Tag: fountain pen

Fountain Pen Review: Sailor 1911 Fresca Regular with Fine Nib

Last year, I fell in love with Sailor pens when I purchased my first Pro Gear Slim, the Bungbox Pink Love and then later acquired the rare Purple Lamé which featured a custom ground super fine nib. I had not braved purchasing a larger Sailor pen because I have so enjoyed the compact Slim size but when I saw the Sailor 1911 Fresca regular size ($196), I knew the time had come for me to “level up.” The Fresca is a North America exclusive colorway (the knitter in me is inclined to refer to them as “colorways,” that’s how we refer to yarn color schemes).  The solid turquoise with chrome trim and 14K nib all shiny silvery is just stunning and the slender cigar shape with simple  clip design is classic and timeless.

The only branding on the exterior of the pen is the etched “Sailor” name on the cap band. Very tasteful.

The nib is classic Sailor all the way with the etched anchor and “1911” along with the decorative filigrees and, of course, “14K 585” and “Sailor” at the base of the nib. Next to Pilot’s smiley Kakuno nibs, the Sailor nib design is one of my favorite stock modern nib design.

From left to right: Aurora Style, Pilot Metropolitan, Kaweco Sport, Sailor 1911 regular size and Sailor Pro Gear Slim

I really didn’t need to worry about the size of the standard 1911 pen. It is really about the same size as a Metropolitan and since its an acrylic/resin/plastic (don’t me hold to the material because I don’t actually know what it is made of) its quite light. The Metropolitan feels weightier. The barrel is the same diameter as the Pro Gear Slim and when uncapped, its just the little cigar shaped taper at the end that is longer. So, it’s not a huge pen.

Posted, the 1911 is 20gms, making it lighter than an AL-Star. Unposted, the 1911 weighs 11gms which is lighter than a Kaweco Sport in plastic posted so the Fresca is not heavy at all.

Finally, in writing tests, with some of my new Robert Oster Australian Opal Mauve, the fine nib was a perfect smooth, light line for a bright, light pen. With the fineness of the nib and the gold nib, I got a little flex… not FLEX flex, but the nib was light and easy to write with. It was not a “hard as nails” nib. I think this is where the Sailor nibs excel. I have a music nib on my Pink Love and that’s a lot of nib material so there’s not as much lightness to the nib. Both the Purple Lamé and the Fresca have finer nibs and there’s more flexibility to the nibs so they are a much more pleasurable experience to write with. These are the gold nibs that make people talk about why they like gold nibs better. I think its the same reason why I tend to favor felt and fiber tip marker pens — that flex that adds some variation to the writing line weight, that shows some shading to the ink, when you get excited, or bored, or angry or enthusiastic as you write and it shows? I love that and when a pen is nail hard, those characteristics don’t show. So, if you have the means to invest in a Sailor pen (or a Sharpie pen) — try one out and let some of that expression come out in your writing.


I purchased this pen from Anderson Pens with my own money and all opinions here are my own. Anderson Pens are one of my sponsors so if you do decide to buy a Fresca, it sure would be nice if you purchased it from any one of my lovely sponsors who are currently stocking them and letting them know you heard about them here. Thanks.

Fountain Pen Review: Aurora Style Gemstone Aquamarine EF Fountain Pen

The Aurora Style Aquamarine Fountain Pen with extra fine nib is probably one of the most budget-friendly Italian pens. The pen price is $85 at the time of this review which is pretty reasonable. Aurora makes their own nibs so there is real appeal to being able to get an Aurora for less than $100, even with a steel nib.

The Style Gemstone line features three pastel colors that each feature smooth, glossy exteriors. There is another Style line called “Resin” featuring more jewel tones and traditional colors, that is specifically called out as using resin for the cap and body but nowhere could I find information that definitively confirmed that the Gemstone line used resin. If anyone can confirm the material used for the Gemstone line, please let me know in the comments.

