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Diplomat Aero first impressions


pelikandrew
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A question about the Aero's Jowo #6 nib: is it housed in a standard Jowo screw-in nib unit, or is it set directly into the section, or perhaps a proprietary, non standard housing?

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33 minutes ago, BlueJ said:

A question about the Aero's Jowo #6 nib:

 

I'm not convinced that the steel nib on my Diplomat Aero, ordered late in 2018, was made by JoWo, because the shape of the feed is that of a Bock.

 

 

I see that Diplomat has not only added the turquoise Aero, that was previously a Goulet Pen exclusive, into its regular line-up, but now also the champagne Aero, that was previously a Truphae Inc exclusive, as well as a green Aero I haven't seen before. Great, since I like those colours, but would never buy the store-exclusive versions if they are sold as single-source products without being subject to price competition, significantly discounted (beyond the ‘customary’ 20% discount off MSRP for most pens in the US), and/or offered with free shipping (that is not limited to continental US).

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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 I checked at Gouletpens.com. According to a video there, it is not a screw-in unit; changing the nib requires pulling the nib and feed and then resetting with a compatible substitute nib.

 

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31 minutes ago, BlueJ said:

changing the nib requires pulling the nib and feed and then resetting with a compatible substitute nib.

 

I don't see the need for the average user or purchaser of the pen model to do so, in any case. Most people don't buy currently in production German fountain pens for glorified nib holders; having the fundamental intent of swapping or substituting nibs — especially for that of other brands — does not seem to be a very European idea, irrespective of whether the design and construction of the pen is modular.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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In general what you say is true, but if one wants a custom grind, say cursive italic or oblique, then it is less expensive to order a modified nib unit such as from FPNibs.com in Spain, rather than sending the complete pen to a nibmeister to regrind and ship back.  The latter course of action also entails the small but real risk to the pen of loss or damage in transit. Certainly if Diplomat offered the wide range of nib types that Pelikan, Montblanc or others did up to about 1970, there would be less reason to consider all this.

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52 minutes ago, BlueJ said:

In general what you say is true, but if one wants a custom grind, say cursive italic or oblique, then it is less expensive to order a modified nib unit such as from FPNibs.com in Spain, rather than sending the complete pen to a nibmeister to regrind and ship back.

 

Nibs.com doesn't sell Diplomat pens, but Nibsmith.com appears to carry (dwindling stock of) the Diplomat Aero, and will accept orders that include for-fee nib customisation work performed before the pen on order is dispatched to the customer. I'm surprised to see that Fontoplumo does not carry Diplomat fountain pens; it also generally accept orders that include for-fee nib customisation work on new pens prior to dispatch. LCdC sells Diplomat pens, but I don't know whether it still accepts orders for nib customisation on new pens generally; it used to.

 

Anyway, if one wants a custom grind on the particular pen, it only takes swapping the substitute nib in just once, and so not having an easily removed nib unit shouldn't really be a problem. With or without having a threaded plastic nib unit in the Kaigelu 316 (which, just to be clear, it has), I still had to pull the friction-fit nib and feed out of their housing, in order to replace the nib with a Kaigelu-branded steel nib sporting a Togi-style grind (which was sold as a standalone article of metal). I don't think it's too onerous or unreasonable to have to do that once, whether the owner of the pen is comfortable with doing it himself/herself, or having to enlist the help or (paid?) service of someone else more experienced to perform the task.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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7 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

I'm not convinced that the steel nib on my Diplomat Aero, ordered late in 2018, was made by JoWo, because the shape of the feed is that of a Bock.

 

My understanding (which of course may be wrong!) is that Diplomat sources its nibs from JoWo, but that they're manufactured to JoWo specifications - which means they're not necessarily the exact same shape as JoWo's stock nibs.  [The same is true for the TWSBI Vac 700: it's a Size 6 JoWo nib, but conforms more closely to the shape of a Bock nib, *probably* because TWSBI changed nib manufacturers  from Bock to JoWo, and wanted to retain the original nib configuraton.]

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7 minutes ago, Jamerelbe said:

My understanding (which of course may be wrong!) is that Diplomat sources its nibs from JoWo, but that they're manufactured to JoWo specifications - which means they're not necessarily the exact same shape as JoWo's stock nibs.

