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S T Dupont Orient Express



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Reviewing a limited edition pen may be thought a little out of the mainstream. So to me is buying one. I had persuaded myself to commemorate a fairly significant change of affairs by purchasing a more expensive than usual pen. I selected this S T Dupont Orient Express over other likely candidates based on some personal preferences about pens, not on speculation about future value. My modest experiences with Dupont pens have been excellent to date in keeping with their apparently strong reputation. I prefer laid lacquer to plastic or “precious resin”, and survey of my current pens confirms I prefer flat ends to cigar shapes although not exclusively. I like gold nibs especially in 18K. I will not try to justify any of those preferences; they are some things that went in to my choice.

 

Appearance & Design

Please nobody fall about with amazement when I tell you the pen comes well packaged. An outer white slip box (discarded) houses a lidded box which opens to reveal a snap-action hinged case inside which one finds the pen and its paraphernalia. These include a converter and a pack of six Royal Blue ink cartridges.

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The pen is a long cylinder, flat ended with an elaborated clip intended to hint at a steam cylinder and piston rod. The end of the cap has a mother-of-pearl jewel, like an old train’s central headlight. The body of pen and cap are traced with patterns in palladium over the deep blue lacquer. The clip itself is hinged on the cap for ease of use, yet the cylinder effect on the end of the clip helps to retain the pen if it should accidentally reach the seam of a picket.

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On the top of the pen, aligned with the nib, are the words S T Dupont Paris. On the underside from that is Orient Express. I would have preferred they were the other way about. It was the only thing that slowed down my purchase.

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The entire design and blue and palladium effect shows up with more restraint than might appear in the photos, although not too much restraint!.

Attempting to score design of a limited edition pen seems fairly pointless to me. Obviously I like it, and you will have your own preferences.

Construction & Quality

Build quality is impeccable. Examination under a 3x loupe finds no flaws or unevenness, and no ill-fitting parts or stray substances from manufacture. Everything fits as it should and works smoothly. This has to score top marks.

The only engraving on the pen is on one side of the clip, saying “Made in France 1585/1883”. It seems 1883 was the first year of the Orient Express train, chosen to justify the number of pens manufactured. This one is of course number 1585 in that series.

The clip cap slides smoothly on a polished ring inside the cap until a final click. I know not the source of that click. It may be an interior hood clicking on to the ring above the nib.

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Weight & Dimensions

This is one big rod for writing. Length is 153 mm capped, 137 mm uncapped. Girth is 12 mm for the cylindrical barrel, 9 to 11 mm for the tapered section There is no dimension for the pen when posted because, as you can see from instructions in an earlier photo, you do not post it.

Capped, this is the longest pen I own. The nearest is an Onoto 3000 at 148 mm. Uncapped, the pencil-thin and light Onoto wins at a cool 145 mm but the Orient Express is way up in the weight stakes. Capped, it is my second heaviest pen of all, at 54.4g just short of a 56.7g Lamy Dialog 3 which of course has no removeable cap. The cap itself is the single heaviest one at 24.4 g so uncapped the pen itself comes in at 30g which is rather similar to other modern pens, heavier than a Montblanc 149 but lighter than a Lamy Imporium, Waterman Exception or Man 100 Patrician.

There is another reason not to post the cap. Doing so would make it a top-heavy monster rather than a large but balanced pen.

Out of curiosity while I had these weight tables handy, for all my pens I regressed weight against price to come up with the amusing conclusion that what you buy for your extra dollars in expensive pens is weight!*

* r2=77%, p<0.001. Please do not write to me about the sampling or causal holes in that analysis. :rolleyes: :)

Nib & Performance

I have read that S T Dupont commission their nibs from Bock. This one is a stately 18k white gold nib, meaning here an alloy of gold and palladium. Size on this pen is ‘M’ which is marked on the underside of the feed while on top of the nib it has the Orient Express symbol and 18k 750 close to the section.

