Refreshing! The Kaweco Skyline Sport (Mint)

I really wasn’t in the market for another Kaweco, but then I read Ana’s post about the Kaweco Skyline Sport in Mint. MINT! That’s not a pen color that you see very often, and it’s one that reeled me right in.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

I ordered the pen from Fontoplumo, using the discount code on Ana’s site, and just a couple of hours later received an email saying that my order had shipped. THAT was fast! Frank, from Fontoplumo, also followed up with a genuinely friendly thank you email. Good vibes already, all the way across the ocean.

Kaweco Sport Skyline

The pen arrived about eight working days later— not bad from the Netherlands— and I immediately popped in the included blue cartridge. I couldn’t wait to put pen to paper. I’ve had mixed experiences with Kaweco nibs— from amazingly smooth in my first Kaweco, the Liliput (EF nib), to “won’t write at all” in my AL Sport (also EF). The vendor remedied THAT problem, but it’s made me leery of the brand. My clear Sport writes nicely, but not as good as my Liliput. So what would my experience be with this Skyline Sport model and its medium nib?

The Skyline's medium nib

SUSPENSE!

I’m happy to report that this Skyline writes like a dream— smooth, consistent, pleasantly wet— just like my Liliput. Kaweco nibs are inexpensive and super simple to swap, but I’d rather swap nibs because I want to try a different line width than because of a problem. All is well. Phew.

Closed vs. Retro 51 Tornado

This Skyline Sport is, of course, the perfect pocket pen, made even more perfect by the unusual pale mint color. It’s cool. It’s retro. It’s minty fresh.

Posted vs. Retro 51 Tornado

The pen is light (about 10.5 g), but the plastic is sturdy and feels as though it will hold up well. Posted (as it really must be) the pen is almost identical in length to a Retro 51 Tornado. The cap posts securely, better than the one on my AL Sport which always seems to wiggle loose as I’m writing. The plastic on this Skyline Sport is grippier than the metal on the AL Sport so that hasn’t been a problem at all.

Disassembled Kaweco Sport Skyline

I plan to stick with cartridges or syringe re-filled cartridges. There’s a mini converter available but I haven’t read many (or any) favorable reviews on that, so sticking with cartridges seems to be the best plan.

Despite an iffy experience in the past, this Sport Skyline has me back on the Kaweco bandwagon. Everything about it has been superb— from the quick and friendly service by Fontoplumo, to the smooth and juicy nib, to that cool mint color.

Kaweco Sport Skyline end cap logo

The Kaweco Skyline Sport— it really IS wonderfully refreshing.

———————

Check out Ana’s review HERE, for her take on the same pen, as well as her Fontoplumo discount code.

A Second Chance: The TWSBI Diamond 580RB

TWSBI 580RB

I think I was JUST discovering the TWSBI brand back when the first incarnation of this pen— the TSWBI 540 ROC 100— was around. At the time I was enamored with the TWSBI Micarta which couldn’t be more different than this pen. I remember seeing the ROC and thinking that the color scheme wasn’t really my thing. And so I passed. And then it was gone.

Which immediately made me want it. Well played, TWSBI, well played.

Blue Sky with White Sun

So when TWSBI recently released the TWSBI 580RB with the same red/clear/blue color scheme, I pounced on it on launch day. It’s a patriotic looking pen, but not necessarily applicable to just the USA. The cap features the “Blue Sky with White Sun” Taiwanese flag symbol. Though a version sporting a US flag design is promised, I prefer seeing this sun on the end of my pen. I’m patriotic(ish), but more in a “Give me your tired, your poor…” way than the “We’re #1!!” kind of way. The pen, at first glance, might seem like it’s screaming “USA, USA” but there SO MANY countries with red, white, and blue flags, that it could actually be considered multi-cultural.

TWSBI 580RB blind cap

When I was fascinated with the organic and muted look of the TWSBI Micarta, the 580ROC looked garish, but now I enjoy its eye popping red cap and section and blue blind cap. I’ve filled mine with Iroshizuku kon-peki which is a dead ringer for the pen’s blue accents. The piston filler works smoothly and makes the pen a breeze to clean.

