Caran D’Ache 849 Fountain Pen Review

I have owned some Caran D’Ache ink and was very pleased with it but I have never really seen any of their writing instruments that jumped out at me and had to rest in my shopping cart. Recently my friends at The Pen Company gave me an opportunity to look at the Caran D’ Ache model 849 fountain pen. I’m glad I did.

Founded in 1915, Caran D’Ache is a Swiss manufacturer of office, school and art supplies including some beautiful fountain pen ink colors and writing instruments.

The 849, in ballpoint or fountain pen, is one of their moderately priced models with a hexagon shaped barrel and comes in multiple powder coated colors. The Fluo edition, which I reviewed, comes in striking and bold anodized colors. My fluorescent green will not be mistaken for any other color in any light!

The Pen

Caran D’Ache 849 Fluo

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Nib: Steel available in M, F, XF
  • Length Capped: 5.5”
  • Length Uncapped: 4.85″
  • Length Posted: 7”
  • Weight: 18.5 grams with ink cartridge
  • Street Price: $49

Overall Appearance

The 849 would be considered a hex shape pen though technically it’s almost a 12 sided pen. The 6 large flat spots meet each other by way of 6 smaller flat spots. The finish and the light reflection from all the edges is a unique look I haven’t seen before. In contrast to my Faber Castel Ondoro, another popular hex shaped barrel pen, where the edges are sharper. Caran D’Ache even trademarked their design.

The bright green anodized finish is a real stand out on any desk if you like bright and loud but it doesn’t look plasticy or toyish either.


The section is black plastic with a fairly steep taper for a pen that starts out slender to begin with. The stop collar near the nib is large enough to be a tactical que for your finger to stay uninked by not going any further towards the nib. Uneventful, well executed.


The cap is the coolest part of this pen to me. It’s the same diameter as the body of the pen and has a smaller chrome collar at the bottom that slips INSIDE the body of the pen to make the capped pen all one diameter. It stays on with a definitive and satisfying snap. The cap established itself as my favorite part of the pen when I learned it posts the same way slipping inside the barrel end. Quite cool. Granted when posted it makes for long pen at 7” but usually one posts a pen for better weight balance or better length to fit their hand. I don’t think the unposted 849 needs either of those, but it’s still fancy.


Functionally the clip works well and I’m not sure how I would redesign in but it looks like an afterthought to me. It’s a stamped steel variety that clamps around 5 sides of the hex shaped cap. Again, the clip works fine and given the design you could choose to remove the clip altogether without a trace and I think that gives the pen a real streamlined look. The Caran D’Ache branding is visible on the cap right under the clip.

Filling System

The 849 accepts international standard short ink cartridge and comes with a blue black cartridge to get you started. A converter is available for about $8.00


The nib is unadorned except for a small hexagon shape engraving with a circle in the middle. I’m not sure what that stands for as the official Caran D’Ache logo is just their name in a fancy font. Like the pen itself the nib is long and slender which really works aesthetically. My medium wrote very smooth and a little on the dry side which I don’t think is a bad thing and if you prefer a little more ink a nibmeister could customize it for you in short order.


This is a slender pen, plenty of length and the hex edges, as described above, are almost not edges at all and thereby comfortable with any grip I tried. The section is long. The nib requires some pressure to get the darkest lines out of it. That may be adjustable with some nib work but I found myself lightening my pressure and not getting as much ink out as I would like, not a deficiency, just a preference. I didn’t experience any hard starts or skips. Overall it was comfortable and I’m sure one could go awhile with this pen. I took it for three pages and just ran out of things to write, the pen was still comfortable.


After my time with the 849 Fluo I will admit I shopped the Caran D’Ache brand a little deeper than I have in the past. The Pen Company has a great selection. The nib was a strong performer out of the box, fit and finish were flawless from my inspection and that cap is just ingenious. If you want a reasonable entry point into a Swiss writing instrument you have many choices in finishes here and I don’t think you will go wrong with an 849.

Thanks again to the Pen Company for sending this one over and broadening my brand horizons.

BTW here my friends over at Scrively reviewed it  and Ana over at Well Appointed Desk reviewed it as well.

