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Faber-Castell e-motion

Call it neuro-marketing or whatever but we all associate certain brand names with specific products. Where companies make a variety of products, such associations are naturally incomplete. When my 10-year old son looked at my pen and asked, ‘Does Faber-Castell make fountain pens also?’, I knew Faber-Castell could be one such. He’d only seen myriad pencil sets and rubber erasers of F-C and nothing else. I first heard the name somewhere the mid-80s, having bought one of their ‘clutch pencils’, the name for mechanical pencils in India back then… and a very good pencil it was.

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Anyway, I bought the e-motion a couple of months or so ago and have used it as one of the various pens that I rotate for daily use at work.

Looks

The e-motion is marketed principally in three shades and textures. I bought the Crocodile Black. The pic would have you believe that there are grooves etched in but there aren’t.

With the cap on, the pen looks bloated in the center and its length (lack of) accentuates that feeling. The stubby cap is disproportionate somehow, with the diameter increasing a little too much between the top and its widest point. The widely spaced serrations are neat but the clip, while very functional, is too – what’s the correct word for it – ornate. It has pronounced concave and convex curvatures within a very short length, with a pronounced pivot. The teeth on the inside of the clip where it touches the cap might grip the shirt pocket well but has unconsciously reminded me to be mindful about depressing the clip before pulling out the pen!

There are concave curvatures on the top and bottom of the cap and blind cap respectively.

Is the pen a looker? Not really, no.

Dimensions

Overall: 151 mm
Uncapped: 128 mm
Posted: 162 mm

Fill and feel

It comes with an F-C cartridge converter. The pen feels very solidly constructed. The threads of both the cap and barrel are silken, with the latter a bit too much. I’ve often found the section getting loose and that’s been one of the two gripes I have with the e-motion, the other being that it tends to turns in the shirt pocket to various unsightly degrees.

The pen is just about long enough for even my small south Asian palm and I can imagine Europeans struggling to hold this comfortably without posting. I don’t like posting my pens generally but the e-motion feels good with the cap stuck on the barrel while writing. Just a touch top-heavy but enjoyable still.

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Writing impressions

The small stainless steel nib is a corker and F-C clearly has a winner here. It wrote effortlessly straight out of the box and has kept doing so with not the slightest sign of a hitch. My pen has an M nib.

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Value for money

The Faber-Castell website has a list price of $135. I got it for $100 in Dubai. To be opinionated on the price of something is risky but I’ll stick my neck out and say this – the pen is quite overpriced.

Overall rating

7.2 / 10

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An Oriental tranche arrives

Got these from China y’day. Will post reviews over time but each one of these inexpensive pens wrote, and wrote smoothly, right out of the box!

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My favorite of the lot is easily the Luoshi 739 with its unique nib; writes like a dream.

 

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But why a fountain pen?

One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘Why the heck do you still use fountain pens?’ Not an easy or comfortable question to answer since their use make you feel anachronistic almost but I’ve not yet been deterred or dissuaded enough to slip back to the more ubiquitous varieties of pen such as rollers and ballpoints.

There are many reasons I like FPs. For one, I connect them to my childhood, which keeps a part of me linked to that long-lost phase of life. I’ve written notes in classrooms, practiced stuff off-study hours with them and written exams. The early part of my working life was spent using ballpens but not for too long. So yes, the FP has always been around close by.

Not sure why but FPs make me write a lot more somehow, even when I can choose some digital alternative more easily. That doesn’t in itself make it in any way advantageous – indeed, there are more disadvantages with cursive writing records – but I feel good about it. Contrary to popular belief, writing in FPs doesn’t better your handwriting, and I’ve found that out for myself often enough.

Oh and due to the rarity of their use, FPs don’t get stolen easily, unlike ballpens 🙂

Are there aspects of FPs that I would’ve liked to be different? You bet! This is my wish list:

1. People use good brands for no reason other than that they make good pens, and not as cachet, class symbols.

2. FPs are affordable and inexpensive. There are many that are, but the truly desirable ones usually sport wonderland price tags. Sad.

3. There’s a completely clean way to fill ink even when you don’t use cartridges. The fact that you invariably end up in contact with raw ink puts off many I know.

4. This one’s UAE-specific – I just wish I find varieties and colors of ink here. It’s often just blue, and only Pelikan or Quink.

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Memories (Warning: uninteresting!)

I’ve used FPs for nearly forty years now. My earliest memories are of Wingstar, which I’m assuming was an Indian product, and had a body made of a rather agreeable odor(!) and had to be filled with an eyedropper. Back then, in the boonies of rural Karnataka, I only ever saw one brand of ink, called Chelpark. And Chelpark royal blue it always was that got filled into my Wingstar. The enthusiasm of using it back then was high because it’s only now that I realize that the pen was tacky any which way you looked at it. There would be ink leaks of varying degree and nearly every classmate had ink on their thumbs and forefingers by the end of the day at school. It didn’t matter at all somehow. It was routine for parents to reward the assiduous ones with a Hero 329, complete with a hooded nib and catchy golden arrow on the section near the nib. It was just a Hero then, I know the model now 🙂

It was sometime circa ’91 that I spotted a looker FP with a goreous nib on the cover of a book on the Income Tax Act of India. It was a Wadhwa publication but nothing about the book interested me (I mean, can it get more soporific than income tax?) but that pen sure did. It was a Montblanc, which I could tell from that white star atop the cap. My bro had an MB ballpen back in ’89 and he’d filled me in on how MBs were recognizable from that white star and that MB pens were the most expensive and exclusive. Had there been tools like a scanner and Google Images, it’d have taken 15 minutes to figure the model on that book but I only had to retain a mental image. A couple of years later, I spotted it in a newly released magazine for the Indian nouveau riche. It was my first little window to stuff that was available in my country that I hadn’t known existed, and sure enough nothing within its covers were even within a realistic dreaming range anyway. Back to that pen. It was called, as I wrote down every letter carefully in a piece of paper that I promptly lost shortly thereafter, the Montblanc Meisterstuck 149.

Fortunately, between ’00 and ’03, I was able to view that pen regularly at a bookstore in Bangalore. It had a price tag of about INR 20k and given my economic status and young family, I’d have instantly been branded a raving idiot if I as much as dreamt of taking a loan – a loan it had to be, of course – to buy it. As luck would have it, I got a chance in ’03 to work and live in Dubai and within 4 months of arriving there bought the 149 🙂 It remains a most beloved possession because of the preceding story but I’ve my views on MB now and not all of them are favorable.

So is the 149 my most favorite? Nope. As I hope to write in the days to come, my admiration for the Lamy 2000 has only grown.

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Anatomy of the reviews

My plan is to write reviews of the fountain pens that I have, simple as that. The reviews would only be minimally subjective, hopefully, and the objective is to help you decide on buying (or not buying) the pen in question.

Each of the reviews would be categorized into:

Looks

Dimensions

Fill and Feel

Writing impressions

In the long run

Value for money

Overall rating

Comments are welcome, as ever. Since I can’t yet afford buying greater space on WordPress, I’ll let you look at images of the pens from the web. Aside of the affordability issue is the fact that I don’t have the requisite photography skills to professionally shoot and upload photographs of my pens and writing samples 🙂

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Getting started

Just set this up and hope to brb, let’s see…

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