The new Karas Pen Co. Vertex Fountain Pen is interesting for a number of different reasons. It features a snap cap, the pen is made out of delrin ($130 for black or white delrin), it can be eyedropper filled and features a translucent ink window (nine color options to choose from). There are acrylic bodies available in dark green and black too.
The shape is the most sophisticated that Karas has designed thus far. It’s a modified cigar shape with a flat cap.
The end of the cap is concave which is a nice design decision. Simple and stylish.
The clear ink window is flush with the body of the pen. There is a bit of a step down to the nib but overall, the design is top notch.
This is the first Karas pen to come with a custom Karas etched nib. It’s the only branding on the pen.
When compared to other pens, left to right: Lamy AL-Star, TWSBI 580, the Karas Vertex in the center, then the Sailor Pro Gear Slim and a Franklin-Christoph Pocket 45 for size comparison. The Vertex is 5.25″ (133mm) long capped, 5.125″ (130mm) uncapped and 5.875″ (149mm) posted.
The Vertex posts solidly and doesn’t get too back heavy. It weighs just 15gms uncapped and 22gms capped/posted (filled with ink via eyedropper without converter) so it’s light but well-balanced.
One of the only issues I really have with the Vertex relate to the note that was included in the box regarding handling of the pen. It leads me to wonder if the issue is with the seals in general or if, as with most eyedropper pens, there is just a general tendency to leak. My habit is to open eyedroppered pens with the nib facing downwards so that ink will collect in the cap and not in my lap (let’s just say experience is a valuable teacher). So, the note recommending to aim up is a little counterintuitive for me.
The other issue I have is with the Vertex packaging logo and the actual packaging which feels at odds with the pen. The heavy machined-metal, presentation box with the overly large, graphic logo seems completely alien to the pen itself. The Vertex pen seems to the pinnacle of Karas’s design achievements but the presentation box and logo feel like they belongs to an entirely different product. While I know the packaging shouldn’t matter, it does. It tells the customer how you want them to perceive your product. Is it to be cherished or used and abused? The packaging is your product’s business card. In the case of the Vertex, the box made me expect to find the Pen Type-C or something equally space age and not the refined Vertex. It just sent the wrong message.
So, if you can overlook some seriously odd packaging decisions and remember “up with nibs!” then the new Vertex is a gorgeous pen that shows that Karas is becoming a serious contender in the pen community.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 7mm guide sheet
- Pens: Karas Pen Co. Black Delrin Vertex with Green Ink Window Fine Nib ($130)
- Ink: Monteverde Olivine ($8 for 30ml bottle)