TWSBI 580RB Medium nib

The pen is available in fine, medium, and broad— no stub as yet— but a spare TWSBI stub nib unit could be swapped in. I chose the medium nib which writes very smoothly with excellent flow. I couldn’t be happier with the way this steel nib performs. I have a couple of other TWSBIs with EF nibs that I can swap in should I desire a finer line with this pen. I also have a 580 with a 1.1 mm stub, so I’ve got the nib range pretty well covered.

TWSBI 580RB Cap, clip, & branding

The pen’s clip is firm but functional. The branding— etched lettering on the cap’s band— is simple and clean. The cap doesn’t post. Well, technically you can jam the cap on the end of the pen, but it’s not a good look or feel. This isn’t an issue for me as the 580RB’s uncapped length of 5-1/8 inches makes it the perfect size for my average-sized hand.

Filled with Iroshizuku kon-peki

While the pen’s red section is round and nicely tapered, the clear body is faceted, which gives the pen the “Diamond” moniker. I get endless amusement from watching the kon-peki slosh around in the pen body. Simple pleasures— or a simple mind?! It’s a cool look and makes monitoring the ink level a snap.

TWSBI 580RB

While I was asleep at the wheel when the TWSBI 540 ROC was available, and lost out on a chance to acquire that pen, I was wide awake when TWSBI launched the 580RB. While not a pen for everyone in terms of color-scheme, I personally love the look of this pen that celebrates its Taiwanese roots with the cap’s charming sun design. And whether you’re American, Chilean, Norwegian, French, or Slovakian, the 580RB’s red, white (clear), and blue colors will remind you of your country’s flag and history.

We’ll celebrate the 4th of July here tomorrow with cook-outs, parades, and fireworks, and lots of red, white, and blue decorations. My favorite one will be this pen. Thank you, TWSBI, for the second chance to own this pen with a decidedly global vibe.

TWSBI 580RB

I like to think of the TWSBI 580RB as a pen that reminds us we’re all in this together. Peace, friends.

Great Expectations: Visconti Opera Elements/Air

Visconti Opera Elements (Air)

One day, a few months ago, THIS pen popped up on sale in an email from Fahrney’s Pens. I’ve admired the looks and reported performance of Visconti pens vicariously for quite some time, but figured it’d be a long time (if ever) before I acquired one. They do tend to be pricey. The sale on this pen, though, brought it into the range of the possible. But was the price really a good one? Was the pen a good one FOR the price? Hmmmm. What to do, what to do?!

Visconti Opera Elements

I quickly turned to someone who could help me sort out this pen dilemma— my friend and penpal, Tracy— known in pen circles as the Visconti Queen. Tracy and I met for the first time at the 2013 DC Pen Show and the Viscontis in her pen case are drop-dead gorgeous. She’s a great ambassdor for the brand as she clearly knows her way around the Visconti block and is building a truly impressive collection. If anyone could help me, it’d be Tracy.

And she did. We chatted via Facebook where she asked me about the particulars— the model, the nib, the price. After our chat she rendered her verdict— “Get it!” And so I did.

I COULD NOT WAIT for it to arrive.

There’s always that underlying anxiety when I buy a pen online— will it live up to my expectations? Given the brand and the list price, my expectations were pretty high. Scratch that— they were REALLY high.

For the reduced price, I gave up some choice. Only the Air (Yellow) model was available, and only in a medium nib. Why Visconti calls this “yellow” is beyond me.  It’s clearly brown. (And why is “air” yellow or brown??) One reviewer called the resin “root beer” and that’s a perfect description. Root beer with white stripes. A root beer float! Yum. (Sorry. Hungry.)

Visconti Opera Elements

I think the resin is gorgeous— flecked and rich and just a LITTLE bit translucent, especially in the cap. So the lack of a model/color choice was not a problem.

Visconti Opera Elements (Bayonet cap)

This Opera Elements pen comes with a “bayonet style” cap, which is neither screw-on nor a snap cap. Basically, you push the cap on, then twist a quarter turn so that the grooves in the cap engage with the grooves in the body. This style cap assures that the facets on the pen and the cap are always aligned. It makes capping and uncapping the pen quick and easy. The cap can be posted, but I never do so because I’m afraid of scratching the metal trim, and because it makes the pen a little long for my taste.

Visconti clip

You can’t miss the iconic Visconti clip. It’s arched and springy and bears the brand’s name on both sides. I only clip this pen into my pen case, never into a pocket, so I can’t really attest to the functionality of the clip. It works fine for my application.

