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  1. SinbadtheSailor

    Romillo Pens?

    I have read great things about the Romillo pen company on this website I was wondering if anyone has poersonal experience with Romillo pens? What is the best model, are they durable over time, and what is customer service like? Also, does anyone know the approx. price for the Nervion #9. I have tried contacting Romillo, but haven't yet received a reply Many thanks --SinbadtheSailor
  2. http://i.imgur.com/7x4nKSN.jpg The Romillo Sil has long been on my radar, ever since I first heard about Romillo. The gentle tapering lines and absence of section threads made for such a clean and attractive design. A pen without any unnecessary parts or ornamentation, fitted with a wonderful handmade nib. http://i.imgur.com/wA3LYuB.jpg I knew I had to have one but for the first couple Romillo pens I bought (an Eo #9 and Essential #9), I went with the threaded models. It seemed safer. The Romillo cap lips are very, very thin and while I believe Alvaro would handle any warranty work without hassle I’d rather not have to deal with it in the first place. http://i.imgur.com/OuGPIga.jpg Romillo Sil #9 and Platinum 3776 Century. http://i.imgur.com/w1GKXUX.jpg Eventually, I took a gamble and ordered my Sil #9, in the lovely terracotta ebonite. I prefer simple designs generally and I felt like a solid color ebonite better fit the Sil model (I was also worried about the the mottled pattern being broken by the threads that connect the barrel and section together. http://i.imgur.com/Gr8iPsw.jpg Romillo Sil #9 and Platinum 3776 Century nibs. I swapped the nibs on 3776 and Nakaya Piccolo. http://i.imgur.com/yB0YNUW.jpg From left: Romillo Sil #9, Essential #9 and Eo #9. In the end, I wound up with the Sil in terracotta ebonite, the lentil roll-stop and the barrel-end cabochon. I had got the cabochon, which is a solid 18kt disc with the Romillo logo in deep relief, on my Essential and always thought it was a nice and subtle touch to an otherwise minimally adorned pen. It also kind of cool that the Romillo logo is a stylized ‘R’, which is my first initial. I’ve not personally asked, but in another review, I read Alvaro was open to doing custom barrel cabochons, if you wish for something other than the stylized ‘R.’ http://i.imgur.com/bozp3iu.jpg The certificate and writing sample for my pen. Each Romillo pen comes with one. http://i.imgur.com/MXzr4z4.jpg Instructions for the eyedropper filling system. I should preface my comments by saying I am a big Romillo fan. I first learned about Romillo from a post on Leigh Reyes blog last year, after she bought a Narcea with the K-nib - an in-house, handmade nib meant to be flexible. A little over a year later I had purchased four Romillo pens, of which I still have three. I traded one of them, an Eo #9, for a Danitrio Sho-Genkai. http://i.imgur.com/ILfbLyr.jpg From top: Scriptorium Pens Aeterna (medium-size) and Romillo Sil #9. The Scriptorium is in Tibaldi Impero celluloid and the Romillo is in ebonite -- both wonderful materials. http://i.imgur.com/5kZEamq.jpg Romillo Sil #9 nib and JoWo #6 nib. Romillo pens definitely aren’t for everyone but preferring simple and clipless pens for their clean look, Romillo pens was a natural fit for me. Romillo does not have an “Add to Cart” button on his website. In fact, there are not even any prices listed on his website. To get the prices of the pens, you must email him. After that, he will send you a price list along with a Romillo Pens catalog. I think it would be easier for all parties to just post a price list publically but I’m sure Alvaro has his reasons for not doing so. In any case, an email to him will get you the catalog and pricelist and I’ve never once felt like I was pressured to order while asking questions. http://i.imgur.com/Q75GemL.jpg I ordered the pen in January and received received it February and it has been more or less, continuously inked. I’ve only been using fountain pens for just about two years. I started with a Lamy Safari, like many others, but quickly moved up to pens in higher price brackets. But being so new to the hobby, there’s a lot I’ve yet to experience. But, for me, at least, the Romillo nibs are just superb. http://i.imgur.com/BaJH0xN.jpg