TWSBI Diamond 530

I recently got this pen from the seller twsbipens on eBay, for roughly 43 USD shipped, and it came in a cardboard box with the TWSBI logo, and then a little TWSBI manual, then some layers of foam, then a plastic box that actually held the pen.Inside the box was a small container of silicon grease, and a tool stamped with TWSBI that is used to disassemble the piston mechanism, which is a very new and attractive idea. The pen itself is available in any color you want, as long as its clear, for the time being, and with three nib sizes, extra-fine, fine, and medium, of which I got the extra-fine.

Appearance (9/10)- For only 43 USD, it really looks like a more expensive pen. The barrel is faceted, hence the word “Diamond” in the name, and the cap and blind cap are round. The piston mechanism is visible, and is made almost entirely of plastic, except for a small metal piece, whose function is, for the moment, unknown. The cap screws onto the section, and the section screws onto the barrel. The major significance of this is that because the feed is in a self-contained unit, and that the barrel screws into this unit, there is no chance of ink leaking into the section, which has plagued many other demonstrator pens. Another interesting feature of the section threads is that there is an o-ring on it, which supposedly makes the pen airtight. The cap itself has what appears to be a chrome-plated cap band, which says, in a sort of opaque writing that is quite distinct, says “TWSBI”, and then on the other side, “DIAMOND”, then “530“, and finally, “TAIWAN”. The inner cap is visible, and appears to be a light smoky color. The really interesting part of the cap ring is that it holds in a sort of red resinous material, in which is inlaid a shiny metal version of the TWSBI logo.

Quality (10/10)- For the price, this is a very high quality pen, and it has been said on FPN, that if Pelikan were to sell this pen, it would probably cost 150 USD, if not more. Not only that, but the guys at TWSBI were kind enough to design this pen so that it could be easily repaired, and I do hope that in case of irreversible disaster, TWSBI will offer replacement sections, blind caps, piston mechanisms, feeds, and caps.

Weight and Dimensions (9/10)- This is a large pen, with dimensions at 5 7/16 inches capped, 5 inches uncapped, and although I don’t recommend posting this pen, because it looks silly, and because removing it can actuate the piston mechanism, it is 6 3/4 inches long posted. Although it is a fairly heavy pen, I still feel that it could be heavier for my tastes, and also that the section can be too narrow for my clumsy fingers.

Nib (8/10)- This is a stainless steel nib, and I chose to get the extra-fine option. The nib itself is fairly attractive, despite the fact that I prefer gold -plated nibs. Below the breather hole is the TWSBI logo, and then the word “TWSBI”. On the side of the nib is, in the same opaque lettering as on the cap band, “EF”. The nib also has a sort of floral design on the nib, which I find to be rather attractive, even in monotone steel.

Filling System (9/10)- This pen is a piston filler, and from all appearances, it holds quite a bit of ink, the exact amount being unknown to me. Like the Pelikan, it has the option of filling it with a syringe, by twisting off the section, showing a small hole into the ink reservoir. The earlier forms of the mechanism had a problem with ink leaking past the piston seal, but the new 1.5 version seals prevent that, and I have had no such leakage in my pen.

Cost and Value (10/10)- For the price, this is a very high quality fountain pen, and the only thing I regret about this pen is not getting it earlier. I highly recommend it.

Conclusion (9/10)- I would highly recommend getting this pen immediately, and I may get more of these pens in either the medium or the fine nib size.

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pelikan M205

Quite a while ago, around August, I received in the mail my Pelikan M205, in what has been termed white, but I think is closer to a cream color. Upon opening the large box that held it, I saw the multiple shades of blue that made up the outer box of the “Cremeweiss-chrom fullhalter”. This led to the inner box with a guarantee booklet, and upon opening the box, with the similar shades of blue, a off-white interior, more off-white than a cream,k and the pen under the band, which I removed almost instantly.