After I admired the pen, and even the packaging (a leather-lined box with a built in drawer for holding the Visconti booklet), it was time to ink it up! I chose Pilot’s Iroshizuku tsukushi (horsetail) because the color is a dead-ringer for the Visconti Opera Element’s resin, and filled the converter. Then I got out a piece of Tomoe River paper and put the 23 kt PD950 palladium nib to work. Drumroll, please….

Dreamtouch nib

WELL, HELLO! They don’t call this a Dreamtouch nib for nothing. The springiness of the nib surprised me as it felt unlike any other nib in my collection. With just a light touch, the nib laid down a wonderfully wet line. I was worried that the medium nib might be a little too wide for my tastes, but it’s not. In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been branching out into medium, broad, and stub nibs. The Dreamtouch nib— well, the whole pen, really— feels (and looks) elegant and makes me feel like I should be signing important documents with flourish. But of course, I’m not. I’m writing letters and doodling and recording the day’s joys and frustrations in my journal. Even my mundane scribblings feel elevated with this pen.

Visconti Opera Elements

The pen arrived with a small slip of paper tucked under the pen’s clip which read, “Don’t press! This nib will follow your dreams.” I might edit that to, “Don’t press! This is the nib of your dreams.”

Visconti Opera Elements

The Visconti Opera Elements is now solidly at the top of my “best-writers” list, just above my Lamy 2000 and Delta Fusion 82. The nib, she is impressive.

I think Tracy may be onto something.

The “Anti-Stealth” Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Spring Edition (Cherry Blossom)

A couple of weeks ago, I was blabbing about my love for all things stealth, like pens with black matte bodies and all-black nibs. I DO love those. I really do.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

But then I saw THIS pen on the Goulet Pens site and it’s obviously as “anti-stealth” as a pen can get. It’s pink and swirly and alive with depth and sheen. And it spoke to me. LOUDLY. Quite frankly, it would not shut up.

Pink & swirly!

Let’s set the groundwork— I’m not a pink person (she says, as she sits here wearing a pink shirt). Well, I did request a pink room when I was eight, but I chalk that up to falling for the “girl’s room = pink” stereotype of my youth. I’m much more drawn to earthy colors, and taupe. Lots of taupe. So me wanting this pink pen sort of came out of left field.

Sheen and depth and swirls!

It’s like how I LOVE the movie “The September Issue” despite being one of the least fashionable, comfort-trumps-all people I know. That movie, about the making of the September issue of Vogue magazine, is packed with moments of beauty, creative genius, and hard work. This pen, it seems to me, is packed with those as well.

Stabby ends

The Edison Nouveau Premiere model features a pointed body and cap, which makes it look a little “stabby.” That slightly tactical look, coupled with the luscious pink swirls, makes the pen that much more appealing to me. It’s like it’s tough and soft at the same time, which is a cool mix.

Translucent cap

One of my favorite things about the look of this pen is the translucency— how you can catch a glimpse of the nib and converter inside the pen. Coupled with the sheen and the swirls, this is, to me, the perfect look— full of interest and surprises.

Uncapped Cherry Blossom

The pen is a light one— 17g overall (10g body, 7g cap). This coupled with the nicely tapered grip makes it a great candidate for long writing sessions. The cap doesn’t post, but the uncapped body measures 5-1/8″ making it perfectly usable for just about everybody.

Edison nib

I ordered the pen with a medium steel nib, and after a bit of debate, filled the included converter with my beloved Levenger Shiraz ink. This is a “we were meant to be together” pairing, and writing letters and notes with this pen/ink is a true pleasure. The nib writes wonderfully. It’s juicy, with just a touch of feedback. No hard starts, no skipping. The ink always flows even if I’ve left the pen sitting for a couple of days.

Cherry Blossom

What’s really nice is that the #6 nibs are easily swappable. Just screw out one nib unit and screw in another. Because of this, I ordered a couple of spare nibs with my pen— a fine as well as a 1.1mm stub. It’s like having three pens in one for just a little more money.

