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  1. Chromo's are different , but they come pretty close
  2. This review is dedicated to the city of Paris, its people, its spirit. Half way through this review is when the massacre happened, peace be on all of us. The tragic co-incidence is that the pen under review is marked – Paris. Warning – This review contains bad puns, parody, snowflakes, mud-slinging, dodgy English, terrible grammar, digressions, ostentatious use of langue française , immoral pictures and a certain dragon. If you are one of those with sensitive tastes, or are easily offended by any of the above, please refrain from reading/looking any further. You have been warned! Taking a page out of Bilbo Baggins’s travelogue, I’d say that I practically have the entire fellowship in my ring sans one exception. There is Legolas epitomised by the shaeffer Targa 1004 in Sterling Silver XF, lean, mean, and blisteringly fast combined with elven feature of immortality The Pelikan M215 Lozinge with a, wide hairy M steel nib is the ever reliable Mr Samwise Gamji Then there is the ‘Click’ Ebonite Gimli with its rough edges, less than acceptable table manners (inky fingers), huge (dr)ink capacity, temperament etc., despite its failings, I keep tugging at this drawf’s beard often. I found Aragorn in the form of the Pelikan 1000 with an ‘S’ nib (Oh, that’s an another story; if you survive this review, let me know in the comments section if you’d like me to write that story for you) Frodo in the Parker Duofold international, the other two hobbits are my Carené s with Stub and Oblique-Stub. The Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel dons the hat of Boromir. As you see there is a hole in the ring, so to say, the old wizard, the one who is equally comfortable in the company of hobbits, elves, kings and even a Balrog. As soon as my retina registered the image of the Waterman exception Night and Day with platinum stripe, my limbic system lit up and the amygdala switched to Gollum mode …. “we wants it, we deserves it” etc, my banker choked on an olive at the same time somewhere in Spain. Akin to Gollam’s mentality, you can’t give up on precious just because it is expensive, as expensive is a function of time and timing, or so I convinced myself. After relentless searching for months a good deal manifested on ‘great river’.com; Too good to be true, but too tempting to ignore, caved in and placed an order. Funny that the price tripled as soon as my order was processed, I didn’t know what would happen, would they honour the order or just send me their standard apology e-mail? Surely you have been to a zoo, but were you there during ‘meal time’? I mean, when the zoo keepers are preparing to feed the animals? Yes? The smell is in the air, stomach is burbling with hunger pangs. They know they’ll get the food, but they just can’t wait. They are circling, running up and down, howling and being very impatient in their extra-large pen (yes, the other pen which means an enclosure and you did see what I did there, didn’t you?). Then you know my plight until my pen arrived in the mail box after two weeks. I don’t remember how the outer packaging looked, as it got torn to smithereens in a hurry. Well, what do we have here, an unassuming package that practically every other lower tier Waterman came in, nothing exception-al. Gingerly the outer sleeve is slid and there is the waterman’s usual hard cardboard box, box is slowly opened to reveal the most elegant pen I have ever set eyes on, yet ! Unlike the Carene, Charleton, Perspective or expert which did not have the control number, this box contains a control number which can be used to return the pen. There is a box of 8 cartidges of Serenity- blue and a waterman booklet that contains information on how to fill the pen, and an international guarantee. Yes there are bling pens out there whose 24 carat gold barrel is hand-turned on a rose-engine by 14 and three fourths blind virgins working tirelessly for 3 years and 14 months, studded with diamonds taken directly from Smaug’s den , Ultra Ultra Limited Edition, limited to just half a pen (they found that by the time they finished making the cap, they erm… were no longer virgins). Some completely outrageously ostentatious ones that would put a full-size-lit-up-Christmas-tree-with-Santa-sitting-on-it to shame (don’t know what I mean? have a look at some special Italian pens) , some oxymoronic (I’m looking at you Montblanc - Mahatma Gandhi http://www.montblanc.com/en-us/discover/limited-editions/great-characters/mahatma-gandhi.html ), some geek delights with their innovative functional designs like the Pilot VPs, Conids , Snorkels etc. Then there is the elegant one - exception, black lacquer, sharp looking guilloche-engraved Platinum pin stripes, silver trim , solid , functional and holds its own in a sea of ostentatious snowflakes. I digress. Gandalf had arrived! Since he was still clad in grey (Medium nib), he was neatly packed and sent off the helpful elf’s at Newellco (I have written about their fantastic service before: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/292563-customer-support-and-after-sales-service-the-way-it-should-be/ ) for a stubborn change. While Gandalf was in the mines of Moria earning his badge, the rest of the fellowship did give me good company but the zoo keepers had to be summoned often to help contain an aforementioned hungry animal. Three weeks later another package is decimated (yes, this time I tore it into exactly 10 pieces), it’s from the Elves. Gandalf the white had re-joined the fellowship of the Ring. All hail the new white wizard with a stubby nib. If you are still reading this, I hear you mutter – Start the FµÇ%ing show, well hang on, Rome was not built in a day… wassit?. Let me take a détour from middle earth to extreme east, humour me this. There are show pieces that are immensely beautiful, delicate, ornate and often expensive. They are made explicitly for one purpose – display. Take for example the “For show only” deliberately made blunt Katana and Wakizashis, Legendary temper (of the steel kind), Masterful craftsmanship, elaborate sheath but doesn’t poke. The point is – what’s the point? A fountain pen is made to write, and writing is what makes it a pen. Unlike a Katana which is unsuitable for cutting veggies (Unless you like your salad with a dash of traditional Choji Oil) a good fountain pen could be used for both – cleaving short notes during meetings or a verbal diarrhoea like this one. Write it does, the exception, with aplomb if I may add. Every pen worth its nib writes, but we are not here to read a binary report are we? we are interested in the how, we are curious about on what all, we would like to know if this is a low slung super sports car that’s flip over a tarmac after encountering the slightest bump or it is a rock crawler that eats up the Rubicon-trail for breakfast ? Ladies and Gentlemen if I were to report that the Waterman Exception Night and Day with Platinum stripes and silver trim endowed with a Stub nib writes like a Lump of deep frozen soft butter sliding on a red-hot inclined mirror-polished steel plane, orRain drop rolling on a fresh lily pad, orMercury globules scuttling on flat shiny polished lens grade glass, orYour private data slipping out of a high-security databases/websites <sorry, couldn’t help>, orInsert your other favourite analogy for nib smoothness hereI would have to go sit in the corner with a dunce hat and plead guilty for spreading a blatant lie. Is it smooth? Plenty; Is it the smoothest? No, but not far from it either. The smoothest Stub Nib crown (right out the box without sending it off to a nib meister) though, goes to another of Waterman’s stable mate the Carene. Of course there are, I am sure many other factory stub-nib pens out there that are far smoother than the Carene, but my stable is small. Come to think of it, if my pen box were indeed a stable, a couple of sturdy studs, a cosy cow, a couple gallant goats and erm cheap-sheep etc. I digress. The Exception is more like a winter Olympics solo figure-skating champion who is practicing on a frozen-solid serene Siberian lake on a crispy bright winter morning under a pastel blue sky. Calm, composed absolutely sure about the moves, this champion we observe, apart from performing gravity and physics defying routines is whistling and humming a catchy tune, but one can still hear the blades cutting though the ice, the slight rustle when the titanium composite tipped steel, cuts through the cold crystal lattice. Hum it does, the exception nib, while it splices through paper floating on its single tone18K solid gold- Rhodium plated appendage. The hum adds to the experience, it is not a singing nib for sure, not like the Pavarotti-on-steroids Pelikan M-1000 Nib, no ma’am. This is more like a gentle young lady humming in the shower trying to recall a tune that her long lost grandmother sang to her as a lullaby when she was a toddler. I tried that once, the bathroom singing I mean and my neighbour croaked, this one still registered as croaked under mysterious circumstances. Unlike our Olympics champion on ice skates, the exception can’t spread its tines one bit. I understand from this very forum that the ancestors of the Exception could easily carry out that feat. So, flex is out, but does it at least have a spring to its tines? Not unless you use it as a crutch. One can feel the paper through the pen, slightly, just the way I like it. If one pays enough attention, you can feel the texture of the paper, the sensitive among us could distinguish between 60gm vs 90gm vs 120gm by just drawing a line blindfolded. A slightly wider line is rendered by the exception when compared to the Carene, but the Carene also renders the thinnest, Shading is better with the Exception though. There are other forces at play when judging line variation as we already know, for example the result and experience that you get when you take a single 90gm paper, place it on a smooth hard surface, say a glass table will be significantly different than writing on a padded book. When it comes to shading though, even with medium flow the exception is able to eke out enough shading to please the eye. Imagine if the nib is tuned to wet flow and one uses beautiful shading inks like the Iroshizuku line, the results could be ethereal. Now that we are in the flow business, the pen was tuned to mid flow by the elves at Newellco, so that it behaves well on business paper (read cheap – made for ball-points). I’ve tried it on various denominations from 60gm to 190 from different brands; Rhodias, laser-printer paper, post-its and funky fibrous Japanese paper, tissue paper at the dining table etc., not a skip in the beat. This pen turns out to be rock-crawler of the fountain