From top: Newton Pens Orville (medium-size), Romillo Eo #9, Scriptorium Pens Aeterna (medium-size), Romillo Sil #9, Romillo Essential #9. I ordered the pen in January and received received it February and it has been more or less, continuously inked. I’ve only been using fountain pens for just about two years. I started with a Lamy Safari, like many others, but quickly moved up to pens in higher price brackets. But being so new to the hobby, there’s a lot I’ve yet to experience. But, for me, at least, the Romillo nibs are just superb. http://i.imgur.com/v4iWgcY.jpg The feed seems to have changed on the newer Romillo pens. My newest Romillo, the green and black Narcea, has a flatter ebonite feed. I like the look of the fatter ones better, but there's no difference in function as far as I can tell. My Sil #9 has a firm Fine-Medium nib, which is the most true to it’s name than my other firm Romillo nibs, which are actually quite springy. The Sil nib is pretty stiff but very smooth. All Romillo nibs, in my experience, have a unique feedback to them. It’s similar to writing with a graphite pencil with very smooth and soft lead. Some of the nibs have more or less feedback but none of them has ever been scratchy. They do have sweet spots though — due to the size of the nibs, they work best if you write with full arm movement. For finger-writers, I’d recommend getting a Romillo with the #7 size nib because of that. http://i.imgur.com/pprgAAZ.jpg Writing sample of Romilo Sil #9 with fine-medium nib, Danitrio Sho-Genkai with broad nib, and Newton Orville with #8 JoWo medium nib, and Romillo Essential #9 with fine nib. http://i.imgur.com/NVPYW3k.jpg The packaging of the pens are quite nice but also simple and compact, which I appreciate. I have more detailed photos in other posts, so I went spent too much time on it. The pen is on the long side but not overly so. You can see it compared to a Lamy Safari and a Nakaya Piccolo The ebonite is not coated with anything and so overtime the ebonite with oxidize and discolor. If that’s a problem for you, then Romillo may not be the best choice. The only other material available is celluloid, which is an early thermoplastic which can stain and discolor. Personally, I think the ebonite oxidizing is just a manifestation of wabi-sabi - beauty in imperfection, beauty in wear-and-tear. I do my best to protect the pen from UV light and I don’t soak the pen ever, but when the ebonite begins to oxidize, I won’t fight it. http://i.imgur.com/Qf0pcX4.jpg Two #9 Romillo nibs. From left: Narcea #9 and Sil #9. Since each nib is handmade and hand-engraved, there's some small difference in the dimensions and shape of each nib. http://i.imgur.com/GBVS8Pb.jpg Lamy Safari, Romillo Sil #9, and Nakaya Piccolo. So far I’ve run Sailor Douyou Brown, Shigure Purple, and Romillo Sepia ink through it and it’s been flawless with both Sailor inks, and slightly dry with Romillo Sepia. Romillo pens are expensive. And it can be hard for some to see the value proposition of a pen like this. The honest truth is, while a Romillo pen is a great writer, it’s NOT going to be a 10x better writing experience than Lamy 2000 or Pilot VP. http://i.imgur.com/xpk7OHF.jpg http://i.imgur.com/bIEiZZY.jpg Three #9 Romillo nibs. From left: Essential #9, Narcea #9, and Sil #9. Since each nib is handmade and hand-engraved, there's some small difference in the dimensions and shape of each nib. http://i.imgur.com/lvJQ0sn.jpg From left: Lamy Safari, Romillo Narcea #9, Romillo Essential #9, Nakaya Piccolo, Romillo Sil #9. http://i.imgur.com/kwexzUO.jpg From left: Lamy Safari, Nakaya Piccolo, and Romillo Sil #9. http://i.imgur.com/gOHEdZS.jpg No custom pen made in a developed country with high labor costs is going to be a value pen. Hand-turning a pen and hand-forging and engraving a nib takes time and very skilled labor. It’s up to the buyer to decide if they value the craftsmanship involved or not. I personally do, and would gladly buy any of my Romillo pens again, but it’s certainly reasonable to think, as I’m sure many do, that they are simply too much money for what you get. In the end, all I can say is if the aesthetics of Romillo pens work for you, you’ll get a great writing pen that’s incredibly well-made by a master craftsman.
