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Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Series Grenadilla and Guilloche Series Sahara


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Hello everyone


So I have seen that only few posts are made about pens of companies I appreciate very much, like Faber-Castell, Caran d'ache or S. T. Dupont. Only Pelikan seems to have major attention. So I decided to write my very first review about my very first fountain pen...


Faber-Castell has a line called "Graf von Faber-Castell". Apart from the limited edition (Pen of the Year) there is basically 2 lines, Classic and Guilloche. However, they both use the exact same technique and even the nibs and entire front parts are exchangeable; though Classic line is platinum plated whereas the Guilloche line is "only" rhodium plated... equals to the same, but I find platinum a bit darker in its luster. A Guilloche line review will follow at some point, now however it's all about the classic. It will be delivered in a beautifully made wooden box with a pen etui made of cloth. It's not really of any use, but nice to have. Guarantee lasts a life long and even the first 25 times I send it to the company I won't have to pay for postage. But then I bought it from a very old shop in Zurich and not online, this might make a difference.


As to the size of the pen:

Since everybody seems to know Pelikan I put it next to my m805 for a comparison of size



and with the cap gone:



As you can see they are about the same size when closed, but the Faber-Castell is slightly bigger when the cap is off. The pen itself is astonishignly well made, there's not a flaw in the body work. On the picture, obviously, you can see my fingerprints because I use it very often. The cap is a bit special, all the caps look the same; the crown should symbolize the special line (Graf means Count). The clip is very solidly attached to the cap, not fix, but with a very smart mechanism, so it will come up more easily. All the metallic parts you can see are platinum plated. Then the body itself is made from Grenadilla wood, which I think is the prettiest... but obviously it's a question of taste; it is very dark brown, but not black. The wood has been carved, I think it's visible on the picture. Well, as to the Grenadilla wood: It is a very precious wood that grows in Africa and is mainly used for musical instruments as for example an oboe (I think it's the same in English as in German). Like all slow growing wood (like Pernambucco or Ebony... both available as well) it is very hard and difficult to work on. But then, it is also very durable.

I personally think the pen looks very classy, very much understated... which I very much like. I mean everybody can see that it is beautifully finished and can certainly not be bought in a supermarket, but then nobody actually could guess anything more. Maybe a little like an Audi A8: It's never really overdressed but then also fits for casual occasions. It doesn't really draw much attention to it... except for the cap, but that I never post. Well, this is a question of personal preference, I like it that way.




As you can see it's a two tone 18 carat gold nib... in oblique broad. One thing before the actual review: As you might notice the piece where you put your fingers is slightly curved and if you compare it to other pens at a point that is rather far from the feather. Compared to the Pelikan m805 above it looks a bit classier because the line is not so abrupt. It has actually a great advantage: You hold the pen automatically quite a bit higher. In comparison with the m805 the nib itself is smaller, but because of that special shape it does not realy matter.

Now to the nib itself: Well, I have a particular way to hold my pens so I can only use oblique nibs. And since I write with it a lot I aimed for something comfortably broad. And it is very comfortable indeed. The m805 above for instant is extremely smooth, but not very flexible. This one has a bit more flex to it, but also gives more feedback. I have a S. T. Dupont with a custom made oblique M nib and this is one is so smooth that I don't actually feel anymore where the nib goes or is. This one, I think, is a good compromise. Compared with the m805 again the ink flow is quite a bit more generous, but actually adjustable: All is screwed together in the front end, so by losening the nib slightly more ink will flow. Like with the Pelikan, nibs can be exchanged with ease.


Being honest, there is one problem with it: It comes only with converter. Obviously a piston fill does not suit the wooden bodywork. However, the converter runs out of ink after about 10 pages, which is why I actually purchased a m805 (during exams I cannot possibly dip my pen into an ink well). So at home it's fine, but nothing really for longer excercises. Apart of that the converter has a great quality, much better then some from other companies. But there a 2 lines within Faber-Castell: There's a converter from Faber-Castell (not so good) and one from Graf von Faber-Castell (which is really great).


Now there is one other slight low point, but it's a question of taste. The pen, being made of metal and wood, especially the cap, is very heavy. Now I personally like that very much, I like the feel of it and I never write with the cap posted but rather put it next to me on the table. With the cap posted it's far too heavy and not very well balanced. Though there is an interesting plastic protection inside that prevents it from scratching, personally I don't like it posted. There the Pelikan is much better of, simply because the plastic is not as heavy.


Well, I guess this is it. I hope you don't mind, but I don't like giving grades for the simple reason that most of those pens are high end quality products. And if the nib writes a bit wetter or not, has a bit more flex or a bit less or is a bit smoother or gives more feedback, in the end it's just about personal taste. This pen is completely different to my m805 but both of them just have an extremely high build quality. So, no mark from my side.


Thanks for reading... sorry, it's a bit long I guess.


Reagards from Switzerland



Edited by dgms
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Thanks for your detailed review. I always wondered about the differences between the GvFC Classic and Guilloche, so thanks for noting it. I also noticed that while the Classic has a two-tone nib, the Guilloche has the monotone rhodium-plated nib.


I have the Guilloche and was planning to sell it, mainly because I'm not fond of metal sections (in any pen). The Guilloche's metal section, like that on the Classic (going by your photo), is slender and slightly tapered, so it's not as chunky or bulky as in other pens. However, my fingers tend to slip if I'm writing quickly (which I often do).


Your review now makes me want to keep the only GvFC I happen to own. Thanks again.