The cap features an angled, flat surface with a chrome, disc shape that mimics the shape of the Aurora logo. The clip is a sleek simple shape in chrome and the band at the bottom of the cap is also chrome with “Aurora” and “Italy” engraved discreetly into it. The pen body is rounded and tapers into a cigar shape. The grip section is black and separated from the body by a chrome ring. The overall effect, with the solid pastel color, is very retro.

The pen is a snap cap which might take some getting used to, if you usually use threaded caps.

Because of the lightness of the materials, the Style is not a very heavy pen. Uncapped and unposted, with a converter, it weighs only 14gms. Posted, it weighs 22gms. The cap will post if you prefer a weightier pen.

From left to right: For size comparison: Aurora Style, Pilot Metropolitan, Kaweco Sport, Sailor 1911 regular size and Sailor Pro Gear Slim

The nib has a nice etched decorative line, the size and “Aurora” marked on it. Simplicity at its finest.

As much as I was drawn to the looks of the Aurora Style, it was the nib I was most curious about trying. How would a steel nib form Aurora actually perform? I was most surprised to discover that the EF nib had quite a bit of bounce to it. The nib is very smooth, right out of the box and I was able to use it both holding it below the baseline and overhanded (weird left-handed style).

A big stumbling block is that the Style does not ship with a cartridge converter in the box. If you are inclined to use bottled inks, you’ll want to add a cartridge converter ($16.50) to your order. Aurora uses a proprietary converter and cartridges. Parker cartridges will also work with Aurora pens but I couldn’t find any pen shops that would confirm that the Parker cartridge converters would which is a bit of a bummer because they are half the price of the Aurora converters.

So, the addition of the converter brings the Style price up to $101 which does make me reconsider the Aurora Style a little bit. At $85, it was easier to put the Style as a step up from TWSBI 580 at $50-60 but at $101, the Style is in that “over $100” range. For me, I suspect the Aurora Style is priced to be a competitor to the Pelikan M200/M205 which is priced around $130-150.  Where I had issues with flow from the entry level Pelikans, the Aurora Style worked fine from the box but I think the Pelikans look a little bit more high end than the Style does. However, I really like the look and feel of the Aurora Style and I like the nib of Style a whole lot better than my few experiences with Pelikan thus far.

For another perspective of the Aurora Style,  see the video review from Waski Squirrel on YouTube. He purchased the Aurora Style in Rose Quartz with a Broad nib.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Weight of Words Fountain Pen (Fine Nib)

This morning I noticed several other people posting about their YStudio The Weight of Words Brassing Portable Fountain Pens so it must be in the air this week. These somewhat rare little gems from Taiwan seem to be making their way around the world and ending up in the hands of many fountain pen fans. Dries at The Pencilcase Blog in Europe posted his pure brass COPPER version today and Leigh posted one she got in Singapore today as well. So… around the world in brassing pens!

The packaging is fantastic and normally I don’t care much about packaging. However, if the packaging can have secondary use for storage later and doesn’t look too overly branded then YEAH! for good packaging. The Weight of Words pen comes in a deep stained wood box with paperboard lining that can be removed  making the outer box fully reusable. There’s a thumb hole to remove the lid and the only branding on the box is the company name and the characters for what I assume is the name of the pen in Chinese on the lid in gold foil. Very simple and elegant.

Under the lid is a piece of fine grit sand paper and an instruction booklet for the pen, including on how to use the sand paper to weather and age your pen to look more worn. I’m not sure I can bring myself to do that as I like how my pen looks as is at the moment but I’ll hold on to the sandpaper for now in case I change my mind.

Inside the box is the die cut layers of recyclable corrugated cardboard (not foamcore!) to hold the pen, wood carrying tub and lanyard in place. I got the black lacquered copperBRASS version of the pen.

The carrying tube is wood (I think) with a slit at the top to  allow the cap of the pen to stick out of the top. Its a clever design element. The leather lanyard ties can be threaded through the cap of the pen and then looped on to a bag loop, key fob, or whatever else you can think of. The pen cap clicks into place rather than a twist mechanism making it a nice option for everyday quick writing.

