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Conid Minimalistica: The Drawbacks



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silverlifter
If you are somewhat obsessive, like me, then before you commit to a purchase over

a particular threshold, you will conduct extensive research. So, before I completed

the transaction for a Conid Minimalistica, I read every thread that included the

term here, and on FPG and /r/fountainpens.


The Conid brand is one that gets a lot of love from these communities, so there was

quite a lot of material to wade through, and—specifically for the Minimalistica—not

all of the comments were positive. In general, the negative perceptions around the

pen were focussed on four areas:


The Cap. The use of an O-ring as a capping mechanism drew most negative comments.

These were usually along the lines of complaints about the difficulty of removing

the cap because of the tightness of the seal.


post-142580-0-70269300-1565475341.jpg


Conid relatively recently (early 2019) changed from a green to a black O-ring, so

this may be a contributing factor, but I find the “push and twist” movement to cap

the pen excellent. It takes very little effort, and less than a quarter turn of the

cap to securely and safely cap the pen. Additionally, it feels better than many

push to cap systems that rely on a raised ring, or the L2K's ears, to secure the

cap as these systems require different levels of force, which can mean a slightly

uncontrolled uncapping action.


Similarly, some people complain about the slight rocking of the cap when either

closed or posted as the lip of the cap can hinge when the O-ring flexes. Again,

I have played with this to reproduce the effect and I can't say that it is

significant enough to bother me in either case.


One downside of the O-ring in the cap is that when you do post, the O-ring sits

over the delrin turning nob. So, if you twist the cap anticlockwise to unpost,

it will start to unlock the bulkfiller. This can be annoying, so on the rare

occassions that I do post, I make a point of turning the cap the other way to

free it from the barrel.


The Clip. A number of people complained about the sharpness of the edges of the

titanium clip. This is a legitimate complaint. The edges should be chamfered

as, the way they are, they are unpleasantly sharp. And, for the majority of the

time that I am using the pen unposted, I hold the cap in my left hand and

unconsciously fondle it. The two corners at the top edge of the clip are

especially unforgiving.


post-142580-0-38360700-1565475381.jpg


The acrylic grip. An admittedly smaller number of complaints have focussed

on the slipperiness of the acrylic "section". I am quite sensitive to this

and refuse to buy any pens with metal sections for this reason. However, I find

that the grip on the acrylic is wonderful. I have had no issues with grip, even

over protracted sessions.


Finally, a couple of issues that apply to Conid pens, not just the Mini.


The second reservoir. Conid's nib collars ship with a steel pin protruding

from the rear that apparently is intended to improve the flow between the

primary and secondary reservoir. I immediately swapped out the Conid nib

assembly for a Flexible Nib Factory one that holds my Sailor nib. Needless

to say, this collar does not have the steel pin. Despite this, I have found

no issues with ink not freely transferring between the two reservoirs while

writing. This may be because of the ink (Aurora Blue), but I have found

the design to work exceptionally well. Typically, I start the day by filling

the second reservoir and then resealing it before writing. For longer sessions,

I'll open it up a couple of millimeters and over the two to three hours that

I am writing, I have experienced no starvation, or other irregularities.


post-142580-0-62340000-1565475426.jpg


Communication. Lots of people find that once you pay for the pen, Conid

essentially goes dark until your pen is about to ship. This was my experience.

When I was finalising the details (custom grind, clip engraving and additional

parts), Jonas was terrific to deal with. After that, you get the automated

emails and that is it. Personally, as someone who has been in the queue for a

custom pen for close to eighteen months, this does not bother me. The team is

small (around 6) and I would expect them to be focussed on making the sale and

getting the pens out the door, not handholding anxious customers.


Others obviously disagree, and argue that for the cost, much better customer

service is called for. Francis has confirmed they are looking to expand the

team, so perhaps there will be more communications during the build process.

In any event, no-one has ever not received their pen, and as far as I am

concerned, the wait is well worth it.


post-142580-0-73590600-1565475478.jpg


Overall, the Minimalistica is a terrific pen. While it is expensive, it is

an exquisitely engineered writing instrument and, unlike a lot of comparably

priced pens, it will work perfectly out of the box. After having read a

plethora of views about it prior to it arriving, I find that it has actually

surpassed my expectations, and it is not often that you can say that about

a pen. Or much in life, really.



Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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silverlifter

As I note in the review, the only one I have experienced is the sharp edges on the clip. And I don't regard that as significant enough to detract from my assessment of the pen as an extraordinarily good one.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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Thank you @Silverlifter, excellent breakdown of the Conid experience.

 

During my first pen show whilst in queue before a Franklin Christoph shark frenzy exclusive show unveiling, a fellow line holder showed me his Conid Minimalistica.