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Sailor Pro Gear Fountain Pen Review

I tend to like my nibs like my cheeseburgers, fat and juicy. This has caused me to overlook some of the Japanese brand pens because of their propensity to finer nibs. I realize that leads me to miss out on some great pens.

Recently I teamed up with Massdrop to bring you a look at a widely recommended and praised pen from Sailor, the Pro Gear. Massdrop is a community-driven commerce site where enthusiasts of select groups of product categories come together to connect, inspire and shop. Writing is the community where I have focused but everyday carry, watches and blades also garner some of my attention.

Here is a link to the review I wrote if you’ve wondered about the frequently praised Pro Gear.

Thanks Massdrop

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Atlanta Pen Show Haul Mini Reviews

I had a great show in Atlanta this year and though I didn’t really have a budget to spend going in I did have a well thought out list of things to see. I saw most of them and changed my mind on quite a few. They just didn’t speak to me and I don’t buy stuff for the sake of ownership and checking off a list. In the end I am happy with my haul.

My social acumen was better this year. I know a lot of people talk about this phenomenon, or borderline fear, but I have never had one bad experience interacting with other pen people at shows. Granted not every conversation takes off into an all night gab fast but we’re all different. I’m hoping I continue to mature in this area with the more shows I’m able to attend. This year I met some new friends and connected with others I only get to see in person at pen shows.  I was very fortunate to score a late Saturday spot for nib work by the great Mark Bacas @nibgrinder.  He does incredible work and I have a better writer because of it. Thanks Mark as always.  My only regret from the whole show is missing my good friend @gentlemenstationer. We were even in the same room together, how do we do this GS?. The loss was mine.

Below is my haul from a couple of hours on Friday and a full day on Saturday. I missed Sunday due to travel home but my wallet protested when I tried to delay departure and sneak one more round of the show floor in.  I plan to do full reviews of a some of these new treasures in the future but until then here are my first impressions:

Franklin-Christoph Notebook Covers – Starting at the top left I picked up two fabric notebook holders from Franklin Christoph. Always love their stuff and these are a nice break for me from my usual leather products. I got the pocket notebook cover and an A5 journal cover, both in Linen Brown Fabric. Also got a set of the pocket notebooks and the A5 notebook itself has a nice cover that might be a shame to cover up.

Robert Oster Fire & Ice – This is my first Robert Oster ink and I had a bit of FOMO when I saw a bottle of it. I like the blue hue and with the broad nib on the right paper the ICE portion does pop out.

Akkermann # 28 Green Ink – I have a green ink l really like but Brad and Mike talk about #28 so much that I had to try it.   This does rank as the prettiest ink bottle I have ever seen though. I so much want to put it on display.

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz – Late last year I sold my one partial bottle of brown ink, Caran D’ Ache Grand Canyon.  I loved the color but the small bottle made it such a pain to refill the larger size pens that I prefer.  I never replaced it so I set out at this show to get another brown ink. The Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz landed in show bag. In hindsight I think I was more enamored with it’s status as ink of the year and there was probably something else that would have worked for less money.  Lesson learned but it’s still a very nice color and well behaved ink.

Diamine Cocoa Shimmer – I have a lot of Diamine ink and the brand has never disappointed me so I had to get their version of the glittery en-sparkled ink.  Andersons Pens had a good selection and I landed on the Cocoa Shimmer. It needs the right paper to really see it’s shimmer but when you do it’s really something. I have read different reports on what this glittery stuff will do to your pen but I will watch it closely and flush soon just in case.

Col-O-Ring – I have tracked my ink samples on index cards for several years now. I always knew the big box stores’ index cards would not perfectly depict the ink color but it has worked for comparing two similar shades.  The Col-O-Ring is a bunch of small very fountain pen friendly cards held together with a ring. I’ve only been back from Atlanta for a couple of days and I have had a lot of fun opening up all my inks and spilling big blotches on Ana’s creation. Ana Reichert of Well Appointed Desk may not have invented the idea but she did perfect it with her version.

Story Supply Pocket Notebooks – I love love love what Vito and Gabe are doing with their company, giving back to kids. Read about their goals here.  I’m always on the hunt for new pocket notebooks with fountain pen friendly paper. My quick test filling up a page says these are a home run.

