Saturday, March 8, 2014

Monteverde One Touch Stylus Tool Fountain Pen

When I first saw Monteverde's One Touch Stylus Tool Fountain Pen, I loved everything about the way it looked.  Having previously written a review on the Multi Tool 4 in 1 level Pen here: http://multipendimensions.blogspot.com/2011/07/multi-tool-4-in-1-level-pen.html , 
I was intrigued to say the least with this extended feature edition of a go to writing tool such as this one.  In the ecosphere of Multi Function Writing Instruments, as I've stated before, the possibilities are endless.  Monteverde's offering of the One touch Stylus Fountain Pen is living proof of that theory.  For this review, I chose to write about the utility yellow version of this remarkable pen as it is also available in black and silver.  In another review I will address its sibling, the One Touch Stylus Tool Ballpoint Pen, which compliments the pen up for review today quite nicely.  Monteverde has also made available rollerball and mechanical pencil versions as well.

First impressions -
Monteverde has a reputation for producing quality built writing implements, and this one is no exception.  The utility yellow hexagonal faceted barrel, constructed of brass and copper, has a heft and balance that makes this pen a go-to candidate for writing.  At 38 grams in weight, 154mm in length, and 10mm in barrel width, this fountain pen is quite substantial when held in hand.  It appears to be at home in a workshop environment along side other tools, especially Stanley yellow ones which have the exact shade / hue of yellow.  As this pen comes loaded with features / functions, let's take a look at what else it has to offer.

Features -
In true multifunction pen fashion, One Touch Stylus Tool FP comes with a full compliment of features.  To begin with, the hexagonal barrel has ruler measurements, imperial and metric on four of the six sides.  The other two sides hold a chrome, pressed metal pocketclip and bubble level.  The pocketclip was not as sturdy as I would have liked, hopefully Monteverde, if they choose to make a second iteration will include a sturdier one, like stainless steel, preferably matte colored.  The bubble level, while not as sizable as desired in a workshop environment, is a legitimate tool and when tested proved to be reliable.  The top cap of the pen is nicely engineered.  The outside holds a capacitative tablet stylus, and when unscrewed reveals a double duty philips and standard screwdriver housed underneath.  These two screwdrivers are of the size to handle small jobs such as tightening eye glass screws and laptop screws.

As we move down to the opposite end of the pen barrel, we encounter the nib unit.  It is a standard German Iridium type medium tip stainless steel nib.  From the scroll work I'm guessing of the Schmidt variety.  The nib is covered by an aluminum screw on cap and has nice knurling on the thread end which serves several purposes.  The first being the most obvious, to unscrew the cap when  exposing the nib in order to write.  The second reason is for removing the nib unit entirely from the barrel housing.  This process involves grabbing the knurled part of the cap and pulling straight out and away from the barrel which frees the entire nib unit from said barrel.  Once exposed, the ink cartridge and nib unit are free to be changed, cleaned, etc.  Along one side of the nib unit is a double sided white arrow which is lined up with the pocket clip side of the pen barrel and then the nib unit can be reinserted inside the barrel.  Doing this procedure lines up the nib with the pocket clip for writing inline.  My one problem with the nib cap tends to be setting it down after its been unscrewed and I'm in the writing mode.  There's always that fear of misplacing it without an available replacement.  My advice to Monteverde if a second iteration is being planned, would be to make the threads compatible with the stylus cap so they can be exchanged out, or to make the cap from stainless steel and magnetize the cap so that it could potentially sit on top of the stylus cap.  Just suggestions.

Performance -
Before we begin discussing performance, I must mention this FP uses standard international ink cartridges, and apparently can employ Monteverde's mini ink converter, which I have yet to try.  When I do I'll add the update here.
While not a huge fan of medium width nibs, I do appreciate a smooth inking nib of any width.  And this nib does not disappoint.  Although it is on the stiff side, there is no scratchiness when inking, it simply lays a smooth, wet, medium line down on paper.  The heft of the barrel and the balance of the pen as a whole make for an enjoyable writing experience.  Again, if Monteverde is reading this, in a second run of this FP, please provide different nib widths, preferably fine, ex-fine.

Conclusion -
Being a Multi Function Pen affecianado, this pen basically provides me with a tool that lives in my EDC bag for close retrieval when needed.  Having a fountain pen in addition to its other attributes is simply icing on the cake for me.  Is it for everyone, definitely not.  But for me it's a highly recommended pen and for those who know who you are.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tech Force Pen

There's a new pen in town to add to the design minded pen arsenals of many.  It's Tech Force Pen (catchy name) by Josh Wilson. Josh recently launched his first Kickstarter project and is seeking funding to make it a reality.  For a pledge of $50.00 you can get the aluminum version of this architect inspired writing tool, or for $75.00 the black version can be yours.  Here's the link:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1572999363/tech-force-pen
Check it out if your so inclined.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tombow Zoom 828fp "Egg" Fountain Pen Gloss Black

When you have a writing instrument that just fits the "bill" so to speak, it is so satisfying to be able to sit and write about the attributes which make it so, where you are concerned.  Such is the case with Tombow's Zoom 828fp Fountain Pen, better known to the writing community as the Egg Fountain Pen.

