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The LE Stipula DaVinci Samurai

Review and photography by Laura Elizabeth Bullock

 

Introduction

The LE Stipula DaVinci Samurai was produced in a collaborative effort by music publisher Leeds Levy and Chatterley Luxuries’ Bryant Greer. Leeds and I have a mutual friend from the Big Apple Pen Club, Tim Ettenheim. Tim brought the pen to my attention and, along with Leeds, asked that I write a review of and photograph this unique pen, which is available for purchase at

https://chatterleyluxuries.com/product/stipula-samurai-rose-gold-overlay-limited-edition-fountain-pen/

I am in no way affiliated with Stipula or Chatterley Luxuries and this review is a noncommercial effort.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7284.jpg

 

Appearance and Design

The barrel of this exquisite pen is transparent blue resin with rose gold vermeil overlay bonded permanently to solid sterling silver. The overlay is hallmarked in three places with 925 and a five-pointed star followed by 1770 and FI for Firenze.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7299.jpg

 

The gorgeous overlay echoes the legendary tosei gusoku armor of Japanese samurai right down to the gilt kanamono used on the helmets, shoulder guards and plates.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7300.jpg

 

The pen's trim is also rose gold vermeil as is the unique sword-like clip with the suggestion of a samurai at the top of the clip.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7314.jpg

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7311.jpg

 

The clear end of the blue resin barrel shows 0/18 as the pen is limited to 18 worldwide and this particular pen is a prototype.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7321.jpg

 

Perhaps the most interesting and most unusual feature of the Samurai is its retractable nib that appears with a clockwise twist of the barrel through a half-moon shaped door bearing the Stipula name and disappears with a counterclockwise twist as it’s retracted and the door closes.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7326.jpg

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7328.jpg

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7330.jpg

 

Finally, this Stipula pen features an interchangeable writing system. When the nib is retracted, the barrel pulled out and the universal cartridge or piston converter removed, the section and nib can be easily removed by applying light pressure to the section’s metal wings and gently pulling.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7309.jpg

 

Construction and Quality

The Samurai is extremely well made and hand-designed with superb attention to detail.

Its sturdiness is apparent in its heft and solid construction. A firm grasp is required to remove the barrel and once the barrel is replaced, there is a satisfying, solid click.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7303.jpg

 

The removable writing section is also of solid construction with a tab and hole mechanism to ensure its proper replacement without incurring damage to the nib.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7335.jpg

 

Size

The Samurai is 136-140 mm (5.35-5.51 inches) in length and the diameter is 16.1-18 mm (0.63-0.71 inches). Its weight is 61 grams (2.15 ounces). Its formidable size and girth are impressive. Because of this, it may be better suited to larger hands. However, this would not preclude usage by a woman. I am perfectly content using this pen and I can comfortably grip the barrel and write for an extended period of time.

 

Nib and Performance

This is a medium 14 kt. gold nib with the Stipula leaf logo in two places and a 585 gold mark, meaning the gold is near this percentage (58%) pure.

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7331.jpg

http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/betweenthelens/IMG_7333.jpg

 

The nib is not a flex nib; however, it does provide amazing line variation depending upon the angle at which the nib is used and how much pressure one exerts when writing.

 

The paper I used to assess the nib’s performance included a Rhoda Webnotebook, L. Writing Paper made in Japan by Life Company, 60 lb. Fabriano sketch paper, a Moleskine lined Legendary Notebook, and 100 % cotton Crane Monarch sheets with Ecruwhite Kid Finish.

 

The inks I used were J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, Waterman Florida Blue, Akkerman Passage Blauw, and Pelikan 4001 Violet.

 

The Samurai performed well on all papers with all inks although the Moleskine did not provide quite the level of quality writing experience as the other papers. This paper paled in comparison to the similarly smooth, but higher quality, writing surfaces of the Rhodia and Life Company Japanese papers and there was even pleasant feedback on both the Crane and Fabriano papers. The pen performs better on higher quality, heavier papers but it must be mentioned that there was no skipping or hard starting on any of the papers with any of the inks.

 

The pen performed well inked with the Pelikan 4001 Violet, the driest of the inks. There were consistent uniform color and even some subtle shading apparent. This pen was made for the very saturated J. Herbin Rouge Hematite with the extremely beautiful green-gold shading standing out and the rich color flowing freely. My Stipula Gladiator with medium nib is a wonderful pen; however, its nib doesn’t have the range of this Stipula Samurai and the Rouge Hematite in my Gladiator puts down a red line with no shading. I have to use a flex nib, such as the one on my Bayard LE 4 or the nib on my Morrison’s gold overlay ring top to see the shading.

 

The Waterman Florida Blue (a wetter ink than the Pelikan 4001) and the Akkerman Passage Blauw (perhaps the wettest of the four inks) have a discernable flow, more so than that of the J. Herbin and especially more than that of the Pelikan 4001.

 

Filling System

The filling system utilizes a universal cartridge or piston converter, both of which are included with the pen. The converter took up the ink immediately.

 

Cost and Value

This pen retails for $1095. In my opinion, the pen is worth it. The quality and construction, the understated elegant design, uniqueness and outstanding performance are worthy enough to commandeer such a price.

 

Conclusion

This pen provides a truly luxurious writing experience. I’ve used it consistently for several days and for as much as an hour at a time. I’ve not experienced anything approaching fatigue or cramping, even owing to the pen’s size.

 

If I were working a desk job, I would use this pen as a daily writer, however ostentatious it would appear; it’s that comfortable and that lovely with which to write. If one is looking to turn heads with a work of art that also happens to be a fountain pen, this is also the pen for you.

Edited by betweenthelens
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wow, the photos sure came out well! Great review, classy pen!

Tim

Tim

 timsvintagepens.com and @timsvintagepens

 

 

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Thanks so much, Tim, and thank you for the suggestions. I re-shot with mirrors on our deck and preferred the results to the black background.

 

Thank you very much, Inked. Much appreciated.

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Terrific review and beautiful pictures. Thank you for the post.

 

With regard to usability, have you had any problems with nib dry out? Does this pen dry out if unused for a few hours, or days? This has been an issue with some past Stipula DaVincis, but not sure if the design has changed or if this problem still exists.

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Hi genls. Thanks so much for your kind words. It was a pleasure to be able to use the pen and review and photograph it. I've had the pen for a few weeks now and have used it on and off when working on the review. When I wasn't using it, I retracted the nib and sometimes it wasn't until the next day or a couple of days later that I took it up once again and it started writing immediately.

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Thank you for this great review.

Very beautiful pictures as well :bunny01: Makes the pen shine.

Happy Writing!, Mainecoon

Dreams are presentiments of what you are able to accomplish (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

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Congrats on a superb writer :thumbup: :notworthy1: It is your first stipula but it won't be your last :happy: ;)

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

 

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Hi Georges. I actually have a 1990s Stipula made for Levenger and the Stipula Gladiator and I love both. This Samurai belongs to my friend Leeds, who lent me the pen so I could review it.

 

Thank you so much, Mainecoon! Very much appreciated.

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Looking at this pen gives me a feel of older science fiction novels , a Steam-punk kind of feel .

Anyway the pen looks just beautiful , thank you for the great review .

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It does feel kind of steampunk, doesn't it.

 

I forgive it for not having a fancy filling system because of the retractable mechanism. It could be worse -- it could take only carts.

 

Stylistically I find the clip a bit distracting.

 

Thanks for the great review!

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

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