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  1. Pen Pit Stop : Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard Victorian Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way – no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let’s find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen entering the pit stop today is the “Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard Victorian”, my personal grail pen. I had my eye on this pen for many years, and finally bought it as a birthday present. I got me the Standard version with its slender lines, which I find more aesthetically pleasing than the girthier Grande version. This Sterling Silver pen is a great writer with an excellent nib that wrote smoothly right out of the box. I bought this pen in June 2019, and it has been in use for almost 3 years now. This pen is in my regular rotation – it would be a shame to let such a beauty sit unused for too long in its pen case. Let’s have a closer look at it. Pen Look & Feel The Yard-o-Led company was founded in 1934, and they have been hand-crafting pens since that time. Their Sterling Silver fountain pens are hand-crafted by in-house artisans: the craftsmanship and love for their work are clearly visible in the products they create. Their flagship product are the Sterling Silver pens in Victorian finish – these are just stunning, and worthy of the title “grail pen.” My pen is the standard version – a slender, vintage-style fountain pen that is roughly the same size and diameter as a Lamy CP1 or Kaweco Special. I can understand that such slender pens are not for everyone: if you prefer more girth, there is also the bigger “Viceroy Grande.” The pen body is elegant and simple in style with a beautiful engraving: the Victorian pattern is manually hammered into the pen body by the Yard-o-Led artist – this also means that no two pens are the same. The complete pen is constructed from 925-proof Sterling Silver, with both body and cap showing the corresponding hallmarks from the Birmingham Assay Office. The marks present are: a 925-mark that signifies the silver content (925 parts in a thousand – which makes it sterling silver), the anchor symbol of the Birmingham Assay Office, the letter “u” which represents the year of manufacture (2019), the producer’s stamp (YOL for Yard-o-Led), and a lion which signifies sterling silver. The click-on cap has a sturdy clip, that is mostly useful as a roll-stop. The clip is bolted on, and has the “Yard-o-Led” name engraved on it. At the top of the clip you’ll find the pen’s unique identification number (mine mentions number 612). Overall a very minimalistic pen. Which is a good thing, because it really allows the Victorian-style engraving to steal the show. It’s not a ring, but just looking at the pen makes you go drooling, and whispering “my precious…” The Viceroy is a cartridge converter pen, that takes standard international cartridges or converters. The pen is completed with an 18kt nickel-plated nib with some decoration and engravings: the YARD-O-LED name, 18ct-750 and the nib size (a fine in my case). The nib on my pen writes very smooth and leaves a well-saturated line: in my opinion it’s closer to M-size, and not what I would call an F. Being made of silver, the pen body will tarnish over time and lose it’s shine. Yard-o-Led thoughtfully added a silver polishing cloth with the pen. I typically use this cloth one or two times a year to re-polish the pen to its original shiny glory. The pictures above illustrate the size of the Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard in comparison with a Lamy Safari. The Yard-o-Led pen is about the same size as the Safari (capped, uncapped as well as posted), but is off course a much more slender pen. I typically use the pen without posting. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : the pen is extremely well build, and still looks as new after almost 3 years of use. And Yard-o-Led are also convinced of the quality: they give life-time warranty on every pen they produce. My pen is a working instrument, so it has acquired some scratches – which I don’t mind at all, they show that this is a living instrument, and not a museum piece. Mind you – I treat my pens with respect, and always use a pen pouch when carrying them around. Overall, the pen has aged very gracefully. Weight & Dimensions : the pen is fairly long but really slender. Being made of metal, it has some weight to it. For me, the pen is most comfortable to use unposted (where it is a little bit smaller than an unposted Lamy Safari). If you have larger hands, the Viceroy Standard will not be for you because of its small body diameter. In that case the Viceroy Grande will probably be a better fit. Filling System : this is a cartridge-converter pen, that uses standard international cartridges. Nib & Performance : the silver-coloured 18ct gold nib is well-proportioned for the size of this pen. The F-nib on my unit writes like a dream, and produces a wet and well-saturated line (more like an M-size in my opinion). Price : As expected, this is an expensive pen! I paid 932 EUR for the new pen (that makes it by far the most expensive pen I own). You pay the price for the craftsmanship involved, the sterling silver material, and of course the gorgeous looks of this pen. What can I say… it’s my grail pen… and I feel that I got very good value for money. Conclusion The Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard Victiorian is my grail pen: stunningly beautiful, slender and elegant… truly my precious. There’s nothing I don’t love about this pen: it looks gorgeous, it writes like a dream, and it is an instrument of heirloom quality. I am really glad I made the decision to buy it – even though it costs an arm and a leg.
  2. Pen Pit Stop : TWSBI VAC Mini Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way – no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let’s find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the “TWSBI VAC Mini” demonstrator (clear version). This is the only vacuum filler pen in my collection, and for that reason alone precious to me. Fortunately, it’s also a really good writer with an excellent nib that wrote smoothly right out of the box. I bought this pen in April 2016, and it has been in use for almost 6 years now. This pen is in my regular rotation, typically filled with a colourful ink that brings life to the transparent barrel. Let’s have a closer look at it. Pen Look & Feel My TWSBI VAC Mini is the clear version demonstrator. I love the minimalistic looks of the pen – it’s just transparent plastic with silver accents. I find it quite an elegant and aesthetically beautiful pen – in contrast with the more garish-looking coloured demonstrators that TWSIB has heaps of (not a fan of those 😉 This is a fairly minimalistic pen without much in the way of ornamentation. Some subtle branding is present, with the TWSBI logo on the finial, and a faint engraving on the cap spelling “TWSBI” and “VAC mini Taiwan”. The pen has a screw-on cap that unscrews with 1.5 rotations. It can be posted by screwing the cap on the threads at the end of the barrel. One thing I noticed: when posting the cap, it sometimes misaligns on the threads, resulting in a crooked post (to show this, take a look at the picture with the posted pen in the Safari comparison below). Just something to be aware of. I typically use the pen unposted, so it’s not an issue for me. The silver-coloured M-nib on my pen writes really smooth, and is a true pleasure to use. The VAC Mini is a vacuum filler – which is a really cool way to fill up a pen with ink. You unscrew the end cap, and pull out the piston rod. Next, put the nib in the ink bottle and push down the plunger – this creates a vacuum in the top part of the barrel. Near the nib unit, the ink reservoir flares out (indicated by the arrow). When the piston passes this point, there is a direct connection between the top and bottom parts. Now air pressure pushes the ink inside the barrel, equalizing pressure on both sides. Really neat! With the end cap screwed down, the plunger seals off the nib unit. In this position, no ink can flow to the nib. To use the pen, you need to unscrew the end cap a bit, allowing ink to flow from barrel to nib unit. You have to be aware of this – it happens more often than not that you’re writing with the pen, only to have it stop after a few lines. Darn… forgot to unscrew that end cap! The pictures above illustrate the size of the VAC mini in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The VAC mini is certainly not a large pen, but it’s not too small and can easily be used unposted. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : the pen is well build, and still looks great after almost 6 years of use. The plastic used for the transparent parts is still shiny and unscratched. Mind you – I treat my pens with respect, and always use a pen pouch when carrying them around. But still, the pen has aged gracefully. Weight & Dimensions : the pen is on the small side, comparable with a Pelikan M200/M400. It feels a bit heavier though, probably due to the metal used for the piston rod. For me, the pen is comfortable to use unposted (where it is a little bit smaller than a Pelikan M200/M400). But if you have larger hands, it’s probably best to use it posted. When posted, it’s exactly the same size as a posted Pelikan M200/M400. Filling System : this is a vacuum-filler pen, that can only be used with bottled ink. A rather unique filling system – I’m glad to have a pen of this type in my collection. Nib & Performance : the silver-coloured steel nib is well-proportioned for the size of this pen. The M-nib on my unit writes like a dream, and produces a wet and well-saturated line. I also appreciate the fact that replacement nib units are readily available. Price : I paid 69 EUR for the new pen (including taxes). Given the build quality of the pen, and the cool vacuum-filler mechanism, I’d say this is very good value for money. Conclusion The TWSBI VAC mini Demonstrator is a really nice-looking minimalistic pen, that beautifully showcases the inks you fill it with. I love the smooth nib on my unit that worked perfectly out-of-the-box. For me, size and weight are just perfect - a very comfortable pen for longer writing sessions. The crucial question is: would I buy this pen again? To this, my answer is a resounding YES. This pen totally fits my taste, and is also a very smooth writer. And that vacuum-filler mechanism is just so cool !
