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Classic Pens CP8 Murelli


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#1 Sarj

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 00:02

I was really pleased to be asked by Andy Lambrou of Classic Pens to test and review the first production model of the latest in Classic Pens CP series. As many of you will know, Andy started this series back in 1990 with the CP1 Targa. I have always thought the concept of adding a sterling overlay or engraving on an existing classic model was a great idea. Over the years, I have managed to collect a few of them and find that they are all superbly crafted with high quality machine engravings by Murelli.





The CP8 was announced last year and for the first time, Andy decided to use one of his own pen models, the LM1 as a base. You can read a great deal more detail on how the pen was conceived and designed on Andy’s excellent website here --- > http://classicpensin...PCollection.htm.



These are the CP series pens that I have in my collection. As you can see, the CP8 is probably the largest of the ones that I have. Unfortunately, I don’t have the massive CP6 Marguerite (one day, I hope) which is based on the M1000 and is larger than the CP8. I also would love to get hold of a CP3 Odyssey or Iliad which are based on the Aurora 88. From left to right, the pens are: The Sheaffers; CP1 Targa, CP2 Crest, CP4 Legacy (Richmond and Washington); The Parker Duofolds; CP5 Vintage and Modern; The Pelikan M800 based CP6 Charlotte; The Sailors CP7 Atlantic and Pacific and finally, the CP8 Murelli



The CP8 is based on the LM1 which is shown next to the Sterling CP8



Having seen the early prototypes of the CP8 earlier this year at the LA Pen Show and being an owner and regular user of the LM1 Flame, I had a pretty good idea what the final production pen would be like. When it arrived, I was even more impressed than I had been in LA. The first thing I was pleased to see was the simple and elegant blue clamshell box that the pen is packaged in. The tendency by manufacturers to over-package their LE pens has started to get quite ridiculous recently. I believe that this detracts from the pens themselves and presents numerous issues with storage and shipping. It is good to see that Classic Pens have recognised this and have kept packaging to a minimum on this pen in line with the regular LM series.



The CP8 is a robust and sizeable pen that whilst basically an LM1 with a sterling silver overlay, actually feels and looks quite different. It feels much more substantial in the hand and this is not just because of the added weight of the overlay, but also the girth that this adds to the pen.



If you look at the photo which above compares the relative sizes of some common modern large sized pens, you will notice that it is pretty much the same size as the MB149. This definitely provides a significantly different writing experience from the LM1.







The pen is available in two engraved patterns. The Flamme and the Vannerie. The Flamme is doing the rounds in the USA (you may have read Lex’s review) so Andy sent me the Vannerie to evaluate. The engraving could best be described as a tight-knit “basket weave” pattern which is very similar to the Sterling Silver Etalon from Waterman. (pictured on the right in the group shot).
The engraving is called Vannerie which is the same name as that for the CP1, but you will notice from the group CP pens photo that the finish is actually quite different. I think Murelli refer to the CP8 pattern as French Basketweave. I have chosen the Vannerie finish for my own pen (when it arrives) and I think I made the right choice. As someone who likes to constantly finger and play with my capped pens in meetings etc., the basketweave pattern provides a nice tactile experience (apologies if I sound like a real weirdo here.. )





The CP8 is a tad shorter than the LM1 but still packs a punch at 5.8” capped, 5.3” uncapped including the nib and a nice chunky 5/8” cap outside diameter. I found it very comfortable to use un-posted, but I don’t usually post anyway. Please note, this is not a lightweight pen. It weighs a very hefty 70g capped and 40g uncapped. This might put some people off. I can however, state that from my own writing experience of the CP8, it is very well balanced and extremely comfortable to use. I would not let the weight put you off. By way of comparison, my MB 149 weighs 25g uncapped with half a barrel of ink. If you find the MB149 heavy, then it’s likely that you won’t get on with the CP8.





One of the features I really like about the CP8 is the clip. I recall Andy telling me at the LA show that when designing the LM1, he and Paul Rossi both picked out the Sonnecken clip style from over 150 different pens in Andy’s book Fountain Pens of The World. I can see why, the clip is very robust yet elegant. The clip is configured in two parts, very much like the Parker Duofold.



The long stem has a small washer that fits into the external washer which is the trim that is seen on the cap. A great design for sure. Once the regular production pens go on sale, there will be a choice of gold or rhodium plated trim. I think I’ll go for the gold plated as I like the contrasting colours. Other than the clip, the entire pen is made from sterling silver. The parts that constitute the trim are: the clip, the external washer, the barrel end ring and the connector ring on section near the barrel. So if I select the gold trim all these will be vermeil apart from the gold plated brass clip. This is a very high quality pen.



The filling system is cartridge/converter which uses international style cartridges. Usually, I try and avoid cartridge converter pens but many people I speak to at pen shows etc. actually prefer the convenience of cartridges and don’t want to have to carry bottles of ink around with them. As a purist, I would have loved this pen to have a Pelikan or MB149 style piston filling system but I suspect that production and maintenance costs prohibit this on such a small edition. I only tested the pen with the converter and found that after an initial flush with diluted ammonia, (I do this with all new pens) the pen filled and emptied perfectly with no trapped air or ink bubbles in the converter.




The large open nib is the same as that on the LM1, a bespoke unit which I believe is manufactured by Bock. The nib is two tone and well sized, in excellent proportion with the pen. It is also slightly flexible (I would actually call it “bouncy”), excellent quality, that I am sure most of you will be familiar with if you use any one of several major modern pen manufacturers such as Visconti or Stipula.