Edison branding

As noted on the Goulet Pens website, “Edison Nouveau is a joint collaboration between Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company, and Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Company. This is an exclusive line of Edison fountain pens available only through the Goulet Pen Company.” Branding is super subtle, and notes that this is the 2014 Spring Edition of the Edison Nouveau Premiere, meaning this version will only be available until mid/late June. It’s not a limited edition pen (i.e., there aren’t a limited number available), rather it’s available during a limited timeframe. I’m already anxious to see the 2014 Summer and Fall versions.

Oh, those swirls!

But for now, I love my pink Edison Nouveau Premiere, despite my professed love of black stealthy pens. (It’s our inconsistencies that make us interesting, right?) This pen positively POPS and sparkles and shines. It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s fresh and swirly.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

It is the Cherry Blossom.

So I picked up a broad……..nib.

Never say never. Though I thought I would forever be an extra-fine/fine woman (we’re talking nibs here), watching all of those SBREBrown pen review videos (that man loves him some B, BB, and even BBB nibs), and receiving letters from friends who swear by juicy, fat nibs, I cracked. I had to explore.

VP Raden with broad nib

Goulet Pens recently ran a “Spring Cleaning” 20% off promotion on a number of items, including the Pilot Vanishing Point nib units. What a perfect time to branch out a bit. When the broad VP nib unit arrived, I popped it into my beloved and sparkly Raden VP (thanks, Dan!), loaded it from a sample vial of Noodler’s Turquoise (thanks, Joe!), pulled out some Tomoe River paper and let it fly.

Hoo boy. VERY nice.

I kind of get it now. Maybe I MORE THAN get it now.

VP Raden with broad nib

While I won’t be using broad nibs for my everyday writing— my handwriting is just too small for that— I can totally see myself transitioning to them for letter writing, when I can use my Tomoe River or Clairfontaine Triomphe paper, and when I really like seeing how an ink shades.

Granted, the Vanishing Point broad is, since it’s Japanese, more like a European medium, but still. I’d stepped away from my comfort zone and had to admit that it felt…well…comfortable. Wonderfully smooth. Nicely juicy.

(This keeps sounding dirty and I DO NOT MEAN FOR THAT TO BE HAPPENING.)

Raden VP with broad nib

Getting back to my point (and my G-rating), all I’m trying to say is that it’s cool to take a pen body that you love, and swap in some different nibs for a completely different writing experience. The VPs are great for this, as are, of course, Lamys and TWSBIs. I see that Richard Binder offers Vanishing Point pen bodies (even the new metallics) separately, so I may go that route when I decide to spring for the cool looking green metallic. That’ll save me about $60. Since I own a range of nib units to swap in, why buy another complete pen?

VP nib unit and Lamy nib

When I ordered the broad VP nib unit, I also picked up a Lamy broad nib as these are crazy easy to swap in and out of several Lamy pen models. And when I recently purchased my Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom with a medium nib, I tossed a fine and a 1.1 mm stub into my shopping cart, as well. One gorgeous looking pen, three different writing options.

So have fun. Experiment. With nibs, I mean.

Fun Find #2: Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk Ballpoint

Monteverde Nighthawks
A pair of Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawks: Ballpoint [top] and Fountain Pen [bottom]

I picked up the Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk fountain pen (a collaboration between Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens and Monteverde) as soon as it was released, just about a year ago. In my review of that pen, I noted how it pushed a number of my “this will make me buy a pen” buttons, like:

  • Stealthy looks
  • Matte finish
  • Carbon fiber

Unfortunately, the Nighthawk line has been discontinued by Monteverde because of some production difficulties (i.e., In some pens, tiny bubbles trapped in the carbon fiber were visible under the matte coating). My fountain pen appears to be free of this problem, and I’m particularly happy to own one since production has ceased. (There are some available from Goulet Pens and Anderson Pens, but these are the end of the line.)

Monteverde Nighthawks

So what does this have to do with a BALLPOINT Nighthawk? Well, I was poking around on the Anderson Pens site one evening and noticed that not only do they have some of the remaining fountain pens, but they also offer a Nighthawk ballpoint. Because I already own the fountain pen, it just made sense to pick up one of the ballpoints, because that pen, too, is wonderfully stealthy, and I assume, in limited supply.

Disassembled Nighthawk

The Nighthawk ballpoint takes my favorite Parker-style refill— the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000— which lays down a lusciously rich jet black line that’s smooth and thick. The blue refill is just as nice as the black one, assuming that you’re okay with lines that are on the broad side.