Its a smaller pen so its probably not something a lot of people would want for long writing sessions and the cap does not post. For my small hands though the brass added enough weight to make it comfortable to use for note taking and on-and-off use throughout the day.

The nib is a standard Schmidt fine nib. Pretty and scaled to fit the pen overall.

When the pen is wrapped up tight in its carrying case and with a leather lanyard attached it looks pretty unique.

The Schmidt nib means its a good writer and it comes with a converter.

Since this pen is quite hard to come by I won’t torture you with price points and availability. If you’re in the EU or Asia, keep an eye out in your local stationery or pen shop for YStudio products because they are worth taking a look at. If you’re in the US and planning to travel, leave some room in your shopping budget for the possibility of seeing one of these in the wild. Maybe they will wash up on our shores sometime soon.

EDIT: Thanks to Dries for catching my errors. I really shouldn’t write my reviews at 6AM!

Pen Review: Lamy AL-Star Pacific Special Edition 2017 (EF Nib) and Lamy Pacific Ink

I spent a very amused hour listening to Myke and Brad fuss about the new Lamy Special Editions for 2017 on this week’s episode of the Pen Addict. Did you hear the episode? First, a big congratulations to the guys for reaching their five year milestone!

I was tickled that Brad was so passionate about not liking the AL-Star as much as he liked the Safari. My feelings on the subject are the exact opposite. The plastic Safari cost is about $30 but for about $7 more you can get the more durable (and IMHO more aesthetically appealing) aluminum AL-Star.

Finally, knowing that Lamy is doing the same pebbly finish on the Petrol Safari special edition that they did on the Dark Lilac means that the AL-Star is going to remain a classic since it keeps the original smooth finish. I’m not a fan of the pebbly finish that Lamy is using on the Dark Lilac and the upcoming Petrol model but you may disagree. So, as you can see, my opinions are diametrically opposite of Brad and Myke on the subject of the new Lamy Safari and AL-Star releases.

Onward, to the Pacific! Isn’t the color stunning? Like all the other limited edition Lamy colorways, the question really boils down to this… will you kick yourself later if you don’t buy it? Its the whole FOMO thing. If you love Lamy AL-Stars or you’re a fan of all things turquoise-y you are going to want to pick one of these up. If you’ve never purchased a Lamy Safari or AL-Star before and were considering buying one, this would be a good one to buy. As a fan of the AL-Star over the Safari, I’m always going to prefer it over the Safari but if you asked Brad, he’d tell you the exact opposite so you’ll have to use your best judgement here. Do you like metallic sheen? Or do you prefer glossy plastics or pebbled finishes?

I received the Lamy AL-Star Pacific with an EF nib ($37.60) from Goulet Pens. Generally, I find that the Lamy nibs tend to run a little wet and a bit wider than other European nibs. I find the Lamy EF nib to be a very pleasant everyday writing pen and with the Lamy Pacific ink ($10.50 for the 50ml bottle) its a great pick-me-up for a grey February day.

Don’t forget to add a Z24 converter ($4.95) to you order if you plan to use bottled ink.

There’s been a lot of discussion around the Lamy Pacific ink being repackaged Lamy’s Turquoise ink. Many pen shops (as well as Lamy) have clarified that the Lamy Pacific ink is the same ink as Lamy Turquoise so if you already own a bottle of Lamy Turquoise, you do not need to purchase another bottle of Lamy Pacific — unless you really want to. However, if you have not purchased Lamy Turquoise in the past, this would be a perfect opportunity to grab a bottle to match this lovely pen.

Lamy Pacific ink is a vibrant turquoise blue that has good shading and even a big of magenta sheen. Shading is visible even in the EF nib writing and the color stays bright and legible even in the fine writing of the EF nib. While Lamy has trouble getting a bright, legible green, they do a splendid job with their bright, legible blue. And at the price point, this ink cannot be beat. Add in the cool bottle with blotting paper built into the bottle and you have a great deal.

