Review: Conklin declares, "Victory!"

30 10 2007

Conklin recently sent me their newest fountain pen and I’ve spent about a week or ten days writing with it, and wanted to post out some thoughts.  Expect a more thorough writeup with pictures in the near future.

For now, though, here’s the quick and dirty first take.

Aesthetics: Looks good.  Minimalist (not in the Bauhaus style).  Built for function.  It’s a throwback design to the pens that the WWII journalists would carry with them out on the battlefield.  Purpose-built.  Nothing flashy, but it had to be reliable, lightweight, and durable.  This one meets all of those needs.  Available in black, navy blue, and army green.

Material: Plastic body, steel clip, steel section, steel semi-hooded nib.  Only one size is offered (a slightly pudgy medium line).  Snap cap.  As you can see in the picture, it’s also available in a ballpoint and a rollerball.

Performance:  Conklin has, in the past, been somewhat hindered by some quality control issues – mainly in the design of the feed that they’ve used in the past.  The feed’s channel wasn’t always wide enough to deliver a constant stream of ink to the nib, thus causing starvation and skips while writing.

Not so with this pen.  With the newly-introduced translucent feed, this pen performs really well.  I test-filled mine with Waterman Florida Blue ink, and it started up right away and hasn’t failed me once.  Top-notch performance.  Writes smoothly, but with just enough "tooth" to let you know that you’re writing on paper.  I liked it right away.  Mine even has just a little bit of line variation to it!

Balance: It’s really nicely balanced in the hand.  At first glance, I thought it might be a little bit heavy with the cap posted, but when using it, it works just fine.

The only thing that I might impart as a caution is this.  It’s got a chromed steel section, which looks great.  But…if your hands are wet or greasy, you might slip around a little bit.  I’m thinking about taking a little piece of sandpaper to the section to add a little bit of texture to it, and I think that will help with grip. 

Otherwise, this is a truly great pen.  Furthermore, it’s extremely affordable as far as fountain pens go.  It should be available soon.  Final pricing hasn’t been fully set (as far as I know), but think Lamy Al-Star, not Parker Duofold.  This is a great value pen, and if it works as well for you as it has for me, all the better!  Looks like Conklin might have hit a home run on this one!

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6 responses

10 11 2007
Joe Smith

I really like the look of these! Will be interested to try one. The green one looks particularly 40s and says “Army issue” to me.

14 11 2007
rroossinck

Joe, thanks for your comment! It’s a nice pen, and I think it’ll do well in the marketplace. It’s a Lamy Safari/Al Star competitor, but with a little different take. I think I might know a guy who’d let you give one a try…

22 07 2008
Best bets under $50 « Brassing Adds Character

[…] nicely-styled, available in a handful of colors, and write really nicely right out of the box.  I had the opportunity to beta-test this pen a few months before it was released to the general public, and believe me, this is a great pen.  […]

2 12 2008
Zoe

Just saw this pen in the new Joon catalog and see you reviewed it more than a year ago. Is it still in your rotation? Still pleased?

2 12 2008
rroossinck

Zoe, thanks for pinging me on this.

Yep, this Conklin is a great little pen, and I still enjoy using it quite a bit. It probably doesn’t see as much use as it should, but I’ll bet I still put it into the rotation once every 5 or 6 weeks. It now has a custom-ground 0.45mm stub italic, which I really enjoy.

2 12 2008
Zoe

Thanks for the update. I’m going down to NYC next week and will make a point of checking this pen out at Joon or the Fountain Pen Hospital. I’m writing a wee fiction on a WW2 soldier and this pen seems like a nice symbol.

Best to you!

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