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I saw this pen for sale recently, and I was torn between the horror of a nib that neglected, and the doubt about whether or not it was some sort of artisinal finish that is, in fact, much desired by afficionados. There is something almost deliberate looking about it... Can someone please enlighten me?
Hi all, Just received an email for the new 90th anniversary pens from Oldwin & The Pen Family (ASC & team). See link below for details. Pen comes in rhodium trim and gold trim. I really like the arco verde material but I don't like the ring that breaks the seamless design of Oldwin. I suppose they have done this for a piston filler? Thoughts? Anyone planning to buy one? https://thepenfamily.com/products/oldwintorpedorhodium Cheers, Sidd
It’s a sad fact: “So many pens. So little time.” At this point, I have more pens that I love writing with, looking at and fondling than is reasonable. I resist thinking of myself as “a collector” and believe that pens should be purchased to use, not merely to possess. The idea of a pen rotation is fine, but, if it takes over a year for a pen to get into the inked rotation, is it really meaningful? I dunno. I think should be selling some pens, not buying more of them. Yeah. There are still major makes of pens I have never tried that have their admirers and don’t have strong negatives. But, I have some resistance to venturing into new territory; I know, if my first experiences are positive, I am likely to want more … and more, and more. It’s a bottomless pit, truly. So much for wise advice to self. I had bought several Waterman pens from Mora Stylos in Paris. The store gets stellar reviews for both their merchandise and their service, and my experience has been consistent with that. So, I was aware of their in-house Oldwin brand. I had read some positive reviews of Oldwins, but never seriously considered adding one to my own collection. Then two things happened: The Tibaldi Impero Celluloid drifted onto my radar screen from a number of directions, including the Scriptorium Aeterna that Renée made for rpsyed that I actually got to see and try out. I really really liked the material. I realized it was rare, was disappearing from pen makers’ stock and was not going to be made again. And then I happened to make one of my periodic online visits to Mora’s web site, doing some price comparisons on other products. For some reason I can’t reconstruct, I looked at their photos of Oldwin pens, and there was an “Art Déco” model in what they called “Ciel d’orage” (Stormy sky), but its celluloid was clearly Tibaldi Impero. Even though the nib options were nonexistent (You can have any nib you want, as long as it is a Bock 18Kt monochrome medium.), I had to have it. I just hope I can have the nib customized to my preference. I think, if I show you some photos, you will understand, even though photos cannot do justice to the real beauty of this pen. The pen arrived very quickly - two working days and a weekend, from Paris to Central California. It was packed in the usual superlative fashion by Mora. Taking the gift box out of the foam-padded shipping box, you find it austere and classy and in no-way over-done. The pen material itself is strikingly beautiful. The fit and finish are flawless. The only possible area for improvement I have found is that no attempt has been made to align the celluloid's pattern on the various parts - cap and barrel, section and barrel, etc. The Art Déco is a large, even an over-size pen. The photos above compare it to a Pelikan M800 and a Mont Blanc 146. I have not liked other over-sized pens such as the MB 149 and Pelikan M1000, but the Oldwin does not feel uncomfortably ponderous. It is comfortable to write with both posted and unposted. Clearly, there is no reason to post it, other than habit or fear of misplacing the cap. Note that the threads on the section are placed at the nib end. This allows for a stepless transition between barrel and section. I tend to hold pens close to the nib, so these threads are actually more uncomfortable for me. This encourages me to hold the pen a bit further upstream than I otherwise would. Oldwins are all sold fitted with #7-size Bock 18Kt gold medium nibs. This nib has an iridium tip, but not a big one. It is one of the springiest nibs I own. If there is enough tipping material to grind into a cursive italic, it should be a wonderful writer. As is, it is quite smooth with just a bit of feedback. It writes a medium-fine line, with some variation depending on writing pressure. All in all, a very enjoyable writer, except that my preferred script is italic, and this is a round nib. Oldwins are Cartridge/Converter fillers. Mora ships them with a box of Waterman Cartridges and fitted with a Waterman-type converter. (Most days, I prefer Piston fillers to C/C fillers, but I see advantages to each method. I will eschew further commentary of a sectarian nature.) In summary, the Oldwin Art Déco fountain pen in "Ciel d'orage" (AKA Tibaldi Impero) celluloid is a beautifully designed, large pen. Materials are of the highest quality. Its construction is flawless. My only quibble of substance is that I wish they offered a wider selection of nibs. I am hoping I can have the one they sent me ground to my taste. David