Appearance (10/10)- First let me say that I much prefer a gold trim to this chrome trim, but it is attractive none the less. The entire pen is the familiar Pelikan shape, with a single cap band, and one band on the blind cap. The cap, which is, much like many Pelikans, a twist-on, has a simple cap band which says “PELIKAN” and “GERMANY”. The clip is like the usual Pelikan clip, plated with chrome. The cap ring is also chrome plated, and holds the little Pelikan “button”, which displays the usual pelican and chick in a silver color. Upon removing the cap, the ink view is visible, which I believe to be more useful than the one on my M200 that I reviewed previously. One odd phenomenon is that the section, when in use, seems a different color than the barrel, something not caused by shadows. Perhaps this is a similar phenomenon as seen by the Lamy Blue cartridges when next to the Noodler’s Blue, making the Lamy ink seem more like a purple. Also, can be a fingerprint magnet.

Quality (9/10)- As per the Pelikan usual, nearly flawless, from the smooth plastic body and cap, to the butter-smooth piston mechanism. There was, however, one small issue, which bothered me to no end, being the seam where they molded the section. I suppose that it is a little problem in retrospect, but it did standout in an otherwise flawless pen.

Weight and Dimensions (8/10)- This is one of my smaller pens, measuring in at 4 7/8 inches capped, 4 5/8 inches uncapped, and 5 7/8 inches posted. Although I have no fancy measuring device, you’ll just have to trust me that it is a light-weight pen. This may not be a problem with other people, but it is a little problem with me, considering that I prefer larger and heavier pens.

Nib (7/10)-  This is a stainless steel open nib, in an EF point, and it may be chrome-plated, although I can’t tell. Like many of the other Pelikan nibs, this nib has a slight springiness to it, a quality that, as I have noted before, I enjoy. This is where the review deviates from “Pelikan worship”. When I first got the pen, and filled it with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, it skipped like crazy, and was only slightly fixed by widening the space between the gaps by pressing down. After a while, it writes much better, but I always remember how much it didn’t work.

Filling System (10/10)- This is one of my favorite filling systems, the piston filler. Not to mention, the Pelikan piston filler is, by nature, smooth as silk. Smoother, in fact. Anyhow, it is somewhat better by the fact that you can remove the nib in order to fill the pen without wasting much ink, by way of syringe.

Cost and Value (8/10)- While this is a very good pen, and I am sure that it was reasonably priced, I still can’t shake the feeling that this is very expensive for a pen with just a plain steel nib. Of course, I am sure that someone will come along and show me something with a higher price that only has a steel nib.

Conclusion (7.5/10)- While this is a good pen, I would most certainly not get it again, and would definitely not purchase it at MSRP.

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 7:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pelikan M200

I got this pen a while ago from Amazon for a price of 89 USD shipped, with a fine nib, and I can’t say I’m too disappointed in it. It came in the signature Pelikan blue box, with the internal box with the rather nice manual, and with the plush interior, although I do dislike the little elastic band that keeps it in the box. Now, onto the actual review:

Appearance (9/10): This pen is very pretty, with gold trim, and a black cap, which screws on, a black section, and a black piston knob. The barrel is a marbled blue, with little metallic specks in the mix, making for a very attractive combination. The ink view is sort of a smoky-transparent color, and doesn’t work as well I would have hoped until you are almost out of ink. The cap has the standard Pelikan clip, also gold plated, and the end finial is black with a gold-colored pelican and chick, with a black retaining ring. The cap band says “PELIKAN” and “GERMANY” on the other side, and is nice and flush with the cap, with no really obvious seam. Really the only detractor from the pen’s appearance is the fact that the ink view is mostly useless, and that the plastic is practically a fingerprint magnet.

Quality (9/10)- Nearly perfect, and I would expect no less from Pelikan, and holds together very nicely, although it sometimes looks fragile. There is one noticeable issue here, being a very noticeable seam on the section where it was molded. Everywhere else it is perfect.

Weight and Dimensions (8/10)- This is a very lightweight pen, and although it is my preference to have heavier pens, it is really only a small issue. Speaking of small, this is a rather small pen, measuring in at only 4 7/8 inches capped, 4 5/8 inches uncapped, and 5 7/8 inches posted. While to me that is rather small, it is good for when I wear shirts that have smaller breast pockets.