The feed is a plastic moulded unit which has quite wide channels enabling generous flow that is wet but not a “fire hose”. I was pleased to see the absence of a trim ring at the end of the section. There is nothing to detract from the clean lines and ergonomic curvature of the gripping area.

So how does it write? I tried all four nibs that were sent to me and I enjoyed writing with all of them. The nib grades are Fine, Medium, Broad and Broad Italic (more of a stub really). My preferences on large heavy pens like this are for a bold signature style nib and the stub fits this bill perfectly. The attached writing sample was written at speed and the pen performed very well indeed with the ink flow easily keeping up with the big broad nib. The other nibs were equally smooth and consistent. I don’t think I was expecting any different having used the LM1 regularly.



I guess I should mention here that the pen is also available as a rollerball which is also very handsome and writes like….well a rollerball ;o) No seriously though, the rollerball unit is easy to fit and came with a Schmidt refill which I believe is one of the better brands. Sorry, I can’t elaborate too much more here as I very rarely use rollerballs.



I think you have probably gathered by now that I really like this pen. If there were anything that I would change, it would probably be the filling system. I would love to see the CP8 with a piston filler. Other than that I think Classic Pens have come up with yet another winner. I am sure Andy Lambrou will be happy to answer any detailed questions you may have about the pen. Price and availability etc. I have pre-ordered mine and can’t wait until I get one for keeps.




Sarj

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#2 Deirdre

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 00:04

Wow, that's an amazing set of photos.
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#3 Strang

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 00:08

That's a great looking group of pens!
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#4 Rufus

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 02:13

I have a Classic Legend Prototype in Garnet Fire, which I bought from Richard B. It's a lovely looking pen, well executed and a beautiful writer, but I have to agree with you regarding the c/c-filler. I am not opposed to c/c-fillers per se, but for pens in the price range of those produced by Classic Pens I would have thought that a piston-filling mechanism, along the lines of the one in the Pelikan M800, would be de rigueur.
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#5 Deirdre

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 02:37

QUOTE (Rufus @ Aug 13 2008, 07:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a Classic Legend Prototype in Garnet Fire, which I bought from Richard B. It's a lovely looking pen, well executed and a beautiful writer, but I have to agree with you regarding the c/c-filler. I am not opposed to c/c-fillers per se, but for pens in the price range of those produced by Classic Pens I would have thought that a piston-filling mechanism, along the lines of the one in the Pelikan M800, would be de rigueur.

I don't care if it's a piston filler, but something -- button, lever, piston, plunger.
I'm becoming super-fond of plunger fillers.
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#6 CharlieB

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:38

Excellent photos of a beautiful pen! Andy has outdone himself once again. I was only at the DC Pen Show for about 90 minutes this year, due to some other pressing commitments. I didn't get to chat with Andy, as he was surrounded by a big crowd. I did, however, get to write with one of these pens at Barbara Binder's table. It was really nice to hold.

This is some of the best pen photography ever to have graced this website. I especially enjoyed the photos showing the new pen with its older cousins and with its competitors. The closeups were also good.

I love silver pens.....
CharlieB

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#7 satrap

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:46

Thanks for the great pics and a great review, my dear NHB lticaptd.gif . Gorgeous pen!
Of course, with all of that fine silver in your collection, SURELY you could let go of one sterling LeMan... cloud9.gif


satrap
NHG bunny01.gif lticaptd.gif
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#8 Sarj

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 12:35

QUOTE (satrap @ Aug 14 2008, 12:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
SURELY you could let go of one sterling LeMan... cloud9.gif


satrap
NHG bunny01.gif lticaptd.gif


lticaptd.gif Keep dreaming ..... one day your prince will come ..... smile.gif
What would Stevie say?
....Just as hate knows love's the cure
....You can rest your mind assure
....My LeMan will be with me always...

Stay well my NHG from your ever adoring NHB
tongue.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif
Sarj

#9 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:14

Nice pen wink.gif I know where I will get Le Man 100 in sterling silver as well as a sterling silver Parker.
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

#10 Tom L

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 18:22

I received my Vannerie on Wednesday, inked it up and it has not left my pocket since. Absolutely beautiful and a wonderful writer. Mine is also a stub, which Andy adjusted to flow on the wet side which, when he asked, is how I told him I'd like it.

Aside from being a beauty and well made, if you like large pens with enough heft to remind you that gravity exists, you'll be in heaven with this pen.
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#11 andyk

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 18:49

Hi,

Sarj, nice review and as always great photos, I have never been a great fan of silver/overlay pens, but have to admit some of these look incredible, only wish I could afford them. Maybe if I sold all my pens I could afford one (probably go for the Pelikan but then again maybe not I will stick with what I have).

Andy



#12 Aysedasi

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 19:13

If I had to choose, I'd still go for the red fella..........

#13 mr goldfink

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 18:06

Hey Sarj

Great photos as ever and its always a pleasure to read a review from someone who is so enthusiastic about their subject!

Personally, I don't go for overlay/silver pens but this is a nice example though my one criticism would also be an aesthetic one. The wide cap band is for me a bit clumsy and the rendering of Classic Pens on the band is not so classy. It looks a bit cheap to me to be quite honest.

If they sorted their logo - used lettering that was either more discreet or smartly rendered then I would probably pick one up at some point. Until then I will just keep on looking.

Cheers from up North!

AS
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Click on the link below to check out my pen blog with loads of photos of Pelikans, UHUs and other rare treats...

http://mrgoldfink.blogspot.com/

#14 bossy

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 16:50

QUOTE (Sarj @ Aug 13 2008, 04:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Mega shading. Nice.
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to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
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#15 jmkeuning

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 18:38

Thanks for the great review. I might have to think about this one next!
Fool: One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth.






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