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

REVIEW: Conklin Antique


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 00:53



Conklin Antique
in Midnight Black


The Conklin Antique is an attractive and comparatively affordable silver-plated overlay pen, with a classic
1920's aesthetic. For those who like the look of flat-tops from this era, but prefer a modern writing
experience, this is an excellent pen to choose.

Appearance and Design

The Conklin Antique is a large, impressive, classically shaped flat-top. According to Conklin's description,
"the Antique Collection combines the vintage design of the roaring 20's with modern technical enhancements
creating a truly stylish writing instrument reminiscent of a bygone era." However, the pen seems to be
modeled specifically after the 1934 rolled gold Mabie Todd Swan "Leverless" pictured in Andreas Lambrou's
Fountain Pens Vintage and Modern. As shown on the photos, the pens look nearly identical, except
for the colour of the metal and the shape of the tip of the clip.





The base material of the "midnight black" version of the Antique is an opaque, high-gloss resin. The other
three available colours are pearlescent: cherry red, sky blue, and marine green. The silver-plated overlay is
engraved with a fine barley finish and polished to a high sheen. In addition to the overlay sleeves, the pen
features a series of distinct tripple bands at the cap lip, below the endcaps, and above the section. Both the
resin and the overlay seem to be of high quality, extremely durable, and beautifully done.

This really is a rather stunning pen, and I am impressed that Coklin dedicated this much thought and energy
to the design of something that is essentially a "lower priced" pen by today's standards. One doesn't usually
see beautiful, chased overlay nowadays unless the pen is a Limited Edition.

Comfort and Durability

The pen is a large one, but as the overlay is thin, it is not heavy. It is well-balanced in the hand, and those
who like flat-tops will find it extremely comfortable. The size, shape, and weight of the Antique are pretty
much perfect for me; the pen begs to be written with. Another design element I appreciate, is the "lip" on
the gripping section, which allows my fingers to rest on it comfortably. I grip my pens very low, so sections
that have this feature are my favourite. The pen posts comfortably, at no detriment to the overlay finish
(which honestly seems scratch proof, dent proof, and bulletproof!).

Filling System

The filling system is a straightforward cartridge/converter.



Nib and Writing performance

My pen came with a Fine 14K two-tone gold nib (the Conklin logo is yellow, the rest of the nib is white).
I have also seen these pens pictured with a single-tone yellow gold nib, which in my view does not go as
well with the silver overlay. The F nib writes on the wide side, fairly close to what I would call a Medium.

As far as performance: This is my third Conklin pen, and it is the only one that writes out of the box. The
other two (the Mark Twain Crescent and the 100th Anniversary silver overlay LE, purchased from separate
vendors) have serious flow problems, and I am unable to use them at all until I send them out for tuning.
So it was a pleasant surprise that the Antique actually wrote out of the box at all! The nib is nice and smooth,
and has a soft feel to it.

However, there are still minor flow problems: The nib/feed seem to be releasing ink at an uneven rate,
which results in random line variation. Here is a writing sample:



As you can see in the sample, the nib puts down a wetter and wider line on some downstrokes than on
others. This is not dependent on the amount of pressure I exert, or on any other factor I can perceive; it
seems to be due to inconsistent flow. So I will still need to get this one adjusted. Ah well, at least it writes
and I can play around with it first, unlike the other two!

Yes, you know that something is seriously wrong with the fountain pen industry when you find yourself
celebrating that a pen writes out of the box with only minor flow problems. Three out of three Conklins
with flow problems is not a good record at all.



Cost and Value

Several retailers are currently selling this pen for $180, which is an unbelievable price for this pen. Even
factoring in that you may need to pay $15-30 for flow adjustment after purchase, that price is great.

Conclusions

Think of the Conklin Antique as the battle tank of silver overlays. It is beautiful, but incredibly durable and
sturdy. This is a pen to carry around and use without trepidation, not a pen to be kept in a display case and
treated like a delicate piece of jewelry. For those who enjoy silver overlays, but also insist on using their pens,
this is an unbeatable combination. The fact that Conklins cannot be counted on to write out of the box, is of
course, a serious strike against them. But for the price, go ahead and spend the extra $15-30 on professional
tuning and then use the pen and be happy!


Edited by QM2, 31 December 2008 - 15:49.


