Conklin Amber Duragraph Fountain Pen Review

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

Roy Conklin founded the Conklin Pen Company in 1898 in Toledo, Ohio. The company produced innovative writing tools with iconic filling systems such as the crescent filler. The company gained notoriety with the help of Mark Twain and his vocal support of their pens. In 2009, the Conklin name and brand were purchased by YAFA, which has been in business since 1978. The founder, Yair (Jerry) Greenberg, has been bringing out modern pens with vintage looks. The review today is of the Conklin Duragraph Amber fountain pen.

8/10 Packaging: The pen comes in a deep blue faux leather box with yellow stitching around the border with gold embossing in the middle that has the Conklin logo, “Est 1898” and “The legendary name for fine writing instruments”. The box has a blue outer sleeve with a window cut in it to see the Conklin logo on the box, and has a sticker on the end and the bottom that gives the model name, color, writing mode, and nib size. Inside the box are the same embossed logo and motto that are on the lid, as well as a card with information about the pen and refill instructions, two ink cartridges, and a converter.

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain PenConklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

9/10 First Thoughts: The slightly translucent amber body has black swirls, which are accented by the black finials and steel accents. The color looks like warm raw honey and is just as tasty to use.

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

8/10 Design: The pen has an overall design that is reminiscent of the flattops of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The cap finial has “Conklin Est 1898” engraved on it. The clip is very tight and requires both hands to slip it onto a pocket, but it holds very securely in place. The cap band is steel and has “Conklin” engraved on one side with crescent moons and “Duragraph” engraved on the other side. The threads on the grip section are smooth and unnoticeable when gripping the pen. The smooth black grip section has a slight flair where it meets the nib. The grip section has metal threads to join to the body so it cannot be converted into an eyedropper. You can post the pen, but it does become back-weighted.

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain PenConklin Duragraph Amber Fountain PenConklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

8/10 Nib Performance: The steel nib has a gold Conklin logo engraved, as well as “Toledo USA” and a small “F” showing it is a fine nib. The nib wrote beautifully out of the box with no tinkering needed and gave a pleasant feedback as it wrote. I allowed the pen to sit for nearly two weeks and it wrote with no hesitation or skipping.

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

9/10 Filling System: The pen included a threaded standard international converter, as well as two cartridges.

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

8/10 Value: The pen has a retail price of $65, which I feel is spot on for this model. The pen is light, which is perfect for longer writing sessions, but not so light that it feels cheap. The coloring of the body makes the pen stand out, grabs your attention, and does not let go until you write with it.

50/60 Overall: I was very impressed with this model. I have been a fan of Conklin for a number of years but this is the first time I was able to use the Conklin Duragraph Amber fountain pen for a prolonged period of time. The pen is a true delight to use for short or long writing sessions, and I think it would be a wonderful pen for any level of fountain pen user.

Specs:

Name: Conklin Duragraph Amber fountain pen

Design: Colored translucent resin

Length: 5.5 inches (140mm)

Posted: 6.9 inches (175mm)

Diameter: .5 inches (13mm)

Weight: 26 grams

Nib: steel

Filling System: C/C

 

Pros: Threaded converter and cap, writes out of the box, vintage design

Cons: Metal threads prevent eyedropper conversion, cap does not post deeply

In the same price range:

Twsbi Vac 700R

Monteverde Mountains of the World

Lamy Aion

 

“Make your Mark”

Eric Aycock (Pengeek13)

Handwritten review by Jessy Aycock

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain PenConklin Duragraph Amber Fountain PenConklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

Conklin Duragraph Amber Fountain Pen

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Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen Review

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen Review

The Bexley Pen Company was founded in 1993 in Columbus, Ohio. They are known for making modern pens inspired by the “Golden Age of fountain pens.” This review is of the Bexley Demeter fountain pen in black with red accent rings, gold colored cap band, and a medium steel nib.

8/10 Packaging:  The pen comes inside a black Bexley-branded box with a magnetic flap closure. Also included are filling and cleaning instructions, a warranty slip, and two ink cartridges. A plain black cardboard outer sleeve covers the box. This sleeve also has stickers that read, “Made in U.S.A” and “Bexley Pen Co, Inc. Demeter Collection,” and notes the pen color and nib size.

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen  Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen

 

8/10 First thoughts: The pen looks like it stepped out of the 1930’s. The black cap and body are perfectly contrasted by a gold-colored cap band and red accent bands.

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen

9/10 Design: The pen is light at 17 grams, which is great for longer writing sessions. You can post the cap securely, but it makes the pen a bit long, in my opinion. The overall design of the Bexley Demeter fountain pen is similar to a vintage Parker Duofold or Sheaffer Flat Top fountain pen. The cap secures snuggly with one-and-a-half turns, the grip section has a flare at the end and the threads are smooth and barely noticeable.

