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Marlen Basilea


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Summerland

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 05:34

Marlen Basilea Review

Background:
My wife promised me a new fountain pen for Christmas--"within reason," she said, and so a Delta Dolcevita was not an option sad.gif

I wanted a pen that: was fairly wide, though not overly long; did not have a metal grip section; and (preferably) used a piston filling mechanism. After some poking around in the reviews, I noticed a very nice writeup and series of pictures of a Marlen Basilea by RichardS: http://www.fountainp...?showtopic=9761 I decided to take the plunge and purchase a red Basilea.

All week long I wondered: should I have gotten the pen in black instead of red? What if it is TOO large and red? On the other hand, I already have a Large Black Pen (Pelikan 800)--so maybe I have a moral obligation to branch out and get a Large Red Pen too? So when it came in the mail today, I nervously unwrapped the package . . .

First Impressions: 10/10
I am happy to say I have no buyer's regrets! It is an absolutely lovely pen! It came in a classy black leather-covered box (the box's color and shape initially left me with the somewhat disturbing impression of a coffin!). The pen is not too big or too small, and the red is very attractive.

Appearance/Design: 10/10
The shape is balanced, with a swell in the middle and slight taper at the ends. This is a beautifully proportioned pen. I dislike large trim rings, so the slim silver rings on the Basilea are perfect. Ditto with the silver cap logo. The black highlights on the cap are another nice touch. As RichardS noted, the clip is, in the abstract, perhaps a bit idiosyncratic. But once the pen is in your hand/pocket, the clip is far less obvious than you might think from just looking at pictures. It really doesn't detract at all.

Weight and Dimensions: 9/10
The Marlen Basilea feels comfortable in my hands, thanks to the relatively wide girth. It is a bit shorter and lighter than a Pelikan 800. But it is still a touch long for me when the cap is posted (and the cap seems to be fairly secure when posted). I think I'll probably be using it without the cap.

Nib: 9/10
I gave the Basilea a quick flush with slightly soapy water, then rinsed it. I filled it with Lamy Turquoise, which is my favorite blue. The result: the fine nib is very smooth, and lays down a nice wet line. This nib is both softer and wetter than my Pelikan 800 fine. The result is almost more of a medium. There is no skipping and no hesitation. The pen writes instantly after leaving the cap off for a few minutes.

Filling system: 9.5/10
The Marlen Basilea filling system is an integral converter, so it is not a true piston filler (i.e., where the piston travels in the pen body itself). But it sucked up a sizeable amount of ink and the mechanism was smooth. The piston knob is hidden behind a blind cap.

Cost & Value: 9/10
I purchased the Basilea from Melpens for under $200, even with international shipping--the best deal I could find after a casual internet search. I would definitely make the same choice again if I was given the chance.

Conclusion: !*#@
BUT . . . hey, what the???? I just opened the pen and there is ink everywhere! Where is this coming from? A close look with a magnifying glass shows two hairline cracks in the ring holding the nib/feed unit. Not a good situation!

Any suggestions? If someone can recommend an easy and lasting homegrown fix, I would be happy try it. Otherwise, I will have to see about the possibility of an exchange/warranty.



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#2 Russ

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 06:28

Thank you for this review. The Basilea is one pen I have been looking at for a long time. Your review was a help to me.

#3 Deirdre

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 22:26

I'd write to Marlen if I were you. Once I found the right contact, I got a reply.

I'll PM you the address, though I may have it only at home (please nudge via PM if I forget).
deirdre.net
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#4 Classics

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 00:05

I have the this Marlen in my fleet, and Love to write with it.
The pen is very dependable and also a dream to write with.

John
"Churn the Butter"

#5 Escribiente

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:37

I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your Basilea. I did send a Basilea for a nib exchange to Krone, which at the time, about a year ago, was handling Marlen's service in the US (enclosed info). They response was quick, and very professional. I hope you'll sort this problem out soon.

Marlen Pen Repair
c/o Krone, LLC
847-215-0011
info@kronepen.com
1275 Busch Parkway
Buffalo Grove IL 60089


#6 Deirdre

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 07:19

QUOTE (Escribiente @ Jan 17 2009, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your Basilea. I did send a Basilea for a nib exchange to Krone, which at the time, about a year ago, was handling Marlen's service in the US (enclosed info). They response was quick, and very professional. I hope you'll sort this problem out soon.

Marlen Pen Repair
c/o Krone, LLC
847-215-0011
info@kronepen.com
1275 Busch Parkway
Buffalo Grove IL 60089

FYI, when I emailed Krone about my Marlen, I got no response whatsoever.
deirdre.net
"Heck we fed a thousand dollar pen to a chicken because we could." -- FarmBoy, about Pen Posse

#7 bugmd

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 21:40

This is very interesting. I have the same pen with the same problem. I have never bothered to find the cause till I read your post. Sure enough, with a magnifier I am able to see 4 small cracks in the material of the nib section. Off to Marlen it will go.

Don
A. Don's Axiom "It's gonna be used when I sell it, might as well be used when I buy it."

#8 milo

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 00:39

I really hope Marlen will sort your pen out for you. This is worrying me (although not enough since I'm currently on a pen-buying ban) since the Basilea looks like it could be my ideal pen!

#9 Prise

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:04

Nice review.

I do hope you're able to have this sorted out, especially it seems as if the pen writes flawlessly.

I have some friends visiting me from KL, and after reading this review, I've asked them to stop by Pen Gallery to pick up the Black one for me.






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