LAMY Aion (black)

Few weeks ago, Lamy has introduced a new pen called Lamy Aion. It’s pure and quite minimalistic look, which is is rather characteristic to Lamy in general had been achieved by British designer Jasper Morrison. When I have seen it first time at the London Writing Equipment Show in October at the Write Here desk, it really brought my attention. I like simple, but at the same time functional designs. Moreover, when I tested it, I was really positively surprised how well and smoothly EF nib it had performed.

The entire body of the Lamy Aion is made from aluminium, except clip. The surface of the entire pen is matt-black anodic coated which is nicely contrasting with glossy clip and nib. The coating gives pretty and an interesting lightly abrasive feel. Some people says that this to some extent reminds them a fine nail polish and in fact you can use it like that if you really but really need it…(please don’t!) It may give an impression that pen is not slippery, somehow similar to Makrolon® used  in Lamy 2000, but Lamy 2000 is a completely different experience (the price tag too). However, the coating on Lamy Aion is very resistant to scratches, which is great if you work in the conditions and environment which is not necessarily good for fountain pens.  Interestingly, the way the barrel and the section are brushed and coated is slightly different, which makes these two parts of the pen distinguishable.  Some people will find it not right and some would not mind at all. Personally, I am on the fences, but I understand the idea behind. However, capped it looks consistent. The grip section is slightly tapered down and is comfortable to use.

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Is Wing Sung 698 any good?

Last week when I visited London for Writing Equipment Show, I played a little with Wing Sung 698 . I have seen many comments about this pen before, but actually I never had one in my hands (thanks Vijay!). All people who are familiar with TWSBI pens will quickly find out that Wing Sung 698 is reminiscent to TWSBI flagship model 580 Diamond and maybe a little to TWSBI Eco. I was very positively surprised by its performance, so just after LWES meeting I decided to pull the trigger and I ordered one from Ebay to give it a go.

The model I ordered is a clear demonstrator. There are other options available too. As I mentioned the first impression is: gosh this looks like TWSBI!…and indeed it does. They are not exactly the same fountain pens but striking similarities are obviously there.

Similarly, to TWSBI Diamond 580, Wing Sung is a piston fill fountain pen. This seems to be incredibly interesting aspect, because piston filling mechanism is not what you will be expecting to see in a pen which costs between £ 10.5 -14.00 (incl. shipping!). The pen is made from clear plastic material which does not feel very cheap but is still it does not feel lik TWSBI 580 or Vac 700, however is not much different from TWSBI Eco.

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Manuscript ML 1856 – Molten Lava – pen review

First time when I heard that Manuscript is working on  ‘luxury’ british-made fountain pens I was very intrigued, since I was always affiliating this company with relatively inexpensive calligraphy sets and other stationary related items you could buy here and there. Then, my curiosity raised up when I have seen first commercial pictures of the material and colours Manuscript is planning to use for these eye-candy creations. I must say – it looks very pretty.

ML 1856  is not officially released yet (May/June 2017). The retail price for fountain pen is planned to be around £ 125.0, which is not cheap but at the same time comparable with some competitor’s fountain pens in the market. There is already many discussions about this pen among fountain pen users and many of us is awaiting official release. Thanks to Manuscript I was lucky enough to put my hands on one of them before official release, test it hard and gather some ‘end user‘ thoughts.

Manuscript ML 1856 combines classic look and modern, contemporary material. ML1856 is designed for modern day-to-day penmanship. 

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J. Herbin – Vert Olive and other

Hi,

Just a quick update. My review of J. Herbin – Vert Olive ink is live, so please have a look. Possibly not for everyone, but still this is very interesting ink and colour.

There is quite few different reviews in the pipeline on the write up stage being very close to completion. These are (in no particular order):

Paper:

  • Taroko notebooks with Tomoe River paper

Inks

  • J. Herbin – Lie de The
  • J. Herbin – Larmes de cassis
  • KWZ – Flame Red
  • KWZ – Grey Plum

Pens

  • Pelikan M805 (F)
  • Platinium Century 3776 (Soft Fine)

….so, stay tuned folks 🙂

Black Horseman – Namisu Nova Ebonite

Black Horseman – Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite

Few days ago, as a part of collaborative group called UnitedInkdom I have received for reviewing  an interesting pen called Namisu Nova Studio Ebonite.

Namisu is a small and independent designer’s studio based in the UK close to Edinburgh who successfully run few kickstarter projects including Nova. Nova is currently available with several barrel options including titanium, aluminum and ebonite which is especially interesting. I spent few days using it  and testing  with different nib options Namisu offers.

I really like the Namisu Nova Studio pen design, which is very minimalistic. The pen adopts a ‘classic’ torpedo shape, which to some extent reminiscences some Japanese-like pens like Nakaya (Piccolo) for instance. Nothing wrong with that. I like it. It looks modern and is well refined. I already have hand made fountain pen from Twiss Pen which has very similar shape (obviously material is different). Namisu Nova fountain pen I was lucky to test is made from ebonite, which gives not only matte ‘stealthy’ look but more importantly worm , pleasant feel, which is very unique and different from  other acrylic, resin or plastic pens. The ebonite is light material. It also does not feel slippery at all and to some extend it reminds Lamy 2000. It can catch some fingerprints, but then is very easy to get rid of them using any soft cloth.