Nighthawk innards
All-metal innards

The ballpoint weighs 44 grams, so it’s no lightweight. I use it throughout my work day jotting my to-do lists in a Field Notes notebook so I don’t experience hand fatigue from writing with such a heavy pen. Longer writing sessions could, I suppose, get a little tiring, given the heft of the Nighthawk. The pens “innards” are sturdy metal (brass?) which explains why the pen feels so solid and substantial.

Monteverde Nighthawk ballpoint

The refill is deployed by twisting the upper or lower half of the pen’s carbon fiber body. This mechanism works silently and smoothly.

A subtle difference
VERY subtle Monteverde logo on the ballpoint end cap vs.  the plain fountain pen cap

In looks, the ballpoint is a “fraternal twin” to my fountain pen version, which means that there are a few differences aside from the fact that one’s a fountain pen and the other is a ballpoint. There were two slightly different versions of the Nighthawk fountain pen. I have the original version with a bigger carbon fiber weave and very minimal branding. The ballpoint more closely resembles version 2.0 of the fountain pen with a tighter carbon fiber weave, and just a touch more branding. My ballpoint features a very subtle rendering of the Monteverde logo on the clip end of the pen. This small detail was not included on the original version of the fountain pen to keep the pen super-stealthy.

Fraternal twins

A little bit of research revealed that there is an actual bird called the Nighthawk. It’s not black, but is well-camouflaged and stealthy. It’s considered a common bird but is declining in numbers.

The Nighthawk— the bird AND the pens— once they’re gone, they’re gone.

That seems like a real shame.

I [heart] you: Pelikan M205 and Levenger Shiraz Ink

(Click on any picture for a larger view.)

Pelikan M205
Rhodium trim, Steel nib

This pen purchase resulted from a recent episode of The Pen Addict podcast where both Brad and Myke sang the praises of their Pelikans. That same day, someone on Twitter mentioned a sale on the Pelikan M205 at Fountain Pen Hospital, so I called it a sign and ordered one. What can I say, my arm was twisted. By fate.

Right around the same time, I was ordering some refills from Levenger, and decided to add a bottle of their Shiraz ink to the order. Both orders arrived on the same day so the obvious choice was to fill one with the other.

Hoo boy, do I love this pair.

Just like peanut butter and chocolate (or chocolate and peanut butter), the Pelikan M205 and the Shiraz ink are two things that work perfectly together. I’m always looking for reasons to use this particular combination, even though I’m someone who leans heavily towards “traditional” ink colors— black, blue-black, blue, brown, and dusty green. The Shiraz looks exactly as I hoped it would— not pink, not red, not purple, but SHIRAZ. It’s not waterproof, for those who care. I love the way it pops on a page without being obnoxious. Simply gorgeous, with a bit of shading. This is an ink that’s kicked me out of my “conservative” rut.

Levenger Shiraz

M205 vs. Lamy 2000
An understated pair for size comparison: Lamy 2000 vs. Pelikan M205

The M205 is one of my smaller (5″ capped; 4-7/8″ uncapped; 6″ posted) and lighter (a mere 14 grams overall) pens, but is an absolute joy to hold and use. It’s a piston filler which makes filling and cleaning fast and easy. The medium steel nib (the only option on this sale pen) is smooth and juicy, but without any flex. This is a very classic looking pen— devoid of any real bling— but who needs bling when you perform this well?! It’s understated and unassuming— a real classic.

Pelikan M205 medium steel nib

Pelikan clip/beak
Pelikan clip/pelican beak

The “pelican’s beak” clip is iconic and suitably springy. The caps band simply states “PELIKAN” and “GERMANY.” I have the black body version, but there are others available— red, taupe, white. Since I’m prone to making sure the pen and ink color complement each other, black is probably the best choice for me, anyway. Everything goes with black. Well…yeah…and also with white. And taupe.

Pelikan M205 ink window

The smoke-colored ink window lets me know when my beloved Shiraz is “down a quart.” I enjoy watching the ink slosh around as the level changes.

This is, admittedly, an entry level Pelikan pen, and there are many prettier and more expensive models available, but for everyday use, the M205 suits me just fine, and it’s been a great way for me to dip my toe in the shallow end of the Pelikan pool.