pen world, perfect for business sojourns where you don’t know which paper you gotta ink (Think airports, immigration forms, tic-tac-toe on the back of the immigration form while waiting in the queue, customs declarations when carrying product samples, hotels receptions, dinner cheques, newspaper sudoku… etc etc ). As we all know, that there are multiple variables at play here some of which is determined by the user himself/herself, for example how much force does one put on the pen, the angle the nib, the way it is turned, speed of writing, writing-style, letter size, the grip and sometimes the stare as well, Oooo ya the stare; ok, not the stare, but you get the point… Now that we have been through the performance grind let’s get into the looks and details department, shall we? Handsome, exquisite, L'art nouveau, suprême de raffinement, extrêmement élégante … these are the words/phrases that come to mind (I can curse in French too). Trust me, I don’t know a word of French, I’m adding all this to make it look high-brow, or so I’m told. Although partial to dual-tone nibs, this Rhodium clad 18K affair shines in the company of O-so bah-uh-ti-full platinum pin-stripes and other Rhodium coated appointments. The nib has a globe motif with 12 longitudinal lines and 4 latitude lines. “Waterman Ideal” is etched on the nib to good effect. The size of the Nib when compared to the rest of the body is just perfect, in comparison to its stable mate Waterman elegance which erm., IMHO, is a tad hmm ‘Petite’ in the nib department. The “élégance” may work well with a “la petite robe noire” (LBD), but if I don one, onlookers retinae are guaranteed to be burnt and pretty much always chaos ensues; I am certified WMD – weapon of mass distress. I digress, on the other end of the spectrum though, you have pens that have spades attached to them, ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to the Namiki Emperor who is already sitting on Freud’s couch; I say no more. Twirl the nib to find a wholesome feed with jet black fins made of plastic (if plastic sounds ‘cheap’ to you, how about we use the name of its noble twin ‘precious resin’). Notice that the fins are more closely packed at the base of the nib and gradually transitions towards spare while the ridge grows in girth. This is in direct contrast to its no-fin pen-box-mate Parker Centennial Big Red with a 3B (new version). Somehow without taking the functionality into consideration the finned feed looks (IMHO of course) way better the Ski-pist-slope of the aforementioned Parker. The fins remind me of the enigmatic sand shark’s gills swimming through the inky blue translucent shallow waters. There is an “ST” and “35” imprint on the feed. Although I’m fairly sure that “ST” stands for Stub (Duh), the secret of “35” eludes me, maybe experts on this very site could help? My guess is though, that “35”indicates the feed length in millimetres. Let’s get back to the pin-stripes, shall we? Let me entertain you with an anecdote. Recently I happened to attend a high-profile meeting with a Japanese Conglomerate with the CTO sitting next to me. Usually these meetings with big boys are as entertaining as watching paint dry twice, I noticed that the notes-booklet on the table was made of good quality paper, so I whipped the Exception from my jacket and started doodling, err… making notes. The paint was not drying fast enough, the first page of the notebook was filled with doodles and as I was about to turn the nib to my face a gentle voice near my shoulder whispered in a very typical Japanese accent ‘Very nice pen’ . OK, I woke up, recovered from the stupor, and offered the gentlemen to have a look at it. A gentle bow ensued and in half a second later I see a high quality Schneider-Kreuznach 10X illuminated loupe come out of his pocket!! The stripes are inspected, then the nib, the cap, the stripes again. He stops, smiles and says ‘very precise, very beautiful’. I was half expecting him to give me the pen back, as I was already feeling nervous, the other half wanted to continue with the interaction as it was, way far better than watching the second coat of paint dehydrate. He then gets an optical cloth, shows it to me and says ‘may I?’, I was part offended, part intrigued , part WTH, since it took too long for the words to come out, the best I thought was to do is bow, which I did. He proceeds to polish one facet of the lacquer coated brass body and out comes the loupe again. He takes his time and says ‘very many layers, transparent, high quality, very nice, German?’ I wanted to say French but, I just said no. So he summarized the exception for me. Beautiful, Precision engineering, can be passed on to the next gen. He did ask for the maker of the pen later, I am sure a takeover is being planned as you read. Honestly the guillochée does it for me, just look at it. It exudes precision, attention to detail, craftsmanship and it stood the10X multi-element colour-corrected illuminated loupe inspection by a Japanese OCD CTO. It looks absolutely stunning and deflects the light in its characteristic light-shade-light which takes me back to the lab where as a young un I was staring at newton’s rings, agog at the beauty of interference of light. This is precisely the feeling you get when you look at the pattern, it is just mesmerising. Even my camera sensor goes into a tizzy displaying moiré in certain angles, despite the AA filer, so go figure. Did I mention the barrel was square-ish? No? Oh, yes it is and did I also forget to mention that the barrel and the nib-unit connects via bayonet mechanism/mount? The “baïonnette mount” Very similar to the D/SLR or for that matter a range-finder lens mount, (not the M42 of course). More info here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayonet_mount . This way the square-ish joint is never misaligned. Simple but very effective engineering. The Barrel at the bayonet end tapers from the big square with each side measuring 1.32mm into a smaller square of 9.9mm. The barrel is released from the nib unit by a simple anti-clock wise twist; amusingly this works even with the cap on, so one can change the cartridge without removing the cap. The barrel plugs back into the nib-unit with a very reassuring click, neat. As you may notice, only 2 (opposing) sides of the barrel receive the guillochée treatment, the other two are beautiful deep translucent black lacquer. The smaller end of the barrel is crowned with mirror polished cabochon which extends on the barrel by 3.7mm. I’d wax eloquent about how much attention to detail has been bestowed on this, but since eloquence not in my (g)jeans, and I’ve run out of wax, I’ll let these pictures speak. The cap needs its own chapter, really. Not only does it get as much attention to detail as the barrel and nib unit, it looks gorgeous, the characteristic waterman split section clip is spring loaded, a spring that holds the weight of the pen. In fact this is the only pen among the full size full weight variety that scored full marks in my upside-down clip test. The test is simple, take a plain old A4 laser printer paper, clip the pen onto it. Make sure that pen is filled to its maximum capacity with ink. Now turn the paper + pen upside down. Give it a few short vertical nudges. Now repeat the test with a thin, smooth nylon cloth. If the pen falls off: fail. If the pen moves down by more than a 10mm : fail. If of course the pen holds its ground and doesn’t budge: pass. What’s the point of this test, you ask: simple, I don’t want my pens to fly off just because I bent over to pick a fallen object. Till now the pens that have failed the test miserably are the Lamy 2000 steel, geez come on LAMY, when you change from Makrolon to Steel, you ought to upgrade the spring as well; another culprit that funnily enough also comes from the stable of LAMY is their LAMY 2000 Titanium ball point (I use ball points for tactical reasons, not much for writing). Hell, the 2K-steel falls of even if there is no ink in the barrel! Function / form, my flabby old hairy gluteus maximus. I digress. The Exception’s cap also gets the beautiful guillochée treatment similar to the barrel. If you observe closely there is a “P” sitting over a “W” inside a square on the clip. Does it stand for Paris, Waterman? Any pointers? The cap also has two bands, one on top and the other, bottom. On the bottom band, there is a precision engraving: “FRANCE”. The band on the cap match the bands on the barrel in sheen, texture, finish and lustre. Surprise surprise, the cap has a serial number on it ! On another note, the cap can be easily disassembled just with a screw driver. Some images for your entertainment follow. If you are adamant poster, this pen is bad news. No sir/ma’am, this won’t post, unless one wants to justify the action by saying: “But I got big hands bro, and webbed feet and I wear a size 200 shoe” Ah, Yes I see that you are holding “understanding insecurity – for dummies” in your armpit, please join the Namiki Emperor on the couch. Jokes apart, no, seriously, the balance of the pen goes for a toss if used posted, the cap is heavy and it shows. The pen sans the cap is no push over either, the barrel weighs a substantial amount but it is not ungainly. Like one of those long distance adventure bikes, which look imposing and are bloody heavy until you ride one. Once on the bike, as the wheels roll, the bike disappears, the wind caresses your skin, and vast wide landscape beckons, you are no longer counting miles, but enjoying your smiles. The exception does it to you, poetry ensues, or an essay or maybe another review like this. Like a katana which is usually heavy (unless you have trained for years), if you know how to wield it, it’ll dance with you else you’ll end up in a bloody mess. That rounds up the exception as well, which tips the scales over 55 grams. Yes, this review was hand-written and then typed, yes including the photographs, if you have to ask. No, really, just the review. If you are an over-writer or if you happen to hold you pen like a banana about to be eaten, then the square-ish nib section could pose a problem. The nib section gently tapers from square from the baïonnette section to a circle at the nib-end. Since I hold pens with a tripod grip, this doesn’t bother me; in fact the grip feels very natural, even better than the regular round ones. The Exception is no exception when it comes to filling mechanism; it uses a standard cartridge/converter system and takes Waterman Cartridges and Converters. The interesting bit is that when the pen came back after the nib exchange, an additional converter was included, nice. Although I’m biased towards integral filling systems which use the barrel itself as a container (pistons/bulk-fillers/snorkels etc) this somehow works for the exception. I carry my ink and eye-dropper and just refill the cartridge. Another thing to report for people who travel, this pen has yet to embarrass me by leaking during inter/continental flights. I cross my tines… I mean fingers. The cap fits securely on the pen with a reassuring click. The cap can be operated single-handed, an advantage in many an occasion, be it at airports, hospitals, hotel lobbies, taxis, courts, farms any place where your non-writing arm/hand is engaged in holding luggage, hands, pigs, Katanas etc. Although the process of capping in itself is quite assuring, it is not the best. I assure you it is secure, but the feeling could be better. If you really want to feel the assurance, try Legolas, I mean Shaeffer Targa. The difference is undeniable. So, what do we have here? A 10/10 ? Grail-pen, Unobtainium, Krypton? None of it, sorry. Let me put it this way, I use it regularly, it disappears after the first stroke. It brings a broad smile to my f-ugly face when it’s writing or just sitting pretty in my jacket. That’s all I need and want… YMMV. Here are is a couple of questions for you Let us know your fellowship of the ring , which pen would you choose to which character and whyThis is my first review on fpn, so don’t be gentle, get the bricks and rotten tomatoes out, I like to learn fastYour view on picture-to-words ratio - Less/enough/too-much/OTTYour view on picture qualityThanks for reading and hope it was useful -Dance Of Light