I’ve included a couple other current turquoise inks that are popular at the moment for comparison. All were painted on Rhodia paper. Robert Oster Torquay is notably darker and Sailor’s new Yuki-Akari is a bit lighter than the Lamy Pacific.

In the end, I find the AL-Star, and the Pacific color in particular, to be one of the nicest looking pens Lamy has done in awhile. Could you imagine if the Lamy 2000 had been Pacific Blue Makralon? I wish Lamy had been a bit more upfront about the ink color name change with retailers but Pacific/Turquoise is such a gorgeous color and it really does have a lovely sheen that I don’t think anyone will get stuck with too many bottles.

It does make me wonder if the ink for Petrol won’t be rebranded Blue Black though.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Pink 1.1mm Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set

Monteverde Prima Fountain Pen and Rollerball

Do not adjust your monitor… the Monteverde Neon Pink Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set (Special Sale Price $52) are really this bright! I have previously reviewed the Neon Green version of the fountain pen and it was priced so that this deal is basically like getting the ballpoint for free. Also, while the neon green was bright, it was not nearly as eye-popping as the pink. Just saying. This color is definitely brighting my dreary February days!

Monteverde Prima Nib and tip

Fountain Pen tech specs:
Length: capped is 5.25″
Posted: 6.375″
Unposted: 4.675″

The fountain pen comes with a converter which is excellent for the inky-inclined but the pen does take standard European cartridges if you prefer. I forgot to weigh the pen but its plastic with metal hardware so it is pretty lightweight but well-balanced.

This was my first experience with the ballpoint design. Its a twist mechanism to reveal the pen tip. While I found the clip to be placed a bit low if I didn’t get the pen placed in my hand “just so” it would poke in my hand, I did find myself grabbing for it often to quickly dash off a quick note, add an item to a list or add a to-do on my calendar. Despite my little fuss about the clip, the slightly bulbous shape was pleasing in the hand and the color is cheerful and fun.

Monteverde Prima Size Comparison

I’ve included a visual size comparison of the Intima fountain pen with some commonly used pens above that you might be more familiar with to help place the Intima in your fountain pen cannon. Lengthwise, its about the same as the Pilot Metropolitan but widthwise, its more similar to a Lamy Safari or AL-Star. From a price standpoint, its definitely a step up from the pens shown but is not a +$100 fountain pen. It certainly looks a bit “fancier” than the other pens here though.

The material is shimmery and it will catch the light to show some interesting sparkly details. I tried to photograph it to show some of the details in my particular model below. The white is where it is catching the light.

Monteverde Prima Pink Shimmer close-up

Monteverde Prima Writing Sample

Ignore my written header! This is the Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set.

The 1.1mm nib on the fountain pen performed fairly similarly to my previous experience with the neon green Intima but it wasn’t until I started using it that I remembered I’d had one in the past. My almost-8-years of pen reviewing is starting to affect my memory! I knew I have an Prima with a fine nib… anyway… clearly, my nib preferences remain consistent. I tend to like either razor fine or 1.1mm and get similar results. I did notice that the Monteverde nib was a little dry. It may be this particular nib or the nib/ink combination as I haven’t had a chance to try a different ink with this pen. I did test the pen in my right hand, to see if angling it differently would have better results. It did seem to flow a bit better so there may be a slight misalignment to the tines that 75%-90% of the world would not have noticed. It hasn’t affected the overall performance, its just not as wet as some other 1.1mm nib I’ve used. Alternately, you’ll notice I did NOT manage to smear any ink this time so I should probably not be complaining.

I swapped out the ballpoint refill with a Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball refill ($8 for two refills) that fits into pen since it accepts any standard Parker-style refills. Oh, that pink color! I did discover that the ballpoint had a little feedback in the refill — it jiggled around a little bit. So, I added an extra spring to the refill. I swiped one out of a retractable pen I had laying around and stacked it on top of the one that was in the pen. The two-spring stack added stability to the refill in the pen barrel so that it didn’t shimmy around anymore and gave me a much better writing experience. Voila!