Pelikan logo

I’m irrationally smitten by the Pelikan logo on the cap— a mama pelican with her chick. Such a sweet pair looking at each other with affection— exactly the way I look at my M205 filled with the Shiraz ink.

Pelikan M205

True love forever.

Shiraz heart

 

 

Setting Sail With the Monteverde Regatta Fountain Pen

The fine folks at Pen Chalet sent along a Monteverde Regatta fountain pen for review purposes. I was not, and will not be, otherwise compensated. This review reflects my own experiences, observations, and opinions.

(Click on any picture for a larger view.)

________

Monteverde Regatta Fountain Pen

We happen to live fairly close to the Erie Canal so in the summer Lock 20 is a favorite hang-out. If our timing is right, we can see everything from small motorboats to celebrity-worthy yachts to large and small sailboats. No matter the size, sailboats always fascinate me— all those ropes and masts and sails look like a recipe for a supremely tangled mess. Which is why I’m the landlubber and they’re the sailors.

Monteverde Regatta fountain pen

Despite my lack of boating experience (unless eating “Chips Ahoy!” cookies counts), I can appreciate the decidedly nautical looks of Monteverde’s Regatta fountain pen. With alternating bands of carbon fiber and yellow resin, the Regatta sports a look that calls to mind the colorful signal flags used during sailing competitions.

Regatta's carbon fiber bands

The Regatta checks a number of boxes on my “what I love in a pen” list. Box #1— carbon fiber. Though difficult to capture with my camera, the two carbon fiber bands (one on the cap and one on the body) are smooth and glossy— almost holographic in looks. Really sharp. Really classy.

The carbon fiber bands are bordered by knurled accent rings, which checks Box #2— knurling. Usually you’ll see knurling in the grip area of a pen, but using the knurled rings between the carbon fiber and resin bands is a cool looking detail.

Regatta black steel nib and magnetic cap

What else do I love in a pen? A magnetic cap, and the Regatta has an excellent one. The base of the cap is lined with a strong magnet that makes capping, uncapping, and posting an easy and satisfying experience. CLICK! Capped. CLICK! Posted. This is not a wimpy magnet. Your ears will tell you that. Box #3— magnetic cap. Check.

Monteverde Regatta

At 50 grams (32 g body, 18 g cap), this is a heavy pen. (Don’t drop it overboard!) Posted, I find the weight shifts a little bit too much to the back of the pen. I do sometimes write with it this way, but I don’t recommend it for long sessions. Typically, I use the pen unposted and find it well-balanced and easy to use for letter and journal writing. There’s still a nice heft, but nothing that’s too hard to handle. There is a bit of a step down from the body to the section that could interfere if you tend to grip your pens on the high side. For me, it’s not an issue, and I find the tapered grip to be comfortable.

Unposted Monteverde Regatta

Unposted, the pen is comparable in length to a Retro 1951 Tornado rollerball, so if you’re used to writing with one of those, you’ll know that writing with an unposted Regatta won’t be a problem.

Black steel nib

The black steel nib (medium, in this case) completes the look. This one is smooth and wet. Every now and then, at the beginning of a writing session I’ll experience a hint of a hard start, but once it gets going, it’s excellent. Monteverde nibs are quite easy to swap which means that you can have one pen and multiple nibs for different writing experiences. I happen to have a 1.1 mm black stub on hand that I’ll swap in in the future. I love when a nib swap isn’t a federal case, and that’s true for this pen.

Dismantled Regatta

The Regatta is a cartridge/converter pen, with the converter included. I’ve loaded it with Iroshizuku take-sumi for this review because Pilot’s black is a perfect match for the carbon fiber, knurled accents, and stealthy nib.

The Regatta is also available in red/black and black/black color schemes, and also as rollerball and ballpoint pens, so I have no doubt that there’s a Regatta that’ll float your boat. <groan>

Monteverde Regatta

Personally, I love this particular color combination. One meaning of a yellow and black signal flag is “I want to communicate with you.” What a perfect message for this pen.

________

The Monteverde Regatta fountain pen is available from Pen Chalet for $100. Shipping is free on orders over $50. Use the code PENCUP for 10% off any purchase. Thank you to Pen Chalet for providing this pen for review.