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What it is like to write with? Knowing I was paying for the “Limited Edition” part of the description, I had no special expectations beyond my other top writers, so was a little surprised and pleased to find it extraordinarily smooth even in that company. See the writing examples for how it compares with some other favoured writers I happened to have inked at the time. The only possible drawback is a slightly smaller sweet spot than some other pens, close to that of a Lamy 2000.

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Beyond that, the pen plonks itself on the paper under its own substantial weight so all you have to do is wiggle it in legible directions (something at which I am not good). The length and weight sit comfortably in the hand, better than a Dialog 3 but with more inertia than the other pens shown here, owing to the weight being spread along a large pen rather than concentrated near the centre of action. Contrast the length of the Imporium, which is heavier (writing uncapped) but a little more wieldy. It is a huge contrast to the featherweight 0552. I enjoy both experiences although I presume lighter pens are better suited to writing for a great length of time. In the following picture, the pens are aligned on the right so you can see relative lengths (top down, Waterman Le Man 100 Patrician and 0552, Orient Express, Lamy Imporium).

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Filling System & Maintenance

S T Dupont Paris is engraved on the converter. Apart from that engraving it is a Schmidt K5, so replacements are readily available at a reasonable price, and very little more for the official engraved version. The pen comes apart conventionally, unscrewing the barrel from the section to reach the converter.

Cost & Value

The price I paid was getting on for 60% off nominal retail. This could be a dreadful sign of future value, with the only recompense being that I have not overpaid as much as an early adopter. :yikes: Alternatively, this may be a price nadir with investment joy to come. :bunny01: . It is all speculation. I invest elsewhere.

I find the Orient Express is nice to write with, beautiful to behold, and very finely made, so its possible current or future value causes me no pain. It is rather unlikely to drop to nil while the pen market lasts, which is more than one can say of one’s last extravagant restaurant meal and champagne.

Conclusion

There is no doubt the Orient Express is designed as a statement pen, and it does that quite well without looking over the top (my view of course). It also has exquisite build quality and writes exceptionally well, so will reward its purchaser functionally as well as aesthetically for a very long time.

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THAT is one beautiful pen & I thank you for sharing it & impressions with us. I am very happy you decided to purchase this pen; your pleasure is evident & is obviously worthy of such a beautiful work of art. A bonus will be that it is a work of art that provides writing pleasure; I think it is a wonderful choice.

 

I used both my Duponts today; one an old Classique, for an ink I wanted to use for a particular purpose, I hadn't filled it for almost 2 years & was ashamed to realise that error. The Defi remains filled most of the time & BOTH pens have that wonderful sound you mention when they are capped. It speaks a lot about the brand that they are consistent to detail in even my lower end pens.

 

The finish of your pen is exquisite, the lacquer of a Dupont is something I quite admire; again my appreciation for your enjoyable review. Enjoy!

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Thank you for your kind words.

 

Barkingpig, I can well understand that your Classique and Defi would reflect the quality. I have a couple of Montparnasse which similarly gave me confidence in the brand. Prior to those I might have dismissed S T Dupont as principally a brand rather than a high quality, highly functional product. Setting aside this particular case where it is unavoidable that I have paid something for the words "Limited Edition", I like Dupont pens. It is a path I am likely to explore again in their normal product lines.

 

I should add that the seller in this case was the FPN member, BillP; always a pleasure to deal with him (3 pens to date) and no other affiliation of course.

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Perhaps coincidence but last night I put my poor cousin ST Dupont Neo-Classique back into rotation while doing tests for a future fountain pen comparison review. The review will be on some Japanese pens and too often I hear folk saying how much finer and smoother the Japanese fine nibs are compared to the European ones. Well the EF nib on that Neo-Classique can put paid to that rumor. It is absolutely amazing, superior to all my Japanese fines except maybe on Sailor H-F nib.

 

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http://www.fototime.com/580FD2483D0E39E/medium800.jpg

 

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Thank you for this entertaining review. The clip is most unusual -- does it resemble the door handle of the train car?

