Design that works: A review of the Faber-Castell Ondoro

There are some things in life that just work. Why? They have a quintessential fitness for function that makes them almost indispensible. Of such is the pen that I will showcase as only my second fountain pen review on ‘A fool with a Pen’ (AFWAP) –  the Faber-Castell ‘Ondoro’ fountain pen in orange.

Many of you will know that Faber-Castell are a German company that were originally a family owned pencil company that can trace its roots back to the latter part of the 18th century (1761 to be precise). A sign that continuity and tradition play a large part in this company’s values can be seen in the fact that a member of the founding family still leads the company to this day.

Description: This pen is subtly sophisticated. It’s highly polished chrome cap is engraved with the company logo on the end, has a very good spring-loaded clip and fits snugly on to the barrel of the pen. The barrel is smooth and uncluttered with a comfortably tapered grip near the nib. The hexagonal shape is both ergonomic in the hand and useful as the pen stays rock-steady when rested on the desk. The nib appears to be a standard Faber-Castell steel model that is attractively adorned with jousting knights and a dot pattern but more importantly than all this is the fact that it writes like a dream.  I have the medium nib but they are sold in the range of EF through to B. I have just enough experience with ths range of nibs to know that they are all very smooth in operation.

Dimensions: In terms of size this pen is 128mm (5″) long in the closed position, 124mm (4.85″) open nib to base, 159mm (6.25″) when posted, 13mm  (0.5″) across the flats of the barrel giving it something of a chunky feel, especially for people with smaller hands. I terms of its total weight it comes in at approximately 32g, but without cap the pen weighs just 14g, which is super light.

Feel: Despite this super lightness this pen never feels less than substantial. Its distinctive, almost pencil like, hexagonal barrel and cap make it an extremely tactile pen. It exudes a sense of sophistication and quality from the moment it is in the hand. It is a quite simply a design beauty. It almost has a dual retro and contemporary vibe which makes it almost irresistible to the touch. The smooth acrylic body is pleasingly contrasted by the heavier metal cap and both come together with a reassuring click to secure them.

Writing Test: I chose to fill this pen with Pilot Iroshizuku ‘Tsukushi’ (which means horsetail)  ink and test it using my usual 80gsm Rhodia paper.This is an ink that I was also testing out for the first time and am very pleased with it. It  is a velvety brown ink that goes splendidly with this pen and will remain the ink of choice for me when using this pen because the combination of this ink and the smooth nib of this pen is beautiful. It just works! The medium nib gave only a slight degree of line variation but was so smooth it was a real pleasure to use. In use the feed and nib work well together and supply ink without any annoying gapping or false start issues. The pen appears to be easy to service with the nib and feed unscrewing for cleaning. The Faber-Castell converter is as robust as they come and the pen also takes short international cartridges if you prefer.

Summary: This is a truly delightful, smooth writing pen which I would commend wholeheartedly to anyone’s collection. It looks fantastic and writes just as well. I’m a real fan of orange fountain pens and as such this is a must have. On the value for money scale it has to be said it is not the cheapest, retailing at something over the £80 mark in the UK but if you truly like writing then the experience this pen gives will  make it seem that every penny has been well spent.



3 thoughts on “Design that works: A review of the Faber-Castell Ondoro

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