Fountain Pen Review: Esterbrook Phaeton

Esterbrook Phaeton packaging

The second release from the new, improved relaunch of Esterbrook is the Phaeton 300R (MSRP $85, street price $68). While the Estie was designed to be a modern fountain pen that could also use the original Esterbrook screw-in nib units, the Phaeton is a retro-styled fountain pen with a semi-hooded nib reminiscent of mid-century pen design.

Esterbrook Phaeton in box

The Phaeton 300R ships in the same box as the Estie. It’s a red textural fabric box, like burlap, with white foil stamped logo on the top. It’s neither overly flashy nor overly cheap which is appropriate for a pen at this price point.

The Phaeton 300R is available in several acrylic colors: red, blue, green and black with a silver cap and gold plated clip and nib. It ships with a plunger-style converter.

Esterbrook Phaeton

Esterbrook Phaeton nib

The nib is only available in a medium width presently but its a presently crisp medium.

pen weight comparison chart

The Phaeton weighs 18gms capped or posted and a mere 8gms unposted. It’s a small pen overall measuring just 5.5″ (14cm) capped, 4.875″ (12.5cm) uncapped and 6″ (15.3cm) posted. It takes its dimensions from vintage pens so it might not work for everyone. It does post though.

Esterbrook Phaeton writing sample

In writing, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the Phaeton because I don’t usually write with medium nib pens but the Phaeton has a crisp, almost italic-like grind on the nib making it a pleasant writing experience. I find most medium nib pens to be rather flat and round creating a rather uninspired writing experience — like writing with a ballpoint pen. So, the more crisp, flat medium angle on this nib (and it could just be the nib I received) is a pleasant surprise.

Overall, the pen speaks to me aesthetically. I missed my chance to get one of the Aurora Duo Cart pens last year which fulfilled a similar vintage vibe and the Esterbrook Phaeton is at a much better price point.

I do hope that other nib sizes will be offered at some point but the medium nib is actually quite appealing.


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.

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you for your good review of the Phaeton. I have been enjoying my red Phaeton, medium nib, this past week. And I am very pleased with mine.and like the look of it. It is a reliable writer and easy to refill or try new inks easily, using the plunger converter. I do wish that the cap had a “click” to it when sliding onto the barrel, though. I carry my inked pens in my shirt pocket and don’r Want to risk trying to retrieve a pen and getting only the cap. That problem has not occurred with this Phaeton yet, though. I am a lefthanded writer and seem to be doing okay with this hooded nib.

  2. Thanks for another excellent review. I too have found the nib quite satisfactory. It has a similar feel to my steel Aurora nibs in terms of (pleasant) feedback.

    I wish more pens would opt for this type of filling mechanism (threaded w/large plunger). Agree with the above post about the cap being a potential concern, especially with repeated use over time. However, mine has stayed put in the notebook pen loop.

    Overall, a very satisfying retro pen that gets regular use in the rotation.

  3. I have the spruce green Phaeton and I love it dearly. I’ll agree with anybody who says that the price is rather steep for what the pen is. But I don’t care. I’m just glad I bought it and feel it was worth the price. There are plenty of ‘over-priced’ pens in the market. I have bought and continue to buy such pens. But the Phaeton300r is a simple, attractive, vintage-y looking pen that writes reliably and wonderfully. I enjoy the crisp, slightly feedback-y (never scratchy) hooded M nib. I now wish I had also bought either the red or the blue one.

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