  3. rpsyed

    Romillo Narcea #9

    http://i.imgur.com/BYIdam1.jpg Well, a new Romillo came in today. This time it's a Narcea #9 in green and black ebonite. It's not one of Romillo's standard offerings but he agreed to do a one-off for me. The ebonite looks gorgeous! Very cool of Alvaro to do a one-off for me; he didn't have to do that. http://i.imgur.com/CTx5y1M.jpg It's the smallest pen Romillo offers but it still a good usable size, especially since the nib is so tall. http://i.imgur.com/bzJ6BO9.jpg?1 Each Romillo comes with a certificate and a writing sample. My Narcea is pen #450. http://i.imgur.com/KnRfiTe.jpg Instructions for the eyedropper filling system and several spare o-rings in case the o-ring sealing the section to barrel threads breaks or wears out. http://i.imgur.com/rbipWpN.jpg The Romillo boxes are really nice. Compact but elegant and good at protecting the pen from damage. Also a small bottle of Romillo Blue ink. The bottle is simpler than it used to be. I'm quite excited to try it, it looks beautiful! I've only gotten Romillo Sepia ink in the past. http://i.imgur.com/B1o4pvt.jpg The black felt pen sleeve and eyedropper. http://i.imgur.com/goKslhF.jpg From left: Lamy Safari, Romillo Narcea #9, Romillo Essential #9, Nakaya Piccolo, Romillo Sil #9 http://i.imgur.com/AK1qk2F.jpg Even though the Romillo Narcea #9 is the smallest pen in the Romillo lineup it still has the massive #9 nib. Also a very usable size at 10 millimeters or so bigger than a Piccolo http://i.imgur.com/XPOUEBK.jpg Lamy Safari, Romillo Narcea #9 and Nakaya Piccolo nibs. http://i.imgur.com/tkSxnTn.jpg The Romillo feed seems to have changed as well. I kind of like the older, bigger feed but I doubt it has any functional difference. It's still a gorgeous looking ebonite feed =] http://i.imgur.com/lfD0cEJ.jpg Romillo Narcea and Sil nibs. http://i.imgur.com/CW6HIus.jpg Essential, Narcea, and Sil nibs. These are all #9 nibs but since each nib is handmade and hand engraved, there are some variations in their dimensions and shape. http://i.imgur.com/IIyjIii.jpg Again, I chose to get the solid gold cabochon at the barrel end. Just a small disc of 18kt gold but it's a nice touch I think. Now, I gotta ink this up ...
  4. rpsyed

    Romillo Sil #9

    New pen arrived today =] http://i.imgur.com/WPlVzh6.jpg Just got my Romillo Sil #9 in terracotta ebonite! http://i.imgur.com/A4lfSns.jpg It's a slip cap pen similar to the vintage Waterman 12 or other pens in the Waterman 1X series. Really elegant pen, I think. The roll-stopper on the cap is a customization I asked for. You can also order the pen plain or with a clip. http://i.imgur.com/FCr8Nhm.jpg I had asked for the cabochon on my Essential #9 and thought it was a really good touch, so I asked for it again. It's a solid gold emblem embedded into the barrel and has the Romillo logo in deep relief. http://i.imgur.com/crb9RAu.jpg Romillo Sil #9 compared to a Scriptorium Aeterna. The Romillo is ebonite, Scriptorium is celluloid. http://i.imgur.com/2EEbtbW.jpg?1 The pen's certificate. Each Romillo pen comes with this document, which states the pen's number -- my Eo is 379, my Essential is 422, and my Sil is 444. At the bottom is a writing sample with the nib. I ordered a Medium-Fine. http://i.imgur.com/yCQtZER.jpg?1 Instructions for the Sil #9 eyedropper. Alvaro found that the converter can't keep up with the #9 nib and huge ebonite feed so all #9 nib pens are eyedropper-fillers. The #7 nib pens come in both eyedropper and cartridge/converter filling systems. http://i.imgur.com/R291ntx.jpg Huge, gorgeous ebonite feed! Provides a really reliable, wet flow. http://i.imgur.com/ayYKFzp.jpg Sil #9, Essential #9, and Eo #9. http://i.imgur.com/Sg20YqM.jpg Romillo Sil with a Platinum 3776 Century. http://i.imgur.com/iTLI8L6.jpg http://i.imgur.com/GpD9BWZ.jpg Romillo #9 nib and Platinum 3776 Century nib. I actually swapped the Platinum nib with my Nakaya so the Platinum has a Nakaya nib in it right now but they are the same size, shape etc. http://i.imgur.com/P7ebS9v.jpg Romillo #9 nib and JoWo #6 nib in a Scriptorium Aeterna. http://i.imgur.com/sv1uilm.jpg The Romillo nib design, with the wings reaching towards the tip is one of the most attractive I've ever seen. http://i.imgur.com/cFUvarp.jpg Isn't is a lovely shape? Now to decide what to ink it up with ...
