BASIC? The Faber-Castell Basic Black Fountain Pen

Faber-Castell Basic Black Carbon Fiber
Basic? Really?

Because I’m so pleased with the look, heft, and performance of my Faber-Castell e-motion pen, I did a bit of research on the brand, and liked the look (and price!) of the BASIC Black model. Amazingly, a few days after adding the BASIC model to my pen wish list, it popped up as the Daily Special in an email from the Pen Boutique, for a mere $28. I think you know the rest of the story.

So what do I like, besides the price? Let’s take a tour.

Carbon Fiber Barrel
As I’ve said before, there’s something about carbon fiber that grabs me every time. And carbon fiber for $28? Unheard of. I can’t find anything that says that this is pseudo-carbon fiber, so I’m assuming it’s the real deal. The subtle checkerboard effect is quietly cool. The pen has perfect heft, but is not as heavy as the e-motion due to the lack of a metal cap. Ooooooo…one more thing…the barrel is long enough to hold a spare ink cartridge so you’re always prepared to write.

Carbon fiber barrel

Rubberized & Grooved Grip
At 1-1/2″, this is a good-sized grip. And it’s rubbery, so it’s nicely grippy. The rubber is quite firm, but not SO firm that it winds up being slippery. The evenly spaced grooves add a bit of interest and “tread,” so holding on feels natural and easy.

That Nib
So smooth. And quite wet. I’d say that this pen runs a hair wetter than the e-motion. In fact, the wetness was a bit of a challenge at first. I initially inked the BASIC pen with a Private Reserve Lake Placid Blue cartridge (a converter is not included, and I don’t have a spare, as yet). I love that color, but I write small and fairly slow, and this particular ink in this particular pen was super wet. I had trouble keeping up with the ink. After a bit, I swapped in a Levenger Black cartridge, and the flow became much more manageable. The nib is a medium, so the flow is generous, but it’s no longer a gusher. In fact, I quite like the bold, smooth flow now. Every now and then I experience a touch of a hard start at the beginning of a writing session, but once I get going, the flow is fine. That issue, I suppose, could also be related to the ink as I don’t recall noticing that with the Private Reserve cartridge.

Nib & grip

Rubberized Cap
Like the grip, the cap is also rubberized, which gives this portion of the pen a nice black matte look. The branding (name, logo, and founding date) is imprinted into the cap, so it’s there, but barely so. A classy look, I think. I do find that crumbs and lint tend to find their way into the imprint (grrrr…look at the “F” below), but it’s not really noticeable until you blow up a photo. The cap snaps into place with a firm and convincing click.

Rubberized cap

Posting the cap makes the pen too looooong to hold (7-1/2″), while the unposted pen measures 5-1/4″ and feels just right.


Spring-loaded Clip
The clip has a cool looking profile and is very strong and springy. Great attributes in a clip. Because of the grippiness of the rubber cap and the springiness of the clip, the pen stays put. No worries there.

Spring-loaded clip

According the the Faber-Castell website, the BASIC line is also available in Leather and Mother-of-Pearl (and as ballpoints and rollerballs). Pretty much something for everyone.

When I hear “basic,” I think stripped down and generic. Though this pen has simple lines, it’s full of Faber-Castell goodness. Nothing BASIC here.


31 thoughts on “BASIC? The Faber-Castell Basic Black Fountain Pen

  1. I received one of these as a gift last Christmas (in Carbon Fibre too, coincidentally). I’m amazed by how good the nib is, I have a broad, and it’s amazingly smooth.

    I do wonder how long the rubberized finish will look good for, but for the time being, I love the pen. I’m very tempted by a Mother of Pearl finished version, perhaps with a fine nib.

    • Is the broad super broad? I don’t own any broad nibs as yet and this might be a good one to try. I bet it’s amazingly smooth!

      • Hi Mary, I’d say not – i’ve written my daily diary with it, and not noticed struggling for space, or feeling that my writing is cramped. It does show off the ink a bit better than a fine nib too – I can’t wait to put Rohrer & Klingner, or a nice Herbin ink in it!

      • A quick edit: as yours is a medium, I do wonder if you’d see enough difference between it and a broad – perhaps if you wanted one of the other finishes anyway, it might be worthwhile? (I’ve not tried a Faber-Castell medium though).

  2. This pen has been on my wishlist for a while, but always overlooked in favour of something else. Now it’s in top spot and this review pinned it there.

  3. i own both the carbon roller, and clicky ball-pen. I wanted to get the fountain, however the roller uses the same rubber-grip screw-into-carbon construction, and over time, the plastic at the base of the threads have cracked and the thread section is holding on, barely 😦

      • Thanks for replying to this issue, Renee! I’ve sent an email to the commenter to make sure that he is aware of your response and the offer to correct the problem. Much appreciated!

