Back when I was a newer pen collector and saw my first Wahl-Eversharp Doric, I was entranced. This was, I thought, the most beautiful pen I'd ever seen, and a much broader exposure to pens, including some rare and astonishing ones, hasn't changed that opinion much. The elegant lines, the faceted appearance, repeated in the clip, the dropped clip that emphasizes the length of the cap -- all classic design elements applied in beautiful proportion to make one particular pen package with a serious "wow" factor.
The new Bexley 10th Anniversary pen, celebrating the company's successful growth from its beginnings in 1993 through today, borrows several concepts from the Doric, but modifies and refines them so that, while the pen has a vintage feel, it's obviously a thoroughly modern pen.
In common with its classic design ancestor, the Bexley 10th Anniversary has:
A clip set down in the cap about half an inch, giving a long, sleek appearance to the cap;
A clip with a shape similar to the early Dorics, but sleeker and more modernized;
An overall silhouette that echoes the elegant Doric, including the pointed conical ends of cap and barrel;
A cap band that pays homage to the famous deco band on many Dorics; and
A barrel that's machined so that the cap sets almost flush against the barrel, giving the whole pen a lean, elegant line.
Its barrel and cap are not faceted; they're smoothly rounded;
Its clip is sleeker and smoother in shape and function;
The cap band contains a stylized, embossed X o X design that's thoroughly up-to-date; and
It's a cartridge-converter pen, where no such thing existed during the time of the Doric's reign.
While those differences may sound (and are) fairly subtle, together they make a large impact on the pen's appearance. It's definitely a double-take pen, as in, "Hey, I know what that is, I've seen -- wait a minute, no I haven't! What is that pen?!?" That's got to be a good reaction for any pen maker to elicit -- respectful and growing out of tradition, but with a whole new aura all its own, and grabbing attention with that "wow" factor.
Most obvious of the differences between this pen and any pen will be the colors. Bexley has branched out into adventurous and intriguing things in the color world, and as a color freak I heartily approve of this. The colors in these pens pop, and they will satisfy the most color-addicted among us -- and since the sections match the barrels, there's more color to enjoy!
The two bright, striking colors are a yellow-and-blue combination and a green-and-red combination. In the yellow/blue, the yellow predominates as a field, with the blue swirled throughout like sapphire in sunshine. The pearlescent component of the acrylic adds to the depth and beauty of both colors, which are discrete enough that you don't get any muddiness at the color edges even though the edges are softened.
With the green/red version -- my hands-down personal favorite -- the green is deep and rich, marbleized and pearlized for added depth, value variation, and iridescence. The red swirls through it in sinuous shapes, intensifying the green by contrast and complementing it as well.
Both of those two have silver trim, which fits them well despite my well-known predilection for gold trim.
The other two pens we saw in this edition are more traditional in materials and thus have a more understated appearance. Both are woodgrained hard rubber; one is darker, while one is the familiar red/black hard rubber with stronger contrast. These two, with warmer colors, quite properly have gold trim that complements their classic elegance perfectly.
On the fountain pen, the nib is a big, beautiful Bexley nib, in good proportion to the big, beautiful body. Oh, did I forget to mention that? This is a big pen. Not enormous, but big; about the size of a Pelikan 800, though with a slightly slimmer section. I think it will suit big- and medium-handed people quite well, and though it's likely to be less comfortable for the smaller-handed writers among us, they might get along all right since the section is a bit more slender.
Though we didn't get to fill this pen to test it, we did get to dip it, and it's as smooth and sleek on paper as all the other Bexley nibs we've tried (and own). The version we tried was a stub and, as with all the Bexley stubs we've tried, gave good, clean line definition and variation with good flow (although of course, we couldn't test that over the long term without filling it).
Despite its size, this pen is midweight -- somewhat lighter
than that often-used standard-of-measurement 800 -- comfortable to hold,
and balances well in the hand. Even with the longish cap posted, the balance
is solid and the pen is not overbalanced when writing.
Despite my best efforts, I can't find any negatives with these pens. I liked them -- a lot. In fact, I think the folks at Bexley are really coming into their own design-wise, and this pen celebrates not only a decade of success but heralds great things for the next decade.
At this point, these prototypes haven't
been priced, so we can't give you that information. But my guess is that
they'll be around the $250-$300 mark. Be sure to take a look at these
lovely pens as soon as you get an opportunity!