Sponsored Content

#2 Tsujigiri

Tsujigiri

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,768 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:22

Thanks for the review! Out of all of Conklin's newly introduced offerings now, this is probably the only one I like. Too bad to hear about the flow problems, but that's a good warning for prospective buyers.

#3 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:56

QUOTE (Tsujigiri @ Dec 31 2008, 02:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the review! Out of all of Conklin's newly introduced offerings now, this is probably the only one I like. Too bad to hear about the flow problems, but that's a good warning for prospective buyers.


You don't like the Crescent?
If you like this one, you may like the Endura Deluxe chased flat-top, a Fahrney's special.

#4 Tsujigiri

Tsujigiri

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,768 posts
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 31 December 2008 - 03:01

I like the Crescent, actually, if I was going to buy another Conklin, it would probably be the Crescent or this one. But I was referring to the new models, like the Jockey, All-American, and Herringbone. Something about them looks a lot like the inexpensive Chinese pens on Isellpens.com (good pens, but I don't think they're worth Conklin prices). The Endura sounds interesting (My favorite rollerball is my Duragraph), but it looks like Fahrney's has sold out of them now.

Edited by Tsujigiri, 31 December 2008 - 03:03.


#5 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 04:10

QUOTE (Tsujigiri @ Dec 31 2008, 05:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I like the Crescent, actually, if I was going to buy another Conklin, it would probably be the Crescent or this one. But I was referring to the new models, like the Jockey, All-American, and Herringbone. Something about them looks a lot like the inexpensive Chinese pens on Isellpens.com (good pens, but I don't think they're worth Conklin prices). The Endura sounds interesting (My favorite rollerball is my Duragraph), but it looks like Fahrney's has sold out of them now.


Eek! Yes, I agree that the pens you mention seem sub-par; I must have blocked them out of my memory.
Didn't realise the Fahrney' Endura Deluxe was sold out already : ( Ah well, can't have everything!



#6 Ghost Plane

Ghost Plane

    Indescribable

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,424 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Flag:

Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:17

There are new colors of crescents out on FPH, but BEWARE!! Do NOT expect Conklin customer service. I have yet to receive back the brand new LE sent in to them for a simple nib swap THREE months ago. They no longer return their calls, or clear out their voice mail so that a message can be left. Rob no longer answers the phones. I have strong doubts about Conklin's future and I'm now out both the money and the pen. I've turned it over to Amex to see what they can do.

Buy Conklin if you must [I have two absolutely lovely LEs I purchased from Bob Speer that write beautifully and I thought I was getting another], but buy knowing their quality is iffy, and their customer service is criminally bad.

#7 tcheuchter

tcheuchter

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 240 posts

Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:18

Thank you for the thorough review and photographs. This is a brand and model that I had not considered until now.

#8 Peter from Sherwood Park

Peter from Sherwood Park

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,973 posts

Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:34

Thank you for the review -- I have been mulling this one over for a while.

#9 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:53

Oh I would not dream of sending my pen to Conklin for adjustment, just as I would not send a pen back to almost any manufacturer. I have heard horrific tales of similar experiences to GhostPlane's with other pen manufacturers' service centers as well: Without naming names, I can think of at least 4. I will send the Antique, just as I do any other pen that does not write out of the box, to one of the fine, qualified professionals whom I can count on to return it to me perfectly functional.

It is interesting what GP says about Conklin' future. To be fair, I can say that all three Conklins I own -- the Antique reviewed here, the Mark Twain Crescent, and the absolutely stunning 100th Anniversary silver overlay LE -- are extremely well crafted, durable pens, that show attention to detail and a sincere interest in history. The pens are a visual and tactile joy. And the nibs, as well, look and feel great; I am confident that once I get someone to adjust the flow, they will be smooth, marvelous writers. It is almost as if Conklin did everything right except for that one final tiny flow-adjustment stage, and it is a shame how that has harmed their image.

Edited by QM2, 31 December 2008 - 14:55.


#10 MDI

MDI

    Pen Perfect

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 529 posts

Posted 31 December 2008 - 06:00

QUOTE (QM2 @ Dec 31 2008, 12:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
extremely well crafted, durable pens, that show attention to detail


Absolutely agree. These Conklin pens are a pleasure to hold in the hands, and to examine the parts.

We will buy again, adjust flow (or have it adjusted by someone) and enjoy more of these solid instruments.

Edited by MDI, 31 December 2008 - 06:00.