The clip caught my attention as it has a small rollerball on the end that allows you to easily slide the pen in and out of a pocket or pen pouch. The clip ring only goes halfway around the cap, causing a small gap; however, this does not affect the strength of the clip. It is possible this is just a flaw on this specific pen as the pictures on Bexley’s website appear to have a clip ring that goes completely around the cap. There is no branding anywhere on the body or cap. It has a shiny black finish with thin red accent bands on the cap and body and a gold-colored cap band that grabs your attention.  Nib options are all steel and include Fine, Medium, and Broad.

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen  Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen  Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen  Bexley Demeter Fountain PenBexley Demeter Fountain Pen

 

8/10 Nib Performance: The steel nib is a very smooth, wet writer. I experienced no hard starts even after leaving the pen on my desk for a few days. The two-tone nib adds to the vintage look of the pen and provides a pop of color. I am fond of the simple branding with a stylized “B,” the word “Bexley,” and the letter “M” for Medium nib size. I used KWZ Honey ink, a wet ink, for this review and the pen was a very wet writer showing the nib is tuned very well right out of the box.

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen

 

8/10 Filling System: The pen is a cartridge/converter filling system. It comes with two ink cartridges, but does not include the standard international converter. The body is solid and the threads are plastic so you should be able to eyedropper the pen if you prefer. I would just add a small amount of silicone grease around the threads to prevent leaks.

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen

 

7/10 Value:  A retail price of $199 is the higher-end of pricing for steel nib. Yet it’s the lower-end of pricing for gold nib fountain pens. It has the look of a vintage pen without having to worry about potentially hard to service filling systems or maintenance issues, which some vintage pens suffer from.

48/60 Overall: The vintage pen design is interesting. Especially since it uses modern materials and has a modern filling system. I always wanted a vintage Duofold or Flat Top, but I have always been concerned with not being able to service those pens on my own. This would be a great substitute for someone that wants the look of a vintage fountain pen with the convenience of a modern fountain pen.

 

 

Specs:

Name: Bexley Demeter fountain pen

Design: Black body with red accent bands and a gold-colored cap band

Length: 5 5/16 inches (134.9mm)

Posted: 6.25 inches (171.45 mm)

Diameter: .49 inches (12.5 mm body), .61 inches (15.5 mm cap band)

Weight: 17 grams

Nib: Steel Medium

Filling System: C/C

 

Pros: Vintage design, rollerball clip, no nib work needed out of the box, screw-on cap

Cons: Higher-end price range for steel nibs and lower-end price range for gold nibs, does not come with a converter

In the same price range:

Platinum 3776 Century

Aurora Duocart

Faber- Castell E-Motion

 

“Make your mark”

Eric Aycock (Pengeek13)

 

Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen  Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen Bexley Demeter Fountain Pen

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen Review

Taccia2.jpg

The Taccia Company makes a wide variety of writing products and accessories, from traditional fountain pens, ballpoint pens, pen pouches and wraps, to exquisite limited edition Maki-E and Raden pens. Today’s review is of the Taccia Spectrum fountain pen in Merlot Red with a Music nib.

9/10 Packaging: The pen comes inside of a Taccia embossed (faux) leather box with a cardboard sleeve around it. Inside the box is a black satin bed with a loop to hold the pen in place, a warranty card, and an instruction booklet.

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen

 

9/10 First thoughts: The pen really pops against the black satin bed. The body is almost translucent and has a classic shape and look.

Taccia2.jpg

 

9/10 Design: The pen has a nice weight to it and rests comfortably in the web of my hand. The last third of the pen has a gradual taper to the bottom finial, which allows the cap to be securely posted. There is no cap band, but the name “Taccia” is printed in silver where the cap band would be. This two-toned nib has “Taccia Japan” engraved on it, with a small “MS” stamped on the wing identifying it as a music nib.

The pen is available in Ocean Blue, Forest Green, and also Merlot Red, with the option for a Fine, Medium, or Music nib. There is a small step-down from the body to the grip section, which can be a bit small for larger hands, and the threads are noticeable. I scored down for the clip, which is quite stiff. It clips securely to a dress shirt pocket, but thicker clothes may require two hands to clip. The threaded cap screws on securely.

 

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen  Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen

8/10 Nib Performance: Especially relevant, the music nib is very smooth and a wet writer. It is very broad, almost to the point of being unable to be used for usual everyday writing. I experienced a few hard starts, but that may be due to the Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink I was using. This Japan-made nib is two-toned steel with a breather hole and appears to be similar to Sailor pen nibs and feeds.

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen  Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen

 

9/10 Filling System: The pen uses what appears to be a Sailor converter, which is proprietary, is included with the pen, and is a simple push-in converter. As a result of the metal threads on the body, it is not possible to eyedropper the pen. My only score down comes from it being a proprietary converter.

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen

 

8/10 Value:  A retail price of $159 is near the higher-end of pricing for steel nib, and yet the lower-end of pricing for gold nib fountain pens. The nib performs very well and is a smooth wet writer.

