Review: Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Fountain Pen (F Nib)

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Inside this large paper board box is a reasonably priced fountain pen treasure.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

After removing the outer shipper, there is a matching leatherette box of epic size… the suspense and tension builds.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Opening the spring-loaded lid reveals a white satin bed that reminds me of a coffin but contains a beautiful Conklin Duragraph fountain pen in the Cracked Ice finish. Tossed into the coffin is a plastic baggie with two standard international cartridges filled with blue ink.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Once I disposed of the coffin box, I finally get to see the Duragraph in the cracked ice finish in all its glory. It reminds me of tumbled stones with glossy black caps and silver hardware. So pretty!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

I got the fine nib with the expectation that Conklin uses the European nib sizing. The nib looks pretty fine! Engraved on the nib is “Conklin Toledo USA” and a tiny “F” on the side of the nib. Its a stainless steel nib and it does not have much flex to it.

I was able to get a two-tone fine nib which are currently out of stock at Goulet Pens. There is a black fine nib available or a two-tone medium. The 1.1mm italic stub option is available in silver tone.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

The cap will post on the end of the pen but it makes it very long — 7 inches!

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

Upon opening the pen, I discovered that a standard cartridge converter was included with the pen. Pretty impressive for a pen that cost a mere $44.  I filled it with some Kaweco Caramel Brown ink which I thought might look coordinated with the exterior of the pen.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice writing sample

When I put the nib to paper I was totally blown away. Its a smooth, fine writer — finer than most European/USA nibs and there is a sharpness to the nib that gives it a slight italic quality, even at this fine nib size.

Fountain Pen Weights

Capped and filled, the Duragraph weighs a substantial 26gms. Uncapped, it is just 15gms which is just slightly heavier than a posted Kaweco Sport. For me, pens under 20g,s are the most comfortable so the Duragraph is definitely in the sweet spot and being 5 inches unposted makes it long enough to be useable for me.

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice Writing sample

The Duragraph is definitely one of the best pen surprises of 2014. The price point is perfect for a gift, the nib sings and the looks are top notch. This is a pen that you should definitely add to your wish list and maybe even pick up one for a friend or family member. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The Duragraph is also available in Amber and Forest Green and nib sizes are fine, medium and 1.1mm italic. I will definitely be ordering a Forest Green model too.

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11 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thanks, Ana, for this incredibly timely review! My brother was soliciting Christmas gift ideas for me and I was hoping someone would review this pen, which I had been admiring – now I have a suggestion for him!

  2. I got the Amber two weeks ago and concur in your comment: it writes smoother than any other fountain pen I own, e cept a 30-yr old MontBlanc 149.

  3. I have just purchased two of these – Cracked Ice and Amber – and I’m very disappointed. The caps on both pens are stiff and imprecise.
    Comparing them with Monteverde Primas – which look very similar – the caps on the Primas fly on and off very smoothly, making me wonder if I got a pair of duff Duragraphs. Even though I paid 35 euros each for the them, I’m not remotely happy with the Duragraphs and will be sending them back. I have no idea why the Duragraph gets such rave reviews – the Prima is the better pen, as far as I can tell.

    1. I have both a Prima and a Duragraph. Both pens have a 1.1 stud. The Prima is a slightly better pen, however, the Prima cost about $11 more than the Duragraph. Granted this price difference is not significant. They both appear to be made from the same material. However, we do see some design difference in the cap, around the rim. On the Prima it is metal, and the Duragraph you see a silver metal trim with the Conklin name around the acrylic base, with an additional 1/8″ of acrylic beneath it. This is probably the root cause of how the cap slips on and off. I found I do have to place the pen in the cap carefully to assure that it aligns with the inner cap threads. Since both of my pens have a 1.1 stub, I have not found a noticeable writing difference. I have had to do some very slight smoothing of both nibs. The Duragraph has just a bit more acrylic on the pen vs. the Prima. My Prima with stub nib cost me $57, and my Duragraph with stub nib cost me $46. For me the cost difference is seen in the cap design.

  4. I had Conklin Duragraph Fountain Pen , But some else stolen my pen. so Iam very sad and I search that pens all websites. Not found, But THe goulet pens show that pen , but the $ is very high

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