Category Archives: Fountain Pens

Fountain Pen Reviews – Comprehensive reviews of fountain pens from beginner class to high-end. Each review includes sections for Appearance and Packaging, Nib and Performance, the Feel, Pros and Cons, and a Wrap-up. Each image is clickable, and you are able to enlarge it to see all the small details.

Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen Review

Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel
Fountain Pen Review

– Handwritten Review –

  • Review Ink: J. Herbin Orange Indien
  • Review Paper: Clairefontaine Classic Notebook

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-4Specs:

  • Description: The stainless steel version of my favorite pen ever, the Lamy 2000.
  • Nib: Broad, 14k gold, rhodium plated
  • Filling Mechanism: Piston
  • Weight: 54g
  • Measurements: 5.5″ closed, 6.0″ posted
  • Color Options: Brushed Stainless Steel 

Handwritten Review Scans:

Intro/About:

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-7
Lamy has taken their iconic 2000 design and crafted a version made from stainless steel. It’s significantly heavier than the makrolon version, but much about the two versions are the same. I opted for the broad nib (what is going on with me, last two pens I bought were broad-nibbed!?) and so far so good. The original Lamy 2000 is my all time favorite pen, read on to see how the stainless steel version holds up!

Thanks to Pen Chalet for sponsoring the review! 

Check out Pen Chalet for all of your fountain pen needs. They are an official retailer of several of the top brands in the industry and have a great selection to choose from!

Make sure to check out the gallery at the bottom of the review, featuring several full-sized photos of the Lamy 2000 Stainless!

Appearance & Packaging:

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-9The 2000SS comes in a minimalistic cardboard box. It looks cool and suits the design of the pen quite well. The pen itself looks sleek, streamlined, and even more unified than the orginal two-tone makrolon version. The brushed stainless steel body really suits the shape of the 2000 well, resulting in a handsome writing instrument. The gentle curves of the pen are pleasing to both the eye and the hand. The clip on the SS version is high polish steel, unlike the brushed version on the makrolon.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-8The mirror finish nicely compliments the brushed surface of the pen, but watch out as it does tend to pick up scratches easily. Unlike the nearly invisible seams on the original, those on the stainless steel version are slightly more visible. It’s completely understandable, as stainless is notorious for it’s difficulty to be machined. The 2000 is one of my favorite designs out there, and not just for pens. I’m happy to have both the stainless and original version in my collection. I can’t say which one I prefer because they’re both great in their own ways.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-3

I absolutely love the broad nib in my Lamy 2000. It’s known that they tend to be finicky, but I have had no problems with this one. It has excellent ink flow and it is glassy smooth on paper. The pen does have a little bit of a sweet spot, but the broad size makes it easy to find. The smoothness and flow are almost like a marker. The pen writes wet and that definitely contributes to the smooth writing experience. I think this is my favorite broad nib, edging out even the Pelikan M805 Stresemann I reviewed a few weeks back.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-8The Lamy 2000 SS employs a piston filling mechanism like it’s counterpart. The piston knob is smooth and the pen easily draws up around 2ml of ink. This does tend to go a little fast in the broad nib. The fact that the nib is mostly hidden by the grip actually makes it easier to fill the pen fully and without mess. My one gripe with the pen is that there’s no ink window to see what you have in there. Should I have opted for a fine or extra fine nib, I wouldn’t worry, but the ink-thirsty broad nib drains the pen pretty quickly. In terms of overall aesthetic of the pen, and ink window would be out of place. I don’t mind that it’s not there, but maybe fill it up before you head out to an important meeting or long class.

Feel:

 

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-5The Lamy 2000 fits my hand like a glove. The contoured shape is comfortable and the tapered grip allows the writer to either choke up or grip further back depending on preference. I write with the makrolon version posted, but the stainless is WAY more comfortable to me when uncapped. The 54g weight is a bit much when you’re holding the body and cap, but is much more manageable unposted. The cap throws off the balance considerably.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-4I’ve also found the body to be a bit slippery, despite the fact that the grips are both stainless steel in both models. The makrolon body coupled with the lighter weight helps keep the pen in hand a bit better. I’ve also found myself gripping this pen a little bit harder than I may with others, perhaps because of the weight. Also worth noting is the presence of the seams between the grip section and body. They’re slightly more pronounced than I’d like. A small, yet still bothersome detail is the vertical play in the clip. The makrolon version has zero and this has a distinct wiggle. For a pen of this price I would definitely like to see the fit and finish taken up another notch.

