I usually don’t give much thought to the box that ships with a fountain pen, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Conklin came in an attractive deep blue box, indicating that Conklin considers the Antique to be a quality pen. The pen, with its silver-plated chasing shines brightly when you open the box and the Antique makes a very good first impression.
It’s a large pen and has a very nice appearance. The silver plated overlay has nicely done chasing. It is modeled after a Mabie Todd Swan Leverless with a gold overlay (as noted by QM2 in another review) and matches that pen, not identically, but very closely. Conklin has released a number of pens patterned after classic pens, both from Conklin’s stable of classics and those of other manufacturers. I like the classic look of the black pen, but it is also available in three other pearlescent colors: Blue Velvet, Forest Green, and Burgundy. One note about the overlay. It looks to me like it’s rhodium plated rather than silver plated. I say that because silver has a lustrous look to it that’s a little difficult to describe. The Conklin is brighter than that. I’m not saying that it’s not silver plated, just that to me, it looks a little more like steel than silver. Conklin’s website states that “each pen features a stunning silver plated art deco overlay,” and I have no reason to disbelieve them.
It’s a large pen, a little bigger than a Pelikan m800, perhaps as large as a 1000. The fit and finish is very good. The cap screws on very smoothly and takes about a turn and a half to open and close. I’m often taking short notes in bursts and prefer a pen that opens and closes quickly. The barrel has a slightly tapered end which makes posting very secure, a nice touch. The cap has a very substantial inner liner that makes it a bit on the heavy side. However, the pen is large enough to use unposted and when posted, even if it feels a bit heavy (but not very heavy), the balance is quite good and that negates any weight issues for me.
The body of the pen is made from a reflective black resin, fairly typical of modern pens. The chased ovelay is silver plated and a series of triplet bands help give the pen a distinguised look.
There seem to be two varieties of nibs made for this pen, a two-tone and a montone 14K gold nib. Mine came with the monotone nib, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I recently read several negative posts about inconsistency in Conklin’s feeds and nibs. I ran some surfactant cleaner through the pen a few times before using it, something I normally do with new pens, but gave it no other special treatment. The nib is smooth, the flow is fairly wet and the fine nib is very close to what a call a “true fine.” Often, fine nibs on modern pens run wide. This Conklin nib is quite usable as is and is just a little wider than my ideal for a fine nib. While it is a stiff nib, it has a slight bit of springiness, so it’s not hard as a nail. It is not a nondescript smooth nib either. It’s smooth, but has a bit of road feel to it. The nib is a good size for this large pen and while the design is not outstanding, it’s attractive, with the ovoid Conklin logo pressed into the nib.
Filling System (4/5)
The Antique has a cartridge/converter, typical of modern pens. The converter does not have a float and there’s nothing about it that stands out compared to other converters. There’s not much else to say about that.
Cost and Value (4.5/5)
The retail price of this pen is $250. However, at the time I am writing this, the Conklin Antique is on sale at Fountain Pen Hospital for $119. With it’s good looks, excellent performance and 14K nib, I would consider it a very good value at this price.
The only negative I can think of about this pen is that it’s just a little on the heavy side. On the plus side, it has very good looks inspired by a classic pen. Its 14K nib is smooth and responsive and the ink flow is wet and consistent. I’m very pleased with this pen, greatly enjoy writing with it and would recommend it without reservation to others.
Edited by jonro, 31 January 2009 - 06:08.