  3. Introduction I had always wanted a Bamboo/Sugarcane shaped pen and had stocked up on materials that represent the colour of green and ripened sugarcane material. When fellow FPNer Sanjay Ramaswamy (@Sanjay13leo) got to know of my desire, he proactively reached out to Mr.Kandan of Ranga Pens to commission two pens – one for each of us. I had never dealt with Mr. Kandan before while Sanjay already had their standard bamboo pen. A big thank you to him for having made this pen possible. Design The design of the pen is supposed to mimic a small section of the sugarcane stem. Sugarcane belongs to the grass family Poaceae that also includes bamboo in its lineage. Like Bamboo, sugarcane grows as long, then stems with nodes at regular intervals. The inter-nodal regions of the stem are slightly convex with smooth undulations. In real life, these are stout jointed fibrous stalks that are rich in the sugar sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. The body of the pen is around 145mm long and mimics two nodes and the stalk area between and around them. One of the nodes is near the top of the cap representing the end finial and the other one in the barrel. The two end finials are characterized by two small holes shaped like simple annular cylinders that represent the hollow stalk between the nodes. All in all, the shape is exactly like a small piece of susutake. As the images will stand testament to, Ranga has managed to deliver exactly what was being sought. This is especially commendable given the blank we had used for getting the ripe sugarcane colour is especially difficult to work on since it is not meant for kitless pens. Ranga however had persevered and despite much pain, managed to deliver a work of art that accurately represents the design brief. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2034_zpsgfzm31ct.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2036_zpskl7hzttt.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2035_zpsec3iuj4n.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2045_zpsvcqejbms.jpg Size and Balance At 144.5mm capped, this is a regular sized pen. Had it not been for the absence of a clip, it would have fit in squarely into the definition of an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen. There is no metal used anywhere except for the nib and that makes this an incredibly light and comfortable pen to use for extended periods. The weight distribution, the slim section design and the light weight of the polyester briar material all contribute to the comfort. I was initially concerned that the faux node design on the barrel may impact the writing experience, but in real life usage such apprehensions have been soundly negated because the diameter of the barrel even at the thickest point in the node is only 14mm and the smooth undulations don’t even let you feel its presence. Nib Based on my request, Ranga got the pen ready to accept WIN/Jowo #6 nib units. I decided to put on a Dual Tone EF nib unit from WIN/Jowo paired with a Schmidt K5 convertor. The nib was sourced from Mr. Subramaniam of ASApens.in . http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2052_zpsn8mgtwur.jpg http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2054_zpsv9eq8qky.jpg Filling Mechanism It’s a plain vanilla cartridge-convertor system that accepts standard international cartridges and compatible convertors. While it may be vanilla, it remains my favourite flavour for providing the best proposition around value, system longevity, convenience and widespread compatibility. Build Quality To summarize, this pen has impeccable build quality all around with one major flaw or oversight. The seams are well aligned, the threads are smooth and the finish is superlative. The polish on this pen is astounding and beats all expectations. The attention to detail all around is impressive except for the two cylindrical holes at the two ends which have not been polished properly. They still show lathe marks and are an eyesore in an otherwise fabulously finished pen. http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g346/prithwijitchakiPrithwijit/Fountain%20Pen%20Reviews/Ranga%20Sugarcane%20Review/IMGP2046_zpsg6nbpu0p.jpg Writing Experience I am normally not an EF nib user. I prefer Medium nibs for the smoothness and larger sweet spot they typically offer. So I may not be the best person to judge an EF nib. I did however find the nib on this pen rather smooth and comfortable to use so long as you use it within its sweet spot. I did in fact like it better than the Hero 100 fine nib or Schmidt fine nib. For the inaugural use, I had loaded the pen with Sheaffer brown ink. Though it doesn’t have the reputation of being a wet ink or a shading ink, I did notice some element of shading in my writings with this nib. So that tells me that it is a fairly wet nib for an EF and that makes me a happy camper. While I won’t become an EF user because of this one time experience, I would not mind using and recommending this nib to others who prefer F / EF nibs. Price and Value The Sugarcane is not yet a standard model for Ranga and there is no standard price for it. The pen was made by Mr. Kandan as a one off special request from Sanjay and myself. The remuneration they took is modest and equivalent to the cost of any of their standard pens. Nib and blanks were sourced by me on my own and costs for these were obviously extra. Overall, I find this great value because not many pen makers sell custom pens at regular pen prices. Specifications Please find below the measurements of the pen made using non precision instruments and approach. Given that these are handmade pens and there are small piece to piece variations anyway, the measurements should give you a fair enough indication of what to expect from the pen. Length (capped) – 144.5 mm Length (uncapped) – 137 mm Length (cap) – 61.5 mm Length (section) – 20 mm Maximum width (Cap) – 14 mm Minimum width (Barrel) – 11.5 mm Maximum section width – 9 mm Minimum section width – 7.5 mm Conclusion To draw a conclusion with regards to this pen is a bit tricky. If I were to look at the pen dispassionately and judge it by its merits and aesthetics alone, the pen looks superb and a definite buy. Ranga has clearly delivered and has created a masterpiece. However, I cannot help but acknowledge the fact that the design is not very different from Ken Carver’s Bamboo design. Once you realise that, then it makes more sense to opt for the original rather than go through the pains of making a custom pen which is not very different from a pre-existing model. There is one final point I wanted to make before I sign off. The material used for this pen is is a new type of poly-resin called Polyester Briar. This was a fairly new type of material for Ranga who did indeed find this a tad tricky material to use especially when using their traditional tools and methods. This was validated by two other independent pen-makers as well. Given these challenges, it’s doubly commendable on behalf of Ranga to have produced such a stunningly beautiful instrument with such a material. I do applaud them for that.
  4. In my quest for a fountain pen/stylus combo, I ran down the Online Icone, and ordered one from Germany. This was delivered promptly, in its presentation box. So far, I'm completely satisfied with the order. The Online Icone is a very sleek aluminium design, with a choice of colours for the brushed metal cap. Obviously, the style won't suit everyone - you could describe it as Art Deco - but I'm perfectly happy with it. Plus, build quality is high: materials feel good quality, and the cap clicks firmly onto the barrel. This may be a heavier pen for some tastes, especially with the cap on while writing, but the barrel is slender, and of course you don't have to use the cap. The clip, incidentally, is well up on the cap, which does make for a better fit in your pocket. The stylus tip of the pen is excellent. It's metal mesh rather than cheaper rubber, and screws off for replacement. It's one of the best styluses I've used for onscreen writing. The metal mesh also means that the stylus tip suits the rest of the pen very well. And as a pen? The Icone uses Standard ink cartridges. As someone who likes a thinner nib, I'm more than happy with its tip, and its balance. Online quotes a 5-year guarantee on the iridium nib. At EUR 44.95, I'd favour the Online Icone as a pen in any case. With the stylus option as well, it's an excellent buy, and recommended.
  5. Hello! I just recently posted a long (and very picture heavy) review of the Arc notebook system from Staples on my blog. If you would like to read it, you can find it here. However, in case you don't have time to head over there and read the full post, here's my closing thoughts: Overall, I highly recommend this notebook system if you are looking for something more polished than a binder but that has all the same wonderful features and conveniences. They aren’t cheap, at ~$25 for the basic leather notebook, $3+ per accessory and refill pack, and ~$45 got the punch. On the other hand, I’ve heard this system is much more affordable than the one by Levenger while looking just as nice, so the cost issue will have to be a personal decision. I can tell you that I think you get a lot of utility for your money, and I haven’t regretted my purchase at all.
