As soon as we saw the new Diplomat Esteem MadC Fountain Pen, there was some excitement in the virtual clubhouse. Laura and I have been fans of the Traveler for some time and the colors on the new MadC Esteem are hard to resist. Laura and I both broke down and purchased the new Diplomat Esteem MadC Fountain Pen ($90) within minutes. I got the blue model with a fine nib. Laura got the purple model with the fine nib.
To give you some background, MadC (Claudia Walde) is a German-born artist who is inspired by graffiti using calligraphic swashes of color in her work. MadC grew up in Cunewalde, not far from where Diplomat pens are manufactured. Diplomat wrapped her artwork around the Esteem fountain pen to create two unique, vivid pen designs.
The Esteem comes in a paperboard box with the Diplomat logo and some of MadC’s brush graphics on the front.
On the back of the box is a photo of the artist and details about her, some images of her artwork and more swashes of her brushwork.
Inside the paperboard box is the aluminum slipcase with a heavy duty paperboard base. Etched on the aluminum cover is the Diplomat logo. Sliding the two pieces apart reveals a white overlay card with the Diplomat logo again and then the pen is revealed on a white, satin bed screenprinted with the Diplomat flower/sun logomark. The bed of the box can be lifted to reveal warranty card. The pen came with one standard international cartridge and a place holder cartridge. A converter must be purchased separately.
The Esteem is a larger, wider pen than the Traveler but both are sleek enamel barrel pens with plastic grip sections and snap caps. It was inevitable that we would make comparisons.
The Esteem is the same length as the Traveler (5.25″ or 133mm capped). Both pens are snap caps and both caps will post. It took me a couple tries to post the Esteem cap but it does post though I was worried I might scratch the finish if I posted the cap so I wouldn’t really recommend it.
The nib on the Traveler is smaller and the grip section in a little shorter. The Traveler has a silver ring at the join of the grip and body and a slightly different curve of the grip.
First, I love the colors. The wrap on the pen is really pretty. I was a little sad that the wrap seam is really apparent though.
My Traveler has an EF nib and my Esteem has an F nib. The F nib is very smooth but a little monoline looking. The nib is a stiff steel nib so it has no bounce either. There is nothing wrong with that but it’s a little uninteresting to me.
Compared to other metal fountain pens, from left to right: Faber-Castell Hexo, the Diplomat Esteem, Ferris Wheel Press Brush, Lamy Al-Star, Diplomat Traveler and Pilot Metropolitan. Despite mentioning that the Esteem is bigger than the Traveler, its clear that the Esteem is still relatively small in comparison to Metropolitan, the Lamy AL-Star and the Faber-Castell Hexo.
Posted, the Esteem is pretty long, almost 6.25″ (159mm). Uncapped the Esteem measures 4.875″ (101.6mm). The Esteem weighs 29gms capped and filled with a converter and 17gms uncapped and filled.
In the end, I love the look of the pen. It’s gorgeous but the nib is kind of humdrum. I might send it off to a nibmeister to make it more interesting.
I love my Diplomat Traveler and how slim and sleek it is. The Esteem is definitely wider in girth, but still writes very smoothly. The fine nib is just a smidge smaller than the medium on my Traveler; both are still fairy broad compared to Japanese nibs, but that suits me just fine. I can write comfortably with the Esteem, though I think I might slightly prefer the Traveler because of my very tiny hands (I know! I know!).
Honestly, the only thing I’m a little disappointed about in the Esteem MadC is the color. The photos on Pen Chalet looked bright and vibrant and overall my pen seems more muted, with wider sections of light color (pastel?) then I expected. As someone who loves beautiful striking colors, my particular pen left me wanting a bit more.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 7mm guide sheet, Ghost Paper Notebook ($25)
- Pens: Diplomat Esteem MadC Fountain Pen with Fine Nib ($90)
- Ink: Robert Oster Velvet Crush (50mL for $70) and Diamine Maureen (£9.50 for 80ml)