 

He was quite taken with it as was I. The robust build quality and craft makes a strong impression in person. I do wished Conid had retained the Regular in a different streamlined form factor like the Minimalistica flat-top taper, but they are busy enough with the demand on a smaller product line.

 

We both agree that the major drawback to the Minimalistica was the desire to obtain the Kingsize instead :D

 

That's a good drawback to have, customers who want to upgrade.

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silverlifter

We both agree that the major drawback to the Minimalistica was the desire to obtain the Kingsize instead :D

 

I would say "as well" rather than "instead", but your point is well made! :)

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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Honeybadgers

I dunno, I actually quite dislike the idea of an O ring as a capping system, though I have zero doubts if conid made it, it works perfectly.

 

Personally, the best capping system money can buy is visconti's hooksafe system. 1/4 turn and it NEVER comes uncapped unintentionally. Close second would be the lamy 2000's clicky clutch. Perfect. Third would be a 3/4 turn screw cap, followed by a slip cap, and then the rest.

 

A conid is the pen I'll ask for when I graduate med school.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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silverlifter

I tried a Visconti HS when I was in a B&M store late last year. The capping system does indeed feel amazing. My only concern is, as with so many aspects of Visconti, the QC. One of the hosts of the Nib Section has one that has broken and means that she cannot remove the cap from the pen. It is effectively permanently locked shut. Not a great place to be.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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Thanks for summarizing the negative comments about the Conid Minimalistica.

 

I have a Minimalistica and a Regular Conid. I have recently ordered a second Minimalistica. I would prefer a screw-on cap, but the friction-held cap isn't really a problem for me. I don't find the clip particularly sharp.

 

The Kingsize doesn't really appeal to me. I am not a fan of oversize pens.

 

The negative factor I didn't see in the OP is the absence of an ink window in the non-demonstrator pen bodies. So, even though I'm not a super big fan of demonstrators, that's what I have on order. I love being able to see how much ink is left in the reservoirs.

 

David

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silverlifter

The negative factor I didn't see in the OP is the absence of an ink window in the non-demonstrator pen bodies. So, even though I'm not a super big fan of demonstrators, that's what I have on order. I love being able to see how much ink is left in the reservoirs.

 

Thanks David. Yes, I did overlook that. Mainly because you have a choice between the delrin and acrylic bodies.

 

One of the reasons that I ordered the acrylic was so that I could see the bulkfiller in action. The idea of hiding it was not appealing to me at all.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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I’ve been on the fence about Conid for a long time. A colleague of mine has the FPN pen and while immaculately engineered and wonderful to look at, it somehow felt sort of industrial to me. Also, and more importantly, I was not impressed with how it wrote. Tried some other Conids over time, leaving my impression basically intact. Then a few weeks ago my colleague brought 5 or 6 Conids to work, all with different nibs, and that was a game changer. I instantly bonded with one of those pens to the extent that I tried to buy it on the spot (unsucessfully, I might add). I’m struggling with the price point and with not being able to try the pen beforehand. I’d want a spectacularly good nib in a pen like that.

 

Personally, the best capping system money can buy is visconti's hooksafe system. 1/4 turn and it NEVER comes uncapped unintentionally.

Unfortunately that’s not my experience at all. Out of every 10 times I put my Visconti in a suit pocket or shirt pocket, 3 times the pen will come out, drop down, and the cap will be left hanging there on the clip. I make sure never to put the pen in pocket deep enough that the pen will completely fall out of the cap, so the nib always stays within the cap.
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silverlifter

I’d want a spectacularly good nib in a pen like that.

 

I completely agree; that is the business end of the pen, so it has to be great. The fine Ti Cursive Italic that I bought with the pen is a very nice nib, no question. But having a 21K Sailor nib is a pretty high bar.

 

I will swap in the Ti nib for some variety, and I won't feel that the pen is any the lesser for it. It will just have a different personality.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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Very nice review, many thanks! :thumbup:

 

 

One downside of the O-ring in the cap is that when you do post, the O-ring sits

over the delrin turning nob

 

Luckily, I mostly don't post..

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately that’s not my experience at all

 

Easy capping and uncapping is very important. I have an Opus 88 which take 4 turns to uncap, really too much!

So many people, so many different answers. But overall the impressions are very good!

 

I only hope that with so many people waiting for their pen, Conid holds on his craftsmanship. And do not rush in a "mass" production.

 

Eagerly awaiting my pen...

 

LD

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Honeybadgers

I tried a Visconti HS when I was in a B&M store late last year. The capping system does indeed feel amazing. My only concern is, as with so many aspects of Visconti, the QC. One of the hosts of the Nib Section has one that has broken and means that she cannot remove the cap from the pen. It is effectively permanently locked shut. Not a great place to be.

 

 

Huh, that's actually one problem I haven't seen happen on a visconti, lol. Just about EVERYTHING ELSE can go wrong, but the hooksafe itself is quite robust. It's just a spring, two lugs, and a little J shape pattern in the body.