 

Don't you mean “to Diplomat's specifications”?

 

I vaguely recall Diplomat also having changed nib supplier from Bock to JoWo some years back.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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47 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

Don't you mean “to Diplomat's specifications”?

 

I vaguely recall Diplomat also having changed nib supplier from Bock to JoWo some years back.

 

Yes, that's exactly what I mean - my mistake!  I think it's possible Diplomat changed nib suppliers from Bock to JoWo - I have a similar vague recollection (as opposed to TWSBI, where I can recall an early Goulet video on YouTube that documented their change from Schmidt to Bock to JoWo, more than a decade ago).  Thanks for picking up my error...

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I'm a simple soul.  The broad nib on my new Aero is as sweet as a nut.  :)  Even though I currently only have one ink to try it out with.......

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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A noob's contribution for what it is:

 

I have the Diplomat Aero (black) with an EF nib and it writes very well and is very smooth for an EF nib (so I am told).  It seemed to feel that way at the pen shop when I tried other EF nibs (or maybe its the power of suggestion, like when I am tasting different Tuscan reds in the presence of "experts").

 

Love that it is an all-aluminum construction so it would likely stand up to a fair bit of abuse.  I noticed the large barrel-to-section differential but did not mind it at all because it serves as a good tactile backstop for my grip.  I don't find it particularly ugly when uncapped, but certainly it looks better capped.

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On 12/31/2021 at 6:30 AM, sansenri said:

I'm not a fan of snap on caps either.

My screw-cap Pelikan developed a couple cracks about 180 degrees apart, on the threads at the top of the section, and I'm sure it wasn't my doing. I figured someone else must have lifted the pen to examine or use it, then screwed the cap on too tight - easy for non pen people to do. After paying for a replacement barrel I took greater care in where I left the pen, and I have a new appreciation for the snap cap, which is the only type I'll let someone else borrow (excepting FPN members ;) )

 

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On 12/31/2021 at 3:30 AM, sansenri said:

I'm not a fan of snap on caps either.

Gotta say, the Aero snap cap is so satisfying.  Lovely progressive increase in pressure (tightness) until the well-defined click that is very positive both to the hand and to the ear.  I like my Visconti Van Gogh magnetic cap as well, which is very different mechanically.

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On 1/11/2022 at 2:07 AM, sappie66 said:

Gotta say, the Aero snap cap is so satisfying.  Lovely progressive increase in pressure (tightness) until the well-defined click that is very positive both to the hand and to the ear.  I like my Visconti Van Gogh magnetic cap as well, which is very different mechanically.

oh, I love the Visconti magnetic cap! it's addictive... when the pen in my hands and I'm not writing I keep playing around with it!

Disturbing to others I fear...

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4 hours ago, sansenri said:

oh, I love the Visconti magnetic cap! it's addictive... when the pen in my hands and I'm not writing I keep playing around with it!

Disturbing to others I fear...

Ah, you are that guy!  😀

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On 12/18/2021 at 8:12 AM, pelikandrew said:

Please note this is the "updated" Aero, not the original that had some issues with loose cap.

 

For the past year or so I've been tempted by the Diplomat Aero but felt something about it wasn't quite right. In the photos the pen appeared thin and small to me, and the single color wasn't just right (though I love the color of the green and the orange barrels).

 

A few days ago I saw a video review of the "Stripes Black" model which stands out as the only model with different colors in the grooves vs. the rest of the pen. This really makes the grooves stand out and I decided to buy, with medium steel nib, even though I was hoping to buy it with a gold nib. The pen comes with a standard international converter, which I use (I don't use cartridges).

 

When the pen came in several things struck me:

 

The pen is shorter overall and thicker in the barrel than I expected. I like a thicker pen so this is comfortable to me. Grip section is entirely smooth and maybe a little slippery, but the grooves in the barrel against the hand help keep the pen from rotating.

 

Steel nib (JoWo #6) is the smooth! The smoothest steel nib I've ever used. After using the steel nib I see no reason to pay more for a gold one. I'm not saying a gold nib wouldn't be better, just saying for this pen and price point, the steel is a great value - and by value I don't mean settling for mediocre performance.