Nib (9/10)- This is a gold-plated stainless steel nib in fine, and is only a little small for its size, at least in my opinion. Besides that, it is very attractive, and it has the word “Pelikan”, then the Pelikan logo, then an “F”, for Fine. One nice thing about the Pelikan nibs is that most Pelikan nibs can simply screw out of the section, and are houses in a nib and feed assembly. Although it is rather scratchy, it does work, and does have a bit of springiness, not really any flex, and that can either be a attractor or a detractor to different people. I, for one, happen to enjoy the springiness, and I sometimes with that it was actual flex. One note is that it does write finer with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, than a Platinum Plaisir with a 03 nib, their equivalent of Fine, with the proprietary Platinum ink. The joke here for the uninitiated is that on a sliding scale of nib size, Japanese Fines are usually finer than American fines, and that German fine nibs are wider than American fines. Of course here, the Platinum fine is actually slightly wider than the Pelikan fine, although that may just be a quirk of my ink.

Filling System (10/10)- Now this is one of the better forms of fountain pen filling, the piston filler. Basically, by turning the blind cap at the end of the pen, you can lower or raise the piston inside the body of the pen, which works in a similar fashion to a syringe. The use of this filling system allows this pen to have a relatively high ink level without the inherent messiness of the eyedropper system. The Pelikan system, with its removable nib, allows one to fill it in an even cleaner way, which is with a syringe to actually pour ink into the chamber, with minimal loss of ink.

Cost and Value (8/10)- This is a very good pen, and I am glad that I bought it, and I am even more glad to know that I bought it at somewhat lower than MSRP. For the price, I am pleased with what I got.

Conclusion (9/10)- This is a superb pen, and I recommend to any of you to purchase it, before it stops being available, as I understand that this is a discontinued pen

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sheaffer No-nonsense

A while ago, I purchased a different Sheaffer, an Imperial III, from terim, a very nice seller on eBay, and guess my surprise to see a free pen thrown in, with a Sheaffer cartridge! With soccer-ball print, no less.

Appearance (8/10)- It’s a Sheaffer No-Nonsense, with a screw-in black section, and a flat-top cap, which screws on, with the word “SHEAFFER” on the clip, which I find isn’t flexible enough for my tastes. Like I said earlier, it has a soccer-ball print on the plastic cap and body.

Quality (7/10)- This is by no stretch of the imagination an expensive pen, and it shows. Despite that, it still holds together well enough, with the possible exception of the cap band, which spins, and the little doohickey that goes into the top of the cap, which I believe fell out. Even if it didn’t, it looks like it did.

Weight and Dimensions (8/10)- The length of this pen is 5 3/16 inches capped, 4 13/16 inches uncapped, and roughly 6 inches posted. It is very light, due to the all plastic construction, and I can’t feel much of a difference in terms of balance between posted and not posted.

Nib (8/10)- It uses an open steel nib, with a medium-sized point, which it about the same size as a 1980-90‘s Sheaffer School Pen’s fine nib. It is fairly smooth, considering.

Filling System (6/10)- This pen uses the proprietary Sheaffer cartridge-converter system. Nothing more to say, really.

Cost and Value (10/10)- With a cost of nothing, this is the best value I could get unless I found a free Montblanc sitting in my doorway.

Conclusion (~8/10)- This is a good-enough pen, provided you can get it at a low enough price, although it will never be a daily writer for me.

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Parker Profile (P. III)

I decided to get this pen from a seller on eBay, and at first, it didn’t write very well, to be honest, but now it writes a little better, provided you give it some priming.

Appearance (8/10)- It does look pretty good, with a brushed metal section and barrel finial. The body has a slightly glossy and marbled appearance, and is leaning towards pink, although in the pictures I saw it looks more like burgundy. The cap is made of the same material, with no cap band, and has a finial made of the same sort of plastic, and snaps onto the section, and spins freely enough. Its spring-loaded slip ends in the familiar arrow shape, and has chrome-trim, with the words “PARKER” and “MADE IN UK P.III” at the area where a cap-band would be.

Quality (8.5/10)- Everything feels pretty solid, except where the section screws into the body, which, at least I think, looks an feels a little rough.

Weight and Dimensions (8/10)- Quite light, even when posted. It is 5 3/8 inches capped,  4 1/2 inches uncapped, and about 6 5/16 inches posted.

