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Conway Stewart Bespoke Wellington


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#1 Vicary

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:47

I had the rare opportunity to tour the CS factory back in April and had a great time checking out their stockroom, loaded with rods of casein, acrylic, ebonite, and all kinds of other fun stuff. I managed to find some of my favorite material, the old Sheaffer Tiger Eye acrylic. I asked what the largest pen they could make fully in that material (without having to resort to any plain black pieces) and it was the Wellington. So I placed an order for a bespoke Wellington in the Tiger Eye material. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've had some time to play, so I thought I'd post a review.

The Wellington is Conway Stewart's most recent design, and it's a nice one. The Pelikan M800 sized pen has a gentle curve to the cap and barrel, which gives it a soft, organic quality. The pen bulges slightly towards the end of the barrel and near the middle of the cap. It tapers a bit towards the section. It's a bit more subtle than the curved barrels you'd find on some recent Delta pens or a Loiminchay. It's a fresh approach from Conway Stewart. Thank to the trim, it has a classic, refined quality. But the somewhat sensual form of the cap and barrel definitely set it apart from the other Conways. The barrel is reinforced with a brass liner, which provides extra strength and also gives the pen a bit of heft. It feels just a bit heavier than the comparably sized M800.

The filling system is by cartridge or converter. The converter screws in securely to the section.

The whole thing came beautifully packaged in Conway Stewart's somewhat over the top multi box presentation case.

[attachment=28851:Wellington.jpg]

The cap posts fairly far back on the barrel. I prefer to post my pens and that's no different with this one. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a balance issue. The design of the brass liner in the barrel concentrates the weight a little further back than I'd like. The problem is actually lessened by posting the cap, not because it makes the back end any less heavy, but because it distributes the weight better across my hand. I have not written for any extended periods but in short bursts the pen is plenty comfortable.

[attachment=28852:Wellington2.jpg]

Like all other modern gold trimmed CS pens, the cap bands are solid, hallmarked .750. The rest of the trim is gold plated. The clip is uses the classic Conway Stewart design with the CS logo in diamond form near the top. Very classy.

[attachment=28853:Wellington3.jpg]

I also love that Conway Stewart marks their pens with a nice imprint. This one features the bespoke designation instead of a serial number.

[attachment=28854:Wellington4.jpg]

I love the material. Sheaffer introduced this on their Balance II LE made for Levenger. The color is a very warm mossy green with flecks of amber and irregular stripes of black. It has nice depth and just a touch of iridescence. I have a CS 58 in the same material, which the Wellington will be joining in my pen case if I can get myself to stop using it...

[attachment=28855:Wellington5.jpg]

The 18k gold nib is an italic medium. I've had very good luck with the CS italic medium over the years. The nib is smooth and gives great line variation. Like all new model Conways it features the new revised feed which ensures very consistent ink flow. The ink is some crazy expensive LE ink I bought in Switzerland. It's probably just rebottled Herbin olive green, but it set me back $35. Ouch!

[attachment=28856:Wellington6.jpg]

Overall I have to say I'm very happy with this recent acquisition. The Wellington is one of the less expensive pens Conway Stewart offers, with fountain pens retailing for $490. That's not too much more than a Pelikan M800, which retails for about $450. I'd expect to find a similar discount on a CS as I would on a Pelikan. The bespoke material does add an additional $100 to the cost of the pen. That might seem a little excessive, but there are so few options available out there to have a pen of this caliber crafted specifically for you in your material of choice, and most of those options are Japanese and involve Maki-e artisans which cost quite a bit more. At this price point the Conway Stewart bespoke option is a great choice. I'd highly recommend it as an option to anyone considering the purchase of a Conway Stewart, or looking for something out of the ordinary.

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#2 inkyfingr

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:56

Great looking pen!

#3 Brian

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 08:57

Thanks for a good review. I like the detailing of the material and can see some translucency through the cap lip. Very reminescent of an early Wahl pattern. Nice point as well.

#4 PeterBeoworld

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 10:03

Very nice indeed. That is something I would love to do! Choosing the material and pen would make a pen very special. How did you arrange your visit?

#5 goodyear

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 10:25

The pen is stunning in that material.
Mark Goody

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#6 PigRatAndGoat

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 12:16

I like how CS makes these great vintage looking nibs and pens! Enjoy your pen!

PRAG

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#7 goodguy

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 12:41

This pen is gorgeous WOW thumbup.gif

Thanks for the lovely review.
Respect to all

#8 acfrery

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 12:45

Fantastic! That material is amazing.
Alejandro

#9 jonro

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 14:26

That is one beautiful pen. Thanks for sharing.