  6. Review of the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze 1.3mm stub Note: Higher-res photos available here This week I finally gave in and purchased a Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze with a 1.3mm stub nib. Ever since I first saw photos of this stunning pen, I've been wanting to own one. Lava, bronze, palladium and titanium? Yes, please! This is my second fountain pen. This January I got myself a Waterman Carène with a fine nib, followed by a stub nib about two months later. While it is a very nice pen, I just couldn't resist the even wider nib, the unusual look and materials, and the supposedly very smooth and wet Dreamtouch nib of the HS. So a few days ago I finally went to a very nice store called La Couronne du Comte here in the Netherlands to get the pen, along with a metal traveling inkwell by Visconti. What I noticed when testing it out in the shop was that it took some effort to initiate the inkflow to the paper. Once it got going it wouldn't stop until the pen was lifted from the paper, but I found I had to push a little to get it to write. Not being sure if this was due to dipping the pen rather than actually filling it, I decided to go ahead and take it with me anyway. When I got home and filled the pen I got roughly the same results. It didn't take long to diagnose the nib with a mild case of baby-bottom, as applying no pressure when writing showed two ink trails from each of the tines. A small push down and the (copious) flow started and stayed intact for as long as the pen touched the paper. After tracing some figure eights on a fine nail file, the problem is virtually non-existent and the nib has retained its deliciously smooth operation. I am now truly delighted with the way it writes! ______________________________________________________________________ Appearance & Design (9) - Just plain awesome! This is about 90% of why I bought it. I absolutely loved the way it looked on photos and it does not disappoint in real life. The lava mixture is a very nice matte black, with many small pores and some even smaller reflective flakes. This contrasts in a very nice manner with the bronze parts of the pen. The two rings around the cap are significantly less shiny than the other parts and I guess that these also will look like that eventually. I like the font Visconti used for the text on the center band. The clip has a nice spring to it, but it will have to be lifted if you intend to use it as it runs flush with the barrel and there is no rounding going on to allow it to slip on by itself. The nib looks gorgeous! The two tones and the decorations match nicely. It says Visconti, 23k Pd 950, Firenze and 1.3 on the nib. The breather hole is crescent-shaped, with the tips pointing towards the barrel. This pen uses the Visconti My Pen system, which means that the Visconti logo shown above can be removed and replaced by two initials or gemstones for instance. I may at some point replace the logo but for the moment I'm happy with how it looks. The final aesthetic aspect I would like to point out are the indents between the grip and the section. These are part of the locking mechanism: you're supposed to push and twist simultaneously to uncap, but in practice you can simply twist without pushing and the cap will still come off. This doesn't bother me but it's something you should be aware of. Don't expect it to uncap by itself though, I can't see that happening at all. Visually, I really like the grooves as I find they resemble some kind of Greek pattern which fits right in with the general theme of the pen in my opinion. Construction & Quality (9) - Very good, but... Quality of construction is excellent for the most part, but I do have three issues I want to mention. Firstly, the fact that this nib required pressure to start writing is something that really bothered me and absolutely had to be remedied before I could enjoy using this pen. I applaud Visconti for wanting to give their users the smoothest experience possible, but having to deal with baby-bottom is not my idea of Dreamtouch. Fortunately I was able to resolve it but I think this should simply not happen to such a high-end pen. I have read that Visconti's stub nib is more prone to this defect than their other nibs. Secondly, and thirdly, Visconti needs to work on their printing/painting process as this leaves something to be desired: the black on the clip looks like it is printed using some kind of dot matrix, but on one side the entire printing is very slightly misaligned with where it's supposed to be, whereas on the other side some dots have not printed. Also some of the letters look a bit jagged because of this process when looked at closely. This should be clearly visible in the high-res photos on Flickr. Moreover, on the band that reads 'HOMO SAPIENS' the text is colored black, but the m is not entirely colored. This is also visible in this photo. Fortunately however, none of these issues affect my daily enjoyment of the pen: the nib problem has been cured, and the paint anomalies are too minor to notice without really inspecting the pen or looking for it. As a side note, I should add that the traveling inkwell I was first shown featured quite ugly misprintings and even some scratches, almost like it was a secondhand prototype or something. The seller said that this was the way the newer, plastic inkwells all looked and then offered me the metal one from a display case for the same price, an offer I gladly accepted! Weight & Dimensions (10) - Perfect! The size of the pen is perfect as far as I'm concerned. Capped it is as long as my Carène, uncapped it is slightly longer. The big difference is in the circumference of the pen. It is a much fatter pen, which I really appreciate. The section has a very comfortable shape and the fact that it is also fairly wide means it is a pleasure hold. This together with the smoothness and wetness of the nib are what constitutes the Dreamtouch I think. Nib & Performance (9) - Wet, smooth, some feedback Over the last few months I have learned that I like my nibs wet and smooth. The HS delivers in both respects, and when looking at the current performance it is all I hoped it would be! The wetness is there not just after filling the pen, it remains virtually constant afterwards contrary to my Carène which alternatively writes wetter and drier as I wait for for the feed to draw more ink from the converter. However, when considering only stock performance, I would give the nib about a 6: it would write, but only if I apply some pressure first. This would be a major issue for me, but perhaps you don't mind or wouldn't even notice. Filling System & Maintenance (8) - Power filler! The HS bronze uses a power filler mechanism to suck up ink. I love using it and think it's much cooler than a converter. Just unscrew the blind cap, pull the titanium rod back, submerge the pen up to the section and push the rod back in. Near the end of the travel, the vacuum will be released and the pen will suck up quite some ink. For optimal filling you should use the traveling inkwell as that allows for a full fill by inverting the pen whilst filling. The big downside of this mechanism is the fact that cleaning can not be carried out by using a bulb syringe, and thus is much slower than usual. This is especially annoying when using e.g. Rouge Hématite as all you can do is repeatedly suck up water and expel it again which can take ages! Given the fact that the pen is just so nice in virtually all other aspects, I can definitely live with this but you should consider it when buying this pen. The nib can only be removed using a special tool that I saw the seller use, I wouldn't risk trying to remove it without this tool. Cost & Value (8) - Alright, I guess.... Going for about €450 in the Netherlands, this is not a cheap pen. Whether or not it is worth it is as always a very subjective matter. For me it clearly was or I would have returned it, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were other cheaper pens that write (almost) equally smooth and wet. As for looks, you really don't have much of a choice but to pay up, or pay even more for the limited edition Mazzi version of the pen. Since I will be using this pen for just about any writing I will do, which, being a college student, can include quite a bit of note taking, I simply consider getting a pen that writes awesomely the same as any other time you buy a quality tool for something you do on a regular basis. The fact that I can couple this with the visual appeal of something like a wrist watch in one object and stand out from the herd of cheap ballpoint users just adds to my personal enjoyment! Conclusion (Final score [53/6]: 8.8) - Not perfect, but excellent The few issue that my specimen of this pen has have either been resolved or are too insignificant in the grand scheme to significantly affect my appreciation for it. When a pen can couple stunning looks and writing performance, that is a winning combination for me and I do not regret the purchase at all. I look forward to lots of writing with it and feel no desire to purchase any other pen after this one. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Homo Sapiens as well as the brand Visconti to anyone looking for a good looking, smooth writing pen. Do make sure to test it out at a shop though so you know what you're getting, especially in terms of nib performance.
  7. Hiya there, I fell out of the hobby for a while, but I recently got interested again. I started back in 2012, and my first pens were a Jinhao and a Parker Sonnet. Since then, I've traded here and there, added cool pens. 6 years later, I have a small collection of pens I truly love. Had the day off today so I had a BBQ with my brother. It was so relaxing, and, to add the experience, I decided to write with each of my favorite pens. Wrote with Montblanc Shakespeare LE ink, though I did find out the Omas had some green in it The pens: 1. Montblanc 146 Transitional with 14C KBB nib. I love this pen, the size and nib are great. This pen was only produced for a year or two, and is super hard to find because those who know what they are keep them forever, and those who don't just list them as regular 146's. It's like a 344 but with Meisterstuck furniture and a 1950s nib. 2. Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal Swirl with 23k Pd EF. I think the DreamTouch nibs shine on these thinner tips. Just enough softness to give character, and super wet! Love the material. 3. Omas Paragon in Arco Verde with 18k M nib, those the wetness makes it a round B. This needs no introduction. The celluloid is memorizing. It's a true shame that Omas has disappeared. 4. Pelikan M1000 with 18k 3B. The pen is a bit plain to my taste, actually. But the nib is a unique joy. I'd love to get this pen with lizard skin binde someday to spice it up. 5. Montblanc 144 Transitional with sharpened 14C KB nib. Ditto with the 146 Transitional, very hard to track down. It bridges the gap between the 1950s 144 and the 60s 14. Definitely another keeper. These 1950s MB nibs are the best balance, IMO, between daily writer and artistry pen. TLDR: I love these 5 pens. I've swapped through dozens, and these five have survived. I highly recommend them to anyone. Might be getting a 6th and final Grail soon!!!!
  8. I'd been looking for some time for a combination fountain pen and stylus. Via Google, I ran down a German manufacturer, ONLINE (https://www.online-pen.de), and a stockist in Switzerland. On a recent trip to Geneva, I picked up one of the ONLINE Switch Plus stylus/fountain pen combinations (https://www.online-pen.de/shop/catalogsearch/result/?q=switch+plus). Here are my impressions. For one thing, ONLINE seems to be targeting the youth market with the Switch Plus - specifically the schools market that is also learning handwriting and calligraphy (at least in Germany and elsewhere in Europe). The Switch Plus line is made in cheap and cheerful plastic, in a range of colours with mix-and-match heads. Even the ink capsules are provided with a choice of colours which have nothing to do with the ink inside, but are designed to show through a little window in the barrel. Replacement nibs are also available, but I'm not clear whether these come in any other styles or sizes than the basic nib. All the same, the Switch Plus is perfectly comfortable and practical as a fountain pen. The barrel may be thicker than some prefer, but that fits it very well as a stylus, and I don't find that my handwriting suffers at all, not least because it's very light. The construction seems pretty practical and robust, and at this price point, no one is going to complain if they do need to buy a new nib. Most models retail for around 15 Euros or equivalent. I'll continue to dream of my perfect tortoiseshell fountain pen/stylus, but for now, the ONLINE Switch Plus, will do just fine.