  3. Pen Pit Stop : Nakaya Briarwood Deep Matte Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way – no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let’s find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the “Nakaya Briarwood Deep Matte”. Nakaya is best known for their exclusive urushi and maki-e fountain pens, which usually come with a corresponding hefty price-tag. But Nakaya also produces a couple of entry-level wood-based pens, produced with similar craftsmanship and eye for detail, with the same cigar-shape, and with a more palatable price. A couple of years ago there was a mix-up with one of my orders at LCDC. Everything was sorted out without a problem, but LCDC was nice enough to offer me an extra discount to compensate me for the inconvenience. This brought the Nakaya within reach, and somewhere in autumn of 2018, I ordered this nice Briarwood pen. With Nakaya, you sometimes have to wait a long time for your pen to be made – in my case, the pen was delivered in July 2019, making a nice birthday present. Nakaya’s eye for detail and quality already starts with the packaging. My pen arrived in a nice wooden box, and was wrapped in a small one-pen kimono case. These guys know how to present their product! Pen Look & Feel The Briarwood is an entry-level Nakaya pen. My pen is the Deep Matte version, which is well-machined, but not polished to a high shine. If you like shiny pens, there also exists a Deep Gloss version. For wooden pens, my personal preference goes to the matte version… it just fits better with the character of the pen. The Briarwood Deep is a pen with a dark-brown wood grain, which looks really beautiful, and which has a warm feel to it. Understated gold trimmings and clip complete this elegant pen. The cap’s ring band shows the pen’s only branding: “Japan Nakaya Fountain Pen”. Elegant simplicity is a good way to capture this pen's look and feel. The Briarwood pen comes with an entry level mono-tone 14K gold nib. Although entry-level, the nib looks really nice with sharp engravings and a lovely heart-shaped breather hole. Mine came with an M-nib that writes comparable to a European fine. The nib wrote smoothly right out of the box. It has a little bit of feedback, just enough to let you know there is contact with the paper. Even reverse writing works without a problem – you just get an even finer line, like a western EF. And this pen works really well for longer writing sessions. The black plastic grip section is big enough for a comfortable grip, and tapers out slightly towards the nib (ensuring that your fingers remain firmly in place). The Nakaya Briarwood is a cartridge converter pen, that adopts the proprietary Platinum fitting. The pen came with a converter included (always a nice touch). Nakaya even added a little adapter that lets you use standard international cartridges. Japanese pen makers have mastered the art of elegant simplicity. This Nakaya Briarwood pen is an excellent example: a very high quality pen with a minimalistic design – a wonderful writing instrument! The pictures above illustrate the size of the Nakaya Briarwood Deep in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is comparable in size to the Lamy – a reasonable but not too unwieldy size, suitable for longer writing sessions. The Nakaya also has some weight to it, due to the wood being heavier than plastic. By no means a heavy pen, but also not a featherweight. You can post the pen, but I would not recommend it: 1/ the pen is big enough as it is, and 2/ the metal band on the cap might lead to scratches on the wooden barrel. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is truly excellent. The quality of the craftsmanship is very present. All aspects of the pen are made with an eye for detail. After two years of regular use, the pen looks good as new. Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when uncapped, which is how I use it to write with. A bit smaller than an uncapped Lamy Safari. The pen weighs about 30 grams, not heavy but also not a featherweight. Weight & dimension are just right to make this an ideal pen for longer writing sessions. Filling System : this is a cartridge converter pen, which uses a Platinum style fitting. A high-quality converter (glass & metal) was included with the package. Nakaya also provided an adapter piece that allows you to use standard international cartridges. Nib & Performance : the monotone 14K-585 gold nib fits the minimalistic design of the pen very well. Despite its simplicity it is a well-engineered nib, that wrote flawlessly right out of the box. My only complaint is that the pen has no exchangeable nib unit (like on a Pelikan). Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book, but is not supported on this pen. Price : I got this pen for about 400 EUR, including taxes. Not a cheap pen, but the quality you get is certainly worth the price.  Conclusion My Nakaya Briarwood Deep Matte is a beautify wooden writer, that perfectly embodies the Japanese principle of elegant simplicity. A lovely pen with a flawless nib – made for long writing sessions. One of the favourites in my pen collection. I am really glad that I bought it.