I used one of the new Monteverde inks: Purple Mist which comes in a 30ml bottle ($8). I like the size of the bottle — its one of those nice in-between sizes, not so big that I feel like I’ll never use it all up but not so small that I feel like I bought another itty bitty precious sample. And at $8, its not a break-the-bank purchase either. Anyway, about the color… its a bit lighter wet than I had expected but it dries darker. So, if you decide to try it, definitely give it time to dry before making your final decision. The color is more of a reddish purple when wet and, as it dries, the violet blue becomes more apparent. Which is interesting. It shades and I feel like I noticed some sheen as I used it but maybe I was willing it to sheen. The jury is still out there. At $8 per bottle, it might be worth adding a bottle of the Purple Mist, or your favorite color on to your next order to try out one of Monteverde’s new colors. Let me know what you think.

Monteverde Purple Mist Ink

My conclusion is that if you are looking for a chance to get a little fancier than a Kaweco Sport or Lamy Safari but are not quite ready to go into the over-$100 fountain pens just yet, this Monteverde Set might be a nice gateway. If you love pink, it doesn’t get pinker than this either.

The good news is that Pen Boutique wants to spread the Valentine’s Day Neon Pink Monteverde Love to one lucky reader.

The Giveaway:

The winner of the giveaway will receive Monteverde Prima Neon Pink fountain pen and ballpoint set and can select one (1) bottle of the new 30ml Monteverde inks, compliments of Pen Boutique.

To enter:

Please leave one (1) message in the comment sending some love out into the world. Are you taking your mom out for Valentine’s Day? Doing something nice for your significant other? Serving food to Meal on Wheels? Leave your love in the comments to be entered to win. No love, no entry. Those are the rules. I can disqualify anyone who does not play by the rules.

The Fine Print:

All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, February 11, 2017. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 10 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping is at the discretion of Pen Boutique. US residents only.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Pen Boutique for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Pilot Custom 912 Waverly Nib

Pilot Custom 912 Waverly

The Pilot Custom 912 Waverly ($224) is a most unusual fountain pen. And its not unsual for its exterior. From the outside, it looks like what the Brits might call a “saloon car”. Not in a bad way. It’s an upscale 4-door black sedan in the nicest possible way but no one would look at the outside of this pen and ogle. It’s understated and refined. It has simple silver hardware withe very little ornamentation or flash. It’s not fancy.

Pilot Custom 912 Waverly nib close up

When the cap is removed, you see beautiful etching on the 14K gold nib, a razor fine point and the letter “WA” etched on the nib. “WA”?

Pilot Custom 912 Waverly nib close up

When turned to the side is when you see, this is not ordinary nib. Did it get dropped? Nope. It is meant to be bent at an angle like this with the tip flared up ever so slightly. According to Pen-Info.jp, it is designed this way to allow any writer to write at any angle. For a left-hander, this means that some of the issues that can sometimes confound a left handed writer with softer gold nibs, extra fine nibs or writing overhanded or at odd angles, can be avoided with a nib like this.

Pilot Custom 912 Waverly

Pilot Custom 912 Waverly writing sample

So, do my writing results prove it? Indeed they do. I have been writing consistently with the 912 since before Christmas (Merry Christmas to me!) and the pen performs flawlessly. My previous experience with a Pilot Custom 74 F was not as successful partially because of the softness of the nib and the angle of my writing. This is clearly a vast improvement. Do I wish I could put the beautiful nib in a sports car package? Yes. But I’m okay driving around in the saloon car sometimes too.

Check out fellow lefty and Desk-contributor Tina Koyama’s review of the Custom 912 Waverly as well.


Included an affiliate link but I purchased this pen with my own money and all opinions are my own.

Pen Review: Visconti Wall Street Limited Edition Green Pearl Celluloid Double Broad

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition

The Visconti Wall Street Limited Edition Green Pearl is the first Visconti that I’ve ever had the privilege to use. In terms of looks, its probably the exact model I would have picked for myself. The layered green celluloid catches the light similarly to vintage Parker Vacumatics. As someone who’s heart is perpetually stuck in a 1940s film, this is an easy way to win my heart. The unique, rounded square shape is also quite appealing too. For starters, its far less likely to roll off the table and it actually feels quite nice in the hand.