Nock Co Dot Dash cards – I originally bought some of the Dot Dash index size cards to really support Nock. With the pack sitting on my desk I found myself using them for more and more little tasks until now I’m hooked on them.  I got a refill of the 3 x 5 size and picked up the new business card petite size.  I plan to use the business card size for making notes to put in the boxes of stuff I buy that shows when, where and how much for the item.

Ryan Krusac Legend #16 Fountain Pen – I wanted an all wood pen and I got a beautiful all wood pen. Ryan’s a cool guy, a talented artist and was a joy to talk with and deal with. He has several models in a variety of wood species. I liked the 16 mm diameter version of his new Legend series.  He has a slightly smaller 14 mm diameter model as well.

Kanilea Pen Company – In a short couple of years Hugh and Carol have really made an impact on the custom pen market and our community.  Their designs, company focus, packaging, conversational exchanges and everything about them carries a Hawaiian vibe.  This was a purchase I was on the fence on, for me the price of entry was stiff for an unknown brand, again, unknown to me. I read many positive reviews on their product and everyone said go see it in person.  I went to see them as my first stop when I got to the show on Friday. Hoping for the best  selection.  I can confirm the best photography cannot prepare you for what you experience in person. Within 30 seconds I fell off the aforementioned fence and knew I was going home with one. The harder part was picking which one.  Especially as they sold two others while I was standing there!  The model that took me awhile to decide on was the Kilauea.  It’s a stunning orange, grey and red swirls. Everyone I have show in to loves it and by mid Saturday all the Kilaueas they brought had been sold. I scored!

Carolina Pen Company – The now famous Jonathon Brooks @brooks_803 creates some of the most beautiful and creative use of color in resin pen blanks available today. So much so that several other custom pen manufacturers use the blank resins that Jonathon makes. He is also a very accomplished pen maker himself. I got a Charleston model fountain pen in a beautiful off-white color with some grey swirls and gold specks that you can see when you spin the pen. A very interesting finish. Jonathon also gets credit for the best line at the whole show “I own lots of women’s makeup”.  It brought the house down at the live Pen Addict podcasts.  He was referring to how he gets much of the color into his pen blank creations but you can imagine the context of the comment.

Wrap up

I brought home more than I expected to. I will need a better plan for DC or restrict my visit to fly in grab what I can in 15 minutes, hug Brad and leave.  I already look forward to next year and I might even do the weekend trader pass!  If you have a show in your area or have the means to get to one I encourage you to make all efforts to go. If you’re not a big social person that’s ok, you WILL still enjoy the show. If you like chatting with other pen nerds, count on learning something and gaining new friends in this wonderful community.

The links above are for reference only. I tried to link to the product and dealer that I bought from at the show. I would purchase from all of them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

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Zenzoi Bamboo Fountain Pen Review

I love when I hear about a new pen company that is coming on to the scene or has been established and I just learned about them. The pens come with no perceived opinion like “I know what model A is like so I bet model B will be similar and I can expect this or that”. A new brand to me has produced a nice surprise. Zenzoi recently contacted me about trying out one of their fountain pens. My visit to had my opinion positioning them as more of a gift company than a pen focused company but I tried not to pre-judge what was coming in the mail.

Mail call was in a few days. I have had an affinity to wood pens lately so I really liked the bamboo wood construction of my review sample. Here is the link to the pen on their site. The bamboo was finished nicely and the wood grain accented the overall look of the pen well. Some wood pens are over finished with shellac and varnish almost giving a slick feel. Zenzoi lets the feel and beauty of the wood come through. The gold trim had some black accents and the section was black plastic. It is an attractive pen. The other design touch I really liked were the rounded ends of the pen made out of the same bamboo wood. Usually this are plastics or metal finials.

  • Material: Bamboo Wood
  • Nib: Two Tone Genius Iridium Germany
  • Length Capped: 5 ¾”
  • Cap Length: 2 5/8”
  • Length Uncapped: 4 7/8”
  • Length Posted: 6 5/8”
  • Cap Diameter: 33/64”
  • Body Diameter: 15/32”
  • Weight: 25.9g
  • Street Price: $40

I would consider the Zenzoi on the small side of sizing. That’s really a personal preference on what one prefers but it had no bearing on the writing performance. With some plastic parts like the section this gives the pen a very light feel and at under 26g it is light. If the length and diameter suit you this could easily be an all-day writer.


