Faber-Castell Basic Fountain Pen

review

When I saw this pen at Georges & Co. in Paris, I just had to buy it. Another impulse buy, I guess. The first reason was that this was a Faber-Castell, which I never ever tried before. The second being the pretty checkered body, which is also a design I never had, and the gloss seemed to have a mildly hypnotic effect on me. The third reason: it is the first fountain pen in broad nib that I have ever encountered.

So I had to get it.

Faber Castell Basic FP on my purple Prints notebook

Faber Castell Basic FP on my purple Prints notebook

 

Trying to make the pic look stylish by arranging them at an angle...

Trying to make the pic look stylish by arranging them at an angle…

The first thing I thought of this pen was that it is HEAVY. And no, it’s not the cap. The cap is light, hard rubber-like material, while the pen barrel is made of a thick plastic, lined on the inside by a cylinder of metal. No wonder it is heavy! If I flicked this pen against someone’s head, the person is bound to have a huge purple bruise that would last for weeks.

So when you hold the pen to write, it is quite top-heavy, which is definitely not suitable for long periods of writing. However for a signature pen (especially with that broad nib) it would be great! I normally use it for writing notes during meetings or for signing. The weight is distributed such that the centre of gravity of the pen is rightat the area between my thumb and forefinger! Which means it’s a pretty comfortable hold for me, although some people might prefer the weight to be concentrated on the lower part of the pen instead.

Maybelline's Law of Gravity of the Pen. The Centre of Gravity has to fall in the Area between Thumb & Forefinger

Maybelline’s Law of Gravity of the Pen. The Centre of Gravity has to fall in the Area between Thumb & Forefinger

 

The nib of the pen has a spotted design which I am still not sure whether I like or not. On first glance I thought the spots covered the entire nib area, but upon careful examination I found that they are arranged according to the shape of the nib itself, like an arrow shape. Perhaps it would be more stylish to reduce the number of dots and make the shape more prominent? But it’s just my personal opinion, and doesn’t affect my overall opinion of the pen (I still love it!).

Pity my camera is not powerful enough to capture the nib details

Pity my camera is not powerful enough to capture the nib details

 

There is a letter B engraved on the nib to indicate the size, and below is the Faber-Castell logo, the jousting knights. The nib is clearly stainless steel but it writes so smoothly without ANY skipping at all that I didn’t need to tune it at all! However it was my first experience with broad nibs so I don’t know whether this is an accurate judgement or not. The ink flow is generous which lubricates the tip even more. You can probably see how generous the ink flow is from the writing sample below. So many smudges! The writing was done with J. Herbin’s Vert Empire on Rhodia Dot Pad paper. Ink on Rhodia paper generally does not dry quickly, so a generous flow of ink causing smudges wasn’t surprising for me (and being a leftie, too).

 

 

There is no flex, no line variation, but it’s alright. A very basic fountain pen, which is very accurately-named. You won’t expect anything fancy from a basic fountain pen, except probably the following:

1) The pen can stand upright on both ends (cap and barrel butt) although standing on the cap end is a little wobbly since the barrel is heavy.

2) Being called a Basic fountain pen, I wouldn’t expect much in the design of the pen, but (referring to first picture below) the barrel is of a nice design, and there is a nice and comfortable rubber grip which is made of the same material as the cap. Score points on this.

3) The pen measures 14 cm capped, 13.5 cm uncapped, and 19.2 cm posted, the last of which is a spectacular length for a pen, in my opinion. Almost like writing with a feather quill!

The cap of the Faber-Castell Basic looks bloated, giving some variation in shape of the pen as a whole. It is a click-on cap and not a screw cap. It posts onto the butt of the barrel securely (slides in with no click). The clip is an arched, hard black plastic piece which is attached to a little groove on the cap. In terms of shape, it aligns well with the shape of the cap, but I feel that it protrudes too much and causes the pen to take up more space in my pen wrap.

Overall, a nice pen, highly recommended if you are a beginner and looking for something that has a simple but cool design, in the price range of a Lamy Al-Star but heavier.

Do you like this pen? It doesn’t seem easy to find it in your regular online shops, so if you are in Paris or have a friend in Paris, go down to Georges & Co.:

Georges & Co. website: http://www.georgesandco.com/
Georges & Co. Twitter: https://twitter.com/georgesandco#
Georges & Co. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/georgesandco?sk=wall

Or if you still want to buy it online, there’s always good old Amazon.

13 Responses

  1. Reg Marjason 4 May 2013 / 7:30 AM

    A nice pen but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if the cheap transparent plastic threaded part of the body had not fractured when I simply pulled it to remove the cap after only four months use. Considering that the pen had not been abused in any way and had spent its life either on my desk or in my desk drawer the only conclusion is that it is badly made. It's back to Lamy for me.

  2. Maybelline Tan 26 February 2013 / 9:15 PM

    Hi Larry, thanks for sharing your experience. I didn't know it is so fragile! Gotta take care of it in future.

  3. larrytx01 3 February 2013 / 7:36 AM

    I bought this pen being attracted to the carbon fiber as a novel pen body material. Unfortunately, none of the strength of carbon fiber helped when I dropped it on the floor and the body broke clean off right before the nib and it was completely ruined. It is a great looking pen, but be careful not to drop it! I have the leather version and it seems to soak up the knocks and bumps a bit better.

  4. Maybelline Tan 5 July 2012 / 9:14 AM

    Hmm yea, then this pen is really not for you. It's pretty heavy!

  5. Shangching Huitzacua 4 July 2012 / 10:12 PM

    Just recently found out that Fahrney Pens and Amazon carry the pen. The only fact that dissuades me from getting one is the weight. I have been pampered with lighter weight pens…

  6. Maybelline Tan 2 July 2012 / 8:53 AM

    Don't worry, I won't hit you with it (since you came down to comment on my post! Lol.) 3 cheers to broad nib fans! A double broad nib is massive… Does it have good line variation?

  7. Mike Grove 1 July 2012 / 5:06 PM

    I reckon that that "pretty chequered body" looks like a Carbon Fibre weave to me. I'll add that I like it too (before you hit me with it!).

    Also, I love a Broad nib – I find that it makes me write a bit larger which makes my scrawl a bit more readable by my long suffering pen-pals. Hence, yesterday I got a pen with a double-broad nib! (Which I'm still getting used to…).

  8. Shangching Huitzacua 1 July 2012 / 11:34 AM

    Very nice looking pen! I especially like the grid marking on the nib. Hmm.. where is a French pen pal when I need one? 😉

  9. Maybelline Tan 1 July 2012 / 10:10 AM

    I was wondering where in the article I typed "ink dispenser" and then I realised, oh I wrote it out. LOL.
    In Georges & Co. Paris they have a wall of dispensers containing ink, so you just tell them that you want x mL of ink in a bottle and they will pump it out for you. It's like getting ice cream from an ice cream machine. Or one of those fast food Coca cola dispenser things. Awesome innit?

  10. Maybelline Tan 1 July 2012 / 10:08 AM

    Thank you! Do let me know if there is another place to buy this Faber Castell pen (or FC pens in general), so I share with the others…

  11. Lee 1 July 2012 / 4:16 AM

    What is an ink dispenser?

  12. Azizah 1 July 2012 / 2:38 AM

    Oooh I am a big fan of Faber-Castell things! I wish I could go to Paris and pick one up in person but I may have to resign myself to the website lol. Nice review!

I would love to hear your thoughts!