Nib and Preformance (6/10)- This nib is made out of stainless steel, with the Parker name on it. The nib is supposedly a fine, but feels like it is closer to a medium point. Naturally, it doesn’t have a breather-hole, and is very small for the overall size of the pen. The low score comes from the fact that when you write, it tends to dry up, requiring some arm exercise. I understand that this phenomenon comes from the fact that it is sent out of the factory with a pre-made baby’s bottom, which can lead to flow disruption on quality paper, although I hear that it makes it smoother.

Filling System (6/10)- This is a proprietary Parker cartridge-converter setup, which does hold quite a bit of ink. Not really what I would like, but it does the job.

Cost and Value (7/10)- At a cost of roughly 16 USD, this pen works well enough, even if it is a bit expensive.

Conclusion (~7/10)- This UK-only pen is adequate for its price, but I won’t be giving it any accolades, nor designating it my daily writer, mostly for the flow issues.

Like always, I owe you some pictures and a writing sample.

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Platinum Plaisir (PGB-1000)

I recently got this pen from Goulet Pens, who are a very good seller, and if you buy a pen from them during this Christmas season, you get a free ink sample of 2ml with every purchase under $50. Anyhow, following that shameless plug for a fantastic seller, who also have a blog, Ink Nouveau, here is the review of the Platinum Plaisir fountain pen, which I chose in the red color, and with what is either a 03 nib, or supposedly a 0.3mm nib, and it even came with a free cartridge, although no real packaging except a little plastic bag and bubble wrap, as well as my ink sample of Diamine Indigo, which I have yet to try. I do love those little boxes, although I suppose I will survive. It cost 20 USD, and had 5 USD shipping charge, which I suppose is not too bad. Anyhow, onto the review, whose layout I have “borrowed” from the FPN.

Appearance & Design (9/10) – This pen is quite attractive, with a halfway shiny exterior of what I believe is anodized aluminum. The clip looked odd to me, with a center stripe of red, and although it was not spring-loaded, it was not too bad. The center band appears to have chrome trim to my unexperienced eyes, but someone else may disagree. The center band is quite wide, and says Plaisir, then some interlocking rings, then the Platinum logo, then PLATINUM JAPAN, then more interlocking rings. Above and below the engraving are two textured rings the jut out slightly from the band. Although I could not see it, the top of the cap is engraved “03”. The section is siimilar to that of the Pilot Varsity, and apparently, to the Platinum Preppy, and is clear, showing the gray feed and collector, attaching to the cap via a snap mechanism. The only bad part, in my opinion, is the fact that when in the pocket, the cap tends to jut out a little more than a centimeter. All in all, not too bad.

Construction & Quality (9/10) – It is very sturdy, with an aluminum body, and although I am loath to drop it, should it drop, due to its rather slick body, I am confident that it would suffer no more than a few scrathes. The only reason it doesn’t get a perfect it due to the slickness.

Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – Although I am only using a ruler, it is 5 1/2″ long capped, 4 11/16″ uncapped, and 5 15/16″ posted, making it, just by a hair, my longest pen, longer than the TWSBI Diamond 530. According to the Goulet Pen Company, it is 15.4 grams, and feels very light to me. The only trouble here is that I prefer a pen with a bit more heft to it.

Nib & Performance (8/10) – It is a orange-reddish color, and has no breather hole, only an engraved circle where the breather hole would be. Underneath that is the Platinum logo, and then 03, the designation for nib size. From what I have seen, the nib is a little scratchy, and is a little small for my tastes, but that’s small potatoes, as long as it writes well, which it does.

Filling System & Maintenance (7/10) – It’s the run-of-the-mill cartridge/converter filler, with the interesting Platinum cartridges, which have the little metal ball in them. I do prefer piston-fillers and other kinds, but this is fairly good. The extra point comes from the much touted ability of it to last an entire year without losing any ink due to evaporation.

Cost & Value (9/10) – Being that it costs 20 USD, this is a good price, and it is a good pen, considering the other offerings at this price point.

Conclusion (~8.5/10) –  Not a perfect pen, by any means, but is quite good, and although I would never need their “year-long-evaporation-prevention”, it is always nice to know that a pen company is trying to make a pen for the Average Joe. I wholeheartedly support the purchase of this pen.

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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