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‘…I got the Eye of the Tiger…a fighter…’ – Jinhao Century yellow with black swirls

From time to time I buy inexpensive pens from China. I do this less and less often over last three years, but I still do. Many people think that cheap fountain pens can’t be any good, because they are so cheap. Is it true? Well, as always the true answer lies in-between. Very often they are poor quality and pretty much useless, however some of them are actually pretty good writers and writing experience may be compared to much more expensive fountain pens. There is few quite popular brands from China like Duke, Hero, Kaigelu and Jinhao which specialises in inexpensive pens. I have few in my collection including Kaigelu 316 or Duke Big Shark I reviewed several months ago.  These pens are below £ 25.0, look nice and are not bad writers either. Do they have issues? – yes, but overall they are fairly good value for money and I had them in rotation for quite long time. Nowadays, I use them less, but I still like to write with them.

There is some controversy about pens from China which design is quite often extremely similar to models offered by famous, but more expensive brands. If you look at Jinhao 159 and famous Montblanc 149 , the influence is obvious (even name is not accidental).  Some of them are very close (or way too close) to original designs like Jinhao 599 for instance which  looks very similar to Lamy Safari (except clip). Kaiglu 316 which reminds Parker Duofold Centennial or Hero 616 Jumbo vs. Parker 51 Special are another examples. Obviously, pens from China are much cheaper than original pens, but the overall quality (especially nibs) and materials are often lacking. Many of them like Jinhao are made from metal and are very heavy and feel unbalanced. Often the enamel is chipping off or gold plating is washing off after few months of use.  However, from the second hand, if you you are short on money or you are new to fountain pens and you are not sure if you like to invest more than 100 bucks for a pen, these inexpensive pens may be (and usually are) a good starting point into word of the fountain pens.

I haven’t bought any pen like this for last at least 9 months easily, so when I have seen on Youtube a review (please see) of the  recent Jinhao Century  model,  I decided to give it a go and buy one.  To be more specific the Cenury  line is not that new pen, because it was available in other colors in the past  (see review of Jinhao Century, MkI in blue). However, the yellow with black swirls and white (pearl) with black swirls are two new colours introduced recently .

Because I like the way yellow looks, I purchased it from Amazon for £ 14.80.  To my my surprise it arrived to my door in less than two days ! I thought it will be shipped from China…but obviously this is way to quick. Anyway, can’t complain at all.

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Lamy 2000 – when utility and design come together

There are possibly not many pens around which original idea and original design last since it was created and seems to be timeless.  Lamy 2000 is one of these pens. I was designed in mid 1960’s in Germany and it’s unusual design  was highly influenced by Bauhaus and German modernism revival that time. It represents more than 50 years of  German modernity, and its sleek, contemporary design become a ‘classic’ in the word of fountain pens, nowadays. Lamy 2000 ages well…or wait a minute …this pen design actually is not ageing at all! Still looks very modern and represents high manufacturing quality and is a class on its own. Its unique design is closely related to it’s utility functions and it works with purpose.  With no doubt, Lamy 2000 is one of the most popular fountain pens all the time.  ( Here you can find much more about history and design of Lamy 2000 )

 

Lamy 2000 was on my radar for quite a while, but not being a very big fan of less expensive Lamy line like Safari or Al-Star, I was always pushed back and undecided, especially knowing that this is not a very cheap fountain pen. The price vary. In the UK I have seen it for £ 150.0 but some retailers have it for £ 100.00, which actually is a very good price. In the USA price osculates too between $ 110.0 and  $ 160.0. However, the price is very easy to justify. The design, materials (including 14k gold nib) and finish are superb. When I touched this pen first time  my ultimate reaction was – WOW! This feels pretty cool !Continue reading

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze EF

Visconti Homo Sapiens is recognised by many in the fountain pen community as an iconic ‘grail pen’ and there is some sort of mysterious cult around this fountain pen in particular.  Before I got it,  which has happened few months ago, I have seen numerous reviews, pictures and comments about this pen and I was really curious what this massive hype is all about. The term ‘grail pen‘ may be considered as: ‘must to have this pen‘  but also: ‘I would love to have it, but damn… this is a really expensive pen and I can’t afford it!’. Is it worth its price? Why is so special? Or maybe this fountain pen is simply overrated?  Well, I will try to answer this question from my handwriting perspective and few months experience with mighty Visconti Homo Sapiens.

My journey with Visconti’s Homo Sapiens started in June 2016 when I visited Warsaw for my science related reasons. Wondering around center of Warsaw I stopped by in one local pen shop Pióroteka, where I was looking several pens including Sailor, Pilot, Kaweco and many others. I actually brought a pen there and it was incredible Lamy 2000, which nowadays is one of my ‘every day’ pens, but this is a story for different time. However, being there I asked lovely and extremely patient lady who works there, if I can have a look at Visconti’s pens. Luckily, they had them in bronze, silver and brand new that time Dark Ages version. When I picked this pen, the feel it gave was so incredible, that I knew straight on, that here is some serious business going on. The pen is quite heavy (43 grams capped/ 25 grams uncapped) and feels substantial, but not too heavy. It feels right and to some extent powerful. When I unscrewed the cap, which is very easy to do with famous Visconti’s ‘hook lock safe’ system, the beauty of this fountain pen was astonishing and overwhelming. 

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