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The Conklin Antique


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#1 jonro

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 18:39

First Impressions (5/5)
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.



Appearance (4.5/5)
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.

Design/Size/Weight (4.5/5)
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.



Nib (5/5)
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.

Conclusion (4.5/5)
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.


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#2 Ghost Plane

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 20:34

Just buy knowing you will receive NO customer service whatsoever if it goes wrong. As of this posting, the Conklin LE sent in for a simple nib exchange in October of 2008 is still missing, Conklin have yet to contact me, and the matter remains in the hands of my credit card company.

#3 JayLo

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:12

QUOTE (Ghost Plane @ Jan 30 2009, 12:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just buy knowing you will receive NO customer service whatsoever if it goes wrong. .....

Ditto. I've learned my lesson. As nice as it looks and as good as it may write, there are many other pen makers that appreciate my business and provide excellent service.

Edited by JayLo, 31 January 2009 - 03:13.


#4 Sharkle

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:31


Beautiful pen, Jonro, and thanks for your wonderful review. Your pen looks like it would be very comfortable to write with as well. I'm sorry to hear of Ghost and JayLo's bad experiences with Conklin. I hope your pen gives you years of trouble-free writing.


#5 Rick Krantz

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:53

I got to say, I am not a modern pen person, but I thoroughly enjoy reading the reviews that jonro puts together. They are well done.

As far as Conklin service, that is sad to hear, seems perhaps you would get better service with an old crescent filler or nozak from the original company at this point.

anyway, nice review!

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#6 jonro

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:04

Thanks, Rick. I'm planning to do a couple of vintage pen reviews soon, just to mix things up a bit. I don't know much about the new Conklin company, but judging by the pens they've been releasing, I have a feeling that they are going to try to improve their customer service and that the poor service is a result of growing pains. That's not much consolation for users who feel burned by them, but hopefully they will get their issues resolved.

Jon

QUOTE (Rick Krantz @ Jan 31 2009, 05:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I got to say, I am not a modern pen person, but I thoroughly enjoy reading the reviews that jonro puts together. They are well done.

As far as Conklin service, that is sad to hear, seems perhaps you would get better service with an old crescent filler or nozak from the original company at this point.

anyway, nice review!



#7 hari317

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 08:20

Thanks Jon for the very nice review. This pen is very attractive and reasonably priced.

I have a couple of questions: Does the barrel have a metal liner or does the section have any metal parts from the POV of turning this pen in to an ED?

Would it be possible for you to measure the length of the exposed part of the nib to give me an idea about the nib size?

Thank You!
Hari

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#8 Ghost Plane

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:20

When I drop a mortgage payment on a silver overlay LE pen and never even get to use it, leaving me out both the money and the pen, I feel more than burned. angry.gif

This company lost a high end customer for life. Refusal to answer phones, after assorted excuses, followed by flat out lies, does NOT signal growing pains to me - it signals a company in serious trouble.

Hence my warning. Buy if you like - when these pens are good, they're good. But I don't want anyone else burned. That is a LOT of money for me to be out. crybaby.gif

#9 fatehbajwa

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:43

QUOTE (hari317 @ Jan 31 2009, 01:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks Jon for the very nice review. This pen is very attractive and reasonably priced.

I have a couple of questions: Does the barrel have a metal liner or does the section have any metal parts from the POV of turning this pen in to an ED?

Would it be possible for you to measure the length of the exposed part of the nib to give me an idea about the nib size?

Thank You!
Hari


Hari,

You took the words out of my mouth........feedback would be really appreciated.

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#10 Pepin

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 12:41

Are Conklin pens made in the U.S.? I see "USA" on the nib.
A man's real possession is his memory. In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.

#11 jonro

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 14:37

Hari,

The nib is nearly an inch long. It looks like there is a metal liner toward the rear of the barrel, however I see no metal parts in the section. I guess it would be unsuitable for an ED conversion. I wonder why no one makes a "fat" converter for bigger pens.

Jon

QUOTE (hari317 @ Jan 31 2009, 08:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks Jon for the very nice review. This pen is very attractive and reasonably priced.

I have a couple of questions: Does the barrel have a metal liner or does the section have any metal parts from the POV of turning this pen in to an ED?

Would it be possible for you to measure the length of the exposed part of the nib to give me an idea about the nib size?

Thank You!
Hari



#12 hari317

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 14:41

QUOTE (jonro @ Jan 31 2009, 08:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hari,

The nib is nearly an inch long. It looks like there is a metal liner toward the rear of the barrel, however I see no metal parts in the section. I guess it would be unsuitable for an ED conversion. I wonder why no one makes a "fat" converter for bigger pens.

Jon


Thank you Jon!

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#13 fatehbajwa

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 17:43

QUOTE (jonro @ Jan 31 2009, 08:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hari,

The nib is nearly an inch long. It looks like there is a metal liner toward the rear of the barrel, however I see no metal parts in the section. I guess it would be unsuitable for an ED conversion. I wonder why no one makes a "fat" converter for bigger pens.

Jon

QUOTE (hari317 @ Jan 31 2009, 08:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks Jon for the very nice review. This pen is very attractive and reasonably priced.

I have a couple of questions: Does the barrel have a metal liner or does the section have any metal parts from the POV of turning this pen in to an ED?

Would it be possible for you to measure the length of the exposed part of the nib to give me an idea about the nib size?

Thank You!
Hari




Jon,

Could you post a pic of the pen with the section unscrewed from the barrel ?

Thanks,

Fateh
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#14 RLTodd

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 17:51

QUOTE (Pepin @ Jan 31 2009, 04:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are Conklin pens made in the U.S.? I see "USA" on the nib.


AIR, Conklin is one of the several modern pen companies that does not manufacture their products. They contract the designs out to the excess capacity of other manufactures.

As far as service goes, I believe the only service available is what the merchant one purchases the pen from can provide.


YMMV

#15 Frank_Federalist_Pens

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 20:47

Great review Jon! Thanks!

This is a great looking pen. One that I am considering this year!
Maybe the silver finish has a laquer coating or something like that.
That may explain the brightness you are talking about. I've read that
the Pel M625 has this treatment to keep it from tarnishing.

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#16 QM2

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 00:12

I am so glad (and relieved) that the pen you got works without problems.

Mine has the 2-tone gold nib, so I wonder if the single-tone had better QC or whether it is just a coincidence. Either way, enjoy!


QUOTE (Pepin @ Jan 31 2009, 01:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are Conklin pens made in the U.S.? I see "USA" on the nib.


That's interesting; the 2-tone nib on mine also says "USA".

Even though we know for sure that Conklin does not make their own pens, it is not clear who does make them. Some have speculated that the pens are made in China. However, I have seen no proof of this. The only manufacturer that can possibly be making these pens if they are indeed made in the USA, is Bexley. There are simply no others with facilities large enough. But I have not heard anybody even suggest that Bexley makes pens for Conklin, so this seems unlikely. Even more unlikely, is that their gold nibs are made in the USA, since American makers import nibs from Germany. It is possible that Conklin just stamped "USA" on the nibs for the heck of it. After all, it is their nib and they can engrave it as they like. And since the company is based in the USA, it is technically not untrue. But it is a little misleading.


[image from my review]

Edited by QM2, 01 February 2009 - 00:13.







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