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Diplomat Excellence - We're Not Worthy!



holywriter

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Normally I’m a fan of italian fountain pens. I started off with a Pelikan M800 though – the benchmark of a good, full-size piston filler. I was very satisfied with the Pelikan, it seemed to be everything I ever wanted from a fountain pen, I would never need another one.

But later, after falling in love with the looks of it, I ordered a Delta Dolcevita and completely changed my point of view for what fountain pens are about. Handling the Dolcevita was like holding a Faberge egg in my hand, the Pelikan reminded of a free merchandise pen in comparison. The Italian culture has a profound feel for the exquisite, stemming from old tradition and masters like Bernini, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The Germans have great composers and philosophers, but let’s face it; they have no one even close to the Italian masters of fine arts. For some time it seemed I would never buy any other pens but Italian. Then I happened to read this article on Diplomat pens:
http://www.fieldnotesblog.com.au/search/label/diplomat. Until then I had always considered Diplomat pens a bit boring; traditional design, no nonsense, heavy and solid – in other words extremely German. But after reading the article in Field Notes, I couldn’t wait to order one.

 

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Now, after two weeks with my Diplomat Excellence A with a 14 Kt gold medium nib, it seems the Germans have turned the tables on fountain pens again. What a fantastic pen this is! Plain and modest in comparison to most Italians, yes, but what a performer it is, and some value for money! The pens come in several colours and finishes. Mine is a Marrakesh; a brown metallic lacquer – just one colour but thousands of nuances depending on light and environment. Fine pens are a lot about material and finish. Several makers of expensive pens can perform the same (high) level of finish as Diplomat, but this utmost feeling of everlasting quality I haven’t experienced in any other pen. The sense of solidness when unscrewing the barrel, the weight of the all-metal body, the smoothness of the beautiful in-house nib, all make a combination that is hard to describe – it’s not a feeling of luxury, but something more subtle, maybe what the Germans call “Ausgewogenheit”, a kind of fine balance, a balance between utility and beauty. If this pen was a car, it would be a Mercedes W123; the durable, yet slightly gilt-edged workhorse from the 70’s and 80’s.

 

post-97985-0-38714600-1379251645_thumb.jpg

 

Writing with the Diplomat Excellence, the nib is quite “present” between your fingertips. In comparison, the Delta Dolcevita feels more like a unity of nib and barrel. With the Diplomat you really feel that you’re writing with a fairly large nib, fitted to a heavy, solid barrel. I haven’t yet decided which writing experience to prefer, I like them both. Guess it’s a matter of writing technique and personal preferences. The nib is wet and smooth, and I haven’t experienced even the slightest disturbance of ink flow. This is a first class writing instrument at all levels!

 

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I hope these pens will remain on the market for years to come. They are reminders of a time when people cared for their handwriting, and for accessories that would stay with them for a lifetime.

 

post-97985-0-53884900-1379251738_thumb.jpg

 

(Sorry about the pics, I'm a lousy photographer...)

 

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I picked up an Excellence A in Sapphire Blue on the cheap in the country of Georgia. It is a great writer, built like a tank, and although it has an understated appearance I keep coming back to it because it performs so admirably.

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I've been considering getting one of those for some time (although I haven't decided which finish), I guess I'll have to move them a bit further up the (far too long) list now :-) Pity they're not available with EF nibs though.

The Marrakesh has, on the photos I've seen, looked a bit dull, but from your description it seems it is much nicer in reality.

 

Where did you buy it? (Finns det en svensk återförsäljare?)

 

They seem to claim that they make their own nibs, does anyone know if this is true?

 

Edit: Also, welcome to FPN! (that took me a while to notice...)

Edited by Aramchek

STR:11 DEX: 5 CON:5 INT:17 WIS:11 CHA:3

Wielding: BIC stick of poor judgment (-3,-5) {cursed}

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Hello there, and thanks for the feedback!

I bought my Diplomat from a German retailer on Amazon, it costed 149 euro - some bargain I tell you! I think it was some kind of summer sale, because now I see they cost about 190 euro, which still isn't much money considering it's a gold nib.

I've read that they make their own nibs? Even though I don't believe everything I read, I think it's true!

The Marrakesh is a real beauty! Remember it's a metallic finish on an all-metal body, you won't get this kind of shimmering from a resin pen.

If you want to start collecting pens, don't buy a Diplomat as the first one - it sets a standard that's hard to match for even much more expensive pens. If you only buy ONE pen, buy a Diplomat, it'll probably stay with you for the rest of your life.

I'm not getting paid for praising Diplomat or anything, it's just such an underrated pen that I feel it needs some endearment!

Edited by holywriter
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  • 1 month later...

(Sorry about the pics, I'm a lousy photographer...)

 

 

Having used an Excellence for some 5 months now, I second all that you say. Superb pen. Mine doesn't have a two-tone nib. I don't know for how long the Excellence Plus has been up for sale but I remember writing the company the day I received the pen that they should consider a screw-on, instead of snap-fit, cap. Add a piston filler and the Excellence Plus will be quite a package!

 

 

------------------------------------------------------

'Nothing' isn't impossible. I've done it all my life

http://fountainpenreviews.wordpress.com/

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The ones from the online pen company have steel nibs, he bought it with a gold nib, which of course would cost more.

Unfortunately, that seller only sell them with M which completely rules it out for me.

STR:11 DEX: 5 CON:5 INT:17 WIS:11 CHA:3

Wielding: BIC stick of poor judgment (-3,-5) {cursed}

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  • 3 years later...

