Far be it from me to appear to break my own period of pen exile again so soon… But I confess there are still a few pens in my collection as yet unreviewed. Also my fellow pen aficionado, Ian Hedley, tweeted that he missed my reviews so I thought I might flex my probably much atrophied reviewing muscles and see what happens, safe in the knowledge that I haven’t parted with any cash in so doing.
The pen I’ve chosen is the Conklin Stylograph mosaic fountain pen. This pen hails from the recent revival of the Conklin brand name. This brand revival business has now become a regular phenomena in the pen world. Truth to tell this has always been the case to some degree. There have been revivals and reincarnations of many a brand and model over the years, some have been mindful of the brands heritage and thus have been well done, others not so. The Conklin brand (owned by Yafa I believe) make much of their American heritage although I’m not sure just how close to Toledo Ohio these pens ever get…
Description: This particular pen is a cartridge converter pen. Handily it comes with a converter and two short ink cartridges in a large blue faux leather box. Inside the box there is a silky liner that perhaps unfortunately looks like the liner of an ostentatious funeral casket. These days I tend to think less is more in the packing of a pen, but that’s just my opinion.
In terms of its styling, the pen is purposely designed to be something of a throwback, which is no bad thing in itself. Classic designs or design periods often enjoy the odd come-back. This particular incarnation has a substantial, classic look to it.The acrylic resins that form the mosaic patterns are beautifully rich and lustrous. Each pen is supposedly hand-made with a block art deco design so each pen is unique in terms of the particular acrylic pattern. What is also pleasing about this pen is that it is finished extremely well. The chrome fittings and the black acrylic section and blind cap all work well together.
The finial on the cap has the brand name and ‘est 1898′ inlaid into it. The cap has a distinctive spring clip also engraved with the Conklin name. The base of the cap is finished in chrome with crescent moons and the Stylograph name engraved on it.
The body of the pen is slightly tapered toward the rear. The blind cap is made from black acrylic with a chrome ring. There is a noticeable step down to the black grip section with a screw threadat the barrel end. The grip is tapered and finished near the nib with another larger chrome fitting. This fitting is nicely finished with the crescent moon motif.
The nibs on these are quite interesting, depending on what size you order. The fine point is cloured black, the medium is chrome and gold with a crescent moon breather hole while the 1.1 stub is chrome. They are all steel nibs, as you would expect at this pricepoint.
The pen is no lightweight (see later) and for some its’ weight will be a reassuring positive, while for others it may induce some writing fatigue.
Dimensions: The pen is 13.65 cm long (5.375″) with a posted length of 16.83 cm ( 6.625″). It weighs in at about 39g (1.3 oz)
On Test: I have to be honest that the testing of this pen did not start well. When first used the 1.1 stub nib hardly delivered any ink and the writing experience was a horrible stop-start affair. After some work disassembling the nib and feed and tweaking it was much better, in fact a little too good. Ink almost leaps out of the nib, now laying a thick wet line which is nice but borders on the torrential. The medium nib however was great right from the off. A true medium and very smooth. Just shows that sometimes extra nibs are worth the effort.
In terms of the writing experience itself, I find the pen quite comfortable for short to medium periods but a little weighty for longer writing sessions. It is quite a broad pen and that might be a factor too. The pen is postable but I prefer to use it unposted as it becomes too long and somewhat top heavy when posted.
Summary: What sets this pen apart is undoubtedly the classic styling and the finish. It is a great looking pen. The finish is immaculate and it is definitely the type of pen that attracts comments from others. The pen’s classic look combined with the beautiful mosaic resin make this pen a real head-turner.
In terms of writing the expereince there is perhaps a little less to shout about. It is very good but not quite outstanding. The weight and girth of the pen might make it problematic for some when used for longer periods.
Overall a mighty decent pen I think!