nibs

His Nibs

    Dylan rules!

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 762 posts

Posted 18 December 2005 - 02:47

Steve,

A very nice and complete review of the Complete Esteem. Good job! Here's a photo of the nib that you described so well.

Posted Image

The pen actually comes in two color versions, which I've called Red Ocre and Ivory:

Posted Image

I originally introduced the DUKE and Uranus lines to the U.S. about two years ago. Over that period I've sold many of the Complete Esteems without the problems you've mentioned. I'd recommend returning the pen to the dealer that you purchased it from for an exchange. A less-than-optimal (or bad :rolleyes: ) pen can always slip through from any manufacturer.

Anyway, it's an interesting design amongst the lower-end DUKE models available, and I've never seen a nib shape quite like that either!
Regards,

Norman Haase
His Nibs.com
www.hisnibs.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HisNibs1

#4 Macuser

Macuser

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 258 posts

Posted 18 December 2005 - 03:28

I think they are a sharp looking pen (and I am not a fan of gold trim). It sounds like you like to write with fine or x-fine nib. What other x-fine or fine nib pens do you like?

#5 Goodwhiskers

Goodwhiskers

    Certified language nut

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,124 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles County, California, USA

Posted 18 December 2005 - 07:55

Norman, thanks, I'll look into that.

Macuser, I've tried and enjoyed using the following, in order from narrow to narrowest, recognizing that others' experiences may differ depending on paper, ink, position and pressure:

the Pelikan M200 fine,
the Lamy Safari fine,
the Sheaffer Javelin fine,
the Duke Complete Esteem fine,
the Hero 329 fine,
and the Lamy Safari extra fine.

The Duke Complete Esteem is my favorite fine nib so far.
The Pelikan M200 is equally smooth but wider.
The Hero 329 is the least smooth, but the high ink output keeps it still quite acceptable, and the pen's body is comfortable to hold.
The Lamy Safari pen's comfort in the hand, its high ink output through any nib width and the narrowness of its extra fine line make up for the slightly higher attention level required while writing with the extra fine nib.

I enjoy wider nibs too, depending on the use, but I have only one "medium" and one "broad," both Lamy Safaris which are "generous." They are too wide for marking my students' papers and filling in forms at work. On the other hand, they are good for quick notes and personal correspondence, helping me to relax. Switching between pens and nib widths in the same day also gives good variety for handwriting maintenance.

#6 luminosus

luminosus

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPip
  • 23 posts

Posted 19 December 2005 - 19:14

I am looking for a pen for note-taking. Currently I use those Pilot Hi-Tec 0.3 pens (the animation in http://www.pilot-pen.com.tw/) for my notes, and they are ridiculously expensive for a disposable pen ($3.75 apiece).

I was wondering, if anyone is familiar with the 0.3, if any of the pens mentioned above can rival that in terms of thinness and definition, and still be smoother than it? Or, would anyone be so kind as to scan a sample writing of the Duke Complete Esteem on college-ruled paper?

Thanks in advance!

#7 Velma

Velma

    Accumulator and User

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 695 posts

Posted 19 December 2005 - 21:31

For really fine nibs, what you want is a needlepoint nib. Richard Binder's XXXF is quite fine, and he does an XXXXF as well, which I haven't tried yet. Dillon and a few other people also do needlepoint nibs, though I've not tried anyone else's yet. (As for the Pilot Hi-Tech pens, you can get them for $3.00 each through jetpens.com, and they often don't charge for shipping.)

#8 luminosus

luminosus

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPip
  • 23 posts

Posted 20 December 2005 - 18:26

Thanks for your response. Currently deciding whether to shell out a hundred bucks for a note-taker...is there any way to try it before I buy it?

Any other comments would be welcome!

#9 Guest_Denis Richard_*

Guest_Denis Richard_*
  • Guests

Posted 20 December 2005 - 23:24

Is it me or the design is reminiscent of the Cartier Diabolo ?

#10 Maja

Maja

    Fan of colourful pens

  • FPN Hon. Admin

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,415 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, Canada
  • Flag:

Posted 30 December 2005 - 07:00

The pen does not deposit ink in the cap, even being tossed around in a portfolio (while pointing every which way) in my book bag :D .
Exception: a bit of ink does get deposited in the cap when I drop the closed pen onto the floor.

<snip>

My Complete Esteem pen is filled with Noodler's Black, which creeps a bit onto the nib but has not been deposited inside the cap (except when the closed pen is dropped onto the floor).

<snip>

The gold plating on the trim ring where the section meets the barrel, a ring which is also touched by the cap, began to wear off after a few weeks of daily use :( . I guess I'm not gentle to my daily-use pens.

Well, ummmm.......... :lol: :rolleyes: :lol:

I don't know...but it may explain the posting problems with the cap! :P

But seriously.....
Thank you very much for the well-written detailed review, Goodwhiskers. Iin your FPN intro, I requested a review of the Complete Esteem from you, so thanks for coming through so quickly! A great review like this does not need photos; the words are enough :)
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#11 Melnicki

Melnicki

    M.Melnicki

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 994 posts

Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:28

So, I'm amazed that you're reconsidering the Complete Esteem as an XF rather than a F (or a medium-to-fine, which some sellers consider it). I'd love to see some writing samples (compared to the F's and XF's you mentioned... above. By the way, thanks for that ranking of F's>>XF's. That's very valuable to me!!)

