1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS
I've been wanting a yellow pen for sometime and had come close to purchasing a yellow Bexley Submariner Grande on several occasions, but never got around to it. In this case my procrastination worked in my favour, as I lucked out when Dennis Bowden of Parkville Pens informed me that he was thinking of commissioning Bexley Pens to produce a Flat Top pen in Manadarin Yellow. I had been communicating with Dennis for several weeks regarding Bexley pens that are no longer in production; in particular I was looking for a Bexley Original, the first pen produced by Bexley in 1993. The Original is a bandless Flat Top inspired by the bandless Parker Duofold. Dennis told me that he was thinking of having Bexley make up 25 Custom Flat Top pens in the bandless-style of the Bexley Original, though a fraction shorter. He sent me a picture of the mock-up of the pen and in an instant I knew this was the pen for me: it was yellow and it was in the Original-style. I couldn't have been happier: I'd killed two birds with one stone with this pen. Moreover, I was going to get a great looking pen with one of those luscious 18k Bexley nibs. On July 10 Dennis advised me that the pens had been shipped to him by Bexley and that he would reserve #2 for me; he was keeping #1.
The pen arrived about a week ago from Dennis. It was in the usual Bexley blue box and well packed for shipping by Dennis. The box and its contents arrived in perfect condition, USPS, Canada Post and Canada Customs notwithstanding. Quite frankly I like the box Bexley provides with its pens. It's functional and no nonesense; although I keep all my pen boxes I see no need for them to be elaborate or fancy, as they go immediately into a cabinet when I trasfer the pen to one of my pen cases.
2. APPEARANCE & FINISH
In my view this is where Bexley excels and why I'm a keen collector of their pens; I currently own 17. This is a Limited Edition of 25 pens in Mandarin Yellow acrylic offset by black acrylic ends and section with a gold-coloured clip and an 18k two-tone nib. Being in the style of the bandless Parker Duofold it is vintage in looks, simple and unadorned yet very elegant. The Mandarin Yellow acrylic is rich and deep in colour with the black ends and section providing a very attractive counterpoint. One element that I particularly like is that Dennis kept the engraving on the pen to a minimum: All that is written on the barrel is "Bexley 2008" and below that "x/25".
3. SIZE & WEIGHT
I like the size and weight of this pen. To me, it's a full-sized pen being 5 3/8" capped, 5 1/8" uncapped with the nib, and 6 7/8" posted. The weight too is perfect; it feels substantial, being neither heavy nor light. Uncapped the pen fits perfectly in my hand and is well balanced unposted; I don't post any of my pens, as posting makes a pen feel unbalanced to me. The pen's section is also a good size being about the same diameter as that of my old-style Pelikan M800 and my Parker Duofold Cenetennial. Overall, I'd say the Flat Top is the same size as the Parker Duofold Centennial, but not as heavy.
4. NIB DESIGN & PERFORMANCE
I can't say enough good things about the Bexley 18k nibs. In my book they are the best nibs on the market, bar none. I have all four sizes: fine, medium, broad and stub. In this instance I went with a medium, which is my go-to nib. This nib is a joy to write with: good ink flow, nice feel on the paper, smooth without being buttery and with a slight springiness. It just doesn't get any better than this.
5. THE FILLING SYSTEM
Although the 19993 Bexley Original on which this pen is modelled is a button-filler, the Flat Top employs Bexley's standard C/C-filling system. It would have been nice if this pen had been fitted with a button-filler, but obviously it wasn't a deal breaker for me that it isn't.
Dennis is asking US$285 including US shipping and handling for this pen, which I think is very reasonable for a pen of this callibre. This is a high quality writing instrument and well worth what Dennis is asking for it.
7. OVERALL OPINION & CONCLUSION
Dennis and Bexley have hit the nail on the head with this pen: Vintage styling combined with modern materials and flawless fit and finish. I'd buy one again in a heart beat.
Edited by Rufus, 28 July 2008 - 00:56.