  5. http://i.imgur.com/XsHnfDL.jpg I got a new pen today! A Romillo Essential #9. It's made of solid blue ebonite, in a really deep shade of blue. The gold roll stop is a customization I asked for. This is my second Romillo and I'm still blown away by all the documents and the whole package. Alvaro did an amazing job on the pen. The roll stopper and disc are set perfectly, the threads are perfectly cut, the nib is massive and gorgeous. I like to support the artisans that the fountain pen community has and we are very lucky to have a lot fantastic ones. Alvaro offers a great product, with great customer service, and craftsmanship that borders on artistry with his nibs. I've only written with the pen a little bit so I can't do a full review yet, but here are some initial impressions. http://i.imgur.com/03xNMJe.jpg Paperwork that came with the pen, along with a writing sample of the nib by Alvaro Romillo. http://i.imgur.com/J6WwXWf.jpg Alvaro's writing sample http://i.imgur.com/goew0bt.jpg Included was a gold and black 5-pen wrap, a bottle of Romillo Sepia ink, and a wooden box with a sliding panel opening. Inside the wooden box was the eyedropper, which is outside of the box in the photo, and a felt pen wrap with the pen inside. http://i.imgur.com/cpR5QZu.jpg Romillo Sepia ink. Romillo ink comes in Black, Blue, and Sepia I believe. It's not available commercially but is included with pen orders. http://i.imgur.com/B3OG5mQ.jpg Instructions for the Essential #9 eyedropper http://i.imgur.com/RwelHX6.jpg Comparison with some other pens that happened to be close by. From top: Nakaya Piccolo, Edison Pearl, Eboya Kyouka (medium-size), Romillo Essential #9, Lamy Safari, and Pilot Vanishing Point. Essential #9 and Eo #9 http://i.imgur.com/v0EzLj6.jpg My first Romillo, an Eo #9 in terracotta ebonite, is a bit heavier and thicker than the Eo #9. The roll stop placement is different too. Very similar in length though. Cabochon in the barrel end. http://i.imgur.com/2rhCX6g.jpg Along with the gold roll stop, I also asked for a solid gold cabochon to be added to the pen. It's a disc made of 18k gold engraved with the Romillo logo. It's a really lovely touch, I think. http://i.imgur.com/j2PbsQH.jpg Romillo #9 nib compared to an Edison/JoWo #6 nib. http://i.imgur.com/4TPp3Xy.jpg I tried to get a close up of the nib engraving. This is the best I could do (sorry!) It has to be one of the most elegant nib engravings there is. The fact that it's done by hand is just incredible. I've inked up the pen with Romillo Sepia ink and it's been lovely. Smooth, with some pleasant feedback, and perfect ink flow.