The ASA Nauka in Dartmoor acrylic. For a simple fountain pen, the ASA Nauka offers at least two important lessons. It shows how design can be rediscovered and reinvented over a period of several decades, and how online forums and social media are creating a renaissance of collaboration. That’s an ambitious, rather academic argument for a humble review, so let’s just start with the pen. The Nauka is offered by Lakshminarayanan Subramaniam of ASA Pens in Chennai, India. It echoes the design of the early Sheaffer Crest and the more recent Oldwin Classic, with a graceful barrel that integrates seamlessly with the section, cap threads next to the nib, and a huge torpedo-shaped cap. The Nauka is a little larger than a Montblanc 149 or a TWSBI Vac 700, capped. But uncapped, they're all about the same. FPN contributor Sagarb’s excellent Nauka review contains exact weights and dimensions. Joshua Lax (jjlax10 on FPN), president of the Big Apple Pen Club in New York, organized the first group buy of the ASA Nauka in October 2015. After two successful rounds of group buys, ASA now offers the Nauka as a regular model. The pen is available with clips or clipless, in several ebonite versions, including an eyedropper equipped with a No. 6 or No. 7 Ambitious nib, and two cartridge-converter varieties equipped with Schmidt and Jowo nibs. ASA Pens ships its product in a simple velour slip. I’m no pen historian, so take this information with a pinch of, well, cumin, but Sheaffer seems to have originated the basic design in 1937, and André Mora of the Paris company Mora Stylos reincarnated it with the Oldwin Classic model in 2002. Pen enthusiasts worldwide, including Leigh Reyes in 2008 (and again in 2014), Otto Markiv in 2012, and the previously mentioned Joshua Lax in 2015, rediscover it over and over. The distal-thread design, to use a term meaning “away from the center,” provides the writer with the choice of holding the pen high on the section, low, or wherever. There’s no step between section and barrel, which sometimes creates an awkward need to reposition fingers. Those are functional advantages. Aesthetically, the lines sweep, unbroken, from one end of the pen to the other, much like a sheer line in naval architecture. This inspired the ASA pen’s name, Nauka, which means “boat” in Hindi and Bengali. This ASA Nauka is equipped with a Jowo 1.1mm italic nib. ASA Pens offers at least 16 ASA models and also sells other brands. One of the ways L. Subramaniam differentiates ASA is that customers can ship blanks and rods of various materials to his shop in Chennai, and commission pen models using this material. FPN contributor Prithwijit Chaki has commissioned at least nine models from ASA. He is also a prolific and catalytic member of a WhatsApp/Telegram group of pen enthusiasts who are creating a virtual 24-hour Indian buffet of new models in imaginative materials, nibs, clips, and designs. Another FPN contributor, Vaibhav Mehandiratta, tirelessly organizes group buys and reviews Indian pens and inks, all documented by beautiful photography on his website. The Indian WhatsApp group, and by extension everybody else, can accomplish this collaborative feat because online resources provide an endlessly updated archive of expertise, history, and experience. We can discover a design from the 1930s, locate detailed photographs and reviews, identify trusted manufacturers, and source materials. Time is the only sizable investment on our part. This isn’t unique to India, and it isn’t even unique to fountain pens. Software developers, animators, and small technology firms can rely on the same global ad hoc collaboration. Timeless design is the theme of the Sheaffer Crest, the Mora Oldwin Classic, and the ASA Nauka. My own Nauka is clipless, to preserve the lines, and uses an adjustable bronze snake ring as a roll-stopper. The Tamil Nadu state, where Chennai is located, offers up a whole pit of venomous cobras, kraits, and vipers. My bronze snake comes from a shop in the Carolinas, my part of the world, but I don’t know where they sourced it. Snake roll-stopper in bronze, made from an adjustable wrap ring. The material for my Nauka is an acrylic called Dartmoor, named for a granite-strewn moor in southwest England. The acrylic was created for the re-invented Conway Stewart brand of pens in the late 1990s. When this version of Conway Stewart went out of business in September 2014, the company left behind a rich inventory of gorgeous, well-selected pen blanks, rods, clips, and other components. Vince Coates of The Turners Workshop in Newcastle purchased the blanks and rods, and some of them are still available. It’s entertaining to comb through Coates' website, using Google Images to compare the materials with new-edition Conway Stewarts and vintage pens from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It reminds us that the people who developed these designs and materials, decades ago, sometimes 100 years ago, had wonderful taste. Like teenagers discovering music, we think we’re uncovering something new. Smartphones and the Internet may make it easier, but other teenagers, in other decades and other centuries, discovered it first. The Jowo 1.1mm italic nib on this ASA Nauka is extremely specific about where it directs ink.