Collection: Pen Perfect | Ink: The Magic Fountain

#11 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 14:22

QUOTE (MDI @ Dec 31 2008, 08:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We will buy again ... and enjoy more of these solid instruments.


a humble suggestion for your next purchase


(Conklin Royal Crescent in Sterling Silver and Blue, from Joon pens)

Edited by QM2, 31 December 2008 - 17:10.


#12 Ghost Plane

Ghost Plane

    Indescribable

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,424 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Flag:

Posted 31 December 2008 - 18:45

That's the one I'm waiting on to get back from Conklin. Sigh....

#13 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 31 December 2008 - 19:08

QUOTE (Ghost Plane @ Dec 31 2008, 08:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's the one I'm waiting on to get back from Conklin. Sigh....


Oh! I would say "lucky" (to own that pen), but under the circumstances that seems inappropriate : ((
I hope you get it back soon! Please let us know how the situation plays out.

Edited by QM2, 31 December 2008 - 19:11.


#14 Ghost Plane

Ghost Plane

    Indescribable

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,424 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Flag:

Posted 31 December 2008 - 22:29

Worst of all, I got it during Altman's 20% off sale, so it was something of a sumgai until the wrong nib showed up. wallbash.gif

#15 RevAaron

RevAaron

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,931 posts

Posted 31 December 2008 - 23:10

Apologies- I swear, all I've been doing is complaining today...

Conklin has some great overlays, and a ton of gorgeous pens from the teens to the 30s. If they're keen on making replicas of or pens inspired by pens from the Golden Age, why not dip into the big pot of great pens the original Conklin made?

Hell! Maybe someone at Conklin had a copy of Andreas Lambrou's Fountain Pens Vintage and Modern and paged through it until they found something from the timeframe. A few hours later in AutoCAD and BAM! Instant vintage appeal!

I love the old Mabie Todd Swan pens, but it'd be so much more fun if Conklin made some nice Conklins first. *shrug*

WTB: Ford's Patent Pen, Pilot Blue ink (Thai)
Also: Orthos Pens | Danish MB #4 nib | 1G Hundred Year Pen cap


#16 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 01 January 2009 - 00:02

QUOTE (RevAaron @ Jan 1 2009, 12:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Conklin has some great overlays, and a ton of gorgeous pens from the teens to the 30s. If they're keen on making replicas of or pens inspired by pens from the Golden Age, why not dip into the big pot of great pens the original Conklin made?
...
it'd be so much more fun if Conklin made some nice Conklins first. *shrug*


What about the modern Crescents?...
http://themagicfount...s-crescent.html
http://themagicfount...erlay-pens.html

#17 escribo

escribo

    Collectors Item

  • FPN Supporter - Platinum

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2009 - 04:09

Wow! Thanks for that review, QM2. That is one fine-looking pen!
Your tastes run like mine, though your budget exceeds mine.
That's OK; I can look at your posts and do some filtering. smile.gif
I enjoy your posts, especially where they involve SILVER.
Again, thanks & keep up the good work,
-jon

I may not have been much help, but I DID bump your thread up to the top.


#18 Deirdre

Deirdre

    Stipula Ventidue Ti Nib Adoption Agency

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,122 posts
  • Location:Menlo Park, CA

Posted 01 January 2009 - 04:19

QUOTE (Ghost Plane @ Dec 30 2008, 09:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are new colors of crescents out on FPH, but BEWARE!!

The new ones look to be resin (rather than cellulose acetate) and also have a steel nib.
deirdre.net
"Heck we fed a thousand dollar pen to a chicken because we could." -- FarmBoy, about Pen Posse

#19 Ghost Plane

Ghost Plane

    Indescribable

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,424 posts
  • Location:USA
  • Flag:

Posted 01 January 2009 - 13:08

If you want the gold nib, it costs $150 extra.

#20 QM2

QM2

    .

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,875 posts
  • Location:the picturebooks

Posted 01 January 2009 - 13:47



(images from Fountain Pen Hospital)

You have to admit that $132 for a crescent-filling pen with silver-plated trim is a great price.

escribo, thanks for your comments. As for budget, I think that once you really want something, ways can be found to get it. I don't really have a big budget, but I choose to take on countless consulting projects in addition to my full-time job in order to buy these things : )

Edited by QM2, 01 January 2009 - 13:54.







Sponsored Content




|