 

It's definitely not something I'd forsee as a risk of ownership with one. Right now it's just their awful nib QC. Problems happen with every pen. I wonder if coles would take it back and repair it. I do know they're quite stingy about following their warranty dates to the letter, they told me to pound sand after 38 days because they only warrantied their nibs for 30. Thankfully Goulet had my back.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Honeybadgers

I’ve been on the fence about Conid for a long time. A colleague of mine has the FPN pen and while immaculately engineered and wonderful to look at, it somehow felt sort of industrial to me. Also, and more importantly, I was not impressed with how it wrote. Tried some other Conids over time, leaving my impression basically intact. Then a few weeks ago my colleague brought 5 or 6 Conids to work, all with different nibs, and that was a game changer. I instantly bonded with one of those pens to the extent that I tried to buy it on the spot (unsucessfully, I might add). I’m struggling with the price point and with not being able to try the pen beforehand. I’d want a spectacularly good nib in a pen like that.

 

Unfortunately that’s not my experience at all. Out of every 10 times I put my Visconti in a suit pocket or shirt pocket, 3 times the pen will come out, drop down, and the cap will be left hanging there on the clip. I make sure never to put the pen in pocket deep enough that the pen will completely fall out of the cap, so the nib always stays within the cap.

 

Which model have you had that happen in?

 

I've never had it happen with my HS or my divina metro. All five of them I've had (stupid nib QC was the downfall of 3/5 of my viscontis)

 

The only pen I've ever had uncap itself in my pocket is the cross spire which has a 1/4 turn to uncap, and only if I don't remember to firmly screw it on.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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Which model have you had that happen in?

Homo Sapiens Midi Lava Steel. For what it’s worth, I love that pen and adore its 23k Pd ‘dreamtouch’ nib. It’s feathery, it has some nice, subtle variation even with normal writing, it always writes straight away and ink never dries or gets darker in the pen. I might have gotten lucky with mine, but still.

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The only minor drawback to my Minimalistica, a delrin one, is the absence of an ink viewing window. Obviously the large ink capacity is a big help!

Nonetheless, a Lamy 2000 type ink window would have made it near perfect.

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I had a Fontuplumo Minimalistica (orange ends) but disliked the push-on cap so much I sold it very quickly. As an engineer the Conid had great appeal to me and I recently bought a Regular. This one is a Demonstrator but with a black Delrin section which lets me see the workings of the filling system while hiding the less attractive part inside the section.

 

It came to me with a nib I didn't like very much, but I replaced it with a Ralph Reyes nib, which makes it an absolutely wonderful pen. This should be a keeper for me, and "keeper" is not a word I use loosely! :-)

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Unfortunately that’s not my experience at all. Out of every 10 times I put my Visconti in a suit pocket or shirt pocket, 3 times the pen will come out, drop down, and the cap will be left hanging there on the clip. I make sure never to put the pen in pocket deep enough that the pen will completely fall out of the cap, so the nib always stays within the cap.

 

 

 

 

Huh, that's actually one problem I haven't seen happen on a visconti, lol. Just about EVERYTHING ELSE can go wrong, but the hooksafe itself is quite robust. It's just a spring, two lugs, and a little J shape pattern in the body.

 

It's definitely not something I'd forsee as a risk of ownership with one. Right now it's just their awful nib QC. Problems happen with every pen. I wonder if coles would take it back and repair it. I do know they're quite stingy about following their warranty dates to the letter, they told me to pound sand after 38 days because they only warrantied their nibs for 30. Thankfully Goulet had my back.

 

I have a handful of Visconti's and never had a pen come uncapped unintentionally. This isn't to say the hook safe is perfect–I've had some where the barrel wasn't milled quite right so the capping action wasn't smooth and another where the spring in the cap is a little creeky–but I think this is probably the best capping system in the industry. I'm also a huge fan of Dupont's snap cap which is probably the most satisfying click you can find on a pen.

 

I don't mind the Minimalistica's cap but I probably push it too hard so getting it uncapped takes a little effort and when it finally loosens I sometimes worry the nib is going to get dinged.

 

My main issue with the Minimalistica is the lack of ink window which isn't a probably with the demonstrator.

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great review. I have the kingsize bulkfiller and am also eyeing the minimalistica. I don't have the issue with the sharpness of the edge of the clip that you have. I wonder if that is particular to the clip type chosen. that fact that you were able to swap in a different nib unit is very nice. I was also contemplating trying to swap in a 149 nib into mine. but for the most part I am quite content with the Bock gold nib that Conid provided.

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silverlifter

I've been keeping an eye on ebay for a MB 146 nib: they are lovely nibs and it would be a nice alternate for the Sailor... :)

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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