Zenzoi chose a matching bamboo wood clam shell box for the pen. The box is a great choice for a gift giving experience but other than that it adds nothing to the writing experience. Your opinion may differ as to whether it’s worth whatever amount it adds to the cost of the pen.


The cap is a snap on style with a definitive click. The clip is a tight stamped style and serves its purpose without fuss or attention needed.

Filling System

The Bamboo came with a converter similar to those I have used in other pens. It doesn’t hold a lot of ink but it does the job, is easy to clean and doesn’t leak.


The nib is a two tone affair stamped with Genius Iridium Germany. I’ll assume that means made in Germany. Quality out of the box was impressive. The out of the box writing experience was as good as any pen I have purchased. Smoothness and flow were excellent and I had no hard starts at all. I intentionally laid the pen down uncapped for a few minutes and it started right back up with no hesitation. It could easily be a daily workhorse pen.


This pen delivered more than I expected. At $40 you will probably have to really like the uniqueness of the Bamboo and/or the investment Zenzoi has put in the very nice packaging as a gift purchase. The nib wrote very well, it comes with a converter and I’m sure any new fountain pen user would get a positive first experience with the Bamboo as a gift.

Thanks to Zenzoi for sending this one over and when you get time go give them a look at

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Penn State Industries Pen Kit Review

I like to make things and I like pens. Several years ago when I was spending more time in the woodshop I made some simple ballpoint pens for family members’ gifts. They came out good, though somewhat plain and the Cross style refill wasn’t to my preference.

Since then I kept looking at that wood lathe over in the corner and kept thinking I needed to make a fountain pen. So just before Christmas I received the new Penn State Industries catalog and decided to give one of their fountain pen kits a try. Penn State Industries is a popular supplier for hobbyist that cover the arts and craft scene with handmade pens to sell. The ordering process is dizzying with all the choices, pen mechanisms, finishes, tools, supplies and a huge host of pen body materials to choose from. Plus it doesn’t stop at pens, the same concept of turning raw material will let you make wine stoppers, ice cream scoops, razor handles and other gifty ideas.

The model I landed on was the Olympian at about $13. The hardware I received was a mixed bag of plastic parts and metal parts. The metal parts being substantial enough to give the final product a sense of quality. It came with a converter, an ink cartridge and what Penn State calls a German made nib. I needed a few other tools like drill bits and such so my total tab for this project was a bit more than the pen kit.

For my project the pen body was harvested from some 100+ year old barn wood from a family member’s homestead. We made some other keepsakes for the family member out of the same wood and we had a piece left over that was big enough for my fountain pen project.

You start by cutting the body material down to size. You need two pieces in the correct length for the brass tubes provided in the kit. One for the pen body and one for the cap. Drill bits are a very precise size. I chose to pick them up with the pen kit and I doubt I will ever need to replace them, or need them for anything else other than making more pens.

Next you mount the two pieces on a mandrel and load them on the lathe to begin the turning process with sharp chisels. You turn the 2 pieces down to near the diameter of the size bushings and then sand them progressively finer to reach the final size. I went down to 800 grit because that is the finest grit I had on hand.

Finishing of the wood can become a whole science in itself. I took an easy route using CA (super glue) and some automotive wax. The finish is warm wood without a lot of flash or luster. Your preferences may vary.

You need a lathe, some drill bits and a few other tools. I bought a small light duty cheapie lathe. For writing pens and the volume I plan to do this will work fine. I’m sure someone could get crafty with a drill press but either way you’ll need some tools.
The price of entry is not conducive to making a single pen. A Pilot Metropolitan is a far greater value if you look at the pure economics.

The nib appears to be decent quality. I cannot confirm a German descent but I have no reason to believe it’s not. I was disappointed in the dryness of the nib when I inked it up for the first time. I suspect, as with some other inexpensive pens, nib performance may be hit or miss. Mine needs some tuning, and yes I will probably spend more than I paid for the pen to have it tuned. Everybody does that right? What’s more disappointing to me is if I were going to give this as a gift to a non-pen person I don’t think they would enjoy the writing experience and that might persuade them to avoid fountain pens in the future. I don’t know what the solution is though when marketing a $13 kit.