  9. Hello, all! We just wrote out some thoughts on the new Visconti Vertigo fountain pens. We would love to help you out and help make one of these your own! Let us know your feedback, or if you have any questions! Visconti Vertigo Fountain Pens Visconti: A Modern Classic Brands from the 1980s usually have a certain stigma attached to them: dated, maybe a little flashy or excessive, and certainly possessing a very distinctive appeal. These companies also typically lack the experience of having decades worth of trial and error to perfect their craft. Yet somehow, Visconti has escaped all these characteristics to become one of the most beloved luxury fountain pen brands in the world. Born out of Florence, Italy, Visconti quickly soaked up the neighboring fashion and luxury scene all around it. Coming from the minds of two true pen lovers, it’s no wonder that each Visconti pen today feels both luxurious and expertly crafted. The creativity in these pens is certainly hard to deny. Unique materials such as volcanic lava and unidirectional carbon are just a few of the concepts that they have experimented with, not to mention new design techniques such as double reservoir fillers and cap lock systems. And if you’re into handcrafted pieces, Visconti also prides itself in hand-painted pens, handmade filigrees, and other extremely unique designs. All these characteristics make Visconti a leader in the modern fountain pen world. As I write this article, however, I do know that there is a bit of an elephant in the room when it comes to Visconti. There have been some concerns in the past about the quality control of Visconti pens – fountain pens in particular. Fear no more, my friends! The brand is taking specific steps to ensure that each pen is of impeccable build. We will address a few of those steps in this story, as well as the ones to follow. Why We Fell for the Vertigo The pure aesthetics of this pen make it one of our absolute favorite releases from 2018. Even for those who are not pen lovers (they’ll come around eventually, right?), the user must admit that this is a beautiful pen. According to Visconti, the special manufacturing of the cap and the body creates reflective plane surfaces which run one after the other, causing a continuous change of points of view. Each change in perspective almost leads to a sense of vertigo – and we agree! One of the extremely unique design features in the Vertigo is the steel nib with the gold overlay. The overlay is definitely a surprise and something new for Visconti, and is a fantastic complement to an already gorgeous nib! It’s reminiscent of the popular Delta Fusion pens from a few years back. The nibs have been the main source of frustration for some fountain pen users; however, Visconti USA is working feverishly to address this concern, and the results are immediately apparent. We played around with these pens, and were pleasantly surprised that there were no hard starts, and it never skipped a beat! The new nib is called the "Precision Touch" - keeping with the Dreamtouch and SmartTouch nib names. It writes very precisely! The gold overlay also provides added stability to the nib, so it practically eliminates any risk of railroading. For the first time in Visconti’s history, this pen also combines the convenience of the magnetic lock with a recall system indexed between the body and the cap, designed to keep in line the eight alternating facets in the pen’s shape, making the design even more unique. This helps to prevent any annoying rattling sounds when the pen is capped. This gives it a tight and sturdy feel in the hand. The palladium-trimmed Vertigo is in the same shape as the fan favorite Opera Master, but is a little smaller – you may recall the Opera Club model pens from a few years back. Plus, this pen does not constrain you by having only ink cartridges to choose from – it also comes with a converter to allow you to use ink from the bottle! We paired the blue Vertigo with the S.T. Dupont Spring Green! The colors of the pens themselves, however, may be our favorite feature. The blue stands out as our favorite – the stunning blue lines that shoot through the black like an electric current are almost literally striking when it’s used for writing! The pen also comes in orange (a dark amber color with an even amount of black), purple (another electrifying color that shimmers with each turn), and of course an ever-classy solid black. Now Available from Truphae We are proud to partner with Visconti to offer these magnificent writing instruments. To order or for more information, feel free to check out our website in our signature below!
  10. Sailor Reglus Fountain Pen Review: A Lengthy-ish Introduction: The Sailor Reglus was my first "expensive" fountain pen, i.e., my first fountain pen over 100 dollars. I bought it at the Fountain Pen Hospital, and I wasn't sure what I wanted, but the friendly folks at FPH recommended the Reglus to me based on my criteria (relatively light, very fine, very smooth and under $125). Before, I had used some low end Pilots here and there, and I liked them well enough. However, when I got my first Reglus I was blown away. At the time it completely changed what a fountain pen could be. I admired the sleek looks, the industrial yet classic design, and the quality of the nib (very, very, very smooth with a touch of feedback). However, I lost my first Sailor Reglus a few years back, and I took it as an opportunity to try other pens. In the following years, I've played around with higher end Sailor pens, Pelikan pens, Visconti, Montblanc, higher end Pilots, etc. and then expanded to play around with many vintage pens. I've developed a better idea of what I like and dislike in a pen, and I found a personal favourite with my higher end Sailor pens, Pilot pens, vintage Sheaffer pens (and flexy Waterman and Eversharp pens too). A few days ago, I went to the Fountain Pen Hospital for their annual Pen Expo, and at the Sailor counter, I saw yet another Reglus. Not the Pearlescent black, like I had, but a bright cheery red, and I figured I'd give it a go. Spoiler for the rest of the review: I loved the feel of the nib. On an impulse, I bought it simply because I missed my old one that much. I didn't even ask for a new one from the box. I wanted the tester specifically. So, this is me revisiting an old favourite and seeing how it stands up to my tastes and usage now. I hope it's informative, and that people consider this underrated jewel of a pen a little more. 1. First Impressions/Packaging: 6/10 When I first got the Reglus, it stunned me. The pen box, the lining, etc. I liked the simplicity of the box, the Sailor logo on it. The packaging felt high quality. While I still think the packaging is high quality, I now think it's to be expected of a pen in this price range. It still struck me as a little above average since the box was not excessively large, nor was it gaudy. I like it well enough, and I think it's tastefully done. I didn't really bother taking pictures of the box. Of course, if you consider my first impressions to be what I thought of it in the store, then just look at the next section. 2. Appearance and Design: 9/10 As far as Sailor goes, I think this is one of their most original pens. I love the look. It's sleek and streamlined, and the capt trim reminds me of a gear. The end of the pen is pearlescent black, and that accents the cheerfully red body fairly well. The clip is reminiscent of a dagger or blade of some kind, and the cap has a Sailor anchor on it. It looks nice, and well made, and feels that way too. It has a modern look, and that's a little unusual as far the normal Sailor line up goes. The nib is a little plain, but charming for what it is. The section is pretty long, and the step in the section is pretty unobtrusive (but it is high enough that I don't think anyone would have to hold it there). The pen says "Sailor" and "Since 1911" on the section band/step, in fairly small print. I appreciate that it's understated. Pictures: DSCF7628 by makey95, on Flickr The pen, capped. DSCF7629 by makey95, on Flickr The Pearlescent End DSCF7631 by makey95, on Flickr The Dagger Clip DSCF7634 by makey95, on Flickr Sailor DSCF7636 by makey95, on Flickr Since 1911 DSCF7643 by makey95, on Flickr Cap Anchor 3. Weight and Dimensions: 7/10 I feel a little conflicted on this one; while I like the balance on this pen very much (the cap posts deeply), and it's a good length for my massive hands, the section is just a little too narrow. Someone with smaller hands than me would probably find it far more usable for extended writing sessions. As it is, while it's comfortable for general writing, taking notes in class, sketching, etc., when I try to journal for extended periods of time without stopping, it gets a little too narrow. The 1911 Standard, which is just a little thicker is perfect for me (I dislike pens that are too thick for extended writing too!). Capped, the pen measures around 5.5 inches, and posted it is around 5.75 inches. Pictures: DSCF7645 by makey95, on Flickr The pen capped DSCF7647 by makey95, on Flickr The pen posted 4. Filling and Maintenance: 7/10 The pen is a proprietary cartridge converter, with nothing special about it. It holds about .6-.7mL of ink, if I recall. The pen and converter do get bonus points for being easily taken apart, and for filling from the breather hole. I don't have much else to say about it, except that the capacity isn't the best, but I don't mind that. I prefer C/C pens anyway, and I like switching inks. The only other complaint that I have is that the converter seats rather deeply, so you don't have too much space to see how much ink exactly is left. Picture: DSCF7648 by makey95, on Flickr Notice how deeply the converter is seated 5. Nib and Performance: 10/10 The nib is Rhodium plated steel, as far as I know, and as with every Sailor nib that I have tried, it writes wonderfully and reliably. The nib is relatively plain, but not ugly. I don't like the R imposed on the anchor (I would have preferred just the anchor), but I don't mind it as much attention to it as I thought I would. The nib never skipped, and the feed always kept up with a consistent flow. This nib does fairly well compared to my other regularly used pens, and is on par with the 1911 Standard nib, only a tad drier and with a touch more feedback. The nib feels very precise, and controlled, and I have been using it regularly when I don't want to carry some of my pricier pens (e.g. work, tutoring, etc.). It's definitely a Japanese fine. I can't praise Sailor nibs enough for having, in my opinion, the perfect balance between smoothness and feedback, so as to be velvet like on the paper. Pictures: DSCF7638 by makey95, on Flickr The Nib DSCF7640 by makey95, on Flickr Writing Sample; Pardon the hasty handwriting! I went for a Christmas theme with the red and pine green 6. Cost and Value: 10/10 OR 7/10 Why two ratings? Well, you can buy this pen from Japan, or in America. The Japanese price would be around 60-70 dollars, and the American price is around 112 dollars (almost double!). At the Japanese price, I think it's pretty much a steal. The pen is high quality, reliable, and just overall a fantastic EDC. At the U.S. price, it's more expensive than buying a Sailor 1911 from Japan, which makes things a little murky. On one hand, the nib is comparable to the 1911 nibs in quality, but it's a little thinner, and the nib has just a touch more feedback (and though Sailor gold nibs are fairly stiff, the steel is even stiffer, so less of a cushioned effect). If you like pens on the thinner side, and don't mind a nail (which only adds to how precise this pen is), then the pen would still be worth it, but there are many other serious contenders. This includes but is not limited to Sailor 1911s, Pelikan M200s, Lamy 2000s etc. That said, there is a reason why I got this pen at the U.S. price. Of course I want to see more Sailors in the U.S., and that means supporting Sailor in this country. Secondly, I honestly think the pen is worth the U.S. price. Thirdly, the fact that it is a snap cap makes it pretty convenient for EDC situations, and finally, I think that despite the steel nib, it writes better than many gold nibs I have used (many falsely equate gold with better quality than steel). 7. Recommended? YES I highly recommend this pen. It feels well made, it writes well, it looks great, and it just works. At the Japanese price, it's a steal, and even with the U.S. price, I would say it's worth it. It's an underrated gem that I think more people should consider, and I hope this review convinces more people to give it a shot, especially since I don't see much about it online.