52/60 Overall: The design of the Taccia Spectrum fountain pen is timeless, and the color/material is very eye catching. I typically prefer a Fine or Extra Fine nib. This is my first experience with a music nib, but I really enjoyed writing with it. Finally, It gave my writing a wonderful expressiveness that you do not see in finer point nibs.

 

Specs:

Name: Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen Merlot Red

Design: Translucent acrylic body

Length: 5.5 inches (139.7mm)

Posted: 6.25 inches (158.75 mm)

Diameter: .55 inches (13.97 mm)

Weight: 26 grams

Nib: Two Tone steel Music nib

Filling System: C/C proprietary

 

Pros: Translucent body, interesting “non-standard” nib, screw on cap

Cons: Tight clip, higher end price range for steel nibs and bottom end for gold

In the same price range:

Lamy 2000

Pilot Vanishing Point

Pelikan M205

 

“Make your mark”

Eric Aycock (Pengeek13)

Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen  Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen   Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen

 

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Review

The Diplomat Company has been producing fine writing instruments since its founding in Germany in 1922. They have a wide range of products covering fountain pens, roller ball pens, mechanical pencils, and ballpoint pens. Today’s review is of the Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen with a Medium steel nib.

10/10 Packaging: The pen comes in a white box with the black Diplomat logo on the front. Inside is a smaller box with a grey metal sleeve, also with the “Diplomat since 1922” logo. The box contains the pen resting on a Diplomat branded satin pillow with a converter, ink cartridge, and service guide.

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain PenDiplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen

10/10 First Thoughts: The pen is simply stunning! The light catches the finish as soon as you open the box and the pen just screams, “Write with me!”

3.jpg Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen

9/10 Design: The body and weight is perfectly balanced. There is a gradual taper from the back of the grip section to the bottom of the finial, which allows the cap to post very securely. Branding is very simple and somewhat understated on this pen. A Diplomat logo is on the cap finial and the cap brand is engraved, “Diplomat Since 1922 Made in Germany”.

The pen comes with a stainless steel nib, but you have the option to upgrade to a 14K gold nib for about $100 more. Nib options for both the steel and gold nibs are Fine, Medium, and Bold, with Extra Fine coming shortly. There is a small stepdown from the body to the grip section.

The grip section is smooth, but not slippery and is big enough to accommodate larger fingers. The only score down in the design is the clip, as it is very stiff and two hands are needed to clip it on thicker clothing. That being said, it has a simple design ending in an ink drop and it is still a very functional clip that keeps the pen firmly in place. The snap on cap closes securely and there is no concern of it coming off.

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen  Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen

10/10 Nib Performance: This is the best steel nib I have ever written with! It is smooth as it dances across the paper and makes you want to write. I allowed a few co-workers (both fountain pen users and first-timers) to try this pen and they all loved the way it wrote. Most asked if they could keep or borrow it for the day; however, I kept it all to myself J. There is no breather hole on the nib, which I found interesting. It had simple branding on it as well, the Diplomat ink drop, “Diplomat since 1922”, and the letter M for medium. It writes well for reverse writing, but becomes a little scratchy.

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen

9/10 Filling System: The pen uses a standard international piston converter, which is included with the pen and is branded with “Diplomat made in Germany”. It also comes with a standard international black ink cartridge. The body is metal and has metal threads so it is not possible to eyedropper the pen. The only score down comes from the push-in converter; I have become fond of threaded converters due to their added security against becoming dislodged and leaking.

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen

 

9/10 Value: A retail price of $245 for a steel nib pen is relatively expensive. Nevertheless, I’d consider this a good value because the steel nib on this pen writes as smooth and performs better than most of the gold or other more expensive metal nibs I have used. The finish and design of the pen in spectacular and is definitely an attention-grabber.

57/60 Overall: Finally, this is one of the best fountain pens I have ever used – due to both functionality and aesthetics! The perfectly tuned steel nib is well worth the higher price of the pen and the finish is definitely eye catching. It will be really hard to give this Diplomat Excellence A Skyline fountain pen back after I finish my review, as it has quickly become one of my “Grail Pens”.

 

Specs:

Name: Diplomat Excellence A Skyline fountain pen

Design: Metal body, lacquer finish, guilloche striped cap and body

Length: 5.5 inches (139.7mm)

Posted: 6.25 inches (158.75mm)

Diameter: .76 inches (19.5mm)

Weight: 40 grams

Nib: Stainless Steel Medium

Filling System: C/C

 

Pros: Beautiful finish, perfectly balanced, amazing nib, converter included

Cons: Price is higher than gold nib competitors, clip is tight, and snap cap

In the same price range:

Graf Von Faber Castell Tamito

Montegrappa Fortuna

Pilot falcon and Customer Heritage 92

Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen  Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen  Diplomat Excellence A Skyline Fountain Pen