With glue up and finish drying time I have about an hour invested. I like the final product. I think with practice using the chisels I could give the body more character. The cap threads are plastic but smooth. You will not mistake this pen for a Mont Blanc but even precious resin can’t match the warmth of a family member’s 100 year old homestead barn.

This was a fun exercise. I have another kit but no body material in mind. Have you ever tried it?

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The Right Pen For The Job

I think it’s normal for pen people to burn mind calories and energy picking our preferred writing instruments based on the task in front of us. Maybe a house purchase, a marriage license or some other big event garners special attention to the choice of writing instrument. For me it’s more mundane tasks such as an extended note taking session at work, my pocket EDC for the day, church on Sunday or a variety of other tasks. It’s a joy to go through my collection and maybe stumble across a pen I have not used in a while. Many times this is not a fountain pen as it’s just not practical. Recently I caught myself doing this almost unconsciously.

I am fighting some finger joint pain and that’s required a few more visits with the medical professions that I’m used to. With the turn of the new year many of said professions need new paperwork for 2017 or I’m seeing a specialist for the first time and the new patient clipboard is daunting. This week I had another one of these new patient appointments and there I was the night before going through my roller ball and gel pens.  I was probably spending a bit too much time evaluating what is going to be the best pen for the job. I mean anything had to be better than the $10 per thousand globby stick pen with the name of some drug I can’t pronounce printed on it right?.

Here were my choices and where I landed:

  • Pentel Slicci .25 – Form factor is a bit skinny to hold, further complicated by my aggravating joint. A fine enough line but a bit nail like scratchy. Pass
  • UniBall Jetstream – Not sure which tip I had but it was too bold. Pass
  • Sharpie Pen – Smooth and probably fine enough but maybe a bit wet if the forms are two sided on cheap paper. I just can’t have bleed through. The horror. Pass
  • Sakura Pigma Micron – Probably the best choice, wrote small enough, smooth and not very wet but I didn’t have a black ink version. Pass
  • UniBall Signo .5 – Smooth, always a favorite and just a quick decision on the .38 or .5. I landed on a black version of the one in the picture. Oh yes and I took a blue along as a backup. Success!

Everybody does this right?   Please say yes you have a medical forma pen.

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Pens For Sale

pens-for-sale-726x1024I have too many. Recently while rotating my daily carry I was going down in the number of pens I had inked up and I ran out of room for my normal storage routine.  I looked through my collection and some just never seem to make it to my carry pen case. I’m not sure why as they are all very nice writing pens. It’s time for these 6 to move on to better parents.  If you see something you like drop me an email to

USPS Priority Shipping CONUS included in the price. If you want the box I can probably dig those up but if that is a deal breaker for you send me an email and I will search for the box specifically.

1. Jinhao X750

  • Gold body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $10

2. Nussbaum Nicholas

  • Gold Carmel body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $30

3. Cross Apogee

  • Blue Silver body color
  • Medium Steel Danny Fudge Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $100

4. Conklin Nozac

  • Harvest Moon body color
  • Medium Steel Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • $50

5. Conklin Glider SOLD

  • Tiger Eye body color
  • Fine Steel Nib
  • Fill style: Converter
  • SOLD

6. Edison Hudson SOLD

  • Green marbleized body color
  • XFine Steel – Richard Binder Tuned Nib
  • Fill Style: Converter
  • SOLD

If you see something you like drop me an email to

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Bung Box Norwegian Wood Emerald Ink Review

bung-box-vial-1-1024x457The grand prize growing up was always the big flip top lid of 64 Crayola Crayons with the sharpener in the back. Grail marking products for a 10 year old. With 64 colors to choose from I had my favorites but my personality quirk at the time didn’t allow me to use those favorite colors because I didn’t want to dull the tip or worse use them up! So I remember taking others colors and mixing them on the page to try and create the colors I liked that were sitting right next to me! I guess the concept of just buying another box was escaping me or out of the financial reach of a young lad of 10.