  11. I had to try the Jinhao X450 , I could wait no longer . It does have some weight to it , it writes smoothly . And the cap does not post , not on mine ! No leaks , no burps , no funny stuff . Canting the pen 45 deg left made no difference to the way the pen wrote .. Canting the pen 45 deg right made a large difference to the way the pen wrote . It became scratchy and the NIB started to catch on the paper , as well as run dry at times . ( Not happy ) Inverted it was very scratchy . The pen did write wet ... 24 hours later . Pen started fine , no leaks or issues .. Pen wrote just a little less wet than the day before .. Other wise nothing had changed . I would say the NIB could use polishing .. The Jinhao x450 just might be a good place to start if you plan on going the budget fountain pen path , a lot of people seem to be very happy with it . I am not unhappy with it , I find the X450 needs some work ( polishing the NIB ) , and if the pen can be smoothed out ( Canted 45 deg right ) , it would be a sweet budget pen .
  12. truphae_inc

    Review: Montegrappa Revolver

    Hi, everyone! New here, and just did a brief introduction yesterday. Wanted to share a review we did on the upcoming Montegrappa Revolver (limited edition) from the Cult Collection. This is a truly amazing pen with some super unique features - acts like a real revolver without any of the dangers! Feel free to check out our review here: https://www.truphaeinc.com/blogs/truphae-news-and-stories/montegrappa-limited-edition-revolver-stainless-steel-fountain-pen Would love to hear others' thoughts on Montegrappa - one of our favorite brands for the best metalwork!
  13. ManofKent

    Namisu Nova - Brass

    Namisu Nova - Brass Whilst I don’t mind using plastic/resin pens, my preference is for a well-balanced metal bodied pen. I like my tools to feel solid – give me a metal-bodied camera over a plastic one, give me a metal watch etc. I don’t mind weightier pens and find a badly balanced pen will be tiring to use even if lighter than a well-balanced pen, but I don’t write at great length anyway – generally it’s short letters, and at most a couple of hours of intermittent note taking. I had tried a Tactile-Turn Gist in Stainless Steel and liked it apart from its unposted length, and posted balance. I’d tried a Kaweco Liliput in brass and liked it as a trouser pocket pen for occasional notes but found it too slim for prolonged use and was tempted to try a Kaweco Sport (I probably still will) but whilst browsing for pens came across Namisu. The brass Nova was on offer, it came from Scotland so no horrible Customs fees, used Bock #6 nibs rather than #5 and seemed a very good price. ______________________________________________________________________ Appearance & Design (1-10) – Minimalistic but lets the brass shine It came in a simple but perfectly adequate black cardboard box embossed with Namisu in one corner. Inside the pen was nestled in a black velvet pouch resting on a typical flock insert. The packaging is certainly nice enough for giving this pen as a gift, without being so costly that you wonder how much of the pen’s cost was the box. No cartridges are supplied (I am surprised they don’t include a single cartridge) but the pen is fitted with the standard reliable Schmidt converter (I think this was an optional extra when the Nova was launched through Kickstarter, but comes as standard with pens purchased through their web site). The pen itself is minimalistic to the point that some may find bland, but that minimal design does emphasize the material the pen is made from – this pen shouts brass! Shape wise it’s a pretty standard chubby torpedo/cigar shape with a plain cap. It’s about as minimal as you can get. I’ve seen it described as a Nakaya Piccolo clone, and with the conical ends it does bear a family resemblance, although the Nova is longer and it’s taper is noticeably more exaggerated as well as having a more minimal section without the pronounced ring around the nib. It’s arguably closer to the Nakaya Naka-Ai in taper (but a little shorter). For me it’s more elegantly shaped than the Piccolo, but not as elegant as the Naka-Ai (although if I could afford a Naka-Ai I’d obviously want urushi…). I can’t get overly excited by the design – I think it’s got the edge over the Karas Kustoms Nakaya ‘homage’ (clipless Ink), but it’s basically just another cigar shaped pen with a step down to facilitate a minimal look when capped. If you want a similar design but not in metal look towards, Bexley, Edison or any number of companies. If you want a better designed metal torpedo look at the Namisu Orion. As with all clipless designs, with minimalism comes the possibility of a rolling pen. My desk is usually so cluttered there’s nowhere for it to roll, but for those weird tidy desk people you might want to consider a pen stand (or taking a Dremel to your office desk when your boss isn’t looking). I don’t carry pens in my shirt pocket and as it’s not going to easily fall out of a jacket the lack of clip doesn’t bother me – it might you. There is an inexpensive leather sleeve available too. The polished brass looks lovely when new (or freshly polished); it’s a gorgeous looking material, but bear in mind it is unlacquered so will tarnish. Anyone who’s owned a Kaweco brass pen will know how it will age if left – brass doesn’t develop as rich a patina as copper but will ‘matte’ with time and darken slightly. I’ve been wiping this down with a cloth after each use, but I doubt I’ll keep it up, and like the way my Kaweco Liliput has aged with use. You could probably remove the nib and apply lacquer if you really wanted to… 7/10 – lovely material and well executed, but not particularly original. … Construction & Quality (1-10) – Truly excellent I’ve had experience of other pens that started out as Kickstarter projects and they’ve tended to show odd machining marks and extremely minor manufacturing flaws – nothing that I felt critical of, just what you’d expect from a small machine shop. My brass Nova is a different proposition in that there’s not a mark on it (well there wasn’t when it arrived!). I don’t know whether Namisu do their machining in house or use a specialist machining company- they promote themselves as a Design Company and it might well be that they don’t do the manufacturing themselves. Either way this is beautifully machined with perfect threads, no grinding of metal or slight gaps where parts meet. The cap unscrews smoothly with around a single turn. Highly impressive. With my grip my thumb rests on the step down to the section, but the threads aren’t sharp and whilst I can feel the step I don’t find it uncomfortable. 10/10 – No faults found … Weight & Dimensions (1-10) – Long enough to comfortably use unposted. Heavy! I’ve realised that any pen that is designed to be used unposted needs to be at least 120mm and preferably longer if I’m going to write at any length. At 128mm uncapped this is fine for me – capped it’s around 140mm. It’s not a svelte pen (slightly under 16mm at its widest and around 12mm on the section) but personally I find very slim pens uncomfortable for prolonged use. Weight wise it’s a real beast… Capped it’s 89g, but 26g of that is the long cap – at 63g uncapped it is still a very heavy pen. Having said that it is very well balanced – slightly front weighted but not ridiculously so. It might be twice the weight of an uncapped Jinhao 159 but in use it’s so much better balanced you wouldn’t realise it. It’s not a pen I would want to write with for hours on end, but after half hour I don’t feel any hand fatigue. It’s not designed to be posted, but it will post reasonably securely if you don’t mind seriously risking scratching the barrel and turning a heavy pen into a really heavy pen. Surprisingly although the balance isn’t as good when posted, the cap doesn’t throw the balance off as horrendously as my Tactile Turn