Talking about fountain pens is like dancing about architecture.

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Ok, so here comes an addition to the first post:

Here's a review of the Guilloche line. I got it from the exact same shop in Zurich and has therefore a lifelong guarantee -from Faber-Castell- as well. As stated above, the only service from the shop is that they actually send it in and they're an official dealer of Graf von Faber-Castell.




Here's a picture with both the pens in line with their caps closed. As you can see, they have only minor differences in appearance and shape, the classic line just happens to be a bit bigger. You could compare the sizes with Pelikan as the Classic line with the m800 series and the Guilloche line witht the m600 series.


Then there's a different material, the Guilloche line is made out of some sort of Resin that has been worked on in a process called "guillochieren" (it's German, but actually just the verb made from Guilloche... so I guess you can figure it out in English). As stated aboce, Classic line is platinum plated, Guilloche line is rhodium plated. I think the rhodium has a bit of a white, more shiny touch to it than the platinum. But it is as perfectly made and beautifully put together as the classic line and comes in different colours, such as red, blue, black or entirely rhodium plated. It's quite a bit lighter than the classic line, but still feels very solid. Well, it looks all a bit smaller and tinier, even the cap. But it's not a big difference.




Here comparison of the nibs. As you can see, the entire front part is the same in size, from nib to grip. Only the material of the grip section, as above, it's rhodium and not platinum... but both are about equally valuable and durable. The nib is actually the same, just not two tone but entirely rhodium plated. Apart of that it's the same, 18 carat gold. OB as well in this case. One difference yet... only the classic line has a screw cap, the guilloche line just clicks. But it's very durable...


As with the review above I won't give any marks or grades, they are both extremely well made and built, have the same advantages and the same converter. Quality is great, the rest is a question of taste. For my personal taste though... I admit, I like the looks of the bigger series better, it just looks and feels more grown up. But then... that's just me. Biggest differences are price, material for the body and size. Nothing that affects the writing experience.


Thanks again,


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Great review! I agree this great brand doesn't get enough attention around here, which is a little sad. Hope to see more reviews from you in the future.



Montblanc 145, F nib
Faber Castell E-Motion in Pearwood, F nib
Montblanc 149, F nib
Visconti Divina Proporzione 1618, S nib
Montblanc Cool Blue Starwalker, EF nib
Montblanc Solitaire Silver Barley BP
Montblanc Rouge et Noir Coral, M nib

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Thanks, David. I have wanted a GFC for a while/. They have a silver-plated, right?

And I agree, I should like to see more info on these pens. :thumbup:

"... because I am NOT one of your FANZ!" the INTP said to the ESFJ.

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Actually, no. They do have a Classic line series in solid Sterling silver, this one has even a slight difference to the others: On the cap there's a double crown. Looks a bit posh, being honest, but very nice. And then they have also a fully platinum plated, but with this one the grip is made of some plastic and it doesn't realy feel good I find. Then there are the wooden ones (grenadilla, pernambucco and ebony) as well as one with rings, called anello (it's in the end ebony with rings, all rings are platinum plated). Hope this helps...

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Actually, no. They do have a Classic line series in solid Sterling silver, this one has even a slight difference to the others: On the cap there's a double crown. Looks a bit posh, being honest, but very nice. And then they have also a fully platinum plated, but with this one the grip is made of some plastic and it doesn't realy feel good I find. Then there are the wooden ones (grenadilla, pernambucco and ebony) as well as one with rings, called anello (it's in the end ebony with rings, all rings are platinum plated). Hope this helps...



Ok, I remember now. It was the sterling that I liked. Out of production now, I guess.

Thanks for the info!



"... because I am NOT one of your FANZ!" the INTP said to the ESFJ.

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  • 2 months later...

I have an Osmia (Supra nib) Farber Castell, from @1950, that is a touch flexible. I think it is a flexible Fine.

I am too new to pens to really be able to tell. I need to check it against Richard Binder's ink line chart. I have a stiffer Fine in pre Lami, Artus-Ballit.


I found it and a seven other pens six weeks ago, that lay in a drawer for the last 15 years by us. I am very happy with it.

It is a marble-gray black piston filler.

Osmia, had been a very good company, bought up by Parker, who needed a good company in Germany to make their pens. Parker failed twice in Germany, being too expensive and not carrying enough ink.


Osmia was bought up by Farber Castell @1949-50 and after two years shut down.

The Osmia Supra from what I have read was a better nib than Farber Castell.


Six weeks ago, I knew what a Parker or a Schaefer or a Cross or a cheap Pelikan was, and the name Esterbrook was hidden in the bottom of my mind. Montblank was a fancied up Pelikan, and I'd never heard of a Waterman.


Now I know about Osmia. I am very thankful to the pen coms.

Had I gone to the flea market six weeks ago, I'd been fat, dumb and happy with a couple of bucks for pens with more value, and I'd not started to learn to write.


There is always a ying to a yang. I think I've started collecting pens.


As soon as I master the camera...I'll drop back in and post a picture

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




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  • 1 year later...

Here are my Graf









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Excellent review of a really nice pen, thanks.

And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.


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I love Graf pens. I have a vintage (pre-1990) Pernambuco and it is great in every respect - finish, the nib, and all. For those that do not like metal sections - you can exchange your section for a resin one through Faber-Castell, or you can grip the wood barrel (which is very comfortable - give it a try!)

The sword is mightier than the pen. However, swords are now obsolete whereas pens are not.



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This is a stunning design. I really enjoy the read.

A man's real possession is his memory. In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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