Pros:

– Best broad nib I’ve used
– Great flow
– Iconic design
– Large ink capacity

Cons:

– Finishing could be better
– No ink window

Conclusion:

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Stainless Steel Review-1The original Lamy 2000 is my favorite pen. At this point, I’m pretty sure I could sell off my entire collection, save the Lamy, and be completely content. The SS version is definitely a great compliment to the original, but it’s not a replacement. The SS 2000 is not without faults, but I’m still a huge fan of the pen. If you’re like me and love the makrolon version, the stainless would definitely make a great addition to your collection. The broad nib was great straight out of the box, putting down a ton of ink. I’ve been drooling over this pen for what feels like years, and it’s definitely not a let down.

Check out Pen Chalet for pricing and options on the Lamy 2000

Gallery:


Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review

Pelikan M805 Stresemann
Fountain Pen Review

– Handwritten Review –

  • Review Ink: Sailor Jentle Miruai (Seaweed Indigo)
  • Review Paper: Clairefontaine Classic Notebook

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-17

Specs:

  • Description: A premium, piston filling fountain pen in black and grey from one of Germany’s most-respected brands.
  • Nib: Broad, 18k gold, rhodium plated
  • Filling Mechanism: Piston with brass components
  • Weight: 28g
  • Measurements: 5.25″ overall, 6.625″ posted, 0.625″ diameter
  • Color Options: Black with striped anthracite grey barrel, rhodium trim

Handwritten Review Scans:

Intro/About:

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-16

I used to have a Pelikan M605 that I got rid of because it wasn’t seeing as much use as I would have liked. As soon as I saw the announcement of the Stresemann, I knew I had to once again add a a Pelikan to the flock. The M805 Stresemann is an anthracite grey striated M805 with silver trim and an entirely rhodium-plated nib. The M8XX series is Pelikan’s second largest pen, right under the M1000 and right above the M600. The size and weight are ideal for me. Many thanks to Ron over at Pen Chalet for sponsoring this review! Read on to see how the M805 held up to regular use!

Check out Pen Chalet for all of your fountain pen needs. They are an official retailer of several of the top brands in the industry and have a great selection to choose from!

Make sure to check out the gallery at the bottom of the review, featuring 20 full-sized photos of the Pelikan M805 Stresemann!

Appearance & Packaging:

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-4

The Stresemann comes in the standard Pelikan packaging. A faux wood and white box. Inside is a nice leather pouch, held closed by an elastic band bearing a plastic Pelikan logo emblem. Packaging doesn’t mean a whole lot to be, but the Stresemann is nicely presented. Inside the box is what really matters. The pen is absolutely stunning. The grey striated barrel has a deep shine and is transparent between the stripes. This allows you to see the ink level remaining.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-15Since the ink level is visible through the body, there is no need for Pelikan’s signature green ink window on the black pen bodies.The lack of ink window streamlines the body and results in a cleaner look overall. The pen is large, and posting the cap makes the pen larger. Usually Pelikan uses a dual-tone nib, but the Stresemann is unique in that they have implemented an entirely silver, rhodium-plated nib. The large size nib looks wonderful and matches the aesthetic of the pen perfectly. I love the shape of Pelikan nibs and it is accented in this larger pen. The silver trim nicely compliments the grey body and silver nib on the pen.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-9
I opted for a broad nib, which is quite out of character for me. Admittedly, the tines were ever-so-slightly misaligned out of the box. A quick adjustment and everything was fine. The nib is super smooth and in the middle of the wetness scale. The broad nib is a bit narrower than the Lamy 2000 broad nib I also recently picked up. I’m happy with it, but I’d prefer a bit more ink flow.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-8
The M805 employs a massive piston filler. Ink capacity is great, especially given the amount of ink a broad nib goes through. The piston is buttery smooth and there’s no play in the knob. The brass components inside add some heft to the pen, but it stays balanced. Unscrew the knob, submerge the nib, screw the knob back in, and you’re ready to write. No complaints here!

Feel:

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-13

The M805 isn’t nearly as heavy as I was expecting it to be. For some reason, I had it in my head that this thing was going to weigh me down. It’s quite comfortable in hand, especially when writing with the cap off, unposted. Posting the cap makes the pen a bit unwieldy. The added length and weight towards the back are not the best for my hand / writing style, but for those with larger hands it just might be.

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-12
The body of the pen is smooth and without faults. The resin is particularly sleek to the touch. Be careful, as the black is particularly prone to micro scratches. The cap threads are small and unobtrusive, meaning that those who grip higher up on the pen shouldn’t be bothered. The width of the grip section is very comfortable and the gentle taper keeps inky fingers at bay. For long writing sessions, I’ve found no fatigue or cramping due to the shape and weight of the pen.

