It's getting hot up here in the Seattle area, June and all.... Of course, there always seems to be plenty about which to get hot outside of the weather! Retailers, for example, seem to be getting worked up over the new Conklin Rainforest, apparently it was one of the hits of the New York Stationary show a few weeks ago. It's certainly not a subtle pen, the bright color combination was what drew folks to the Conklin display, it should be interesting to see how that translates into fascination among pen buyers themselves as this pen hits the shelves. We were lucky enough to get a set as review samples, and you can read all about this month. Conklin is also coming forth with a new limited edition, look for a review in the near future. From what we've seen so far, it should prove to be very interesting. (In other words, lots of sterling!)
Speaking of sterling silver, one of the first names that comes to mind when you hear the words sterling silver is Classic Pens. They've taken a short break from sterling silver with the launch of the LB1, the first in a new series of limited editions that will feature other materials, in a variety of shapes and sizes. This premier offering is built on what until recently has been a seldom seen model from the Sailor Pen company. Of course, those of you who were at the Chicago show will recognize it as the same model that is being featured as the basis for the upcoming Classic Pens CP7 series, the Sailor 80th Anniversary.
The LB1 uses this classic torpedo shape to it's fullest, combining the simple lines with a neat acrylic material. Material last seen on the Sheaffer Limited Edition Balance pen. All this, and a choice of two of Sailor's best nibs, the Naginata Togi, or the Cross Emperor. It's an attractive temptation, even without being covered with engraved sterling silver. After all, we can wait another month or so for the CP7 to get the sterling....
Speaking of Sterling, we've taken a look at the Montegrappa Cosmopolitan Russia this month. It's a wonderful pen, not enough good things to say about it. Unfortunately, it seems that Montegrappa might be getting a bit difficult to find of late. They seem to be pulling back from the "traditional" pen markets, and concentrating on the more "upscale" jewelry store style outlets.
If this trend continues, it will be too bad, since in our oh so humble opinion you need a good, well trained staff of "pen people" to really do a good job of selling a fine pen, especially one in this price range. We can only hope for the best. On the good news side, I have heard very good things about after sales service from the new US distributor for Montegrappa. It may be a case of "win some, lose some". Any sign of improvement in this area is a very good sign, as those of you who've waited months for simple nib changes can attest!
Something old, something new. The Parker 45 has been around for decades, and is still a good looking pen today. It's one of those simple designs that they just plain got right the first time. Not that Parker was ready to simply let it enter the twenty first century without a facelift. As Terry Clark describes in his review of the new 45, it's a simple and subtle change, but basically still the same great pen it has always been. Good news to fans of "affordable fine writing", a field the Parker 45 dominated for a whole lot of years.
Terry has also shared with us his thoughts concerning the wonders of flex nibs. Flexible nibs are something we hear a lot about, sometimes it seems that the pursuit of "flex" is akin to that for the holy grail. There's a reason, of course, a good flex nib, in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, will produce handwriting that comes closer to artwork than text. As Terry describes it, "drawing words". Of course, first you have to find that good "flex nib"....
The Bexley Tenth Anniversary is just now hitting the stores, and it's reviewed this month as well. The pen is a variation of their recent hit, the Americana, with a round cap and barrel profile, instead of the Americana's faceted shape. These pens are being offered in four colors, two are hard rubber, and two are, shall we say, very bright acrylics... We'll leave it to Anna Lawson to describe them in more detail!
Also reviewed this month are the Montblanc Starwalkers. These are what Montblanc might describe as "entry level" pens, they're probably aimed at he same market as the recently discontinued Generations line. They are definitely a new look for Montblanc! From the slightly swollen cap, to the checkered metal section to the clear acrylic cap top complete with suspended snowflake it's a step into a whole new dimension. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to agree that Montblanc is taking the need for new directions seriously.
A company that is also taking the need for new directions seriously is Conway Stewart, It seems that since taking over the US distributorship not a week goes by that Dick Egolf isn't calling us with the news of something new and exciting coming from this classic British company.
This time it was several new colors in the 58 line, a great pen that has of late been slightly overshadowed by it's bigger brothers the Churchill and Duro. These new additions should even things up a bit, as Anna Lawson describes, they're quite a lot of style in a smaller package.
The best thing about the 58 is that it's available in two versions,a cartridge converter model and a lever filler. You can decide for yourself whether you prefer the convenience of a cartridge or the classic style of the lever filler and a bottle of your favorite ink. Choice is good!