Feeling lucky? Pen Chalet “Pen Cash” giveaway is back! Enter to win 1 of 2 gift cards redeemable for any item on penchalet.com including fountain pens, ballpoint pens, inks, refills and more. The first place winner will receive a $50 “Pen Cash” Card, second place winner a $25 gift card. Both gift cards are redeemable at www.penchalet.com and can be used to buy something for yourself or you may give them away as gifts. Click HERE to enter!

Chasing the Winter Blues: Lamy Nexx Opal with Lamy Turquoise Ink

My friend Elaine, at JetPens, sent along a Lamy Nexx Opal and Lamy Turquoise ink cartridges for review purposes. I was not, and will not be, otherwise compensated. This review reflects my own experiences, observations, and opinions.

(Click on any picture for a larger view.)

———————

So we’re officially sick of winter. The freezing temperatures recently caused a sprinkler head to burst in an atrium at work causing it to dump 65 gallons of water per minute before it was turned off. (Fun day.) We’ve had ice and ice pellets and a heap of slushy snow. Then bitter cold. Then more cold. We’re done. Well, I am, anyway.

The students are on Spring Break for two weeks, but I’m not. I’m seriously craving a getaway to a warmer climate, a poolside chaise lounge with a good book, and maybe a swim-up bar. And sun-warmed crystal clear blue water.

Lamy Nexx Opal

Maybe I’ve gone off the deep end, but that’s what this pen and ink combination reminds me of— a sun-drenched beach with turquoise waters like the ones in Tahiti or The Maldives. The color of this perfectly paired Lamy Nexx fountain pen and turquoise ink is a cheerful, tropical blue— just the thing for someone who’s wearing fingerless mittens INSIDE THE HOUSE.

I feel just a little bit warmer when I’m using this pen. (Yes, it’s my imagination, but I’m going with it. When it’s 8 degrees, you’re allowed to go a little batty.)

Lamy Nexx fine nib

But it’s not just the color that makes this a fun pen. The fine nib is admittedly plain, but is notably smooth making it a true pleasure to write with. The great thing about Lamy nibs is that they can be easily swapped between the Safari, AL-Star, Vista, and CP1 models. In the mood for a stub instead of a fine nib? Just swap in a new nib. Super simple.

Grip comparison
Grip comparison: Safari vs. Nexx

The molded rubber, triangular grip fits my hand perfectly— even more so than the molded plastic grip on the Safari, AL-Star, and Vista models. A lot of folks shun those models because of that grip which forces you to hold the pen in a very specific way. The shape of the Nexx’s grip feels less severe and might work better for those who dislike the hard plastic grips on those other models. The rubber material means that it grips your fingers while you grip the pen. There’s just no slippage.

Lamy Nexx triangular body

The aluminum pen body starts out as a soft triangle that gradually transitions to a more rounded shape as it approaches the grip area. It’s a unique look and a fun detail. The Nexx is definitely lightweight— just 18 grams (12 g body, 6 g cap)— so it’s great for long writing sessions as there’s simply no chance of hand fatigue from holding a heavy pen.

Lamy Nexx vs. Lamy Safari

Despite its lack of heft, the Nexx feels durable and ready for anything your day throws at you (even a sprinkler head failure!). Made of aluminum, rubber, and plastic, this is a pen that can handle life’s hard knocks.

Nexx cap & lanyard loop

The Nexx’s cap features a prominent aluminum clip and a lanyard loop that extends beyond the top of the cap. As much as I love my pens, I’ve never had the urge to wear one around my neck, but if you’re looking to do that, the Nexx is your pen. The clip is a bit stiff, but certainly usable. I routinely clip mine in one of my Nock Co. pen cases without a problem.

Turquoise
Opal Lamy Nexx and peacock Nock Co. Hightower case— definitely made for each other

The cap posts securely, despite the uniquely shaped barrel, and doesn’t wiggle off while in use (a pet peeve!).

Posted pens

The Lamy Turquoise ink pairs perfectly with this pen. The color is fresh and vibrant and exhibits some nice shading, even with this fine nib. It really is a breath of fresh air in these gloomy end-of-winter days, and reminds me that azure summer skies and warm breezes will eventually get here. It is the color of hope.