Gist or Faber Castell E-motion (personally though I’ll use it unposted). Photos compare it with a Pilot Custom Heritage 91 (near enough identically sized to the CH74) 7/10 – Heavy, but well balanced. Not overly long, but usable unposted … Nib & Performance (1-10) – Moderate flow with my inks. Smooth, reliable but dull. It comes with a Bock no. 6 nib in a standard Bock housing. Steel nibs are included in the base price with titanium available for an extra £45 at current prices. The steel nibs are available in Extra Fine, Medium or Broad, with titanium in extra fine or medium. Owning both fine and extra fine nibs in steel I can see why Namisu only offer the one – the difference between them is pretty marginal. Extra-fine is only slightly narrower than a typical Japanese medium. Obviously you can buy replacement Bock nibs from several places (shout out to BeaufortInk for excellent service). You can also fiddle around and fit other no.6 nibs onto the feed should you wish.For this pen I ordered a Broad steel nib purely because it was one I hadn’t tried. On the positive side it was smooth straight from the box, didn’t skip and delivered an even flow with Iroshizuku and Diamine inks. It’s a perfectly decent nib, but I found the broad was barely wider than the medium nib, lacked the slight ‘springyness’ the extra fine has and needs too much pressure to get any line variation. It’s well behaved, but to my mind a little dull. My recommendation would be to with the very good extra-fine steel or try the titanium, but nib preferences are very personal. I can’t say the nib performs badly in any way, it’s just not to my taste and will probably be replaced and used as a base for a cursive grind. In the meantime I’ll swap in either an extra fine or the 1.1 stub (another nice nib in my experience). If you’ve used other pens with Bock no.6 nibs you’ll know what you like. I’ve not had a badly performing No.6, and my only issues with Bock nibs have been with No.5s, both of which required some smoothing and flow adjustment, but were good performers once fixed. 6/10 – Solid performer but not to my taste – other nib options might score an 8 … Filling System & Maintenance (1-10) – Standard Schmidt converter included.The pen is easy to disassemble with the nib housing unscrewing allowing easy replacement and cleaning. A standard reliable Schmidt converter comes fitted with the pen, and the body is long enough to take both long and short international cartridges. 8/10 … Cost & Value (1-10) – Great valueYou can only purchase Namisu directly from their web site. It was on offer when I purchased mine, and there was also a discount for signing up to their newsletter. At full price it retails for around 75% of the cost of an all brass Tactile Turn Gist and 60% of an all brass Kustoms Karas Ink with the same nib, which I think makes it very good value. Obviously exchange rates will vary… 9/10 … Conclusion (8/10) – Be tempted If you like metal pens and don’t mind a weightier writer I’d recommend seriously considering this beast. It’s well enough balanced that I don’t find the weight a big problem – I could write for longer with this than many lighter pens in my collection, although I admit I wouldn’t choose this to write with for hours at a time. For me once I’ve swapped the nib it will regularly be used as a letter writer. I bought this before trying the Namisu Orion and personally find the Orion a better design, but this is still a pen I will enjoy having in my collection. Namisu produces runs of pens and don’t always have all their pens in all materials and finishes available so if it appeals I wouldn’t hang around for too long. 8/10 – Not a pen for everyone, but does what it does very well at a very good price …
  14. Hi, everyone! We just wrote a review of the Aurora Minerali series demonstrators - tried to provide some advice as to why we like them so much (all their nibs are made in-house!). These are definitely some of our favorite demonstrators out there! Let us know what you think or if there's another demonstrator you like more! https://www.truphaeinc.com/blogs/truphae-news-and-stories/aurora-88-limited-edition-minerali-fountain-pens
  15. jacobgmusic

    Noodler's Polar Blue

    Noodler's Polar Blue A Newbie's Perspective In my last review I mentioned that my favorite color is Green. If I had to choose a second favorite color, I would choose blue. I like this blue, yet, I wish it had shading. I really like inks that have nice shading properties. Anyways...
  16. Wing Sung 6359 Just arrived a few days ago . Arrived this morning was some Sheaffer Blue Black .. Obviously had to ink something . 1) The Wing 6359 was surprisingly smooth 2) Only when I canted Right did the pen get scratchy 3) Inverted the pen was very scratchy - but still wrote . 4) The 6359 puts ink on paper really well 5) Easy starter , no problems like leaks or burps . 6) Writes on the wet side of moist Over all a positive experience as the pen was surprisingly smooth . ( If only all budget pens were this good ) Currently have no desire to polish the NIB , would be nice if it were smoother when canted right - But I tend to cant left when writing .. ( Still be nice ) Would I recommend = Yes ...
  17. Daiso stationery products are all designed in Japan, but aren't all make there. The very best of their paper products, like the Kraft-bound notebooks, are made in Japan, and that paper is truly delightful. This note, however, is about the A4 loose-leaf binder refills. They come in a pack of 70 sheets, lined and unlined. The lined version is spaced at 60 mm, suitable for those, like me, with small handwriting and fine nibs. Others may wish to use the unlined version and either print their own lines or use a guide sheet. The paper seems to be about 70gsm, and is well-behaved with most inks. Some inks that are more heavily-laden with surfactants (Liberty's Elysium, I'm looking at you) spread just a little, but most others behave just fine. Other than that, I don't see any feathering or bleeding with any of the inks I have used. The paper has a slight matt feel to it. Not quite rough, but not smooth like Maruman, Kokuyo or the Japanese-made Daiso notebooks. Because of this surface, I found that most nibs gave me a bit of feedback. Not very much, but enough for you to feel it. As mentioned above, the paper comes in 70 sheet packs and sell for whatever the basic Daiso price is in your country (AU$2.80 in Australia). That price is not quite as good as Muji, which sells larger packs for a bit more, but is very close. Which is better? I feel that Muji paper is better, but for me, the Daiso shop is more convenient. Also my Daiso shop only has A4 and my Muji shop only has B5. However, both are much cheaper than Kokuyo Campus or Maruman refills at Kinokuniya. The front of my draft of this note. I used a number of inks, including Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher, Monteverde Horizon Blue and Parker Penman Sapphire, in a number of pens with differing nib widths and wetness. There was no feathering or spreading with any of these inks. The back of the paper, showing some show-through, but only a few dots of bleeding.
  18. Lanbitou 3059 VS Wing Sung 3008 I thought I would test 2 piston filler pens at the same time , I had no idea they would be so equally disappointing . Both pens were hard starters , both pens were scratchy , both pens did not like CANTING left or right . Neither pen cared much for writing inverted .. Both pens would tear into the paper . The wing did put more ink down . Both pens BURPED , the Lanbitou more than the Wing . The Lanbitou has a functioning piston lock while the Wing Sung has a (?) broken piston lock ( Non functional ) I dare say I now would consider both pens as parts donors , and I would not recommend either .. ( That's 2 bad 3008's for me out of 2 ) To date I have tried 4 Piston fillers and the only pen to impress is the 660 .