  4. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M101N Bright Red Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way – no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let’s find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen entering the pit stop today is the “Pelikan M101N Bright Red”. Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this pen in January 2019, mainly because I like the M101N look. It’s usually paired with a nice red ink. Pen Look & Feel The M101N series are Special Edition pens that Pelikan produces for a limited time only. The design of these pens is derived from pens dating back to the 1930’s. This particular Bright Red design was released in March 2017. At that time I hesitated … I was not totally convinced that I liked the pen enough to justify a purchase. But I kept going back to webshops to have a look at it. Finally, almost 2 years later, I caved and made the decision to buy the Bright Red. The M101N Bright Red has a vibrant red barrel and cap sleeve with a distinctive marbled pattern. The barrel is complemented with red accents for cap top, piston knob and grip section. A matching amber ink window is built into the design, making it easy to check the ink level in the pen. The pen is complemented by gold trimmings for the double cap ring and clip. A 14-carat gold nib completes the design. The marbled barrel pattern took a while to grow on me. It failed to fully appeal in the beginning, but over the years I found myself appreciating the pen’s overall looks more and more. There has been discussion about the colour difference between cap and barrel. That colour difference is definitely there, but – my guess – has nothing to do with a difference in material used. It’s just that the material is a bit translucent, and I think that the inner barrel and piston assembly darken up the body section a bit. Anyway… it’s part of the deal, and doesn’t bother me at all. The advertising surrounding this pen was a bit silly. On the Pelikan website it says: “the quality synthetic resin of the cap head and the filling handle polishes itself as it is used”. I always imagined my pen reaching out to the polishing cloth to give itself a good clean – that would be something! But alas, never happened. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it’s quickly ready for action. The M101N is a smaller pen, but can be posted, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I’ve got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. For me, this M101N is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight). The pictures above illustrate the size of the M101N Bright Red in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size – not so small that it is uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Be careful when posting though – the M101N model doesn’t post as deeply and securely as the similar-sized M200/M400. If you use too much force, you might crack the cap. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. It doesn’t really clean itself, but I can concur that it’s not a fingerprint magnet. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After two years of use, it looks good as new. I really appreciate the amber ink window incorporated in the design, that makes it easy to judge ink level. Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when capped – and as such a rather small pen. It’s also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M101N model will not be your thing. Posted – the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands. Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan pens are known for their excellent piston mechanism. Nib & Performance : the M101N Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a monotone gold nib, that really suits the aesthetics of the pen. The nib unit can be exchanged quite easily, and is compatible between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book! Price : I got this pen during a sale for 351 EUR, including taxes. These are definitely more expensive than the regular M400 pens. For this, you get a limited production pen, with a vintage-inspired design. Conclusion My Pelikan Souverän M101N Bright Red is a beautiful vintage-looking pen, with a marbled-red body and red & gold finishes. This pen took some time to grow on me, but as time passes, I find myself appreciating it more and more. Would I buy this pen again? Yes … mostly to complete my set of M101N pens. If I had to choose only one M101N, this one would not make it. That would become a duel between the Lizard and the Red Tortoise.
  5. Pen Pit Stop : Traveler's Company Brass Fountain Pen Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that enters the pit stop today is the Traveler's Company Brass Fountain Pen. The company is best known for its iconic leather notebook covers, but they also produce stationery such as this little brass fountain pen. A perfect EDC pen, that fits right into your pocket and that is meant to take a beating. I bought this pen in September 2018, and it has been in regular use as an Every Day Carry pen since that time. Let's take a closer look at it. Pen Look & FeelThe pen is made from brass and has a solid feel to it. In closed form, it resembles a 10 cm long brass bullet. At the end of the cap, a small ring is present which allows you to attach a rope so you can wear the pen around your neck like a necklace. The sturdy clip's most practical use is to function as a roll-stop to prevent the pen from rolling on flat surfaces. On the side of the cap, the words "traveler's company made in japan" are present. You use the pen by removing the click-on cap, and friction-fit it on the back of the diminutive pen body to get a very functional full-size fountain pen. This works like a charm, and is much quicker than using the thread-on caps you find on the equally diminutive Kaweco Liliput. My pen has an F-nib, that writes like a European F (which fits with the online info that it is a fairly standard N°5 Bock nib). Above are some pictures that compare the Traveler's Company pen with two of my other favourite EDC pens: a Kaweco Liliput Copper and a brass TiScribe (that I got from a KickStarter project). The pen most resembles the Kaweco Liliput, but is a lot bigger when posted. Also easier to post due to the push-on cap. The pictures above illustrate the size of the pen in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The TRC pen is quite small when capped, and easily fits in your pocket. For writing, you typically post it - and then you get a full-size fountain pen that's very comfortable to write with. The steel F-nib on my pen is a firm writer - you get feedback from the paper, but it's not at all scratchy. I like the way it writes. Pen CharacteristicsBuild Quality : the pen is well build, and meant to take a beating. My pen travels in my pocket together with my keys, and has acquired quite some scratches and patina. I appreciate this in an EDC pen, because it reflects a live well-lived and gives extra character to the pen. Mechanical construction is excellent - the cap is friction-fit when capping/posting, and even after lots of intensive use, the fit is still perfect and the cap attaches with a satisfying click. As an EDC pen, this one ages well.Weight & Dimensions : a diminutive pen when closed (about 10 cm), but due to the metal construction it still has some weight to it. When posted, the pen is almost 15 cm long - a comfortable size for longer writing sessions.Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that uses small standard international ink cartridges. To use bottled ink, I simply syringe-fill used cartridges. Nib & Performance : the generic steel nib on this pen is well-proportioned for the size of this pen. The F-nib on my unit writes great: it's firm but not scratchy, and produces a European fine line. This generic nib was great right out-of-the-box - no tuning required. Price : at the time, this pen could be bought for 69 EUR, which is quite acceptable. In my opinion: good value for money ConclusionThis Traveler's Company Brass Fountain Pen works great as an Every Day Carry pen. Thanks to the metal construction, it can take a beating. It also ages gracefully, acquiring scratches and patina that give it extra character. I personally like the no-nonsense utilitarian look and feel of EDC pens, and this one certainly fits my tastes. Would I buy it again ? Yes - this pen is totally worth it.
  6. Pen Pit Stop : Lamy Dialog 3 PianoWhite Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way – no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let’s find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the Lamy Dialog 3. This pen with a retractable nib – from a design by Franco Clivio, who also designed the Lamy Pico – features a very streamlined and modern look. The PianoWhite edition shown here truly is the Apple of fountain pens, minimalistic and beautiful – a reinvention of the classic writing instrument. These were all aspects that attracted me and drew me in. I finally gave in and purchased this pen in December 2016. Let’s find out more about it. The first thing you’ll notice about this pen is how minimalistic it is : a simple pianowhite cigar shape with two parallel lines on the body that break the monotony. Branding of the pen is almost absent. Only a small engraved “LAMY” between the parallel lines at the end of the body gives away the name of the company. No cap, just a small round valve at the clip end. This is a retractable pen, and this ball valve closes off the nib chamber. With a clockwise twist of the barrel, the nib appears and locks into place. An ingenious mechanism! The Dialog 3 is a large and weighty pen. Size wise comparable to a Lamy Safari, but much heavier. There is quite some metal used in the construction, and you definitely feel the weight. This is also a pen with some girth to it, with a barrel diameter of approximately 1.5 cm. For my smaller hands, this pen is actually a bit too large to be comfortable. I love the design, but for me personally this is not the most comfortable pen to write with. Pen Look and Feel The Dialog 3 looks deceptively simple, but hides some sophisticated technology inside. It is a twist-action retractable nib pen, where you simply twist the barrel clock-wise to make the nib appear. To retract the nib, you turn the barrel back counterclockwise until the parallel lines line up on both sides of the pen body. There is some haptic feedback just before the stopping point, and you can feel a firm “click” when the ball valve closes up completely, sealing the nib in its chamber. The Dialog 3 is a cartridge converter pen, which uses the proprietary Lamy format. To fill the pen, you start from the closed position and turn the barrel counterclockwise. This unscrews the two halves of the barrel and gives access to the inner parts of the pen. The Lamy cartridge/converter is inserted into the nib unit, which can also be unscrewed from the body (see photos above). This makes it very easy to clean your pen. My pen came with an M-size 14kt gold Lamy nib, that writes very smooth. Where the Lamy Safari is typically a dry writer, this Dialog 3 is the opposite with a nice and wet ink flow. The pictures above illustrate the size of the Lamy Dialog 3 in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. Both pens are roughly equal in size. But the Dialog 3 pen is a lot heavier, and also has more girth to it. As such, it actually feels like a much bigger pen. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is simply superb – there is quite some intricate technology hidden within the pen body, but even after 4 years of use all these mechanical parts still work perfectly. One thing to be aware of: the clip is on the nib side of the pen. You can feel it when gripping the pen, but it’s not really bothersome. But it is also quite close to the nib. Clip and nib line up, but this line-up is not always perfect. With my pen, there is a very slight misalignment of 1° or so. Almost invisible, but once you notice it, you cannot unsee it. If this makes you go crazy, the Dialog 3 might not be a pen for you. With the PianoWhite version, you also have to be extra careful with staining (but that’s a given for any white pen). Weight & Dimensions : this is a heavy pen due to all the metal used in the construction. It’s about the same size as a Lamy Safari, but with a larger diameter of the pen body (about 1.5 cm in diameter). The pen feels quite large in my hand – for me it’s just a bit too big and heavy to be truly comfortable. Filling System : this is a cartridge-converter that uses the proprietary Lamy format. To check ink levels, you have to open up the pen to expose the cartridge. There is no way to check the ink level from the outside (no ink window). Nib & Performance : the 14k gold nib on this pen writes very smooth, and flows nice and wet. It wrote perfectly, right out of the box. Price : at the time, I purchased the pen for 270 EUR. For this you get beautiful minimalistic pen with a retractable gold nib. Definitely an eye-catcher. In my opinion, good value for money. Conclusion With the Dialog 3 PianoWhite, Lamy produced the Apple of fountain pens: a beautiful minimalistic look, with great technology under the hood. A special fountain pen, with a twist-action retractable nib. I really like the design and high quality of this pen. My only complaint is that it is a bit too large & heavy for my smaller hands, and only borderline comfortable for longer writing sessions. The big question is: would I buy this pen again? Well… probably. I really like the timeless design and the retractable nib technology. But as a daily writer, it’s just not comfortable enough for me. I use the pen only occasionally, enjoying it for a time, and then returning it to the pen drawer. Do I consider selling it? No – now that I have it, it’s definitely a keeper.
  7. Pen Pit Stop : Edison Collier Burnished Gold Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that enters the pit stop today is the Edison Collier Burnished Gold. This is a production run pen from the Edison Pen Co, which is situated in Huron, Ohio. Edison is a small family business started in 2007 by Brian & Andrea Gray. They create beautiful acrylic pens that are top quality products. You really notice the love & care that these pens receive. The Collier is one of the bigger fountain pens that Edison creates. Hefty pens, but still light-weight - very comfortable pens for long writing sessions. I bought my pen in September 2016, so it's been in use for some time now. Let's take a closer look at it. Pen Look & Feel The cigar-shaped Burnished Gold pen is made from a black acrylic with golden swirls in it. An unexpected characteristic of this particular acrylic is that the golden swirls appear and disappear depending on the viewing angle. A beautiful effect, that has to be experienced and that adds extra depth to the pen's body. On the barrel the words "Edison Pen Co – Collier" are engraved in a discrete manner. The only other branding is the company logo etched on the nib. The Collier pen has a sturdy golden clip ending in a ball. This comes in handy as a roll-stopper. You use the pen by removing the screw-on cap. No posting with this pen though, which is not really a problem with a large pen like this. The pen has a decent size JoWo #6 two-toned steel nib, that works well with this large body pen. My Collier Burnished Gold came originally with an F-nib, that I recently replaced with a 1.1 stub. Brian makes sure that all nibs are tuned to perfection before shipping. And it shows - these are some of the smoothest writing nibs I have ever experienced. Simply perfect! The Collier Burnished Gold is a beauty. I can only find one minor flaw, which is a result of the production process. As can be seen in the above picture, the cap's end is a separate piece of acrylic - probably due to the way the clip is added to the cap. This clearly shows because the colours don't match up, but it's not disturbing at all. The pictures above illustrate the size of the Edison Collier in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. Capped and uncapped both pens are about the same size, but the Collier has a lot more girth to it. It looks and feels substantially larger than the Lamy, even though it's the lighter of both pens. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : the pen is very well build, and polished to perfection. Mine is four years old by now, and still looks good as new. The acrylic used is definitely of high quality and retains its beauty without getting dull and losing its shine. This Burnished Gold pen has aged very well. Weight & Dimensions : a fairly large pen - almost 15cm capped and 13cm uncapped. The grip section is about 1cm in diameter. Aside from nib and clip, there are no metal parts to be found. This translates to a very light pen, that is really comfortable for long writing sessions. Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that uses standard international ink cartridges. To use bottled ink, I simply syringe-fill used cartridges. Nib & Performance : the Jowo #6 steel nib is well-proportioned for the size of this pen. On the nib, the Edison company logo is engraved. All Edison nibs are tuned to perfection before being shipped. And it shows! These are some of the smoothest nibs I've ever seen, and they are a real pleasure to write with. I also appreciate that the nib units are easily replaceable, and can be bought separately. The steel nib units cost about 24 EUR (taxed included), and come in sizes EF, F, M, B, 1.1 and 1.5. Price : the Edison Collier costs 165 EUR including taxes, which is quite acceptable for such a quality product. In my opinion: excellent value for money Conclusion Edison Pen Co produces high quality pens, and this Collier Burnished Gold is no exception. A very comfortable writer with an excellent nib - this pen is made for long writing sessions. And the Burnished Gold acrylic is really beautiful: a subtle combination of black & gold with a lot of depth to it. I'm glad to have this pen in my collection.
  8. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M120 Iconic Blue Special Edition Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen entering the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M120 Iconic Blue SE". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 Classic series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this pen in February 2018, being attracted to it by its beautiful deep-blue colour and its elegant vintage-looking design. The M120 Iconic Blue is a modern interpretation of the original M120 school pens produced in the 1955-1965 timeframe. A distinguishing feature is the special nib engraving, that is inspired by a bit of flourish taken from a historic Günther Wagner pricelist. Pen Look & Feel The M120 Iconic Blue is a low-key pen with a stunning all-blue finish. A small gold-plated cap-band shows some branding with the words "Pelikan" and "Germany". The finial has a blue-on-blue engraving of the Pelikan mother feeding a single chick. The pen looks all business (not contract-signing business, but the daily hard work type of business) - it definitely reflects the no-nonsense purpose of a school-pen. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M120 is a smaller pen, but posts easily and securely, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. The Iconic Blue sports a blue ink-window that fits perfectly with the pen's all-blue design and that lets you easily check the ink-level. The nib on my pen is an F that is a wet writer and feels more like an M (as is typical for most Pelikan F-nibs). The M120, M200, M101N and M400 all use the same nib-unit, so it is really easy to swap nibs between pens. And M200 steel nibs are really cheap, so you can experiment with different nib sizes without making a dent in your wallet. The pictures above illustrate the size of the M120 Iconic Blue in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it is uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After more than two years of fairly intensive use, it looks good as new, showing only some micro-scratches. Weight & Dimensions : about 130 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M120 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands. Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikans are known for their excellent piston mechanism. Nib & Performance : the M120 Iconic Blue SE has a steel nib, with special engraving. Mine wrote perfectly straight out of the box. I quite like that you can buy the Pelikan nibs separately. If you accidentally damage your nib, you can simply buy a new one. I also like that the nib units are interchangeable between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. M200 steel nibs are quite reasonably priced at 24 EUR. Price : 175 EUR, including taxes. For this blue beauty, I consider this to be value-for-money. I certainly like this M120 interpretation a lot more than the overpriced Green-Black SE from 2016. Conclusion The Pelikan M120 Iconic Blue Special Edition is a no-nonsense workhorse, that still manages to look stylish and elegant. I personally quite like the looks of the pen, and am enamoured with its deep-blue colour. A functional, beautiful, vintage-looking pen that has become a valued writing companion - one of my favourite Pelikans. This answers the question of whether I would buy this pen again... yes I would, without hesitation.
