The Lamy Aion!

20180203_192501.jpgThis is a pen I’ve been looking at for a while now, but for one reason or another, had just never pulled the trigger on. Then a few weeks ago I was corresponding with the fine folks at GoldSpot Pens, and they kindly offered to send one to me for review. Awesome folks there, you should really check them out!

I. First Impressions     7.5/10

So first, just a quick few comments in general about Lamy, the company itself. Lamy is a German company, known in the US primarily for it’s modernist take on fountain pens. The Safari, and 2000 lines have become mainstay pens in the US market among “pen” people.  This pen certainly fits in with the  company’s modern take on pens, but may not wind up a stand out, as those previously mentioned. That would primarily be because those pens have a very specific uniqueness that makes them stand out. This pen, while very nice, and somewhat unique, feels more like a blend of other pen’s attributes. In my mind, the Aion is most closely related to the 2000. Kind of it’s “workhorse” 1st cousin.

20180203_191650_HDR.jpgMy first impression was of the box, and the fact that they use the exact same packaging as the Lamy 2000. Upon taking the pen out, my first two thoughts were that it looks very minimalist and that it felt substantial. It has some real heft and weight.

 


II. Appearance     7/10

My pen was the matte silver model (it also comes in matte black). A handsome pen! I have several Lamy models including the venerable Lamy 2000. This pen shares much of the 2000’s heritage. Clean lines, minimalist design.  The body of the pen also looks very similar to another German pen, the Faber-Castell Loom. While the Aion is considerably larger, both have an aluminum cylindrical body that flows into a long section with no step down.

Where the Lamy 2000 looks elegant (at least to me), the Aion looks more utilitarian. It’s certainly not flashy. Although the silver version is arguably “flashier” than the black.


III. Design / Size / Weight     8/10

As previously stated, I would describe the Aion’s design as definitely, minimalist and modern. The pen was designed by a gentleman named Jasper Morrison. The body and cap are anodized aluminum in kind of a circular brushed pattern. The section appears like a bead-blasted finish. Some measurements:

  • Diameter at grip –                  10.6mm
  • Length of body –                     137mm
  • Length Capped –                     143mm
  • Length posted –                       162mm
  • Weight –                                    35 grams inked

The clip is spring loaded (which is nice), and very, very  — plain. Boring, one could say. But boring isn’t always bad, I guess. Also, and this is odd to me, when you lift the clip, you can see 3 – cut outs – for lack of a better description. I have no idea what their purpose is. Maybe there’s not one.

Overall, I definitely like it. It has a modern, clean look, not at all futuristic as I would say the Safari, Vista and Al Star are. That being said, the pen does have some issues for me. The section’s large girth is quite comfortable, however, with extended use – long writing sessions – it can get a little slick for me. Not terrible, as it’s somewhat textured, but slick nonetheless. Also, the cap does  post. However it is somewhat loose and I find that I usually don’t post it for that reason.


IV. Nib     8/10

20180206_223254.jpgLamy hit a home run with the Aion nib. It’s stainless steel and very smooth, and yet at the same time, provides just the slightest hint of feedback on paper.  The nib is reminiscent of the Safari line of nibs, but with slightly more rounded shoulders. The nib slides onto the feed exactly like the Safari nibs and can even be interchanged with them if you so desire.


V. Filling System     7/10

Pretty simple and standard. It takes either cartridges or a converter. However they are Lamy propriety sizes, not international. Otherwise, this score would’ve been 9/10.


VI. Cost and Value     7.5/10

GoldSpot currently has this pen listed at $71.20, down from $89. While this (in my opinion) wouldn’t be called an entry level pen, it’s not a high-end pen either. This is a work horse pen. A good looking, work-horse pen. And again (in my opinion) a solid value for the money.


VII. Conclusion     7.5/10

This is a bit of an odd pen for me. Before laying my hands on it, it was a pen that I was interested in, but truthfully, more so because it was a new pen from Lamy.  I wasn’t necessarily in heat to get one. 20180203_191809.jpgHowever, after having it and using it for the last week or so, I would DEFINITELY want to replace it if anything were to happen to it. Immediately.

 

 

 

Here’s a companion video review:

Kaweco Sport Cognac Edition

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 5/10

My first impression of the pen was definitely positive. My first impression of the package – was not (hence the 5/10 score).20160721_153158 It’s simply my opinion, but the honey/amber coloring of this little demonstrator is quite attractive. The use of gold plated hardware is definitely a better choice with this color than the stainless/chrome would have been (a-la the ice sport models).

20160721_153316As previously mentioned, my initial impression upon pulling this little jewel out of my mailbox, was not so good. I bought this pen on Amazon as I couldn’t find it through any of my other sources. It come from a company in Germany called Seitz Global. I’ve ordered from them before, and probably will again. However, this particular shipment came totally without padding or any kind of protection for the pen. Just a flat cardboard sleeve. Everything turned out ok, but it definitely raised a red flag in my mind.

APPEARANCE: 7/10

20160721_153502
Honey – colored Cognac Sport model

This subject is absolutely subjective (like how I did that?). The Sport line of pens are designed as “pocket pens”. While you can order a removable pocket clip, allowing it to be carried in a shirt or jacket pocket, upright like a traditional pen, it doesn’t come with one. They’re designed to be carried in your pants pocket or a bag. They are again, in my opinion, very attractive pens. One thing I like is that there’s really not anything else on the market that looks like them. They are definitely unique. Capped, they look almost too small to use, especially as I have large hands. However, posted, they are still small, but very usable. Comfortable in fact.