My Crayolas of today is fountain pen ink and as I have matured, ok just grown older, I use what I buy. I don’t buy limited edition inks as a general rule, I know my 10 year old personality would creep in and never allow me to use it. Since my quest with fountain pens started I have spent a considerable amount of time and shipping costs on sample vials looking for some key color tones that I like to write with:

  • Brown
  • Green
  • Burgundy
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Orange

I have my favorites in each color family with a couple of different blues, greens, purples and red / burgundy. Overall I have maybe 20 bottles of ink which quantity wise represents about a 10 year supply. Additionally, nothing in a long time has really jumped off the screen at me to go buy.

With a recent Vanness Pens order I got a free sample vial of Bung Box Norwegian Wood Emerald ink. My current favorite green is Diamine Delamere Green which I have been perfectly content with but I have heard good things about the Bung Box ink so I found an 80’s vintage Sheaffer that writes like a fire hose and inked up the Bung Box.

Below are some of my ink cards compared to other greens I have tried. The Bung Box is a little bit different shade but that really comes down to preference.

bungbox1IMG_1432The Bung Box ink behaved well, wrote well, shaded beautifully and even cleaned out well. At $43 I just didn’t experience that big of a difference over my current inventory. In the event I find it on deep discount or my Delamere hue gets discontinued I would consider the Bung Box but for now I will appreciate the opportunity for experiencing a great ink in a sample format. I will give it to Bung Box though for some of the coolest names in the ink biz though.

Are you a Bung Box fan?

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Lamy Multi-Pen Review

overall1I don’t think anyone sits down for a letter writing session and specifically reaches for a multi-pen. I don’t, but I can’t fault the convenience at work or on the go if you do a lot of markup or colored ink work. I owned a multi-pen when I was a young boy and still a closet stationery geek. It was the venerable Bic 4 Color Retractable.
I loved that pen and guarded it with my life by only taking it out to show my buddies or for writing something special. Oh the horror if it were to run out of ink, I had no clue that I could actually buy a refill. Truth be known it probably dried up by NOT writing with it. That was 40+ years ago and they still sell it. In later years my standards for the writing experience has elevated somewhat and given the choice, a 4 color ballpoint is not my preferred. I own one other multi-pen.

AcroballA Pilot Acroball and for its intended use it’s not a bad pen. Good action and full size refills that right ok.
Now if there is a category for classy upscale multi-pens, I now own it. A Black Lamy 2000 Multifunction Pen. The Lamy 2000 line is nearly iconic in its stature as a fountain pen. The shape and design have been around unchanged for a long long time. It’s aesthetic just works and the Makrolon material is unique while being a comfortable material to handle, hold and write with. The brushed stainless steel trim gives a nice contrasting look against the black body.
overall1THE PEN:

    • 21.7 Grams
    • 7/16” Diameter
    • Length: 5 ½”
    • Brushed Makrolon resin barrel
    • Brushed stainless steel head and knock
    • Red, Black, Blue and Green D1 refills included
    • Street Price: $50


Packaging is good for this price range, not much to review. If you usually discard packaging not much to change your mind on this one.


Lamy’s build quality, fit and finish is known to be a consistent high quality. This one is no different, minus the clip, but more on that later. The Makrolon material is smooth with no burrs or rough areas The joint of the section and body is nearly invisible as you can see, or not see, below. Threads are smooth and start easy every time.

Section GapMakrolonREFILLS

Some multi-pens take proprietary refills. That can be good or bad. Usually that means more expensive and limited selection of color and point sizes. My Acroball takes proprietary refills and they write fairly well for a ballpoint but when they run out I would not have any extras laying around, and I’m a pen guy with way too many refills laying around. The Lamy takes the universal D1 size that are available in 80+ variations at my last count. In the Lamy you can mix and match the refills to your preference though the pen twist mechanism will always reference only blue, red and green.


clip1The clip is standard Lamy fare. Its thick shape lends itself positively to the overall aesthetics of the pen. The LAMY name is printed on the side discretely and doesn’t get in the way of the other iconic design elements of the pen showing off the great design. The clip is thick and has a good springiness for performing its main duty, namely holding it in one’s pocket or clipped to a notebook or pad. My particular example had a loose clip and my small amount of tinkering to take the pen apart did not yield any wisdom on how to tighten it up. It doesn’t affect the use of the clip or the pen at all but I found this minor defect unusual based on all the Lamy pens I have owned. I’m sure if I send it in Lamy they would make good on it.