Pros:

– Looks extremely classy
– Broad nib is silky smooth
– Weight, balance and shape are comfortable in hand

Cons:

– Nib tines were slightly misaligned out of the box

Conclusion:

Pelikan M805 Stresemann Fountain Pen Review-2At around $640, the Stresemann is most certainly a luxury. It performs well, and the price isn’t simply just for the brand. The components and construction match up to the price tag and it will last a lifetime. Pelikan is a highly-regarded brand and there is tons of heritage and history behind this M805. This pen is not an impulse buy for most, but if you’re in the market for a Pelikan, the Stresemann should definitely be considered!

Check out Pen Chalet for pricing and options on the Pelikan M805 Stresemann.

Gallery:


Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review

Kaweco 14k Gold Fountain Pen Nib Review

Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-4

Review Pen: Kaweco ART Sport Amber
Review Ink: Kaweco Summer Blue

Notes: Kaweco has recently added 14k gold nibs to their lineup and they are great! I’m a fan of their steel nibs (EF, F, and M – nothing bigger) but this gold nib is on a whole new level. It’s got great ink flow and it is silky smooth. It starts right up, even after being unused for weeks. Retailing at around $100, it makes a great upgrade for an AL or ART Sport – adding a premium look, feel, and writing experience. This is definitely one of the better stock gold nibs I’ve used. If you’re a Kaweco fan, consider adding one to your collection. The newest Kawecos all have easily interchangeable nibs, so you can swap this one in and out easily. Thank you to Sebastian over at Kaweco for sending the nib to check out!

Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-1 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-5 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-6 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-7 Kaweco 14k Gold Nib Review-8

Gallery:

 

Pen Comparison: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black vs. Pilot Custom 823

Pen Comparison: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black vs. Pilot Custom 823

Sailor Pro Gear Versus Pilot 823-3

Notes: These two pens are not necessarily similar, in that they have different stylings, different filling systems, and different sizes. However, when shopping on the Japanese market, they are nearly the same price. I snapped these photos the other day because someone on Reddit was asking for advice on which pen to get. Both of them are great, and have landed a permanent seat in my collection. It’s hard to recommend one over the other, but maybe this post will help those out who are considering both pens!

Sailor Pro Gear Versus Pilot 823-1 When capped, the Sailor is visibly shorter than the Pilot. The flat top and bottom on the Sailor make for some great styling and looks, but it does make the pen significantly shorter. The other obvious difference is that the Pilot has a demonstrator body with an integrated vacuum filling system, while the Sailor is all-black resin with a cartridge converter. The Sailor is much more modern, while the Pilot has a classic cigar shape.Sailor Pro Gear Versus Pilot 823-3 This is how I prefer to write with each pen. The Sailor is much to short for me when unposted (see below), but the Pilot is pretty much perfect. In this configuration, the weight is about the same. I’ve had custom adjustments done to both nibs, so it’s hard to say which one is a better writer. The 14kt Pilot nib was ground to an architect point and the 21kt Sailor nib was adjusted for more flow than the stock nib. Despite being 21kt gold, the Sailor nib is quite stiff and unforgiving. The modification on the Pilot doesn’t allow for any flex, but my experience with other Pilot nibs was very positive. They have a nice cushion and spring to them, and lay down a smooth line.

As seen above (click to make bigger!), the Sailor is a bit short for me when unposted. I know people prefer to write this way, and it’s not uncomfortable for me. I simply prefer the cap on this pen. It adds a nice amount of weight and doesn’t throw off the balance of the pen at all. I also like being able to see the Sailor logo on the cap while writing, as it is one of my favorites in the pen world.

I prefer writing with the 823 when it’s unposted. I find the cap to add too much length and it throws off the balance. The pen by itself is long enough and heavy enough for me to write with comfortably. The huge ink capacity and metal components in the filling system help with adding to the nice weight.

Sailor Pro Gear Versus Pilot 823-8

Overall, they’re very different pens, but being in the same price bracket makes them more similar than I had originally thought. They both provide a different writing experience, but they’re both great looking, high quality, and in my opinion worthy of adding to a collection. If you prefer a larger pen, then definitely consider the 823. Another check for the 823 if you like unique filling systems. If you’re in the market for a more modern pen and your favorite color is black, it’s extremely hard to ignore the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black. Both are great writers, and neither pen would be a bad choice. If you like this pen comparison, let me know in the comments! I’d be happy to do some more as time goes on.