I just received two Duke pens, the 2009 (I'm calling it "Dark Helmet" after the Rick Moranis character in the movie "Spaceballs", find a picture to see why!) and the Mini-Torpedo. I'll do a better review after I've played around with them some more, but one thing I'm noticing is that their nib size advertisement (also as a medium-to-fine, AKA light-medium) is a bit off. They write with the same thickness of line as my other Mediums (Dancheron Paris Amber and a new Dannitu 100 "Danny Rabbit" I just got). I don't like M's. Yuck. Now, I'm not going to get anything new unless it's an XF!! But I'm suspicious of your description of the Complete Esteem as an XF. I guess I'll have to find a real one to test out somewhere.

What's interesting is that the two Duke pens (smooth! smooth! smooth!) write incredibly well and reliably upside-down. (This gives you a finer line, like a F or light-medium). I like having extra options for line width in a pen. The upside-down writing remains smooth, and doesn't dry out after writing a few lines.

But so far I'm very impressed with these pens, in terms of make, look, and performance.


Click for Ink Scans!!

WTB: (Blemished OK)
CdA Dunas // Stipulas! (esp w/ Titanio nib) // Edison Pearl




#12 GrantC

GrantC

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 87 posts

Posted 22 March 2006 - 20:36

I've had a Complete Esteem for a month now, and I really like the pen. Like you, I really can't see why one would call it x-fine. It's very similar to the Medium on my Rotring 600; I'd classify it as a medium-fine at most.

Fit and finish is very good, and it's a fairly smooth writer; not nearly in the same class as my old Cross Century, but very pleasant. It has just a bit of tooth, which I'd describe as "some friction, but no scratch" - if that makes any sense!

Frankly, I've gotten to the point that I like a bit of feedback through the nib; as nice as my Cross is, it's a very wet and completely frictionless writer - impressive, but I find that I prefer being able to feel the nib movement on the paper.

I now own 3 Dukes, and have been impressed with each of them. The Complete Esteem is worth many times its price.

Edited by GrantC, 22 March 2006 - 20:38.

-=[ Grant ]=-

#13 Rebekah

Rebekah

    Rebekah

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPip
  • 15 posts

Posted 26 March 2006 - 22:50

I was looking at the "Complete Esteem" and decided against it for the simple fact that I have a very "acidic chemistry" that will eat the gold plating/ layering, etc. off of anything in record time. (This includes articles with a warranty on the finish) But I really was interested in your review because I am considering the Duke "Copper Knight" and wanted to know how these pens perform. I only hope that the Copper Knight is copper or a solid copper colored metal rather than plated or layered. I'll have to look into that.
Rebekah

#14 Synapse

Synapse

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Gold

  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 21 March 2008 - 03:26

The Complete Esteem also comes in black, I haven't had any problems with brassing, and thus far it has been a nice writing experience.

#15 pmsalty

pmsalty

    shamus

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,316 posts
  • Location:Newhall, CA
  • Flag:

Posted 21 March 2008 - 04:11

I have a black complete esteem and have had no brassing problems. The nib is sort of like a modified Triumph nib. I've had mine for almost nine months and for most of that time it was my daily writer. Smooth nib, writes on almost anything, through carbonless paper etc. Was loaded with Noodler's Polar Blue at first now with Ellis Island. A great knock around pen that keeps on writing! Enjoy!
PMS
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty -Thomas Jefferson

#16 lalindsay225

lalindsay225

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 835 posts
  • Location:Raleigh, NC, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:11

I love Duke pens, and the Complete Esteem looks really nice. I have tried to win one on eBay three times, and each time, someone bid against me, even when identical pens had no bids. It was a different user ID each time. I can only surmise that: 1) a surprising number of people place bids on the first listing they see without scrolling down the page a bit, or 2) they are shills trying to run up the price.

If I weren't saving up for an expensive Sailor, I would try again.

Lisa
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

Lisa in Raleigh, NC

#17 Art R

Art R

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPip
  • 14 posts
  • Location:Largo, FL

Posted 07 August 2009 - 18:08

I love Duke pens, and the Complete Esteem looks really nice. I have tried to win one on eBay three times, and each time, someone bid against me, even when identical pens had no bids. It was a different user ID each time. I can only surmise that: 1) a surprising number of people place bids on the first listing they see without scrolling down the page a bit, or 2) they are shills trying to run up the price.

If I weren't saving up for an expensive Sailor, I would try again.

Lisa


I just received a Complete Esteem from a seller on eBay that I won Tuesday night. $7.99 plus shipping. $13.98 total. It was also called a D22 I believe.

Lisa, If I recall correctly, to protect identity, eBay does not show other bidders "real" id's. It is a pseudo-random identity that is shown to other bidders. Only the seller can see the real bidder IDs. So, if you are bidding on two pens, you might have the same person bidding against you. But it will look like two other bidders.

Back to the pen, awesome pen for the price! Black, heavy, and comfortable. I saw this on GoldQuills.com website for $18.99 if you are still looking for one Complete Esteem - Black
Apparently they do not charge shipping or handling.

Art

Edited by Art R, 07 August 2009 - 18:10.


#18 wrytre

wrytre

    Dipped Only

  • Member - Bronze

  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 July 2015 - 00:28

Info relevant to your Esteem review (As it stands, it's a great review): Shanghai G-Crown Fountain Pen Co Ltd. started in 1988 and is connected to Dukepen Lux Gmbh of Weigheim, Germany (a little burg about two-thirds of the way between Munich and the French border at Colmar).  One thing I've noted about Chinese pen companies like Duke or Jinhao is that they're conscious of an American repute for poor quality control and shoddy materials in Chinese manufacturing and try to fight it by advertising connections with international companies or compliance with industrial and/or international QA organizations. Hmm...  Personally, I own and use several Jinhao pens and recommend them highly, as well as a couple of Baoers which are decent, if not great.  I am awaiting a Hero and Hero ink.








Sponsored Content




|