Lamy has figured out how to fit 4 pens in a barrel the same size as the fountain pen. That’s a good thing as it’s comfortable to hold, incredibly lightweight and a pleasant shape proven over many years. I own a Lamy 2000 fountain pen and besides being heavier I can barely tell the difference. Deploying the writing tip of the pen is a normal pushbutton knock. To get the color you desire is a gravity exercise. Near the tail end of the pen is a 3 color ring.

Colorband1 A portion of the ring is colored in blue, red and green. Holding the pen horizontal and facing the color you want on the section up to towards the ceiling you depress the knock and you get the color facing up. You face the clip up to get black. It works ok most of the time. I am not an engineer and looking at the pen, after taking it apart, I don’t know how to do it better but to me it’s just not smooth. I think I understand what contortion each tip has to perform when you push the knock down but however clever the gravity selector is I wish for something a little smoother. That being noted I would not trade off pen thickness or weight for that smoothness so my expectation are probably unreasonable. It works, it works every time and the right color comes out of the tip so there is a fair amount of good design and technical engineering invested.

tip sticking outCONCLUSION

Thanks to The Pen Company for sending this pen over. Lamy has done a great job creating an affordable but higher end multi pen for those that have the need and enjoy the convenience of four colors in a single body. If your use is utilitarian with a pen body that looks good in a boardroom or with a client you need to impress and maybe you need it tough enough to be thrown around in a purse, pocket or EDC bag. The Lamy is probably a great choice for you.

Do deploy a multi-pen regularly?

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A Few Minutes with Kaweco’s Sebastian Gutberlet

One of the great aspects of this stationery hobby is meeting people from all over the world. Most of these relationships start online and many can flourish in person. I am not a big traveler so I’m a little surprised sometimes when someone from another country finds my little spot on the internet here at MPNI. One such relationship I have enjoyed is with Kaweco Pen’s Sebastian Gutberlet. Sebastian and team have been great supporters of My Pen Needs Ink and of course they put out some great products in the industry. Probably most known for their SPORT line of pens. Recently Sebastian was kind enough to give us a little more insight into his role as a valuable contributor to the pen community. I hope you  will sit back, refill your beverage of choice and enjoy this short journey to getting to know Sebastian a little better.

MPNI: Tell us a little about the Kaweco team that many of us know through the online communities. We know you, Michael and Ingrid so tell us a little about your roles and how is the company structured?

SG: My father Michael, the CEO, Ingrid and I are only a small part of the Kaweco Team. In the office we have 7 people. In the production area we have around 20 people depending on the order volume. I am responsible for Marketing and Sales. Ingrid is one of our sales ladies and mostly takes care of our orders. Additionally she is our treasury secretary. We see the Kaweco company really as a team. Most decisions are made in the weekly team meeting via poll.

MPNI: Tell us about the history. We know some of your pen designs have been around since the 1930’s. When did Kaweco start?

SG: Kaweco started already in 1883 as the “Heidelberger dip pen factory”. About ten years later a of couple gentlemen named Koch and Weber bought the company. That was when the name Kaweco was born. The first two letters of the owners’ names and the addition company formed the “Kaweco” name. Normally it would be “Koweco” but they decided that Kaweco sounded better.

MPNI: When did you know you had a successful pen business on your hands?

SG: I was not in the company yet ( I was 9 ) when my father started to revive Kaweco in 1992. Kaweco had not been producing anything for 10 years in 1992. It was not the main business at that time. Gutberlet was selling pen parts and cosmetics for other brands. This business was really good so it was just for fun for my father because he was, and still is, a pen collector. Not only for Kaweco but also for all pen brands. Kaweco was growing step by step and my father says he realized that he had found a treasure when he made a lecture about luxury brand strategy at Staedtler a short time before they launched their premium line. He realized while preparing the lecture that the Kaweco Sport Design is outstanding like the Coca Cola bottle and the Porsche 911.

MPNI: You’re quite active, and very supportive, of the pen community. I treasure your sponsorship of MPNI. How has social media moved you or changed you as a company?