Gallery:

Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen Review

Pilot Custom 74
Fountain Pen Review

– Handwritten Review –

Specs:

  • Description: A nicely balanced demonstrator at a reasonable price with a great 14k gold nib.
  • Nib: Fine, 14k gold, rhodium plated
  • Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / Converter – CON70
  • Weight: ~23 grams
  • Measurements: 5.50″ closed, 6.25″ posted
  • Color Options: Blue, Clear, Orange, Purple, Smoke – See them here!

Handwritten Review Scans:

Intro/About:

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-7I’ve been interested in the Custom 74 for quite some time now. The $150(ish) price range has a ton of options, and it’s always good to try out another pen in the range. I feel as though $150 is the middle ground in the fountain pen world and some of the best pens are around that price. I have a Custom 823 with an architect grind that cost around double the 74, so I was very happy to check its little sibling out when Pen Chalet offered one up for review. The Custom 74 is a gold-nibbed demonstrator style fountain pen that fills via Pilot’s high quality pump converter – the CON70. The pen is a great looking work horse, and at $160 it makes a great entry into the mid-level price tier.

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-5

Huge thanks to Ron at Pen Chalet for sending me a Pilot Custom Heritage 74 over for review. I’ve had the Custom 823 for a while now (and love it), and I am happy to report that the Custom 74 is just as great!

logo

Appearance & Packaging:

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-1

The Custom 74’s packaging leaves something to be desired for those who want a really nice presentation. It’s a cheaply-made box with a viewing window in it, displaying the pen. It’s not nearly as ornate as the fabric-lined box that came with my Custom 823, but it gets the job done. Personally, I file away packaging should I want to sell the pen so the smaller, the better. The pen itself looks great. The translucent blue resin has a smoke-colored grip and tail cap. The silver trim nicely compliments the rest of the pen. The clear body allows you to see the premium CON-70 converter inside which has nice chrome accents. The large chrome portion of the converter adds a nice pop to the pen, better showing off the brilliant blue color of the pen. Overall, it’s a classically inspired design that looks great.

Nib Performance & Filling System:

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-8I opted for a fine nib on my Custom 74. Being Japanese, the nibs tend to run a size finer than Western Pens. The fine nib on this pen is very, very fine. It has a fair amount of feedback, but it’s not scratchy or annoying. The ink flow is generous and consistent. If you push the gold nib a bit, there’s some nice cushion. It is by no means a flex pen, and line variation is slim-to-none. The pen will put down more ink when pushed slightly harder though. I actually prefer to write with a little more pressure with this pen. Ink flow, as mentioned before is pretty much middle ground. Even though the line it lays down is very fine, you can still see some shading. Overall, I’m happy with how it writes. Especially the fact that the fine nib can be used on cheaper paper due to its fine-ness.

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-3

As for filling, the CON-70 is a pump style converter that holds a fair amount of ink. It feels substantial and adds a nice amount of weight to the pen. Considering it is inside the pen, it adds a great balance. To fill the CON-70, you submerge the nib into the ink, and repeatedly press the button on top of the converter. The ink draws up easily and quickly. It’s reminiscent of how the old Parker Vacumatics fill with a button.

Feel:

Pilot Custom Heritage 74-4The Custom 74 is nicely sized. It’s a perfect medium – nicely weighted and nicely sized. The plastic is high quality and I have no worries of the pen cracking. The injection molding is nicely finished too. There are no visible seams and the construction and fit of the parts are all top-notch. The pen really feels like it is worth the price. I think Pilot consistently nails it in quality and construction of their pens, from the $5 Metropolitan to the near-$400 Custom 823. The 74 fits nicely in the middle. The cap is capable of posting, but it makes the pen a bit too long for my liking. The pen practically disappears in hand. I definitely like how it feels.

Pros:

  • Great 14k nib
  • Solid construction
  • Demonstrator doesn’t look cheap

Cons:

  • None!

Conclusion:

Pilot Custom Heritage 74 Fountain Pen Review-1The Custom 74 is a solid workhorse pen. It’s priced right, at $160. I really like the CON-70 converter – it holds a ton of ink and looks great through the transparent body of the pen. The 14k gold nib lays down a very fine line with a bit of nice feedback. I’ve used the word “middle” a lot in this review, and I feel like it’s been appropriate. The Custom 74 would make a great alternative for those looking at a Lamy 2000 or Vanishing Point, but want something that looks a bit different. In my opinion, it would be just as great of a choice as either pen. You won’t be disappointed if you chose to get one!

Thanks again to Ron over at Pen Chalet for sending this over to review, if you’re interested in buying it, check out the product page here!

Gallery:

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me as a review unit, free of charge, by Pen Chalet. I was not compensated for this review, and this did not have any effect on my thoughts and opinions about the pen. Thank you for reading!