The review today will be about the only two wooden pens that I currently own. One of them is a fountain pen of an unknown brand, and the other one is a ball point souvenir pen from Chamonix Mont Blanc (French Alps, not the German luxury brand), both of which my boyfriend has gifted me last year. As you can guess, both pens are very precious to me!
I love how they look against the grass and under the sunlight. I guess being made of a natural material and aligned with the grassy theme of nature, they look even more gorgeous. Like how a puzzle fits into the correct space. And when aligned together like this, they look like another pen couple. If you’ve read my matchmaking post of my kikki.K pens you’ll be familiar with this concept. For those readers who have never seen such kinds of grass before, that’s because you are not from a tropical territory, or you have always lived in your home without ever coming out, or you just never looked.
Here’s another wedding shot:
Let me first talk about Mr. Unknown fountain pen. I had been very unwilling to ink it and write with it, only intending to keep it as a display pen. However I have almost no space in my room to display my pen without allowing it to collect a decent amount of dust. On the other hand, my curiosity about the writing experience of this pen is building up. So in the end I decided to plug in the cartridge and use it after all.
Initially the ink took quite a while to flow out. Lousy ink flow, I thought. When it finally came out I wrote a few words on paper. As with most other fountain pens that I have used so far, the nib is generally smooth, but not silky-smooth. And as with most other fountain pens, I whipped out my legendary nail buffer to set it right. I hadn’t been so successful on my Mont Blanc 31 (partly because an EF nib is almost definitely going to be scratchy for a leftie no matter how excellent the nib is), but for this one, a few figure eights on the nail buffer set it right in 5 minutes. I’m quite surprised how pleasantly this pen writes. Let’s take a look at the nib.
It is a very pretty two-toned nib, and says “Genius Iridium Germany” on it. I had one more fountain pen with such a nib, but I can’t seem to find it to compare. In any case, I think it is really pretty how the gold-coloured tone blends into the gold trimming of the section, and then it’s suddenly contrasted by black all the way. The engraving patterns on the nib are really pretty too, making the whole section look very classy! It also stands out from the rest of the pen. Just picture this. You see a wooden pen which is all-wood and little-metal when capped. Then when you uncap it, you find this little bit of elegance inside. It’s a nice contrast! What do you think of it?
The pen is light, and I have mentioned before that I prefer heavy pens. However I have been using quite a number of light-weighted pens which are pleasant to use. This pen is slim but not too much so, and the weight is actually pretty comfortable and easy to get used to. If I wanted a little more weight, I could post the cap. It would feel heavier at the top, which is good for people who like top-heavy pens, but in my opinion the skewing of the weight is a little too much.
The packaging of this pen is really really nice. It comes in an oval-shaped wooden box hinged on one side, and you can engrave some words on it. My boyfriend chose to engrave the significance of this pen – it’s a souvenir to remember the first day we met face-to-face. So sweet, right! That’s why it’s a really precious pen to me. Imagine 40 years down the road and we take this pen our and reminisce the old times…
The pen plus box look like a very nicely-crafted thing. It looks very well “in place”. There is no better box for it. It seems like the most obvious thing to put a wooden pen into a wooden box. Perfect combination!
I’m quite fascinated by the lines of darker wood around the pen. They definitely give the pen some character, instead of a solid, one-coloured wood. But I really wonder how they made those lines. Through dyeing? Can anyone tell me how to do such designs?
Some stats: 14.8cm capped, 16.8cm posted. Nib: F, “Genius Iridium Germany”, two-toned. Has a cap. Clicks to cap (not screw). Takes the standard international cartridge. Will be looking for a converter that would fit this pen so that I can change inks easily in future.
Where to buy: ummmmmm… seems like my boyfriend isn’t telling me, or he really lost the link. He bought it online, though. So if one of you readers can find which website sells a similar pen, please let me know!
Snippet of info:
I have always wondered where in Germany sells nibs of such kinds, labeled “Genius Iridium Germany”, which I would love to buy. So I did a search on the net regarding this topic and found this info HERE. Okay, so it’s not really German after all, it seems!
And now looking at the wife of Mr. Wooden Fountain Pen: Ms. Chamonix Mont-Blanc! I have to apologise first to Mr. Unknown Brand Fountain Pen, because I always change his name, because I really don’t know what I should call him! Wooden Fountain Pen sounds wrong, because if I have a new one made of wood, this name would be void. I’ll have to give this matter some serious thought over the next few days.
Anyway, Ms Chamonix is a ball point pen, not of Mont Blanc the German brand, but Mont Blanc the highest mountain of the French Alps. She isn’t very tall herself, standing at a height of 14cm. Like her husband, she is made of wood, with some parts of metal and plastic.
The good thing about this pen is that the refill looks pretty common, so it may be easy to find one when this one runs dry. It says on the refill barrel “MED-09” so I guess it means that it is a medium-sized tip with maybe a 09 size barrel thickness? I just hope I can find it in SINGAPORE and won’t have to go overseas to buy one. Another thing I noticed is that the click button is supported by a spring. This means that when I click the pen, the button goes back in place instead of being loose and moving around when you write. I am lousy at describing stuff, so I’m not sure if my attempt is understood well or not. But you can grab some similar retractable ball point pens and try.
The nib of this pen is super smooth, it really glides on the paper. I was really amazed by the smoothness of the nib. I always use this pen while doing lab work to fill out my labels for my chemical formulations, because the labels are made of glossy paper which is adhesive on the other side (I write on the glossy side, of course). I never really noticed how smooth it is because, since I always write on smooth slippery paper, almost any pen would be uber-smooth of course. But while trying to write on the Rhodia DotPad (sample below), I really noticed how smooth it is! It’s awesome to be really smooth, but at the same time if you have to grip tight on the pen to prevent it going haywire, this is going to need getting used to. But it’s alright, Ms. Chamonix has nice wide hips (I anticipate many offsprings from the two pens) for you to hold on to!
The ink flow is decent, but I can’t give a good comment here without being biased, because I generally don’t like using ball point pens. I strongly believe that ball point pens are the cause of my poor writing posture since I was a young kid. I grip quite tightly on them and press them hard on the paper to write properly. Often developing hand pains as a result. Ever since I discovered ink pens or gel pens I have always opted to use those, unless I don’t have a choice. To be lenient, I would say that the Chamonix ball point pen has a sufficient ink flow, with some starting problems, but no issue after getting that starting difficulty. Ball points are very delicate, I believe. It doesn’t seem easy to get a perfect sphere at the nib to evenly deposit ink onto the surface, because most if not all of the ball point pens I’ve used (including this one) don’t lay down a solid, clean line. In addition it doesn’t help that fibres and dust like to get caught on the nib, further impeding a proper ink flow.
Where to get this pen: Make a trip to the French Alps and perhaps you can find something like that over there! I can’t think of any other possible places to get such a pen.
A Little Announcement:
I will be on a business trip to Vietnam from Tuesday to Friday this coming week, so I guess you all won’t be seeing me here for the next week. I will, however, try to connect to Twitter and Facebook if the hotel WiFi connection is stable enough to allow this. Hope to find some interesting fountain pens in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh city)! I doubt this, though. I am not sure where to get a nice an inexpensive fountain pen (preferably locally-made) in Ho Chi Minh, so if you do know, drop me a message and I’ll try to find it! The Fortnightly Inkings post will still be up tomorrow, fret not. After that, I guess I’ll see you guys next weekend!