 

Construction, fit/finish is superb especially for the $180 I spent (now I see the pen on sale for $135!). Tolerances are tight; finish and anodizing is great; pen feels substantial (weight), not light; cap snaps on with very satisfying feel. Engraved "Diplomat" and "Germany" writing on the barrel is a nice touch, better than simply printed on, which I think the previous version had. Overall the pen feels rugged, like a workhorse pen, not delicate. The different color in the recessed "stripes" really makes them stand out from the rest of the pen. I'd love to see the other Aero colors with this same treatment.

 

Medium nib writes pretty thick - I would prefer a Fine. Videos show friction-fed nibs/feeds can be swapped. It writes slightly thicker than my Pelikan M805 Fine. In the writing sample below it appears to write with about the same line thickness, but it is definitely thicker.

 

Balance is excellent unposted. Posted is okay but feels slightly off balance to me. I usually don't post.

 

Among modern pens, for $180 - and better yet $135 - the Aero is a great value. A lot of the time "value" means sacrificing quality but I don't think that's the case here. In terms of price to performance (or price to features) ratio, I liken it to the Lamy Al-Star ($38), except that the Aero is on a much higher level. It's like a fine workhorse pen.

 

 Pen pics shown for comparison.

 

Lamy Al-Star (top)

Parker 51

Diplomat Aero

Pelikan M805

 

 

aero1.jpg

 

 

aero2.jpg

 

 

Writing samples:

Diplomat Aero (M) with Noodler's X-Feather

Pelikan M805 (F) with Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite

Lamy Al-Star (1.1 mm stub) with Pelikan Edelstein Onyx

 

aero_writing.jpg

Thank you for the review. The comparison photos are particularly helpful, as I have had a hard time figuring out the overall size of this pen. 
 

I don’t love the shape, but there is something very appealing about the pen. Quite tempted at the moment, but I can’t convince myself that this price is worth it for a steel-nibbed impulse purchase (though everyone says these are the best steel nibs ever, essentially). 

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  • 1 month later...

I’d consider this pen a ‘modern classic’. The combination of classic curves with modern materials and colours really appeals to me. Briefly owned one years ago but sold it because I could not bond with the M nib, nor with the slippery section. I still miss it and I also needed a replacement for my trusty pocket pen which I left on a train about a year ago, so I decided to visit Appelboom’s brick & mortar to try a few Aeros.

 

The section doesn’t bother me anymore, a nice surprise. The nibs… different story. Tried four F’s and one EF and was surprised to find that the nibs felt very inconsistent. One F was very unpleasant, two were mediocre and one was OK. The EF was mediocre at best. The line widths of the F’s varied from halfway between EF and F to M. A quick inspection revealed good news: all nibs were cut well, the tines were properly aligned, the slits were in the middle and not a hint of BB. But sometimes the two halves of the tip were slightly asymmetrical, making it hard to control the pen and all but one nib weren’t polished properly, with certain strokes being smooth and others being grating. Anyway, I found this disappointing but also realized that I could fix it in two minutes. I bought the most pleasant F, which writes somewhere halfway between EF and F and gave it the finishing touch myself.

 

large.A46B02E1-F275-4417-90F3-415E6A00ADA5.jpeg.4525d792b7b3e9466e9277a952950669.jpeg

 

Inked it up with Robert Oster Bondi Blue and couldn’t be happier. 

 

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I have a different experience. I bought a Diplomat size 6 (jowo) spare M nib a month ago. Pretty pricy (near 50€). In my opinion, probably the best tuned Jowo nibs on the market. On par with G von Faber Castell upper scale gold nibs. Even slightly better than Otto Hutt and Waldmann nibs (Jowo n°5).

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3 minutes ago, nibtip said:

I have a different experience. I bought a Diplomat size 6 (jowo) spare M nib a month ago. Pretty pricy (near 50€). In my opinion, probably the best tuned Jowo nibs on the market. On par with G von Faber Castell upper scale gold nibs. Even slightly better than Otto Hutt and Waldmann nibs (Jowo n°5).

 

The broad nib in my Aero is nothing short of superb...... out of the box.  

http://www.aysedasi.co.uk

 

 

 

 

She turned me into a newt.......

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