Let's talk about golf. When you hit a golf ball, you have to do a lot of things just right. Bend this leg, twist that one, turn your body, but not too far, keep your head down, come back slowly, don't twist the wrists too much, relax the grip, don't press, eye on the ball, don't let the club head lead, and on and on.
So, you do all this stuff, in more or less the correct fashion over and over again, only to see the stupid little ball go whipping off to one side or another, bouncing ten yards in front of you, or even worse, maybe it's still sitting on the tee, looking up at you with as smug an expression as can be found on a featureless white globe.
But then, every once in a while (seldom in my case!) you do everything exactly right. You don't have to look to know that the ball is screaming right down the middle of the fairway. You just know it. You know that you've done it right.
That, roughly speaking, is the feeling that the folks at Bexley must be enjoying right about now.
The Americana is a pen that will immediately seem familiar to anyone who has studied vintage pens, at first glance, in fact, it is obviously nothing more than a Doric, one of the all time greatest American classics. But, much like the first Bexley pens were modern revisions of the Parker Duofold, the Americana is a modern revision of the Doric, and there are some differences.
Biggest difference, of course is that it's a cartridge converter filler, instead of a lever filler or a plunger vac filler. Also, it's made of modern acrylic instead of celluloid. And, last but not least, the facets don't extend all the way to the end of the cap and barrel. So, not a copy of the Doric, but definitely inspired by the original design.
The size of the Americana is what I would call a "full sized" pen, most would probably consider it to be "oversize". Think M1000 or MB149 size, in terms of length, just a bit slimmer. The section is much thinner than either of the above mentioned pens, which should make the Americana suitable for a wide range of hand sizes. The acrylic is light enough that it doesn't feel heavy.
So, in other words, we have a nice, big pen, that's not too unwieldy to actually use, it's a modern cartridge converter filler, but styled very closely after one of the most popular of vintage pens... What's not to like?
Very little, as it turns out. The Americana is simply one of the best modern pens I've seen in a while. It's not just me that thinks so, either! I'm still waiting for someone to react to them in a negative way. So far, everyone that's seen the three samples we were sent has been unanimously enthusiastic about them.
If I just had to pick something about which to complain, it would be not having the facets run all the way to the ends of the pen. I have a feeling that this choice was driven by the manufacturing process, which is why I'm not more bothered by it.
If it's a choice between having the Americana with the facets stopping short of the ends of the pen, and not having it at all (or maybe having it, but at twice the price...), I know which choice I want!
Cartridge converter fill? Well, sure it would be neat to see the Americana as a lever filler, or even a piston filler. But again, it's a whole different world, production-wise. The difference between a $300 pen and a $600 pen. And after all, while "neat", it really doesn't effect the way in which the pen actually writes.
The writing comes down to the nib and feed usually, and in this case, it looks as though we're in good hands. The nib is an 18K affair, and looks to be from Bock, the famous German nib maker. Very nicely done in two tone gold, with the Bexley logo engraved on it. The best part? It's available in stub as well as fine, medium, and broad! The nib has some give to it as well. Not "real" flex in the vintage sense of the term, but line width change with pressure to a small degree.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to get our hands on a sample of these pens that we could load up and test drive. The three we were sent were actually just diverted to us on their way to a retailer. The demand for these pens seems to be very high, right now dealers are having a tough time keeping them in stock. So, I can't comment on performance, aside from the feel of the nib, and maybe the past performance of nib/feed units from this manufacturer, which have all been positive in my experience.
So, I don't have any hesitation in recommending the Americana. For one thing, aside from all of the great attributes of the pen itself, there's the fact that if you buy one and do have problems with it, the folks at Bexley will be more than happy to make sure that you're taken care of. Bexley is somewhat unique in modern pen companies, in that you can talk to the "guys up top" at any pen show. A nice change from some of the "big players" in the industry!
The Americana is available as a fountain pen or rollerball version, in three colours, Rio Grande Red, Sierra Silver and Sanibel Blue. The rollerball will take either regular rollerball refills, or the new Parker Gel ink refills, offering you a bit of choice on the nibless side of things.