  4. Thanks for the forward Mary- i have responded to Renee.
    Believe me, I was very surprised to hear from Renee/Faber-Castell directly! Hope everything works out. I now feel more confident in buying this reviewed Fountain Pen version of the Basic-Carbon 😉

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  7. Mary thanks so much for this review. I really want to buy one of these, but I’ve now found three comments about how fragile the plastic screw thread is and I’m back stuck in the paralysis of analysis again.
    That being said, I’ve never damaged a pen yet so……. let me sit on this fence for a little longer before I jump in. I think the smoothness of the nib and the overall writing experience is going to win it for me.
    Does anyone know if it will take a converter?

    • @notime. I agree with your concerns. There is definitely a defect/weakness in the plastic where the threads connect to the carbon fiber section. The US customer-service at fabercastel was very supportive and offered a replacement, however when she realized I was Canadian consumer- I was transferred to their Canadian supplier. They were horrible, made it sound like I broke it, and offered to replace it for a FEE + shipping. For that price- I gave up and decided to buy a real custom carbon fiber pen with lifetime manufacture-defect warranty!!!

  8. Hi all, to my disappointment I have just noticed that my ‘Basic’ fountain pen has just started to come apart at the threads (and Googled…). I though that the cap was a bit loose as I was holding it but then realised it was flexing half way along the body – the threaded section is now only half on. Such a shame. Rob

    • Rob-
      I had the same thread-cracking problem on my rollerball-version.
      Hopefully you live in the US, because their warranty department is excellent and will provide a replacement.
      Unfortunately I’m in Canada and their service is crap… They wanted me to pay for the replacement (defective) part, plus shipping cost.

      I will keep this in mind next time I decide to save money and buy a “basic” model 😦

      • Hi (and Happy New Year),
        Thanks for the note. I was not going to bother but clearly this is a manufacturing problem and I will try Faber-Castell here in the UK. To add to the story, I have the roller-ball to match and that split at the bottom of the rubber grip so that ‘nib’ section was no longer stable and soon after fell out. I returned this to the seller (Cult Pens here in the UK, highly recommended) and they replaced it without fuss. Maybe FC have gone a bit too ‘basic’ – shame because I really like the design and weight of these pens.



      • Hi, I live in the UK but I contacted the importers, Stone Marketing Limited. They were very helpful and although I waited for ‘stock’ to arrive, they repaired the pen free of charge – good for them and good for FC!

  9. does anyone know of the latest e-motion black quality and durability? It looks cool but at that price tag, I would be greatly disappointed if something started to show aging in the first decade of using. are these two pens similar in construction and materials?

  10. I bought the basic black carbon fiber pen about a 6 to 8 months ago and now the part of the pen the nib screws into is disintegrating and breaking apart. I love the way the pen writes but have been disappointed in the longevity.

  11. Hi all, well great service here and the pen was replaced (as above) but it (the rollerball) has now cracked again. In fact it is the grip (bottom section of the pen) that has cracked at the top now, so that the upper threaded section now no longer has anything to screw into – the bottom half just opens up at the crack as the two pieces are screwed together. This has happened before. I probably will not send it back to shop or importer again but equally I cannot bring myself to buy another no matter how much I like the weight and feel.

    • I’ve since given up on mine as well… The plastic thread section of the pen is definitely the weak-spot and I will not use another one even if it’s free.
      I’ve never in all my years using the plastic Lamy safaris experience such a failure even though they use plastic treads as well. For durability- I would recommend the Lamy Safari at the same price-point.

      • Agreed, good experience with the Lamy’s too though not the same look and feel as the Basic. That said – might treat myself to a new one of those instead of worrying about the Basic 🙂 Thanks for confirming it wasn’t just me!

  12. I took my pen back to the store I bought it from (Pen Boutique, Columbia Maryland) and they exchanged the pen with no problem. That was about 5 months ago and so far so good. I use the pen daily too.

    • I picked up a clicky version of the carbon ballpoint a couple months ago… Threads surprising are fine so-far… But the click button popped off somewhere and renders it useless ;(
      I have absolutely zero luck with this Basic line!!!

      • Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. Problems again. This time it’s with the small ridge near the nib that engages the cap when you put it on. About 30% of it has fallen off. I suppose soon enough they’ll not be enough left to hold the cap and pen together when it’s clipped into your shirt pocket.

        I really do love this pen but I guess it’s just not made well enough to be used daily. This is my first time buying a expensive (to me) pen and I would not feel confident buying a more expensive Faber Castelle pen.

        I wish they’d do something to fix these issues.

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