I’m a great fan of pocket-sized pens so I thought that I would showcase some of mine. This won’t be in any way an in-depth review of each but a brief comparison pointing out the best qualities of each of the pens in question.
From the first picture you can see the relative size of the pens, the ones pictured are as follows: Black Kaweco Classic Sport, Silver Ohto Tasche, Franklin Christoph model 40 pocket ‘Fire and Ice’, Cult pens mini, and finally a Blue Kaweco AL Sport. The dollar is for scale (it’s a little more difficult with a £1 coin!)
The longest of these, the Franklin-Christoph, when capped is a mere 109mm and all fit snugly in the pocket. Some as you can see are clipless, which I prefer, but having a fixed clip is not a deal breaker for me. I can honestly say that each of these pens has its own particular delights which I will try to bring out under the following categories:
Value for Money: Undoubtedly the winner here is the Ohto Tasche, picked up from Cult Pens (www.cultpens.com) at under £10 at the time it is a killer pocket rocket. The nib is described as a medium but being Japanese writes more like a fine or even an extra-fine. This pen transforms when posted into a sleek 146mm long pen that is a delight with which to write. In terms of its weight it is mid range. The posting process is easy and secure with a rubber ‘O’ ring in the barrel making this a smooth and tactile transition. Worthy of a mention as the second cheapest is the stunning Kaweco Classic Sport – Classic by name and nature!
Style: This is a difficult category as all the pens are pleasing to the eye. The two that stand out for me are the Kaweco AL Sport and the Franklin Christoph M40P ‘Fire and Ice’. Two truly beautiful pens to look at and use, Very different in character though. I love the design of the Kaweco and I’m a sucker for powder coated aluminium. But the Franklin Christoph is equally remarkable with its constituent acrylic being a real eye-catcher too!
Build: By build I mean the overall quality and solidity of the pen. Here the winners are the Kaweco AL Sport and the Cult Pens mini. The solid aluminium of the AL Sport says it all. It has lovely heft and is great in the pocket as you know it’s there at all times! The Cult pens mini is the most compact of these pens when posted but feels reassuringly solid. Being made by Kaweco that is really no surprise but well done to Cult Pens on the project! Much lighter and probably less durable in the long run is the Classic Sport but in a way I like that too, it has accrued a number of its own scratches but that only makes it more personal to me in my opinion.
Nib quality: A horrendous category in which to choose a winner. The Kaweco’s are consistently brilliant, my favourite of course being the EF. The FC40P is a great nib ground by Mike Masuyama, a pleasure to use and the most nuanced – need I say more. But surprise surprise I am hedging my bets by being truly taken aback by the Ohto Tasche nib quality. It’s a real beauty, and did I mention it was under £10? At that price can you really go wrong?
Writing Samples: I have included a pic using all the pens on my usual A5 Rhodia dot grid 80gsm paper. See what you think…
TWE: (that’s total writing experience) Here in my final category I’m honestly at a loss to decide, my favourite is often the one I’m using at the time! If I had to choose one on pain of dismemberment I would go for the AL Sport… or the Tasche…or the Franklin Christoph…on second thoughts it can’t be done, sorry I need them all :). What are your favourite pocket rockets?