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition Cap branding

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition Cap

Aesthetically, my one sticking point is the Visconti branded scimitar clip. I have just never liked this design decision and Visconti sticks it on almost every pen they design. Its like the un-design decision. Can’t think of how to design the clip? Stick the scimitar on it. Where the layered celluloid is supposed to create the illusion of floors of a skyscraper and the twinkle of lights in the windows and the shape of the pen is supposed to be reminiscent of the shape of a building, why stop at the clip? Could it not also evoke the decorative filigree on buildings like the Carbon and Carbide Building or other great historical architectural marvels? I didn’t mention the Chrysler Building because that seemed obvious but you know what I mean… right?

Most of the weight of the pen is in the cap and the clip, weighing an impressive 42 gms capped but uncapped and filled, it weighs a more manageable 25 gms. The chart below includes capped and/or posted weights for common budget-priced pens for comparison.

Fountain Pen Weights

In regards to length, the Wall Street can be used posted at an impressively long 7″ or unposted at a more diminutive 5.25″ which fit comfortably balanced in my small hands. Closed and capped, the Wall Street is 5.75″ which is only about 0.25″ longer thank your average Lamy Safari so its not a small pen but its not out of the ordinary size-wise.

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition nib BB

This nib on this particular model is the BB, double broad “Dreamtouch” 23K gold correction: palladium. It is a soft, slightly flexible nib and is quite smooth though I had a bit of a learning curve finding the right angles to  get the best performance from the nib. The BB required being held at a slightly higher angle if I was writing from below the baseline (from my left handed angle) though writing from above, I had no issues with writing at all except that the pen laid down so much ink that dry time became an issue and I kept sticking my hand in wet ink. It’s a bit flexy but I would certainly not be inclined to use it as a flex nib.

In order to take full advantage of the flexibility of the nib though, writing from below the baseline was my best option. Just the weight of one’s hand and the movement and passion with which one is writing is enough to add some character and flair to the strokes.

However, when writing overhanded, I needed almost no contact with the paper to get ink to flow. The lightest of touches was needed and ink just appeared on the paper which was really nice. It meant that writing was easy and I wasn’t having to push or pull or will the ink out of the pen. It just flowed.

Visconti Wall Street Green Pearl Limited Edition Writing Sample

I did not talk in depth about the filling system which is a double reservoir power filler. The best information I could find to clarify what a “double reservoir power filler” was came from Inks and Pens who succinctly explained that its a glorified vacuum filler. Oh, well. That’s much easier to understand. The challenge is getting a full flush. Since this is not my pen, I did my best to fully flush the pen clean but it left a bit of clean water in the reservoir. Rather than disassemble a loaner pen, I’m going to leave the water in the pen than risk disassembly. It actually arrived with a bit of water in it so it seems to be an issue coming and going.

I confess, I waited until after I did all my testing and writing and experimenting to find out exactly how expensive this pen was. I know that Visconti pens are not inexpensive but I did not want the price of the pen to factor into my opinion of the pen. As many of you already know, I’m not a fan of the hype and fanfare around the Homo Sapiens line (see Pen Addict podcast episode 238) so I went into my Wall Street experience a little skeptical to begin with. However, I did warm to the pen in general. I did gasp a bit at the price.

If I wasn’t such an ink changer and didn’t think the clip was phoned-in, I might actually consider this pen as a possibility for my collection, with an extra fine nib of course. But with those caveats, I think I might rather put that kind of money towards a refurbished Parker Vac instead.

PS: I didn’t go into detail about the packaging because it was just fancy packaging. If you’d like to see photos of the box, check out this review for a different version of the pen, but the same packaging.


Big shout out to Casey (AKA Punkey) for loaning me this pen to try out. He is, as always, my enabler, my comrade and my favorite troublemaker.