  19. A few months ago, when Kevin from the JustWrite Pen Company (www.JustWrite.com.au) gave me the opportunity to review some of the pens in his line-up, I was expecting to receive a shipment of mostly inexpensive (but hopefully good value!) Chinese and Indian fountain pens – and to be sure, most of the pens I received fit that category precisely. Not this one, though: to my surprise, included in with the Jinhaos, Walitys etc, came the Diplomat Esteem. Compared to its stablemates, the Aero and (especially) the Excellence A range, you might call the Esteem a ‘midrange’ pen. Be that as it may, it’s the most expensive pen I own, and I was (very pleasantly) surprised to be receiving it free in return for an impartial review. A little harder to do, when your jaw is dropping at the price tag(!) – but I’ll do my best to live up to my side of the bargain. It’s a beautiful looking pen – nicely weighted, comfortable in the hand – and provides a great writing experience, BUT… I’ve had a few issues with the stock nib, which took me some time to diagnose. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, I’ve sent the original nib back – but agreed with Kevin (who’s been very helpful along the way!) that I’d present this review, ‘warts and all’ – and give an update down the track, when the dust has settled re warranty issues. ______________________________________________________________________ 1. Appearance & Design (9/10) –Black-and-Chrome Finish, Beautifully Styled With the exception of the two TWSBI pens I purchased last year, most of the pens I’ve obtained over the past 12 months have come in a factory-issue plastic sleeve – so forgive me if I take a moment to comment on the packaging. The Diplomat arrived in a brushed-aluminium case – roughly the size of a glasses case, though not quite as deep. Inside the case sits a felt-covered ‘tray’ of moulded plastic, with a groove just large enough to house the pen. I’d describe the case as ‘business-like’ rather than luxurious – but I like it that way. http://i.imgur.com/HoqFcdt.jpg?1http://i.imgur.com/DiKWo0q.jpg?1 As for the pen itself? I think you’d have to say it was ‘conservatively styled’ – long, sleek and slender (but still comfortable to hold); with a glossy black lacquer finish on the cap and body, and shiny chrome-coloured trim. On the finial of the pen you’ll find the black-and-white Diplomat logo prominently displayed; the bottom of the pen has a grooved chrome ending that also serves a very useful function (see below). If you’re not keen on glossy black, this pen also comes in an ‘easy grip’ matte black finish – or, if you want to live even more dangerously (!), you can go for pastel colours (also ‘easy grip’ matte finish): turquoise, lime green, pink, or lilac…. Oh, there’s also a straight (brushed) stainless steel option, for . Me, I’m not into pastels (they don’t suit my complexion?!) – so the glossy black lacquer was right up my alley. http://i.imgur.com/tLXku9X.jpg?1 No matter which colour you choose, the trim is the same – shiny chrome – while the grip section is a sturdy black plastic. Diplomat do sell gold-plated and/or two-tone stainless steel nibs in some of their other models – but the only option for the Esteem is chrome-coloured stainless steel. More on that below. 2. Construction & Quality (10/10) – A beautifully-constructed penI know 10/10 seems excessive, but really, I can’t fault the pen. Though not overly heavy, it’s made primarily of metal, and has a satisfying ‘heft’ to it; it feels well-balanced in the hand; there are no obvious blemishes anywhere on the pen – it’s well-designed, and flawlessly executed. After three months of continuous usage, the lacquer has held up well. The lid comes on and off with a satisfying ‘click’… And maybe here is where it’s appropriate to talk about the purpose of that stainless steel ending to the barrel. The cap is designed to post on the end of the pen – and it posts securely, settling over the stainless steel ending with another satisfying ‘click’. More often than not I write with my pens unposted, (unless I’m writing with a Kaweco Sport or TWSBI Mini – you get the idea) – but the pen remains comfortable and well-balanced, either way. http://i.imgur.com/fhi4TId.jpg?1 3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – A comfortable, mid-sized penIn terms of size (and cost), the Esteem sits in between two of the Diplomat’s better known pens – the Diplomat Traveller (which I’d considered purchasing before this arrived in the mail), and the much higher end, much more substantial Excellence A Series. I think I’d like to try the Excellence A sometime – I quite enjoy writing with heftier pens – but the Esteem, although I’d class it a ‘Medium’ size pen, punches well above its weight (so to speak). Weighing in at 26.2g capped, or 15.7g uncapped (you’ll need to add another 3 mL for a full Diplomat converter), and with a diameter of 10.5mm for the grip section, the pen just feels substantial in my hand. The pen is 136mm capped, and 125mm uncapped – which I think most hands will find quite comfortable to write with – but again, this pen is designed to post, in which case you’re wielding a 158mm writing implement. The diameter of the pen barrel at its widest point (the barrel and cap both taper towards the end) is around 12.5mm – as I say, a medium-sized pen, rather than a ‘monster’. The grip section tapers from 10mm near the ‘step-up’ to the barrel, down to 8mm near the nib – I tend to hold it towards the step, and find that pretty comfortable. 4. Nib & Performance (7/10) – A surprisingly pleasant experience to write withI’m a firm believer in the concept that a pen is only as good as its nib – and unfortunately, the Diplomat nib that came with this pen was problematic from the moment it arrived. It came with a Medium nib – which I’m OK with, though I tend to prefer Fine or Stub nibs (the latter is not an option, incidentally)… but that wasn’t my problem. http://i.imgur.com/hNOiflJ.jpg http://i.imgur.com/zCr9A1y.jpg On the upside, first of all, the Diplomat nib was pretty ‘springy’ – you could get a decent amount of line variation without a great deal of pressure. And it was so smooth, it wrote like a dream… until, that is, it began ‘skipping’, seemingly at random, as I wrote. Pressing down harder on the nib was usually sufficient to get the flow started again – but it made for a very “stop-start” writing experience. At first, I thought the problem might be the ink I was using (Pelikan Royal Blue)… or the home-made ‘bulb converter’ I’d whacked in (more on this below)… But when I obtained a Diplomat cartridge converter and swapped in about 5 different inks, it became clear that wasn’t the problem. I also noticed a slight misalignment between the underside of the nib and the feed, which was fairly rectified – but that didn’t solve the problem either. I suspect either that the tines are too close together, or (possibly) a ‘baby’s bottom’ problem. Eventually, in consultation with Kevin (from JustWrite), I decided it was better to return the nib under warranty, rather than try to adjust it myself. Within a week of receiving the pen – and unrelated to the skipping problem – I decided to order a replacement nib unit, a Fine. The writing sample below was mostly written with this nib. Like the Medium, the Fine nib writes beautifully smoothly, and is relatively springy – though I wouldn’t recommend overdoing it, it’s not a flex pen! The Fine writes a noticeably narrower line than the Medium – though it’s definitely not the finest Fine I have in my collection (if you get my meaning!). I had a couple of issues with this nib as well – I had to adjust the nib relative to the feed to get the alignment of the tines just right – but once that was done, I’ve found this pen an absolute pleasure to write with! http://i.imgur.com/t0LwncM.jpg?1 5. Filling System & Maintenance (4/10) – Why no cartridge converter?!?!I’ve deliberately scored the pen very low on this point, for two reasons. In the first instance, I cannot understand why a $100+ pen would not come with a cartridge converter included. All I got with the pen was a single lousy cartridge, plus a ‘dummy’ cartridge (as in, empty and with the bottom cut off)… and a note in the included warranty material that the pen should have two cartridges in the barrel at all times (one as a spare). Every single (cheap) Chinese pen I’ve purchased that takes cartridges, comes with a (cheap) cartridge converter installed – why do these higher-end European name-brands have to be so stingy?! To make matters worse, I quickly found that the cheap Chinese converters I had ready to hand would not fit this pen – around the ‘nipple’ the cartridge fits onto, Diplomat have incorporated a ‘cuff’ or ‘ring’, which I suppose is meant to create a snugger fit for the cartridges – but it also had the effect of preventing me using any converter that doesn’t have an appreciable taper below the nozzle. My only remaining options were to use cartridges (and refill them if necessary)… or to obtain a compatible converter. Once again, Kevin came to the rescue – sourcing a Diplomat-branded (Schmidt-style) converter for me, at a cost of another $10. http://i.imgur.com/u6MM6uK.jpg To be fair, Diplomat are not the only culprits when it comes to shipping pens without converters – and standard international cartridges work perfectly well – but still, on principle, I feel compelled to mark them down for doing this with a premium-priced pen, and to mark them down further for designing the pen so that only a more expensive converter. 6. Cost & Value (9/10) – It’s not cheap – but why should it be?I’m genuinely puzzled as to why Diplomat seems to have such a low profile in the fountain pen community – they’ve been around since 1922; their pens are great quality (my nib problems notwithstanding); and though they’re not cheap to purchase, you really do get what you pay for. This is the most expensive pen in my collection – and honestly, I would have thought twice about purchasing it (full disclosure, though: I was seriously considering setting aside some birthday money to place an order on the matte black version). But for all its conservative styling, this really is a lovely pen – so I’d have no hesitation recommending it. 7. Conclusion (Final score [sUM/6]: 8.5)I know, I know, add up my scores and divide by 6, and you’ll only get 8 – but I think the pen deserves more than that. I had to score the pen down for the nib, because of my problems with the Medium (which I believe will be sorted out by warranty) – and I can’t blame the pen for the manufacturers’ decision to ship it without a converter. So I’ve bumped it up to 8.5. These scores are really subjective – but this pen offers one of the most pleasant writing experiences I’ve experienced, when the ink is in full flow. I said a little earlier that I don’t know why Diplomat doesn’t have a higher profile – let me add to that, I don’t know why the Esteem seems so lowly esteemed, if you’ll pardon the pun! It’s a more substantial pen than the Traveller – which I’m told is a great pen, just a little small for sustained writing – and it’s significantly cheaper than the Aero and the Excellence. I’m happy to recommend this pen to anyone who’s interested in a good quality, serious-looking pen – and will keep you posted on developments with the Medium nib.
  20. It has been a very long time since my friend has actually posted any review on his channel. I would like to share with you the new review that he has just posted of a very premium "Indian fountain pen" called the Glare 71. Here's the video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gGDiLlv4dc As he himself is unable to access his FPN account, he has asked me to post it on his behalf. Anyways, talking about the pen, Glare 71 is an extremely premium fountain pen in every aspect. It is a head turner that has got premium looks, exceptional build, feels amazing in the hands and writes exceedingly well. For more information about the pen, do watch the video. I hope you like it.
  21. I have just seen the review of the Rotring Surf pen on Youtube. It looks like a basic pen, with a smooth nib. Does anyone have this pen? If yes, then how cool is it? Here, have a look at the full review first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEM_gAsrMm4
  22. Camlin 22 Eye Dropper from India Fine NIB Screw on Cap ( 1 and 1/4 turn ) I did put some silicone grease on my test pen to seal the threads .. ( No sign of leaking or ink creeping into the threads ) NIB was cleaned , Feed was cleaned and Dipped in really hot water for 30 seconds and then fitted to pen with NIB . Pen was a difficult starter on initial inking . After 24 hours resting horizontally it took a few strokes of the pen to get it to write .. Is a scratchy writer . Canted 45 degrees left the pen wrote ok Canted 45 deg right the pen tore into the paper Inverted it was like trying to write with the tip of a knife Pen is a moist writer . I did polish the NIB with 5000 grit wet and dry , and it only helped a little ... Did have to go to 2000 grit to hit the rough spots to smooth out the pen .. It is better , but not 100 % No leaks - no Burps - No physical problems - I will leave this for extended testing ... https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/335887-pif-camlin-22-eye-dropper/ PIF = I am giving one away ....

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