There are not a lot of new, entry-level pens appearing on the market so its always worth taking a good look. The Faber-Castell Grip 2011 ($20) is definitely a contender. Especially in light of recent price increase on the Pilot Metropolitan (now MSRP $29.99, street price $23.99), there is definitely room for a new entry-level fountain pen.
Enter: the Grip 2011.
Faber-Castell took design cues from their Grip pencil, which has always been one of my favorite pencils. The pen shares the same soft, triangular shape and rubberized dots as the pencil, just a wider version.
On the end of the cap, is a raised version of the jousting horses. Oh, did I mention it’s a snap cap?
Printed on the side of the cap is the Faber-Castell logo and the clip is slim and elegant. Unlike other, lower priced Faber-Castell pens, the cap is a uniform cylinder shape which I really prefer aesthetically.
The nib is engraved with dots and Faber-Castell’s signature jousting horses. While I don’t know if the nib is custom made by Faber-Castell or if its a stock nib engraved for Faber-Castell but its good looking and smooth.
The grip section is a subtly molded grip section. Imagine if someone rubbed down the hard edges of a Lamy Safari. As a left-handed writer, I find the Grip 2011 far easier to use and more comfortable than the stricter, sharper edges of the Safari.
So, how does it stack up against other entry level pens? From left to right: a Kaweco Sport, TWSBI Eco, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Kaweco Perkeo and the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 — all capped. The Metro, the Safari, the Perkeo and the Grip 2011 all have snap caps.
The same pens shown in the previous photo, posted. The only pen in this price range that’s metal is the Metropolitan. The Perkeo and the Grip 2011 are the widest and both take standard European cartridges or converters. Generally speaking, I don’t post my pens except for pocket pens like the Kaweco Sport.
The Grip 2011 is a light pen weighing 15gms capped or or posted and 10gms uncapped. The Safari is a little bit heavier. The Perkeo is probably very close in weight.
The extra fine nib, being a European EF, is not super fine but I still find it really pleasurable to write with. I’ve been using this pen for several months and I really like it. I love that it is easy to use, takes standard European and long cartridges as well as a standard converter. It’s become my office pen, easy to cap and uncap throughout the day and I am using up that stash of mystery cartridges I’ve had for years.
If you need a quick, easy-to-use fountain pen for yourself or you’re trying to convert a friend to the world of fountain pens, I think the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 is a great option. It’s available in a variety of other colors and nib widths so there’s something for everyone.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pens: Faber-Castell Grip 2011 EF in Silver/Grey
- Ink: Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire ($8.75 for long cartridges)
DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.