REVIEW: SOENNECKEN 111 LADY, herringbone light (brown) tortoiseshell
Soennecken is an old german manufacturer for everything needed in an office.
It's countrywide known by every child and I think in every
german household there will be something with their trademark:
I trusted the "unknown"-pen- purchase because "Soennecken" items can't be wrong,
must be what people call "german quality".
First of all: I always read, there are four series of this pen 111, 222, 333, 444 in three sizes Lady, Superior, Extra
and different colors.
So I was curious, how the variations look.
Now here you will get an idea (poorly the colors didn't come out as bright as they are):
From left to right: S.111 Lady and Extra, S.222 Lady and Superior, S.333 Superior, S.444 Superior and Extra.
They all have a 14kt goldnib with the “Crown”, but different feeds.
From left to right - nib and feed: 111 Extra, 111 Lady (above); 222 Superior; 444 Extra; 333 Superior.
The 111 and 222 series have celluloid bodies and caps. Clip and caprings are goldplated brass.
(Mine are all together in very good shape, few signs of use.)
The 333 and 444 seem to be of “precious resin” . Clip and cap-ring show, what you call “brassing”.
Soennecken 111 Lady
FIRST IMPRESSIONS (9/10):
When I received the pen from a very good e…seller, I was astonished, what weight it had. It felt small but “heavy”.
The nib was shining bright and wrote smooth and wet. Because I didn’t know the “Click-mechanism”,
I had difficulties to use it properly at the beginning. It took a few weeks of “female intuitive technical knowledge” to learn.
(The last “enlightenment” came from “fountainbel” with his wonderful technical drawings.)
APPEARANCE AND DESIGN 10/10:
The pen has “nobility”. The surface is glossy and shining in changing brown colours, varying with the light.
The “rounded” cap-rings, a narrow and a broad one together, add a lot of this “noble” image.
The hole clip looks unusual and is very firm/strong. It seems to be unbreakable.
The body and cap are out of celluloid, which seems to be “thicker” than other pens I know.
You don’t have the fear you could break it easily. I would call the whole design “splendid conservative”. I like it with all colors I have.
WEIGHT AND DIMENSIONS (10/10):
Weight (inked): 22g / Length (capped): 119 mm / (with cap posted): 135 mm / (without cap) 111 mm / Cap alone 55 mm / Nib 21 mm;
Width (body at the end of the cap) 11 mm, circumference 38 mm.
For my 8-size -“lady-hand” the pen is perfect. But I can imagine, that a “male hand” needs the Superior or Extra-size.
The weight in relation to size makes the impression of “quality and worthyness”.
NIB AND PERFORMANCE (10/10):
Nibsize B, 14 k gold, semi-flexible, moderate to wet ink flow, very smooth with various inks and papers.
The nib has a nice engraving – the Soennecken Crown. It’s easy to remove (twisting feed and nib counterclockwise with a soft tissue)
for cleaning purpose. Even though the nib writes with some flex, the material is some sort of “firm and stable”.
You can lean on a weary hand without loosing performance. I like vintage B, OB and BB nibs because of their nice qualities.
They are “flattering” to my handwriting and often produce a very nice shading of several inks.
This nib did match my (high) expectations (I am a long term user of an outstanding GEHA-goldnib).
written on coated paper and not scanned in an "hyperclean" room, as you can see...
FILLING SYSTEM (9/10):
The pen is a piston filler with a cork seal and a very special filling mechanism. The Soennecken piston has a locking mechanism:
the piston cap is first pulled out to release and then twisted to fill. When the pen is filled, the piston cap “snaps” back into the locking mechanism with a little “Click” sound.
(Remembering our beloved Miriam Makeba… ).
With some advice by friend “fountainbel”, I could clean and repair my first 222.
The materials are trustworthy metals (like brass) and you feel, that those pens are manufactured for eternity.
It’s not easy to give you the right amount of ink, it holds, but measuring with a syringe showed 1,7 ml of ink.
When the cork seal is new (like in this 111 Lady), it fills completely on the first shot.
If you have an old or dry cork seal you should change it or leave it to a gifted service person.
The filling mechanism could get locked or the spring inside the “click-mechanism” could rust in the case of leaking.
You can see, whether there was leakage before by a dark ring in the piston knob.
The cork is the only weak point of this pen: you should always make sure, that it’s inked or
filled with (destilled) water to prevent the “cork- shrinking-syndrome”. The whole issue sometimes makes you dependant to a professional.
COST AND VALUE (10/10):
I bought this pen in May ’07 at e…. The seller was a very trustworthy german, who did repair/service this pen, fixed a new cork seal.
(Most of my pictures are from him – I couldn’t do it better …) It took 268,- €, what left me breathless on the first shot, but I did never regret.
Compared to quiet expensive new pens of equal level this vintage buddy is perfect and worth it’s price. Regarding the quality and beauty it’s “best value”.
But: I’wouldn't pay much more. I would never participate in any bidding-battle or something like that.
If you can wait and see, you will find one for a reasonable price. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to buy a lousy one and repair it – the substance always is really good.
I can only recommend this kind of fountainpen.
As a reliable daily writer and collector’s item it’s absolutely worthwhile.
The only weakness is the cork seal.
Design, nib qualities and celluloid are from outstanding quality and a masters craftsmanship.
I hope you may enjoy this review instead of my adventurous english.
Feel free to ask further questions, if needed.
Edited by Gehaha, 03 December 2008 - 22:46.