  9. Pen Pit Stop : Montegrappa Game of Thrones – House Stark Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the "Montegrappa Game of Thrones - House Stark". In 2017, Montegrappa released the Game of Thrones pens, inspired by the well-known television series based on the "A Song of Fire and Ice" novels by George R.R. Martin. There are four pens in this series, representing the four most important Houses of Westeros: Baratheon, Lannister, Targaryen and of course House Stark. Each pen captures the essence of its House in the pen's design details. I got me the House Stark version, which is a nice sliver & white fountain pen. I bought this House Stark pen in May 2017. I was fully enjoying the television series at that time - and I must admit that this was more or less an impulse buy. The pen arrived in a beautiful box, that reflects the Game of Thrones Theme. Nicely done. Within the box comes the fountain pen, with design details that capture the essence of the corresponding House. Pen Look & Feel The details on this pen capture the spirit of House Stark quite well. The Stark family reigns in the snowy North of Westeros, which is reflected in the white colour of the pen, complemented with silver ornaments. The clip symbolizes the House sigil and shows the head of a powerful direwolf. Norse runes form the inspiration for the scrollwork on the cap and body, done very nicely in grey-on-white. On the cap finial you find the picture of a direwolf together with the House Stark motto: "Winter is Coming". This Montegrappa pen is a cartridge-converter, with a screw-on cap and a nicely decorated steel nib. The nib wrote flawlessly right out-of-the-box. The grip section is a shiny metal... I'm personally not a fan of these smooth metal grip sections, finding them a little bit too slippery to hold. The pictures above illustrate the size of the House Stark pen in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. Capped, both pens are roughly equal in size. I prefer to use both pens unposted - the Montegrappa pen is about the same size as the Safari, and quite comfortable in the hand. Posted, the pen is much too big and it feels a bit top-heavy. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : the pen is well build, and still looks great after close to three years. The pen also has some weight to it (owing to the metal parts used in its construction - parts of the cap, plus the threads where the barrel screws into place). Personally I don't like the direwolf clip, which looks a bit cheap and toy-like. In my opinion, the pen would look much better without the clip. Weight & Dimensions : about the same size as a Lamy Safari, but with a bit more girth. This is definitely a heavy pen, but when writing with the pen unposted, the weight is well-balanced, and the pen feels comfortable to write with even for longer writing sessions. Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that uses standard size cartridges or convertors. I've never used a convertor with the pen. I find it much more convenient to just syringe-fill standard-size cartridges with my favourite ink of the moment. Nib & Performance : the pen has a decent-sized steel nib, decorated with beautiful scrollwork. The nib on my pen is a wet-writing medium, that wrote flawlessly right out-of-the-box. I was pleasantly surprised by this - my previous Italian pens were Visconti's, both of which came with horrible nibs. Price : being Special Edition pens, these cost 245 EUR including taxes. Quite expensive for a steel-nibbed cartridge convertor. You basically pay the premium price for the Game of Thrones theme. Conclusion These Montegrappa pens are obviously targeted at the Game of Thrones fan, and they succeed in capturing the spirit of the different Houses of Westeros. At the same time, this make them a bit of a gimmick. These are definitely not classic-looking pens - I'm highly doubtful that they will keep their value once the Game of Thrones hype has passed. For my personal taste, these pens also look too rococo with too many details in the finish. I much prefer more simple elegance. As such, this pen hardly gets any ink time. A good writer, but it doesn't give me any pleasure using it. The big question is: would I buy this pen again? To this, my answer is: DEFINITELY NOT. As I said, this was a spur of the moment buy... you know... Woow! Nice pen. Clicking "Buy Now" without thinking it through. It got me an overpriced pen that writes well, but that doesn't really fit my taste. I have learned my lesson. These days, I always leave at least a couple of weeks before deciding to actually buy a new pen.
  10. Pen Pit Stop : Kaweco Liliput Fireblue Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that enters the pit stop today is the "Kaweco Liliput Fireblue". Kaweco is a well-known German pen company, whose history dates back to 1883 with the foundation of the Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik (Heidelberg dip pen company). The brand is best known for its pocket pens of the Sport and Liliput range. As early as 1905 Kaweco had already manufactured the first writing instruments made out of metal. This tiny pocket pen is made from hardened steel with a hand-torched finish. I bought th Fireblue in November 2015, and it has been in rotation as an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen since that time. This is one of my older pens, which has been in use for over 4 years now. Let's have a closer look at it. Pen Look & FeelThe Liliput is a great EDC pen with a truly minimalistic look: no ornaments for this pen except for the Kaweco logo on the cap's finial. Etched on the side of the cap is the pen's designation "Kaweco Liliput Germany". The pen is truly tiny - I typically carry the Liliput in my pocket along with my keys. The Fireblue is basically a steel pen, and can take a beating. You don't have to worry about damaging it. The Liliput Fireblue is so named because the finish is literally born out of fire. The pen is hand-torched, and in the process gets a unique pattern with steel, blue, purple, orange and brown hues. Unfortunately, you have to pay a hefty surplus for this special look (149 vs 79 EUR for the regular steel pen). When the pen was new and shiny, the torched material looked wonderful with a rainbow of fairly bright colours. After four years of use though, the colours have faded substantially and the pen now looks quite dull and unattractive. This one doesn't age gracefully - a world of difference with the Liliput Copper. When you're ready to use the pen, just unscrew the cap and screw it on the back of the barrel. You then get an almost full-sized fountain pen that is comfortable in the hand. Unposted, the pen is too small for real writing, but can still be used for jotting down a few short sentences. This screw-on posting takes some time... before you can start writing, you have to unscrew the cap and screw it on the back of the barrel. Personally I don't mind this delay. Getting the pen ready to write gives me a few moments to order my thoughts before putting text on paper. The Liliput is basically a tiny metal cylinder, which means that it has a tendency to roll away. This is something to be aware of. Kaweco does sell separate pen clips if you absolutely want one, but I never used them - in my opinion they don't match with the minimalistic look of this pen. I've gotten into the habit of putting the pen in places where it can't roll away. The steel nib on this pen is the same as that of the Sport model - a small nib that looks right at home on this tiny pen. The pictures above illustrate the size of the Liliput Fireblue in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. Capped and uncapped, the Liliput lives up to its name. It truly is a tiny pen. The pen is meant to be posted, and then gets almost as big as an unposted Lamy Safari - a comfortable size to write with. Pen CharacteristicsBuild Quality : a very sturdy pen, that can really take a beating. I typically carry it around in my pocket together with my keys. The torched fireblue finish with its rainbow of colours is totally beautiful when new, but doesn't age well with time. The colours fade away, and scratches don't look so good on the rainbow finish. After four years of use, I am left with a rather dull-looking steel pen. My guess is that the plain stainless steel Liliput will age more gracefully.Weight & Dimensions : about 9cm when capped - and as such a small pen to carry around, perfect for an EDC pen. It's basically a small steel cylinder, the size of a sigaret. Being made of steel, the pen has some heft to it even despite its tiny size. Posted - the pen becomes a 12cm long fountain pen, that is comfortable to use even for longer writing sessions.Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that fits small-size international cartridges. Kaweco sells a mini-convertor, but I have never used it. I find it much more convenient to just syringe-fill small cartridges. Nib & Performance : I find the steel nib perfectly sized for this tiny pen. A big plus is that the nib units are user-changeable. Kaweco sells nib units in the sizes EF-F-M-B-BB. I really appreciate that you can easily replace the nib unit. You don't have to fear damaging your nib, since you can easily replace it. You can also experiment with different nib sizes. Nib units cost about 10 EUR - not expensive. The F nib on my Liliput Fireblue wrote well out-of-the-box. From user experiences on this forum, Kaweco nibs seem to be hit and miss. I got lucky with mine: they never needed tuning. Price : about 149 EUR, including taxes. Quite expensive for such a tiny pen, especially when compared with the 79 EUR for the plain steel version. ConclusionThe Kaweco Liliput is a great pocket pen, with a really nice minimalistic look. This Fireblue steel variant of the Liliput is special only because of its hand-torched finish. For this you have to pay almost double the price of the regular steel version - that is quite a hefty surplus. The rainbow finish of the Fireble looks extraordinary beautiful when the pen is brand-new, but fades away with time, leaving you with a rather dull-looking pen. In my opinion, this hand-torched finish does not age well with time, and is certainly not worth the extra money. The big question is: would I buy this pen again? To this, my answer is clear: NO. I like the Liliput form-factor, but not the Fireblue finish. It doesn't stand the test of time. In my opinion, you're better of with the plain steel version. Or better: get the Liliput Copper, which is definitely a winner that just gets more beautiful with each passing year.
  11. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M101N Tortoiseshell Red Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M101N Tortoiseshell Red". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this particular pen in February 2018. The Red Tortoise has a playful vintage feel to it. It's usually paired with a nice red ink. Pen Look & Feel The M101N series are Special Edition pens that Pelikan produces for a limited time only. The design of these pens is derived from pens dating back to the 1930's. This particular Red Tortoise design is a daring one, playful & dashing - it transports me back in time to the charleston and the roaring twenties. The Tortoishell Red SE was released in September 2014 as the third of the M101N series (after the Tortoiseshell Brown and the Lizard) - I was lucky enough to still lay my hands on one in February 2018. My M101N Tortoiseshell Red is strikingly beautiful, with a stunning design of twisted red/brown/cream stripes on the cellulose-acetate barrel. Not your typical business-style Pelikan binde, but a much more playful vintage interpretation. All this is artfully complemented by a dark burgundy-red cap, piston-knob and grip section. A matching amber ink window is built into the design, making it easy to view the ink level in the pen. Gold trimmings and a monotone 14C-585 gold nib form the finishing touches to the design. I totally love the playful vintage look of this pen, and the joie-de-vivre that it radiates. It's such a joy to hold it and write with it. I understand that the design is not for everyone, but for me this my holy grail, and the most beautiful pen that I own. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M101N is a smaller pen, but can be posted, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. For me, this M101N is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight). The pictures above illustrate the size of the M101N Red Tortoise in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it's uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is excellent. According to the Pelikan description, the dark red parts are made of high quality resin "that polishes itself time and again during use". Myself, I use a piece of cloth from time to time to polish the pen and remove fingerprints ;-) The pen withstood the passing of time without any problem. After almost two years of use, it looks good as new. I really appreciate the amber ink window incorporated in the design, that makes it easy to judge the ink level. Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M101N model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands. Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are known for their excellent piston mechanism. Nib & Performance : the M101N Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a monotone 14C-585 gold nib, that really suits the aesthetics of the pen. The nib unit can be exchanged quite easily, and is compatible between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book! Price : I got this pen for 489 EUR, including taxes. These are definitely more expensive than the regular M400 pens. For this, you get a limited production pen, with a vintage-inspired design. Conclusion My Pelikan Souverän M101N Tortoiseshell Red is a joyful vintage-looking pen with a daring and playful striped barrel design, that really makes this pen stand out from the crowd. My most beautiful pen, my holy grail, and always filled with a nice red ink. So the answer to the question "would I buy this pen again?" is easy: are you kiddin' me ?!? Of course I would !!!
  12. ​Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M101N Lizard Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that enters the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M101N Lizard". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognisable. I bought this pen in August 2018. The pen has a stylish business-elegance, with a vintage feel to it. It's usually paired with a nice grey ink. Pen Look & FeelThe M101N series are Special Edition pens that Pelikan produces for a limited time only. The design of these pens is derived from pens dating back to the 1930’s. This particular Lizard design is based on a historical model that dates back to 1937. The Lizard SE was released in December 2012 - I was lucky enough to be able to still get one in August 2018. The M101N Lizard is a beautiful looking pen, with a stunning design of grey-black scales on cap and barrel. For me personally, the pattern is more reminiscent of snake scales, and Black Mamba would be a more appropriate name ;-) But naming aside, Pelikan produced a really beautiful pen here! The grey-black scale pattern is complemented with black accents (cap top, piston knob and grip section). A matching shaded grey ink window is built into the design, and makes it easy to view the ink level in the pen. Gold would not look good on this black-accented pen, so Pelikan wisely decided to use palladium trimmings for the double cap ring and clip. Pelikan also dropped the tradional two-toned nib, and opted for a monotone rhodium-plated 14C gold nib. All these pieces complement each other quite nicely, making for a very elegant and beautiful pen. I thought it would be nice to put the Lizard next to the Stresemann for comparison. Both are beautiful black-accented pens with silver-coloured trimmings. The M101N Lizard and M405 Stresemann are of comparable size when capped. Uncapped, the Lizard turns out to be a little bit smaller. Similarly themed elegant pens... I love them both! Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it’s quickly ready for action. The M101N is a smaller pen, but can be posted, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. For me, this M101N is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight). The pictures above illustrate the size of the M101N Lizard in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it is uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen CharacteristicsBuild Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After more than a year of use, it looks good as new. I really appreciate the shaded grey ink window incorporated in the design, that makes it easy to judge ink level.Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M101N model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands.Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are known for their excellent piston mechanism.Nib & Performance : the M101N Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a rhodium-plated monotone nib, that really suits the aesthetics of the pen. The nib unit can be exchanged quite easily, and is compatible between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book! Price : I got this pen for about 460 EUR, including taxes. These are definitely more expensive than the regular M400 pens. For this, you get a limited production pen, with a vintage-inspired design. ConclusionMy Pelikan Souverän M101N Lizard is a beautiful vintage-looking pen, with a truly stunning grey-black scaled pattern that really makes this pen stand out from the crowd. Add a grey ink, and you are in writer's heaven!So the answer to the question "would I buy this pen again?" is easy: yup! I would... without hesitation.