  6. So, after individually reviewing two of my three Hakases (buffalo horn and rosewood), my Romillo Nervión and my custom Nakaya, I feel it is time to draw together some disparate threads. For many, the prospect of a fully custom pen is both alluring and daunting. With so many options the process seems fraught with danger, and the reassurance of an off-the-peg alternative, liberally reviewed and photographed here on the forum, turns the 'maybe' into an eternal 'maybe next time'. So here I will attempt to remove the mystery from the process, to shine a light on these three well-known if enigmatic makers, and to give a holistic and subjective overview of the process and the final pens. Maybe then I will help push a few of you over the edge into the abyss. Romillo Nervión, custom Nakaya, Hakase Rosewood, Hakase Buffalo Horn Communication: A friendly and knowledgeable contact is crucial, both in easing anxiety and assuring that there are no misunderstandings along the (sometimes long) way. Yet, oddly, it is the experience with the most scope for error that has proven to be the most rewarding, and then by a large margin. Hakase is a tiny company located in Tottori, a middling city in the north of Honshu, Japan's main island. If I say that its locale is known only for its pears and a sand dune, perhaps you will understand how remote Hakase is. Mr. Ryo Yamamoto is the proprietor and, now that his father and patron has retired, also the maker of Hakase's pens. From what I understand, he speaks little-to-no English, and yet... My three experiences with Hakase have been absolutely without flaw. Mr. Yamamoto's infinite patience, his pride in his products, and his devotion to his customers, has shone through in every interaction, no matter how minor. Questions were answered almost instantaneously (via Google Translate but, miraculously, still comprehensible), often including comparative photos of great skill, as well as personal guidance and impressions of the options under consideration. The little questionnaire (filled out once and then kept on file for future reference) asked for certain writing specifics and preferences, as well as a writing sample, and was always mailed back anew upon receipt of an order with an exact to-scale picture of the expected pen. Ryo even allowed my second pen to jump the queue to ensure it arrived in time for my birthday... Aftercare has also been sublime: a new nib was ground for me to match my pen (as each pen is constructed entirely by hand, it was necessary to send it back in its entirety to ensure a clean marriage between section and barrel); turnaround from Israel to Japan and back again was barely three weeks. I have had less contact with Álvaro Romillo at Romillo, but so far the signs have been good. eMails were usually promptly serviced (with a few lapses), and answers have been friendly, open and comprehensive, though they lack the overwhelming thoroughness of Mr. Yamamoto at Hakase. So where does this leave Nakaya? Not very high, unfortunately. I have had several experiences with Nakaya, both personally and through Classic Fountain Pens in California. Whereas Hakase exemplifies that friendlier nature of the Japanese national personality, Nakaya inhabits the realms of the introverted side. Even as a repeat customer, several exploratory communications with the company in Tokyo were politely rebuffed; a request for more details about the urushi craftsmen in Wajima (a town I was to visit as my latest pen was being produced) was ignored. It is no coincidence, therefore, that upon undertaking a custom design, I chose CFP to act as middle-man. Romillo size 9, Nakaya ruthenium plated F, Hakase F, Hakase F Scope for Customisation: I suppose this is the most important issue, for what is the definition of a 'custom' pen? Of the three, only Romillo is entirely made by hand, the other two relying on certain parts sourced from other manufacturers. Needless to say, this limits their creative scope somewhat. On considering a Romillo, I asked Álvaro what existed within the realms of possibility. His answer: the daunting "anything". I am not sure this was meant literally (I doubt I could order a telescoping piston without footing the bill for the necessary R&D upfront), but in dimensions and furniture, it seems that anything goes. He was even open to custom end-buttons, clips and nib engravings too, although strangely not to any material bar ebonite. A celluloid model has just been added to Romillo's website, so perhaps that is about to change... Nib, feed and filling aside, Hakase have been more than willing to alter their signature pens. Mix-and-match details from their plethora of designs, as well as a (new) choice of 14k golds or sterling silver, all to create your pen, then have Mr. Yamamoto tailor the dimensions and details to suit your taste. Materials are limited to those traditionally utilised by Hakase, but the canvas proves vast: celluloid, ebonite, various exotic woods, buffalo horn and even turtle-shell for those more adventurous, and possessed of deep pockets. With Nakaya, alterations are limited to the surface: the garnish rather than the meat. One must first choose a basic design from those already offered by Nakaya (or, as in my case, allow them to suggest one), and then work from there. Even then, there are seemingly arbitrary limitations: a request to include western text on the pen was quietly refused, as was a second nib and section. Pedantic and pointless, especially when undertaking such a project at such an expense. 