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  1. Good evening everyone once again. This is a light hearted review of a serious pen! Preamble (skip this bit if you find it boring): Today, I have been fortunate to manage to have the same day off work as my partner (our schedules NEVER match up). Couple of days before the bank holiday madness kicks in, so the great outdoors beckoned… So, with the great UK weather being unpredictable, a trip to the coast was off the menu, and I was in need of a pen case for a couple of pens I have, so predictably, a pen shop expedition was order of the day. As per usual, we headed out some 30+ miles to “Penbox” in Epworth, as I knew that the owner, Steve, typically keeps a nice selection in, plus, there are a number of old style quality cafe’s in the village, which really makes it a nice trip. We didn’t ring thru prior, as the shop is a treasure trove for writers, and is always fun to look thru all the displays. It has to be said, that an internet only method of shopping is quick, more eco-friendly and frees up time to other things. Call me old fashioned, but a real shop, with a real face and, goods you can pick up and browse through, is much better (don’t forget the pause for an English Breakfast in the cafe nearby). Anyway, shortly after arrival, the plans proceeded to become rapidly unglued. As one enters the shop, near the counter is a small display case, and within it is a collection of Graf Von Faber Castell “pens of the year”. I should have turned around there and then, I really really should. Fifteen seconds thru the door, and too late. “She who must be obeyed” spotted it. Graf von… 2011, in Jade. So, after browsing, drooling and general really pleasant talk about pens and everything else pen related, we pressed pause for an hour and hit the nearest cafe. Suitably refreshed, we returned and then, yes, I got a small pen case to fit two pens, we also acquired the aforementioned Graf Von Faber Castell 2011 in Jade. “She who must be obeyed” absolutely fell in love with it. First impressions. Workmanship. It is just a work of art, but without doubt, fully engineered. From the shiny finish with the Jade inlays, of which one of them itself has an engraved pattern itself, it just screamed quality. It glows………. Second impression. The cabinet was duly unlocked and the Jade beauty was handled for the first time. It felt truly gorgeous in the hand, a decent heft, weighty but felt balanced. I have never really like the look of them in photos in the past, the caps seem a bit odd and there is a step rearwards of the section/grip, which is so far back, it is just not noticeable at all. However, in the flesh? Ooooh, it’s a different beast then. AH, what the heck, we made the purchase. Third impression. As usual, home, cuppa, and a calming down after causing severe damage to the credit card. The box, sat on the table, the contents hidden, awaiting the proper opening. Unboxing. Wow. The box is HEAVY. It isn’t as big as a Conway Stewart Winston or Churchill, but is waaaay heavier. As per most pens in this price point, they are a box, within a box, within a box, which normally grates on me a bit as I usually ditch boxes and stick my pens in pen pouches. However, this was just one eye opener after another. The innermost box, is made of some dark wood with a deep green lacquer and is highly polished. It is of a size and finish that really complements the pen and for once, (if this was MY pen) I would not put this in a pen pouch unless it comes to work, but would be returned back into it’s nest at bedtime for sure. Quality lead on quality. Overall Look of the pen. Victorian. I got to say it looks Victorian. Erm, quick rethink. Deco. Victorian/Art Deco, if that could ever exist. On it’s own it looks huge, but when placed next to other pens, such as a TWSBI, it is really not that huge after all, maybe the cap is making the eye think it is bigger than it is? Either way, I would say, without resorting to a tape measure, it is Pelikan M800/M1000 size. Very pleasing to the eye. The nib. This one came in a “fine” and is in good proportion with the rest of the pen. It looks pretty. We dared to dip it tonight and have a play on Rhodia paper. Oh. I mean, oh, as in WOW. I do like fine nibs from time to time but are not my weapon of choice, but this one is stunning. Loaded with Waterman inspired blue, it laid down a lovely wet line. On first touch. No messing, no prepping, no faff, touch on and away we go. Smooth. It felt like a medium nib in smoothness. It had a firmness in use, with a hint of spring or softness, but that is just me “looking” for these qualities, which were definitely there. This is, by far, the nicest fine nib I have ever used. The cap. Big. Shiny. Heavy. Inlaid at the end, with what looks like a stone or a piece of shaped jade, very jewel like in shape/design. The clip is also well engineered, with a sprung hinge, which feels rock solid, but smooth to use. Again, it is in keeping with the overall design and adds to the overall “style”. As a note, we won’t be stuffing this little baby in the top of a shirt pocket in the near future. Others might, and the clip would do the biz, but, not for us, ta. Posting the cap. The cap posts, but as the cap is heavy, no. Don’t do it. It looks nice but it does make it too back heavy, although it does look nice. It posts with a firm push and feels very secure, but, no. It is such a balanced pen without, don’t do it. Keep the cap in your other hand and enjoy the feel of it. Filling system. This is a piston filler and is accessible via a blind cap. The action is smooth and has lots of travel. It hints at a reasonable capacity, but not tested it yet. There is also a small ink window near the section in a smoked grey. I am not sure how good this is, as it is quite dark, but then a totally clear one would detract from the overall look. Look up to a light bulb/outdoors? Yep, tried it and it looks like it works, but having only dipped the pen, can’t verify it. Sorreee. The section. I am not a fan of all metal sections. There, I said it. However, after living with a yard o led for a while now, I have got to appreciate them and make small allowances (give my hands a good wash prior to a good writing session, reduce the oils on my fingers). The section has a very pleasant profile and is in keeping with the overall size, and for most people would be a pleasant diameter to use. A resin section just would not work here, it would kill the overall look for sure. The diameter and length of the section really makes the centre of gravity work as it should. So what now? The pen has now just had a good rinse and will then be fully loaded with Waterman inspired blue for at least a couple of fills. Once done, my good lady will decide on her ink of choice going forward, which we will dip and try, then away we go, it will for sure be in her regular rotation. Pens are nice to collect, but all of our pens are purchased to be used, and not hidden away. Cost? RRP is unpleasant. I won’t divulge the actual price we paid, but it was heavily discounted against RRP, and reduced again from the published web price. Pen dealers will always have a degree of price adjustment to work with, and (I hope) that they still manage to make some profit. That is an advantage of going to a bricks and mortar premises. Web prices CAN be lower than in a shop, BUT the price on the web is usually as quoted. You can always discuss prices with a human face to face. Computers, no. If anyone is looking for a pen like this, I do recommend visiting your local pen emporium (if you are fortunate to have one close enough) and get talking to them. Pics Just a few snaps, show and tell. They just don’t do the pen justice and for sure there are much better ones out there in the wild, either way, hope it gives you an idea. And Finally The big question. If I was in the market for such a pen, would I buy one for myself. No. Loving the Deco look, really loving it, but it is just that-bit-too-bling for my own personal tastes. It has an exclusive look/feel, is a stunning piece, but it’s not me.





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