  13. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M405 Stresemann Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that makes it to the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M405 Stresemann". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this pen in July 2017. The pen has a stylish business-elegance, with just enough flair in the barrel to avoid being boring-looking. Mine is usually paired with a nice grey ink. Pen Look & FeelThe M405 Stresemann is an elegant pen, with an anthracite-striped barrel and with the cap, section and piston knob done in black resin. The pen's barrel looks quite stunning with eye-catching black/grey pinstripes. It's this pinstripe pattern that gave the pen its name, which is a respectful nod to Gustav Stresemann, who was Secretary of State of the Weimar Republic in the 1920's. Herr Stresemann was well-known for wearing black/grey striped trousers with a black jacket. He would undoubtedly have appreciated this Pelikan pen. The barrel is semi-transparent, making it easy to keep an eye on the ink-level in the pen. Gold would not look good on this black-accented pen, so Pelikan wisely decided to use palladium trimmings (making it an M405 instead of an M400). Pelikan also dropped the tradional two-toned nib, and opted for a monotone rhodium-plated 14C gold nib. All these pieces complement each other quite nicely, making for a very elegant and beautiful pen. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M400/405 is a smaller pen, but posts easily and securely, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. For me, this M405 is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight). The original F-nib on this pen worked perfectly out-of-the-box producing a relatively wet line. A short while ago, I replaced the original nib with an F cursive italic I got from FPnibs.com. This F-CI nib not only performs flawlessly, but effortlessly elevates my writing to a superior level with its elegant and aesthetically pleasing line variation. My first customized nib, and it's truly a game-changer! The pictures above illustrate the size of the M405 Stresemann in comparison with a standard Lamy Safari. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it gets uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen CharacteristicsBuild Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After two years of use, it looks good as new. The barrel is semi-transparent, making it easy to judge ink level.Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M400/405 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 150 mm long, and fits even larger hands.Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are known for their excellent piston mechanism.Nib & Performance : the M400/405 Souverän pens have gold nibs. This one comes with a rhodium-plated monotone nib, that really suits the aesthetics of the pen. The nib unit can be exchanged quite easily, and is compatible between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Being able to change nibs is a significant plus in my book! Price : about 310 EUR, including taxes. Not cheap, but also not too expensive for a gold-nibbed pen. In my opinion you get value for money. ConclusionMy Pelikan Souverän M405 Stresemann is a beautiful classic-looking pen, that manages to stand out from the crowd with its elegant pin-striped barrel. A really nice pen, that I have now complemented with a really nice cursive-italic nib. Add a grey ink, and you are in writer's heaven! So the answer to the question "would I buy this pen again?" is easy: of course I would! No doubt about it.
  14. Pen Pit Stop : Kaweco Brass Sport Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that arrives at the pit stop today is the "Kaweco Brass Sport". Kaweco is a well-known German pen company, whose history dates back to 1883 with the foundation of the Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik (Heidelberg dip pen company). The brand is best known for its pocket pens of the Sport and Liliput range. As early as 1905 Kaweco had already manufactured the first writing instruments made out of metal. This particular incarnation of the Sport range is constructed from brass, making it a heavyweight pocket pen. I bought this pen in January 2015, and it has been in rotation as an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen since that time. This is one of my older pens, which has been in use for over 3 years now. Let's have a closer look at it. Pen Look & Feel Like all Kaweco Sport models, this is a great EDC pen with an industrial look: no ornaments for this pen except for the Kaweco logo on the cap's finial. Etched on the side of the cap is the pen's designation "Kaweco Brass Sport". The pen is small enough to easily fit in your pocket (about 10cm capped). Because it's a workhorse pen, you don't have to worry about it getting scratched or dented. This pen is meant to take a serious beating, and gets its character from the scratches and patina it accumulates during its lifetime. When you're ready to use the pen, just unscrew the cap and post it. You then get a full-sized fountain pen that is very comfortable in the hand. The cap has an octagonal design, which means that the pen easily stays on your desk, without fear of it rolling away. Kaweco does sell separate pen clips if you absolutely want one, but I never used them - in my opinion they don't match with the industrial look of this pen. The nib on this pen is the same as that of the Liliput - and on this Sport model it looks a bit small. I would have preferred a slightly bigger nib, like the one on the Kaweco Supra. Being an all-metal pen constructed from brass, this is a real heavyweight. Despite its small size, this is one of the heaviest pens that I own. The pen is still well-balanced though, and comfortable to write with. It's weight didn't bother me in the least. The pictures above illustrate the size of the Brass Sport in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. Capped, the Kaweco is indeed a very small pen. In actual use though, the capped Brass Sport is almost exactly the size of an uncapped Lamy pen - i.e. a real full-sized fountain pen. Pen Characteristics Build Quality : a very sturdy pen, that is virtually indestructible. I typically carry it around in my pocket together with my keys. As such, the pen accumulates lots of scratches, but it is designed for this, and this abuse gives the pen its character. As the pictures of my pen show, it has accumulated lots of scratches and has developed a definite patina, clearly showing a pen that's been in use for some years. I like the battered look of this pen that is really due to the patina, and have never polished it to shiny new brassness. Weight & Dimensions : about 10cm when capped – and as such a small pen to carry around, perfect for an EDC pen. Being made from brass, this is also a real heavyweight. This didn't bother me - the pen is still very comfortable to write with. Filling System : this is a cartridge convertor pen, that fits small-size international cartridges. Kaweco sells a mini-convertor, but I have never used it. I find it much more convenient to just syringe-fill small cartridges. Nib & Performance : I find the steel nib a tad too small for this pen, and would have preferred a slightly larger nib. A big plus is that the nib units are user-changeable. Kaweco sells nib units in the sizes EF-F-M-B-BB and even calligraphic nibs. I really appreciate that you can easily replace the nib unit. You don't have to fear damaging your nib, since you can easily replace it. You can also experiment with different nib sizes. Nib units cost about 10 EUR - not expensive. Price : about 75 EUR, including taxes. Great value for money. Conclusion The Kaweco Brass Sport is a great pocket pen, with a really nice industrial look. This is a very sturdy pen, that's meant to take a beating. My pen has scratches all over it and has developed a nice patina, giving it a battered look that I quite like. This brass pocket pen is about indestructible, and will last for decades. I love it, and would buy it again without hesitation.
