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Conklin Symetrik, Medium Heritance Nib, Prototype Color


boybacon
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This pen found it's way to my door via the Yafa outlet website. I had a coupon code for 10% off, and was in the mood for a Conklin pen, and this one was on their website for a decent price as a prototype color. The pen was shipped promptly, and well packaged. The box that it came in was a standard Conklin box.....blue, too big for the pen, lined with cheap satin-like material, and held the pen in place for shipping.

 

First impressions: This pen looked gorgeous. I really liked the "snowflake" appearance of the material, and it reminded me of granite or snowflake obsidian. The pen was light, and the curves "made sense" in my hand. In other words, it felt nice. I really liked the Conklin clip with the spring system. It's a neat style of clip that holds firmly, but doesn't feel like it will tear into a shirt. The gold "crescent" inlay was a nice touch and showed an attention to detail that I wasn't expecting.

 

I flushed the pen thoroughly, and then plugged in a cartridge. I wrote with the pen for a full day at work without any problems. I put the pen in my pen case for 2 days, and then took it out again to write with. That's when I noticed that the area where you hold the pen was turning black. Uh oh! I unscrewed the nib section, and sure enough the ink had leaked inside of the pen, and dribbled between the nib holder insert and the nib holder (an odd place). Straight to the sink for a thorough flushing! I threw away the cartridge and figured that it might have been an old one (it had shipped with the pen) that Conklin had forgotten about. No worries as I switched straight away to the threaded converter. I then loaded the pen with Noodler's purple and spent a day writing. I was rotating with 2 other pens at the time, so this one went back in the pen case. The pens are stored horizontally. Two days later I retrieved this pen from the case. There was purple in the cap. Yikes! Back to the sink, flushing the pen again. I thought maybe I had improperly installed the converter. I rinsed the pen out and flushed using pen flush. Now there was a black AND a purple stain inside of the nib holder (and outside the black plastic insert tube). I loaded the pen with Diamine Wild Strawberry ink after re-assembling very carefully. I let it sit for two days and did not see any staining, so I thought that it was now properly inked. I started to write this review on a Rhodia pad, and the pen started skipping and stopping. I had to turn the converter nob to urge some ink out into the feed. While writing the review, I bent the nib. Just the left hand tine. By now, I had a few other fountain pens, and had never had another one leak (including two other Conklins), and no other bent nibs. Hmmm.....something wasn't right. So I de-inked the pen, flushed the nib section and noticed some red staining now. This was becoming a colorful pen. I pulled the nib and the feed. I tried massaging the nib back into shape, and got it pretty much back to normal, but could not get the pen to write. I almost through it in the trash at that point. I ordered up a Heritance nib (inexpensive in a 5mm size) and mounted it. This time with Private Reserve DC Blue. The pen wrote great for a day. 2 days later and.....it's another in the series of "super dry start, skips, doesn't write, writes heavy after turning the knob on the converter and stains". The nib is outstanding. For what I paid (I think about 8 bucks shipped), it's an awesome nib. Smooth, with a hint of flex. And it did not bend while writing with it :-)

 

I've tried very hard to like this pen. The ergonomics are great, the new nib is smooth, but it's just not a reliable pen. I've sinced tried some J. Herbin ink (Larmes de Cassis color) and it didn't change a thing (except add a pretty purple stain). I'm guessing that this is a feed problem (maybe? I dunno), but the leak between the nib holder section and the full black plastic insert bothers me. Ink should not be able to get in there.

 

Summary: Appearance 10/10 - Really a pretty pen. I like the black and white flakes.

Wetness: 3/10 - it's wet only when you force ink into the feed. And then only for a short time.

Smoothness of nib: 2/10 AND 8.5/10 - Stock nib was scratchy and it bent. Heritance nib felt great! Not as smooth as some other brands, but definitely nothing to sneeze at.

Ergonomics: 10/10 - It feels great in the hand!

Sealing (how well the cap seals against drying out): 1/10 - I'm including the sealing of the converter and/or ink cartridges in this. The pen dries out quickly, and the ink doesn't seal well. Boo.

Weight: 9/10 - It's a lighter weight pen with a little bit of balanced weight. Posted, it's long. Unposted, it feels fine.

Overall: 3/10 - A pen in it's very basic form should be able to put ink on paper. I have other pens (Conklin, Edison, Lamy) that can manage this task. The Symetrik cannot.

I sent an email to Conklin via their website and did NOT get a reply. I like the feel of the pen. I like the look of the pen. I would like to use the pen. I'm putting this one in my "Lessons Learned" file.

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