These pens are really outstanding, 2nd to none in terms of performance and reliability. They are also severely underrated. I own an Excellence myself, an Evergreen with gold trim. Love the classic looks. The only drawback for me is that there are no models with a built in filling system, ie, piston fill. But this is a matter of taste.

 

They really look and feel like they are going to last for CENTURIES.

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I am currently being Tempted by one of these in 'Evergreen' with chrome trim, and with the bi-colour 14k nib, so this review - confirming the *ahem* excellence *ahem* of the pen's build-quality and feel is not helping my attempts at self-control! :-D

 

I must, however, take some exception to one thing that you wrote - that the Germans "have no one even close to the Italian masters of fine arts".

I strongly recommend the works of Albrecht Dürer. His oils and watercolours are astonishing, but his engravings are, imo, without peer :-)

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

mini-postcard-exc.png

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Classy, understated, made well, and they perform well. I have two.

 

Excellence A with steel nib (f)

 

Excellence A Plus gold nib (f)

 

I suggest, unless you have some metallurgic need for precious metal, go with the steel. The steel nib is as good as any gold nib I've ever used.

 

The A Plus is not generally marketed in the U.S. I got one because it has a twist cap rather than the friction-fit. It also has an elegantly hinged clip.

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TassoBarbasso

How can we make sure they really manufacture their own nibs? For me this is a major plus in a pen company: I've always had a much better opinions of manufacturers that don't just make plastic/metal tubes and stuck another company's nib in it. However, these Diplomat nibs look suspiciously like a n.6 Bock nib... Any direct source/reliable confirmation?

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  • 2 years later...

I too am drawn to the Diplomat Excellence.

 

On the fine art side, the Italians did not have it all. To Durer, I would add Cranach the Elder. Woody Allen was not entirely correct when he commented on the decision to hold the renaissance in Italy. Then there are the romantics like C. D. Friedrich, not to mention all those architects. German design did not appear from nowhere.

 

Having said that, I often wonder on the individuals who create the great fountain pen designs. As with the masons of the great cathedrals, their names are often lost to history.

"They come as a boon and a blessing to men,
the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen."

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For those who have used both, how would you compare the Excellence A2 with the Aero? Aside from the fluted body on the Aero, they appear to be rather similar in size and weight, nib, converter, etc.

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  • 3 months later...

I have that same pen in the Marrakesh color with a medium nib. It is one of my best writers and the pen I reach for more often than not.

 

The pen was purchased at Nashville Trunk & Bag, a brick & mortar pen shop in Nashville, TN. The woman who helped me, Susan, was happy to pull out dozens of different pens for me to touch & feel. She never hesitated to dip one in ink so I could take it for a test run. When I asked which pen she sold the most of, she told me it was this Diplomat pen in the Marrakesh color. I shied away from it at first, a brown pen? But I eventually wound up purchasing it and she threw in a bottle of Pelikan Brilliant Brown. I've kept it filled with that ink ever since. Perhaps it is due to Susan's subliminal suggestion, but I feel the pen was MADE for that Pelikan ink. A brown pen with brown ink, who would've guessed?

 

Thanks for the review. I couldn't agree with you more... We're not worthy!

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I have that same pen in the Marrakesh color with a medium nib. It is one of my best writers and the pen I reach for more often than not.

 

The pen was purchased at Nashville Trunk & Bag, a brick & mortar pen shop in Nashville, TN. The woman who helped me, Susan, was happy to pull out dozens of different pens for me to touch & feel. She never hesitated to dip one in ink so I could take it for a test run. When I asked which pen she sold the most of, she told me it was this Diplomat pen in the Marrakesh color. I shied away from it at first, a brown pen? But I eventually wound up purchasing it and she threw in a bottle of Pelikan Brilliant Brown. I've kept it filled with that ink ever since. Perhaps it is due to Susan's subliminal suggestion, but I feel the pen was MADE for that Pelikan ink. A brown pen with brown ink, who would've guessed?

 

Thanks for the review. I couldn't agree with you more... We're not worthy!

 

I bought my Excellence A about 4 years ago - also a Marrakesh, with medium (steel) nib. It's a beautiful pen, one of my favourites - and still one of my most expensive. The only thing I'd say to anyone thinking of buying this pen is that the steel nibs are fantastic - I haven't tried the gold, but feel no need to, given my positive experience with the cheaper option.

 

I toy with the idea (from time to time) of buying an Excellence A in another finish - or maybe an A2 or A+ (which I think are twist-to-post?) - I've managed so far to resist the temptation, but one of these days, who knows.... The only thing better than owning an Excellence A is owning two?

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I would love to install an italic nib in one of the two Excellences I am fortunate enough to possess (one with a medium point, the other. a broad). Diplomat do not (currently) offer a stock italic so the choice may be between a custom grind, or (less appealing) to substitute someone else's nib. I am a huge fan of Diplomat steel nibs and reluctant to choose the latter route.

 

I wonder if others have faced the same dilemma and and if so, what advice they might offer.

 

On a side note, the closing clunk of the cap on the A2 is one of the most satisfying clunks to be had, in my pen experience. It's a great clunk.

"They come as a boon and a blessing to men,
the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you very much for your review. It was part of why I favored the Excellence A2 over other candidates to be my first fountain pen with a gold nib and so far I’m quite happy with that decision.

 

I bought mine with skyline blue finish and it’s just gorgeous to look at. If only Diplomat had chosen to opt for an alternative to the white plastic piece on top of the cap, which looks a bit cheap in my opinion, not quite reflecting the value of the pen.

I think they could have done better in this regard, but in the end it doesn’t bother me that much, because the rest is just that solid.

 

The nib is a joy to use for me and I’m looking forward to every opportunity to write a few lines with it.

Edited by MGLX
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