Karas Pen Co. Vertex Fountain Pen in Chrysopoeia Acrylic Review
- Review Ink: Diamine Grey
- Review Paper: Various
- Description: A brand new offering from Karas Pen Company in a stunning shade of acrylic
- Nib: Bock #6 with custom laser engraving
- Filling Mechanism: Eye dropper or converter
- Weight:18.4g filled
- Measurements: 5″ open, 5.25″ capped, 5.80″ posted
- Color Options: Multiple acrylic and Delrin options, as well as 2 special editions
Karas Pen Co’s Vertex fountain pen has been floating around on the internet for a bit now. Last year saw a limited edition release as part of their Signature Series, but this summer brings a new edition to the forefront of their catalog. At first glance, you’ll notice the pen ditches the angular designs and metal construction seen across nearly every Karas pen for a more organic look and feel. Let’s dig in and take a closer look at this refreshing offering from such an established brand.
Appearance & Packaging:
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Chrysopoeia edition of the Vertex (let’s just call it the Vertex from here on out and ditch “Chrysopoeia” since it’s such a long word) is the box that it ships in. Karas went for a fully custom machined metal box that they make in house. It’s a nice touch and definitely helps justify the price of the pen with a premium box that both looks and feels the part. Protecting the pen inside the box is a custom cut foam insert. Up top, you’ll find a laser engraved sliding cover with the name of the pen on the top side and a set of instructions on the inside. Overall, I’m really digging the presentation.
When you first remove the pen from its protective box, you’ll notice how it feels both lightweight, yet sturdy. Acrylic is by nature a very light material, but the generous wall thickness of the pen makes it feel more solid than other offerings out there. More on that later. As I mentioned in the intro, the pen’s shape feels more “organic” than it does “industrial” – a welcomed departure from Karas’ other pen offerings. The Vertex starts with a flat top and tapers gently towards a rounded tail. On top of the cap, there’s a convex divot that adds some interesting visual appeal. One of the standout features of the Vertex is the way the grip section integrates into the body of the pen. There’s a sort of hybrid ink window/grip that’s all one piece. This allows the pen to be completely void of external threads or rough sections, again lending to a more organic look.
I can’t end the “appearance” section of the review without mentioning the Omas acrylic used to make this pen. It’s a deep greenish-brown with some lighter swirls of shine running through the body and cap. If you look closely in the right light, you’ll appreciate the subtle glittery shimmer that plays with the light as you rotate the pen in your hands. The grip section can be swapped out and comes in a few different shades of translucent acrylic. I liked the coke bottle finish, even though a few other colors would probably be better-suited to match the pen.
Nib Performance & Filling System:
Loaded into the acrylic body, you’ll find a #6 Bock Nib with some custom engraving into it. Usually, I’m not a fan of laser engraving. I’ve said it before time and time again. I think it comes off looking kind of cheap and lazy. However, that’s not the case with the Vertex. Instead of just a small and light logo, they went for the entire nib. There’s sort of an art-deco inspired pattern in the background with “KARAS” in large lettering with a smaller letter above to denote the nib size. I genuinely think it’s a good look on this pen. I’m glad they went the extra mile in order to make something that looks cohesive with the pen and strayed away from the stock Bock nib. As expected, the fine nib I received writes quite well. I’ve had good luck with Bock nibs in the past and can’t really complain. For the uninitiated, a Bock nib provides a middle-of-the-road writing experience. Nib widths are true to size and they tend to lay down a smooth line with medium flow.
The Vertex is unique, in that it’s meant to be used as an eyedropper (the route I went), but it can also be used with a standard cartridge or converter. While the visual effect of ink sloshing around inside of the clear ink window is hugely appealing to me, I can understand why some would like the cartridge/converter option for ease of use. I really appreciate the extra options for filling that Karas and Co. designed into the Vertex. More options never hurt. If you’re one who’s still on the fence about that much ink in your pen barrel, the Vertex’s design may ease some of those concerns. Inside the grip, there’s some custom-sized o-rings that seal off the nib and grip areas without the need for silicone grease. Karas also includes a pipette in the box so you can fill up the body with ink right away.
There’s just something about a nice acrylic pen that feels great in hand. Acrylic is often described as a “warm” material. Unlike metal, it warms quickly to your touch and is feather-light in hand. While a thin-walled acrylic pen can feel cheap and breakable, the Vertex is in another class altogether. One of the first things I noticed about the pen was the generous wall thickness on both the cap and the grip. At 18.4 grams when filled with ink, it’s not the heftiest pen out there. There’s just enough weight to make it feel solid in hand. The machining and construction are very impressive. I was unable to find a single fault in the body or threads. All surfaces are polished to a smooth and even shine. With an asking price of $140 for a US-made pen, I’m impressed with how well it looks and feels in hand.
- Classic design executed in a beautiful material
- Wonderful feel in hand, especially threadless grip section
- Very reasonable asking price, given the specs
- If the pen is not capped/uncapped vertically, it may cause the pen to belch because of the cap seal system backpressure
Color me impressed. Not that Karas has ever put out a “bad” pen by any means, but the Vertex is above and beyond what I expected. The design and execution feel more refined than their other designs. The functionality is there too. An eyedropper that can be used with cartridge or converter – so cool. I’m going to say it, the Vertex is my favorite Karas pen. While the Ink (above right) and Decograph (above left) were cool, the Vertex takes the cake. An acrylic limited edition with swappable grips in its very own custom machined aluminum box for $140 is a hell of a bargain. I’m excited to see where Karas takes the Vertex from here and will absolutely be using mine in the mean time.
Big Ol’ Disclaimer: This pen was FREE. I paid nothing for it. I did spend hours of time using it, photographing it, and writing about it. After spending some time with the pen, I can 100% say that I would be thrilled with the results should I have shelled out my own money. All opinions are my own and not paid for in any way by Karas Pen Co.