Along with its siblings, the Rollerball Eggs; i.e. 808bw, 828bw, 838bw, 848bw, 858bw; the rarest of the family being the 808bw, which is white with green accents, this group of egg shaped writing instruments, long out of production still remain darlings of the pen community.

Important to note, the Egg fountain pen also has siblings holding the designation of 848fp, produced in matte silver as well as gloss black with gold accents, the latter up for review today.


The entire Egg family has developed a cult status, secondary to being out of production, their lack of availability, and their unusual design.  I reviewed the 858bw rollerball here, and at that time was throughly impressed with its inking versatility.  

Several months ago, I was fortunate to acquire an Egg 828fp fountain pen on ebay and have been enjoying its use and the writing experiences derived from every scribing session with this writing instrument.  

 Design / construction -
The 828fp is 108mm capped, 134mm posted and 20mm in diameter, same as its rollerball siblings.
It is constructed with polycarbonate ABS plastic and accented with a gold plated pocket clip, gold plated ring on the cap bottom, and a gold plated ring on the lower barrel area above the grip section.
It sports a gold plated stainless steel nib that simply says "zoom" and inks a line that lies between a fine and a medium nib size.  More on that later.  The 828fp uses international ink cartridges available from a variety of online retailers.  To date, I've yet to find an ink converter that will fit into its barrel and/or nib.  If anyone out there is aware of such a converter please let me know.

Performance -
When discussing the performance of the Egg 828fp, I tend to steer away from  comparisons with other fountain pens in my collection, simply because in my humble opinion, it would not be a fair one.  Egg 828fp is in a class by itself.  The only pen I have seen that might be comparable is the Platinum Glamour, http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/30698-asian-pens/
which I have yet to try out.  That said, the experience of writing with Egg 828fp is one of a kind.
From the feel of the extra wide barrel, to the dark vibrant and consistent inking on paper.  This fountain pen is exceptional.  The nib is a short stubby one, fitting of the pen body it's attached to.  But it inks without feathering, without hesitation,  and is quite forgiving when put to paper.

Having used this pen for several months, I can say that it has set the standard for what the writing experience should be.  There is little bad that I can say about a pen as comfortable to write with as the Tombow Zoom 828fp "Egg" fountain pen.  As such, if you can locate one, it is very highly recommended.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pilot 2+1 Evolt Multi Pen

The Pilot Corporation has been making writing tools since 1918, and is the largest pen company in Japan, and the third largest in the United States.  Pilot mass produces writing instruments and distributes them around the globe reaching a very large segment of the writing community.

My very first multi pen was a Pilot that I purchased while stationed in Saudi Arabia.  It had exemplary build quality, and had I not lost it in my military travels, I'm sure that it would still be present in my current collection of writing implements.

I am sharing this background on Pilot because the subject of this review, the Pilot 2+1 Evolt Multi Pen is an underwhelming writing instrument, and it does little to live up to the reputation that preceded its production.





It is because of Pilot's reputation in producing fine multi function pens that I chose to purchase the Evolt 2+1 from Jetpens.com.  It is constructed of aluminum, complete with a shiny paint job and silver accents at the tip, top, pocket clip and midsection.  Available in nine colors, Pilot used a broad reach appeal strategy in marketing this pen.  For this review, I chose the brown variety which really does have a look of elegance going for it.  In addition, the 0.7mm ink cartridges lay thin consistent lines on paper.  This is where the attributes cease to exist with the Evolt 2+1.  The paint job that I referred to previously provides quite a slippery slope when gripping this pen and attempting to write complete sentences.  My fingers continually slipped down the barrel causing me to relentlessly re-adjust my grip, quite frustrating!

When twisting the upper barrel to change from one cartridge to the next, there is a flimsy feeling associated with this technique.  Going clockwise from black to red to pencil, there is a clicking sound indicative of the change or engagement, but once the pencil is engaged, if you attempt to continue the clockwise twist, you'll come to an abrupt halt.  While most multi pens that utilize the twisting technique allow a continual 360 degree turn to occur, whereas if you attempt that move here, the Evolt 2+1 will let you know that is not going to happen.  When I first attempted a continuous twist movement with the pen, the Evolt 2+1 buckled and actually bowed in the center.  I thought I had broken the entire pen.  I layed it flat and pushed it from the center until it straightened itself out again.  Once that happened, I was able to twist it back the other way.  So much for doing that again!

