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Conway Stewart 85 Review


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#1 lightweaver

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:15

Iíve never had much success buying vintage pens, especially over ebay. You would have thought that Iíd learned my lesson by now, but when I saw this Conway Stewart 85, the risk taker within me came out for just a second and cast the winning bid. Boy did I regret thatÖ

First Impressions 9/10
Öuntil I opened the small packet it arrived in that is. I guess you could call it relief, but extremely delighted was more appropriate. It was smaller than I expected, but then, even with measurements, Iím a poor judge of what size a pen will be until I see it in the flesh. The blue marble with gold veins was a stunning colour and the resin was nicely polished, as were the gold bits, and the barrel imprint was good too.
CS85_1.JPG
Very nice. Very nice indeed.

Appearance and Design 9/10
Iíve never been a fan of the more colourful resin pens. All the pens I have owned previously were rather understated, yet recently Iíve become a real fan. Not only that, but Conway Stewart was never on my list of pens to consider, but I am so glad I did.

Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this pen is a thing of beauty. The colour of the resin is gorgeous, the gently tapered shape just right. The shape of the clip, the rounded end of the lever, all those small little details just compliment the pen. It speaks of class without being gaudy or overstated. Just right.

Weight and Dimension 8/10
5Ē capped, 4.6Ē unposted, and 6.1Ē posted. Definitely the shorted pen in my collection. Itís also the lightest. The Diameter is 0.4Ē. (All dimensions are rough measures.) I would prefer a little more heft and bulk to the pen, but not so much that it detracts from itís good points.
The pen is comfortable enough with the pen unposted (and Iím not one that usually posts the cap), but the pen has a far greater balance when posted.

Nib and Performance 8/10
This is where I started to get nervous. So far, everything was above expectation. The pen filled no problem, and the nib glided across the paper. It has a CS 3 nib in what appears to be a medium italic, though it is far more subtle than the italic nibs of my youth. Very nice writer, smooth, laying down a wet line with some nice line variation.
CS85_2.JPG
Then the pen began to live up to expectation. After being left for a while, the nib proved to be a tough starter. The next day it just wouldnít start. My heart sank. Thankfully, FPN came to the rescue and after some research, I flushed the pen, soaked the nib (there was a lot of ink stuck to the feed), stretched the tines and pressed the nib gently back against the feed and voila, the nib was sorted. Phew.


Filling System 7/10
I must confess that this is my first lever filler, and though it is not my favourite mechanism, it certainly beats cartridges. The lever works well and the pen holds a good amount of ink. Pretty straight forward stuff really.

Cost and Value 9/10
Ebay is kind of like playing the slots and Iím always envious of people who grab the real bargains, but I count myself lucky this time. Iíve seen 85ís in this condition go for around £80. I managed to grab this for half that and I count that as good value for money. This is a quality pen and worth every penny.

Conclusion 8/10
Iíve said it elsewhere, but I grew up in a Parker family, and the 51 is still, for me, the perfect pen. It sits perfectly in the hand and is my daily writer at work. Yet this is the first time Iíve come across a pen that has a personality. It speaks to me, demands to be written with, and who am I to argue. It looks the part, itís a wonderful writer and I love coming home, picking it up, and penning a few lines, and that is what owning a fountain pen is all about. It is not just a pen, itís something that makes writing an absolute pleasure. I canít think of higher praise for a pen than that, and the 85 certainly deserves it.
CS85_3.JPG

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
-- Robert Frost --

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#2 matthewst1

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:02

I want that nib! I don't have an italic on any of my 6 vintage CS's... wish I had that one! God to hear you got a good deal biggrin.gif
Wanted List: Pelikan M800 F; GvFC Pernambuco F

#3 Breck

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 16:50

Nice looking pen, and sounds like a good deal, to boot! Plus any pen you buy for yourself and repair/tune to meet your own expectations are always special.

What ink is that in the sample? It's a great complement to the pen, and the shading is quite nice, too.

#4 Sharkle

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 17:41

QUOTE (Murderface @ Feb 17 2009, 04:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice looking pen, and sounds like a good deal, to boot! Plus any pen you buy for yourself and repair/tune to meet your own expectations are always special.

What ink is that in the sample? It's a great complement to the pen, and the shading is quite nice, too.


+1 for wanting to know the ink used. Lovely pen and the nib is wonderful--thanks for a great review. I guess you'll be playing the slots again someday thanks to this find! thumbup.gif



#5 tomscs

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 18:20

Nice review of a nice pen. Thanks
" If you judge people, you have no time to love them. There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for bread. "....Mother Teresa

#6 lightweaver

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 18:54

QUOTE (Murderface @ Feb 17 2009, 04:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What ink is that in the sample?


The ink is Waterman Florida Blue, though I must confess that it does look better in the image than on the paper.

Thanks for all the comments, and yes, I think I'll be playing the slots of ebay again. headsmack.gif
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
-- Robert Frost --

#7 I am not a number

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 19:18

Excellent review! I picked up a fairly tatty looking 85L from the bay a while ago and it has restored very well indeed (although I think you certainly have a better nib).

Thanks for posting!
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of nothing at all...

#8 Peter from Sherwood Park

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 00:45

Thank you for this review -- I am learning to appreciate vintage CS pens (so far 3 and counting).

#9 Hugh200au

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:13

Nice pen and good review !! Certainly seems to have been a good buy in a very nice colour. Regards Hugh

#10 theinkrediblejohn

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Posted 21 April 2016 - 13:25

I recently won the same pen in black at around £38. I have made a mini blog/review on it, along with the Conway Stewart Bodmin ink (made by Diamine), with some nice pictures if you care to have a look!  :)

 

https://theinkredibl...-cs-bodmin-ink/








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