  15. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan M120 Green-Black Special Edition Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen entering the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M120 Green-Black SE (2016)". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers both semi-entry-level pens (like the M200 series) all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this pen in May 2016, and it was my first Pelikan. My eye fell on this pen because of its classical lines, and its functional design. My flagship pen at that time was the Lamy 2000 with its austere industrial styling. This pen is an equally no-nonsense writing instrument, but looks more elegant & sophisticated. The M120 Green-Black SE is modeled after the original M120 school pens produced in the 1955-1965 timeframe. A distinguishing feature is the special nib engraving, that is inspired by a bit of flourish taken from a historic Günther Wagner pricelist. Pen Look & Feel The M120 Green-Black is a low-key pen, sporting a green body with black accents, and a black cap. A small gold-plated cap-band shows some branding with the words "Pelikan" and "Germany". The finial has a black-on-black engraving of a pelikan mother feeding a single chick. The pen looks all business (not contract-signing business, but the daily hard work type of business) - it definitely reflects the no-nonsense purpose of a school-pen. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M120 is a smaller pen, but posts easily and securely, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. The pen sports a green ink-window, that fits seamlessly with the pen's colour palette, and that lets you easily check the ink-level. The original nib on my pen was an F, which unfortunately was not a very good writer. I later replaced it with an M200 steel M-nib that feels just right. That's something I really appreciate about the smaller Pelikan pens: the M120, M200, M101N and M400 all use the same nib-unit, so it is really easy to swap nibs between pens. And M200 steel nibs are not too expensive, so you can experiment with different nib sizes without making a dent in your wallet. The pictures above illustrate the size of the M120 Green-Black in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it is uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen Characteristics Build Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After almost three years of use, it looks mostly good as new, showing only some micro-scratches. Weight & Dimensions : about 130 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M120 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 155 mm long, and fits even larger hands. Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are known for their excellent piston mechanism. Nib & Performance : the M120 Green-Black SE has a steel nib, with special engraving. I exchanged the original nib - which was not a great writer - with an M200 steel M-nib, which offered a much smoother writing experience. I quite like that you can buy the Pelikan nibs separately. If you accidentally damage your nib, you can simply buy a new one. I also like that the nib units are interchangeable between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. M200 steel nibs are quite reasonably priced at 24 EUR. Price : 189 EUR, including taxes. In retrospect, this is too expensive for a simple pen with a steel nib. You definitely pay a premium for the Special Edition moniker. Objectively speaking: not enough value for money. Conclusion The Pelikan M120 Green-Black Special Edition is a no-nonsense workhorse, that still manages to look stylish and elegant. I personally quite like the looks of the pen. But in my opinion, the pen is overpriced - Pelikan really charges a hefty premium for the Special Edition tag. That being said, I'm still glad that I bought this pen. It marked the start of my flock, which has grown quite a bit since this first specimen.
  16. Pen Pit Stop : Pelikan Souverän M400 White Tortoise Welcome to the Pen Pit Stop. Here you will find reviews of pens that already have some mileage on them. More specifically, these reviews are of pens that are in my personal collection, and that have been in use for at least a year. I thought it would be fun to do it this way - no new & shiny pens here, but battered vehicles that have been put to work for at least a year. Let's find out how they have withstood the ravages of time. The fountain pen that enters the pit stop today is the "Pelikan M400 White Tortoise". Pelikan is one of the best-known European pen-makers, with a long history dating all the way back to 1832 when the company was founded in Hanover, Germany. The brand offers a broad range of fountain pens, from the semi-entry-level M200 series all the way up to their flagship M1000 model. All Pelikan pens adhere to the same classical style, and as such are immediately recognizable. I bought this pen in January 2017, and it was my first "expensive" pen (after the Lamy Safari and AL-star). This pen simply enthralled me with its beauty, and I had been oogling it for some time. I finally caved, and decided to get it as a New Year's gift to myself ;-) Pen Look & FeelThe M400 White Tortoise is simply a beautiful pen, with gold accents that nicely complement the white body. But the true beauty of this pen comes from the "binde", which is just stunning with breathtaking yellow-gold-orange-honey stripes. The whole fountain pen radiates class and elegance, from the detailed engraving of a mother pelican & chick on the cap's finial, to the beautiful two-toned golden nib. True pen-candy ! I had some initial fears that the white resin of the pen would acquire ink-stains - after all, this is a piston-filler that you stick into the ink bottle. But that doesn't seem to be a problem. Of course, I respect my pens and make sure to wipe them clean after filling them from the bottle. After more than two years of use, my M400 looks good as new - and I intend to keep it that way. Like all Pelikans, the cap unscrews with about three quarters rotation, so it's quickly ready for action. The M400 is a smaller pen, but posts easily and securely, giving it a substantial size that is very comfortable to write with, even if you have larger hands. I've got smaller hands myself, and typically use the pen unposted. For me, the M400 is just the right size and weight (i.e. featherweight). If you like larger and heavier pens, this model will not be for you - in that case you should probably look at the M800 pens (which are larger and also heavier due to the metal used for their piston construction). The gold nib on my pen is an M-size, which writes really wet, and looks more like a broad. This is typical for Pelikan nibs, which tend to be a size larger than their designation. The modern nibs are often referred to as nails, but that doesn't really bother me. Having no hands-on experience with vintage flex & semi-flex nibs, I just don't know better ;-) The pictures above illustrate the size of the M400 White Tortoise in comparison with a standard Lamy AL-star. The pen is definitely smaller than a Lamy, but still reasonable in size - not so small that it gets uncomfortable (and if you find it too small uncapped, you can simply post it). Pen CharacteristicsBuild Quality : build quality is excellent. The pen looks really polished and refined. The pen also withstands the passing of time without any problem. After two years of use, it looks good as new. Of course - because of the white colour - you should take extra care, and wipe off excess ink after filling. Weight & Dimensions : about 125 mm when capped - and as such a rather small pen. It's also definitely a featherweight. If you prefer pens with some heft to them, the M400 model will not be your thing. Posted - the pen becomes about 150 mm long, and fits even larger hands.Filling System : this is a piston-filler, that holds quite some ink. The piston is made from plastic, but works really well. Pelikan are generally known for their excellent piston mechanism.Nib & Performance : the M400 Souverän pens have gold nibs. The one on my White Tortoise is a beautiful two-toned M-nib, that is a wet writer. You should be aware that Pelikan nibs are typically a size larger than their designation. My M-nib definitely writes like a broad. I quite like that you can buy the Pelikan nibs separately. If you accidentally damage your nib, you can simply buy a new one. I also like that the nib units are interchangeable between the M120/M200/M400/M101N models. Price : about 280 EUR, including taxes. Not cheap, but also not too expensive for a gold-nibbed pen. In my opinion you get value for money. ConclusionMy Pelikan Souverän M400 White Tortoise is a true beauty with tons of elegance. I can still stare for minutes at the reflection of light in the binde. Truly amazing. I truly loved the pen the day I unboxed it, and it's still one of my favourites today. So the answer to the question "would I buy this pen again?" is easy: of course I would! Without hesitation!





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