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Thanks for giving me a look at this pen and sharing your thoughts. I can well imagine that this is the start of a long and happy relationship between you and the pen. Just to throw in my uninvited comment, I often feel that the designers of LE pens overreach by trying to be dramatic, by trying to support a theme that really has nothing to do with fountain pens, or simply by trying to be outrageous enough to justify the intended price. But this pen seems to me to capture the notion of an elegant age, over-the-top elegance, even, that very much represents the Orient Express. Maybe only ST Dupont could have marketed this pen without it seeming out of place in their catalog.

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Thank you for this entertaining review. The clip is most unusual -- does it resemble the door handle of the train car?

 

I had thought of it as representing steam piston / cylinder but you are right, it is double-ended, so could be a wide lever handle.

 

I will now not spend hours deliberating on this :D

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Thanks for the lovely review. A pen that probably many of us would never experience or even see. For a moment, I thought we were going to see a review of the more elaborate fancy desk ornament version where the pen forms the body of the train. This is the more subdued version of the pen, the one that actually looks pen and the one with the handsome proportions.

 

One strange thing about the way these nibs are ground. From the pictures, I thought perhaps you got a stub nib from Dupont. But based on the writing sample, it's an ordinary stub. I wonder why the nibs are ground this way?

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Great review, thank you.

 

For me the off putting thing is the garish 'S.T. Dupont Paris' text, personally I would not buy the pen purely for that, but really insightful comments on the build and nib etc.....I may have to look at these pens generally

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gerigo, the fancy version did not pass the "envisage yourself using it in different settings" test. :)

 

AGxM, yes, I noted that the same thing slowed me for a while, but I went ahead and am finding the writing less intrusive than I first thought. The writing has a somewhat matte tone in real life, so stands out less than might appear in the photos. The Post Office knows not with what its official forms have been completed ;)

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Great review, thank you.

 

For me the off putting thing is the garish 'S.T. Dupont Paris' text, personally I would not buy the pen purely for that, but really insightful comments on the build and nib etc.....I may have to look at these pens generally

That is in the same typeface used on the carriages and in the same style used to name the carriages of the Orient Express.

 

And yes, it was garish.

Edited by jar

 

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Great review of an impressive pen with the usual superb ST Dupont quality and workmanship. Wish more people could see Dupont pens in person to appreciate the high quality of their pens.

 

Since the design of the pen is paying homage to a historic train, think the design is understandable.

 

Meanwhile, do like and appreciate the simplicity and restraint of jar's Neo-Classique pen too and look forward to seeing the review of it.

 

Enjoy your pen, praxim!

 

Mark

FP Addict & Pretty Nice Guy

 

 

 

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  • 10 months later...

As discussed at points in this topic about "rampant inaccuracy" of reviews, there seems to be agreement that reviews should be based on extended experience, or else include comparison with other pens, or else one should return to a review six to twelve months later for a second look. It happens that today I finished the ink in another Neo-classique I have, a Cheval. Given the pen is identical with this Orient Express other than in patterning and other external detail, I thought it a good opportunity to meet the third of those options by returning to this review ten months later to speak about my further experience with these two neo-classiques.

 

Here is a quick bit of gratuitous pen pron, the Cheval.

 

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It is gold leaf and black lacquer with gold nib and adornments and otherwise the simplest form of neo-classique design, like jar's black lacquer above.

 

My revised conclusion from this pen and further use of the reviewed Orient Express (OE) is that the pen is at least as good as I first reviewed after purchase, probably better. Unposted, as it must be, the Cheval is 4g heavier than the Orient Express making it the fourth heaviest among my pens (all uncapped / unposted) where the OE is tenth. If I were writing all day I would probably choose a lighter Aurora, Lamy or Pelikan among non-vintage pens. Other than that, at 30-34 g these two pens are well balanced and easy to use. Their nibs are exceptional as jar comments, and the fit and finish without flaw I can find.

 

I now defer to Bobje's view above that the OE clip is meant to look like the train carriage handle. I also resile from my comment about a relatively small sweet spot on the nib.

 

That is it. I love having these pens available for rotation.

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