SG: The margin in the pen business is not as high as other branches. We can not compete with the marketing power of a fashion or cosmetic brand for example. Additionally we are a very small company, even in the pen business. The idea to support the bloggers and even to make our own facebook page was very late compared with other brands. There were a lot of people writing about Kaweco before and writing that they liked our products so much. When we realized that this effects our sales in a positive way we decided to do more in that direction. So far this year we have also created an Instagram account and Twitter in addition to the Facebook account. At that point I want to also say “THANK YOU” to all the bloggers and press people who support Kaweco and all the people which take their time to write about the brand.

MPNI: I’m seeing some activity with your new site, Can you tell us about your plans and goals for that venture?

SG: The website has been online since January. There are several reasons why I founded the company. The first is that there was no retailer worldwide which sells really the complete program including all accessories and gadgets. Also the nib selection is very good. The customer can choose which nib he wants and doesn’t have to buy a pen with a steel nib and then pay extra to add a carbon black nib for example.

Another reason is that I also wanted to create something of my own. My grandfather founded the Gutberlet GmbH, my father revived Kaweco and I have now started mostwanted35 with the first step So I follow the family tradition to create something I own and new. I want to connect all the cool brands ( not only pens ) that I know and like in one shop. This will be the mostwanted35. The first mortar and brick store will follow soon.

The third reason is that I am tired of the marketing of many brands and trade companies. Just following the quick money and not thinking in long term. For example my mobile phone contract was running for 7 years and I always paid the full old price. When I realized, I called them and said that I am a long term, loyal customer and I want a better rate. What the salesman said shocked me. He said that I have to quit the contract and to make a new one because new customers get a better rate. So I decided that I want to found a company that rewards loyal customers in the long run. So I built the Customer VIP Level. With every purchase you get a new level or you come closer to the next. For every reached level you achieve 1% discount on the complete order.

MPNI: Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how the pen community can get behind Kaweco and mostwanted-pens, besides the obvious of buying your pens!

SG: To know more about Kaweco and what’s behind us you should follow us on facebook. On the website you can also find our history. We are also working on a new history CD with better design and more information. There will be videos, pictures and so on. For mostwanted35 and mostwanted-pens there will be the first newsletter in August. We will change our shop system to a full responsive design system which is much better to inform and shop on a mobile.

MPNI: Your Classic line of pens is almost universally praised as a standard bearing pocket pen. Where does your design and engineering ideas come from?

SG: My father has a very big collection of old pens because he is a collector. We have so much inspiration there. Also we try to keep the DNA of Kaweco. Of course we have also our own ideas. I tell my father I have an idea for a design of a pen and his answer is: That’s not new, look here, Kaweco did this already in 1933. It is really hard to find something really new, which nobody has ever done. But sometimes we do it. For example with the Kaweco SUPRA. Nobody did this before or we could not find a pen with a part to unscrew and make it shorter.

MPNI: Any good insider info on what we should be on the lookout for from Kaweco coming up. Of course I would love to scoop it here on MPNI.

SG: For Kaweco there are so many ideas we have. Some retailers told me that we bring too many novelties throughout the year. And I tell them that we bring to market only half of the ideas we had because then it would be too much. This year we have already introduced: ICE Sport Black, CLASSIC Sport Red, The SUPRA, SKETCH UP Brilliant and Black, STUDENT Transparent, SPECIAL Dip pen, Mini Converter, Denim Pouches, SKETCHBOOK, German Shepard pen holder and a lot of POS Material.

Some other things coming for sure this year: Rhodium plated gold nibs, Bi-Color gold nibs in all nib sizes, SKYLINE Sport Macciato, AL Sport light blue, AC Sport Racing Orange and racing green, Orange ink and Grey ink.

At will be an exclusive AL Sport edition in addition to the Exclusive colors of LILIPUT which are already available. But that will be a surprise with the launch of the new shop system.

MPNI: What does Sebastian like to do when you’re not selling pens?

SG: I am producing them! In addition to pens I try to spend as much time as possible with my 2 year old son Antoine Gutberlet. He is the best thing I have ever created. He has already started drawing, so he is already into pens, too.

Big thanks to Sebastian for spending the time with us. I know many of us look forward to great new things from him and the team at Kaweco for the second half of 2016. Plus when you’re finished here go checkout ,


Remember: Write something nice……

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