Lamy Turquoise ink

I’m chilled and chapped and a little bit cranky, but summer is coming. Summer is coming. Until then, I’m chasing those winter blues with this pen and ink prescription. The Lamy Nexx Opal and Lamy Turquoise ink— a combination that’s good for what ails ya.

P1030633

Take the cure.

———————

You can find both the Lamy Nexx fountain pen and Lamy Turquoise ink at JetPens. The pen retails for $30.50, while a pack of 5 cartridges sells for $3.75. (Free shipping on all orders over $25.) Thank you to JetPens for providing both for review.

The Middle Child: Lamy’s CP1 Matte Black Fountain Pen

Thanks to Brad Dowdy’s weekly “Ink Links”, I stumbled onto a beautifully photographed post featuring Lamy’s CP1 Matte Black fountain pen. That post, with its simple yet stunning photos, was enough to push me to purchase this little-discussed Lamy offering.

Lamy CP1 Matte Black fountain pen

CP1 clip and branding
CP1 clip and branding

I think of this pen as Lamy’s “middle child”— tucked between the introductory and familiar Safari/AL-Star offerings and the more upscale Lamy 2000. With its stainless steel spring-loaded clip, matte black body, and simple timeless looks, the CP1 certainly seems like a relative of the classic Lamy 2000. If you’re talking nibs, though, the CP1 is clearly a sibling to the Safari/AL-Star lines as nibs can be swapped between these models, but not with the 2000.

Black steel nib

Speaking of nibs, when I ordered mine from The Goulet Pen Company, I opted for the black steel nib (fine) to complete the pen’s “blacked out” look. I’ve occasionally had issues with black Lamy nibs writing so dry that they had to be returned, so I included a quick note with my order asking if the nib could be QC’ed prior to shipment. I’m happy to report that the fine nib on this pen is wonderfully smooth and very juicy. Really perfect. Though my past issues with problematic black nibs have always been handled quickly, it’s best not to have a problem at all. This one is simply great.

kon-peki colored feed
Iroshizuku kon-peki colored feed

Price-wise, the CP1 falls between the Safari/AL-Star and the higher-end 2000, running about double the price of the former, and less than half of the latter. I paid $56 which makes this a reasonable and cool upgrade/change from the basic Safari without having to go all in on the pricier Makrolon 2000.

Like its Safari/AL-Star siblings, the CP1 is a cartridge/converter pen, but in this case, the converter is included, which is a nice little feature. Having to “add-on” a converter always bugs me just a little bit, so it’s nice to receive the complete package. Filled with Iroshizuku kon-peki, I keep looking for excuses to use this pen. I can’t figure out what the slim matte body is made of— some sort of metal, I suppose— but I do know that I like the weight and balance and ultra-minimalist look. (Some days I’m all about swirly depth and sheen and eye-popping color in my fountain pens, and the next I’m drawn to a super simple, super stealthy look. Oh, how my pen moods swing!)

Weighing just 17g and measuring 0.37″ in diameter, holding this pen is a little hard to describe. It’s light, but has some heft— sort of a denser feeling than that of a Safari or AL-Star. It’s very slim, yet still comfortable. The snap cap posts easily and doesn’t throw off the pen’s balance in a significant way. Vital measurements are as follows:

    • Capped: 5.3″

CP1 capped

    • Posted: 6.2″

CP1 posted

    • Unposted: 4.6″

CP1 unposted

I sometimes initially dismiss pens this slim as being “too narrow,” but then realize that I’m perfectly happy using an even skinnier woodcase or drafting pencil. The CP1 has a bit more girth than a pencil, so though it is certainly slim and trim, it’s not at all uncomfortable for me and my middle-of-the-road size hands. The grip section appears to be plastic (I can see a bit of a seam), but I can’t confirm that either. Even the Lamy website is pretty stingy with material specifics. The grip’s ridges give my fingers just the right amount of traction.

CP1 vs. Stabilo pencil

Middle children often find themselves struggling for attention between the first-born and the baby in a family. Lamy’s CP1 fountain pen seems to suffer a bit from “middle child syndrome,” quietly tucked between the colorful and popular Safari and the iconic 2000. Like those middle kids, this pen is special in its own understated way.

Lamy CP1 Matte Black

The CP1 Matte Black fountain pen— certainly worthy of some attention, and maybe a little of your Lamy love.