#10 Ronin

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 16:27

A great review of a stunning pen that I'm eyeing up at the moment.

Many thanks,

Ronin

#11 andyk

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 20:12

Nice looking pen and a great review. Was nearly tempted to buy a Sheaffer Balance II last year in the same/similar design but didn't, still regretting it though.

Enjoy you pen.

Andy

#12 Vicary

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:54

I really love this material. It joins a CS 58, a Bexley Grand Finale, and of course the original Sheaffer in my collection. I actually have several 'pairs'- identical pens in the Tiger Eye and Sheaffer Aspen material. I have the Sheaffer Tiger Eye and Aspen, the 58s in Tiger Eye and Aspen, and the Bexley Grand Finale in Tiger Eye and Aspen. It would be nice to get a matching Aspen Wellington but CS doesn't have any of the Aspen stock remaining. Maybe I'll come across some on my own. I also have an Aspen Bexley Submariner Grande. I'd love to get a matching Tiger Eye one made. But I think Howard's out of the Tiger Eye...

#13 Opus104

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:53

Congrats. That is fantastic.

#14 langere

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:13

That is amazing. I just wish CS weren't so expensive... sad.gif

Erick

Currently in Rotation: Osprey Milano "M" nib running Waterman Green; Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero "F" nib running J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite; Guider Mini "EF" nib running Diamine Poppy Red; Penbbs 471 "F" nib running Pelikan Königsblau; Penbbs 266 "F" nib running Noodler's Heart of Darkness; Opus 88 Fantasia "F" nib running J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite.

 


#15 Lefthander

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 07:17

That's a real beauty! Congratulations on getting your pen made in your favorite material. I hope to be able to get a bespoke Conway Stewart someday. Of course first I have to decide on which material I like that much and then the type of pen that I'd like. So many choices! Can you settle for just one?

Again congrats on a great pen.

#16 HyperCamper

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 14:42

Very nice pen! smile.gif
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."
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#17 handlebar

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 14:45

Beautiful indeed!!! And i was going to say the ink was Herbin's Vert Olive the moment i saw it!It's one of my favourite with a couple of eyedroppers of black added.
That Wellington is an eye catcher.Very nice indeed.

Jim

#18 Vicary

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 00:48

QUOTE(Lefthander @ Jul 9 2008, 03:17 AM) View Post
That's a real beauty! Congratulations on getting your pen made in your favorite material. I hope to be able to get a bespoke Conway Stewart someday. Of course first I have to decide on which material I like that much and then the type of pen that I'd like. So many choices! Can you settle for just one?


I've actually had quite a bit of fun mixing and matching CS colors and styles over the last few years, ever since I talked them into making me a Dartmoor Duro. This was after they had initially released the Duro, but only in a limited array of colors. Two years ago I had this one made- always loved the Azure Dandy I had, except the Dandy itself was a bit too small. So my answer was an Azure 100. Sterling silver trim and a nice IB nib...

[attachment=28963:Azure100.jpg]


#19 Bananafish

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:22

QUOTE (Vicary @ Jul 9 2008, 05:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've actually had quite a bit of fun mixing and matching CS colors and styles over the last few years, ever since I talked them into making me a Dartmoor Duro. This was after they had initially released the Duro, but only in a limited array of colors. Two years ago I had this one made- always loved the Azure Dandy I had, except the Dandy itself was a bit too small. So my answer was an Azure 100. Sterling silver trim and a nice IB nib...

[attachment=28963:Azure100.jpg]



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#20 Bananafish

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:29

Vicary, congrats on the Bespoke Wellington! I was just reading the June/July 08 Stylus in which there was an article reviewing the CS Wellington. The article featured the Black Whirl - nothing like the Tiger Eye.

It caught my attention because the article mentioned what flexible nib the Wellington has; I qoute, "A modern flexible nib that is almost as good as some of the better vintage nibs." Is that just an exaggeration or do you also get to pick a flexie for a Bespoke version? I take it yours' not a flexible nib since you got an italic medium?

I like the large size of the Wellington, and find the gentle curve to the barrel and cap attractive. I haven't handled a CS before. How do you think the Wellington compared to the Churchill? Do they use the same nibs?

Thanks for your excellent review. I've never visited any old pen factory it'd be too cool! Did you manage to take some photos of the CS factory? A stockroom "loaded with rods of casein, acrylic, ebonite, and all kinds of other fun stuff" sounds like something worth seeing!







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