'Specialness': You can find my thoughts elsewhere, but it goes without saying that one orders a custom pen for something more than brand image. More, even, than objective attributes. A handmade pen should sing in an ineffable manner alien to an object spat out by machine. It should not necessarily be without flaw, but those flaws must be evidence of the divine fallibility of man rather than lax quality control or the inadequacy of design. It is here that the Nakaya absolutely fails. It is a beautiful pen, a fantastic pen even and, imbued with so much personal resonance, I love it dearly. But it is a (relatively) mass-produced product with very beautiful embellishments. I do not pick it up and feel it was made for me, that it embodies some indelible connection between the craftsman and I. I do with the other two. Even the nib: yes, it is a good nib. Great even. But it is the work of John Mottishaw and is comparable to any of the other Nakayas or Platinums that I own, all on off-the-shelf pens and no poorer for it. The Romillo is the complete antithesis. It would not exist were it not for me, and everything about it screams 'anachronism' in the manner of an heirloom film camera or a car with a manual transmission. It is the very definition of what a custom pen should be - not a single part outsourced or produced by robot, and that nib is quite simply a marvel of character and grace. How a cottage manufacturer on Europe's periphery can do what the big boys cannot is beyond me, and for many that nib and that nib alone will pronounce the Nervión the absolute and uncontested winner here. I would not argue with that conclusion... But it is not mine. In my humble eyes, Hakase is the master of the custom pen. Everything, from the communication to the ordering to the blissful agony of the wait is exactly what I want the experience to be. The choice of materials and styles is comprehensive, and the skill exhibited in the manufacture (the threads are cut by hand!) is peerless. Yes, for some Hakases will forever be hobbled by the Pilot nib, feed and filler, yet the proof is in the writing and Ryo Yamamoto has still succeeded in translating my desires into nib form (three times on three separate pens) better than any nibmeister, let alone manufacturer. Yes, other Pilots in my collection may share the 'same' size 15 nib, but none dream to compare upon the page. I am happy to own all three and would consider none a mistake. But were I to only have one, there would be absolutely no doubt: Mr Yamamoto and Hakase would be the one to receive my only order.
  7. There are lots of very good fountain pens available today and you certainly don't have to pay a fortune for one you can enjoy. But there is a certain feeling to a really nice handmade pen - something that inspires you to write. I've been using fountain pens since I was a wee lad but it has not been until lately that I started paying more attention to the pens I use. I'm no longer looking at them as a utility instrument for writing. FPN has generated a mountain of useful information for me and at this point in my life I want something that is comfortable to hold and a joy to write with. This is true of the Romillo Essential Writer. It is an exquisite pen that is the first new pen I have purchased that writes like a refinement of an older Waterman or Swan with a flexible nib. You might think "why spend all this on one pen?" The answer is quite simple - the effortless writing, the way it feels in your hand, and the knowledge that it is something that will last a lifetime (if not more). Some info - Romillo Essential Writer Ebonite in blue/black K flex nib (Fine - Broad) 18k Eyedropper fill No clip The packaging is extraordinary and includes a wooden case, a felt pen wrap, a bottle of Romillo ink, a dropper, a wood pen rest, and written instructions on filling and care. The nib is very smooth and ink flow could not be better - just the right amount of wetness for whatever style of writing you need to do. When I first talked to Álvaro about obtaining one of his pens I had it in the back of my mind I would be using this to for creative writing. this would not be my pen to "write checks" with but the versatility of the nib has negated that line of thinking. This is the kind of pen you can use for everything. All in all this is a work of art that just so happens to write - and that it does in the most beautiful way. I could not be more pleased with it.

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