Somewhere in conception, the ball was dropped when it came to material to be used in the design and manufacture of this pen.  There were obvious corners cut here.  When I compare this pen with my Pilot Pentopia 2+1 purchased 13 years ago, the Evolt 2+1 simply does not measure up.  Granted, still present are the 0.7mm ink cartridges which handle basically any writing task.  While the pen tip houses a small white eraser which appears to be included simply as an afterthought.

Overall, Pilot appears to have lost its sense of integrity with this half-thought out offering, the Evolt 2+1 Multi Pen.  The insides, i.e. ink cartridges and lead holder are typical Pilot hardware, but the pen barrel is all show and no tell.  As someone who has acquired a number of Pilot Pens, mostly multi pens, I find this one a sore disappointment.  As such, I am unable to recommend it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tombow Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen Black

Tombow Pens have always epitomized the concept of "form following function."  Its launch of the "Zoom" series in 1986, opened the door for a line of uniquely designed writing implements .  In 2005, Tombow launched the Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen, which won the IF Design Award in 2006, as well as the Red Dot Design Award, an international product design prize awarded in Essen, Germany.  Let's take a look at this award winning pen and what makes it live up to that prestigious title.

When picking up and holding the Zoom 414, the first thing I noticed was that it did not rattle.  The multi pen Achilles heel was not present here.  Constructed of brass, the thin barrel holds two Tombow D1 style 0.7mm refills (red and black) with an optional stylus, and a 0.5mm lead holder.  The top section above the pocket clip unscrews to reveal a white compact rubber eraser.  Twisting the barrel at the pocket clip bottom, allows a change to the desired ink cartridge color or lead holder.  The feel when engaging the barrel is a quite solid one.  At 5.4 inches long and 0.37 inches in diameter, the slender barrel is substantial.  Writing with this pen feels comfortable enough, no slipping due to the matte paint job on the barrel.  I only wish the ink used here was equal to that employed in the larger Zoom roller ball refills which utilize a dark vibrant pigment ink.

However, it produces a thin, consistent line on paper which is not washed out at all.  The red ink lays an equally consistent, thin line.  The lead holder is a familiar 0.5mm pencil, but also lays a nice lead line on paper without easily breaking as some lead refills in multi pens have a tendency to do.

All in all, Tombow's Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen is a superb build quality writing instrument, employing adequate D1 style cartridges, and is user friendly in engaging / disengaging those refills.  For me, this multi pen is in my daily rotation as a go-to writing tool, and is highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen

As a huge fan of Lamy pens for over a thirteen years, I have always appreciated the quality and style present in each of Lamy's offerings over the years, of which I have acquired a few.  In this review I will examine the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen, picking it apart quite profusely. 



Designed by Gerd A. Muller, and brought to market in 1966, the Lamy 2000 embodies an understated retro look.  The line of Lamy 2000 pens includes the original 2000 fountain pen, ballpoint, mechanical pencil, and multi color ballpoint which we are looking at currently.

The Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint is constructed of makralon, a fiberglass / polycarbonate material
with brushed stainless steel at the cartridge tip, knock and pocket clip.  This makes for a lightweight yet very durable writing implement, and quite sustainable.  The pen employs Lamy's M21 refills, black, red, blue and green.  They all ink adequately when applying on paper, I would however like to see a fine gel tip refill available as an alternative.  Also welcome would be additional refill colors like blue-black, turquoise, and brown.  That aside, Lamy inks are consistent, without any sort of skipping or hesitation when writing, while being waterproof and smudge proof as well.

This pen, like the Lamy Accent and Logo Multi pens, employs the gravity select mechanism which offers a shift in ink color by laying the pen horizontally while turning it to the desired color code located at the top near the head of the pocket clip.  Once the knock is retracted, the chosen ink cartridge is engaged, no fuss, no muss.  That said, there is a slight rattle when the knock is disengaged.  It is the Achilles heel common to most multi pens, one which I have learned to live with when considering a pen's other distinctive qualities, of which the 2000 has many.

Above all, it has a timeless appeal, and form truly follows function in the case of the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Pen.  As a ballpoint pen which offers four individual colors of inking ability, there are many occasions that I call upon this pen to complete a scribing session.  The brushed barrel offers a great feel when writing, all without slippage.  This pen has an elegance which actually seems to improve my handwriting.

In my humble opinion, Lamy got it right with this offering.  The M21 refills withstanding, I enjoy the writing experience provided by the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen and as such give it a high recommendation.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Good to be Forward


Well, after a year of sabbatical, I feel it's time to get on the blogging horse once again.  I have had a lot of reflection time and have sorted through my feelings, both personal and as they relate to blogging about one of my favorite subjects, the writing implement and associated tools.

That said, I come back with a renewed sense of what that now looks like to me.  I now look at pens, pencils, styli and other writing associated instruments as whole creations as opposed to only possessing one or two aspects which may have attracted my attention initially.

And so, I will follow this blog post very shortly with my first review in over a year.  I hope I am able to add a fresh perspective apart from the conventional one concerning my look at both old and new writing tools and associated products.

Thanks,
Yochanan