DESIGN, SIZE WEIGHT: 8/10

Put simply, this is a true pocket pen. I’m a big guy, with big hands, and normally small pens just don’t work well for me. But posted, this little guy is quite comfortable to use. Capped, it’s 104mm, posted 127mm, and uncapped, 97mm. The body of the pen is round, while the cap (which is slightly longer than the body) is faceted octigonally.

NIB: 9/10
20160721_160105The nib in the Cognac model comes with some type of gold plating over stainless steel. Mine is a fine point and preformed flawlessly out of the box. Very smooth with just a very fine amount of feedback. But certainly not what you would call “toothy”.

FILLING SYSTEM: 9/10

These pens are designed as cartridge fillers, specifically, short international size cartridges. They do make a bulb filler type of converter but they don’t come with one. From what I’ve read from other sources, the bulb fillers don’t work all that well. However, one of the coolest things about the all plastic Sport models of the pen (Note – not the AL Sports) is that with just a little dab of silicone grease around the interior threads of the section, and you have a superb eyedropper filler. And it holds a LOT of ink. That’s exactly what I’ve done to my pen.

COST & VALUE: 10/10

Let me just state here that cost is a fact, and value is completely subjective. That said, I purchased this pen on Amazon for $19.90, sold by Seitz Global in Germany. In my opinion, at this price, I think the pen is an exceptional value!

CONCLUSION: 8 out of 10 overall

Let’s just say I really do like these little pens. They’re a great design, and each one I’ve gotten, have been great writers. This one was certainly no exception. And if you can find this model at this price, a GREAT value!

Related Video:

 

Leather Notebook Cover From Galen Leather

“This folio cover gets 6 out of 5 stars.”

I’ve discovered some truths. Pen people are just cooler than most other people (Duh). And pen people in general, tend to share a lot of common likes and to a lesser extent , dislikes. One of the things that I think is a commonality among pen folk, is a like/love for leather goods. I love leather in general, always have. I grew up on a farm with horses and cattle. For me it started there. I even loved caring for leather, the feel of bridles and saddles as I cleaned and oiled them. The smell of the leather, the oils, the saddle soap. All of it.

My fountain pen addiction hobby has coincided with leather stuff. Directly related to pens are the cases and sleeves. Closely related are journals and the leather folios to house said journals. For some time now I have been looking for something i could carry a journal of some type and my tablet, all-in-one. Enter Galen Leather.

Galen is a leather company based in Turkey. They approached me about doing a review and offered to send me something that I thought would be useful to me. Big shout out to them for that, but I’m also a little nervous about situations like this. I don’t like to feel like there’s some unspoken thing….we send you something to review, you write a glowing review of our product. But the thing is, I can’t find anything negative about this product.

My credibility aside, keep reading.

Leather is expensive. What peaked my interest with these folks was initially their web site and their pricing. They have a LARGE selection of products, and their prices seemed more than competitive.  Shopping for leather goods on the internet, in my experience, can be kind of dicey. High price does not necessarily equate to high quality. Nor does a low price mean low quality. And anyone can make photos of a product look good. This stuff looked real good. It’s just dicey when you can’t see it, or feel it. Stiff or supple? Thick or thin? It’s tough.

I can only address the folio they sent me (the “Extra Large Moleskin Cover” in dark brown) but one dollar will get you ten – their other products are just as awesome.

Spelled:  A  W  E  S  O  M  E.

Here’s a video of the same folio I got:

The leather is heavy, and thick. Superbly designed and constructed. The edges are beveled and smooth. This is a folio cover that will last my lifetime and get passed on to one of my kids.

If you’ve seen the movie Spinal Tap, you’ll remember the Marshall amp that went to 11. Same thing here. This folio cover gets 6 out of 5 stars. Here’s some pictures of what I received:

 

 

Monteverde Artista Crystal

20160330_140404Following is my review of the Monteverde Artista Crystal demonstrator pen. This is a pen that I haven’t seen a lot on out on the ‘Net. That being said, I’ve included links to some other good reviews on this pen at the end of my own.


 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS  8/10

Well, pretty simple, it’s just a cool. Really cool in my opinion. The only reason for not giving it a 10 out of 10 would be it’s size. I prefer a larger pen, although I wouldn’t say that it’s too small. I would just prefer it a bit larger. Obviously, this is a completely subjective category.

20160330_140425APPEARANCE   9/10

The entire Artista line are demonstrators. This one is clear; I also have one in green. They also come in light blue, pink and yellow. The section, nib and accents are all stainless steel. The barrel and cap are highly polished both inside and out. One really cool thing is that the feed for the nib is also clear. So it actually changes color with the ink you choose to fill it with.

20160330_140301DESIGN / SIZE / WEIGHT   7/10

The pen is what I call a classic “Pelikan style”. Cigar shaped overall, with a screw off cap that posts well. The pen measures 5 inches capped and 6 1/16 inches posted. The weight was 25 grams.The only reason for the reduction in points is personal (and that’s the way reviews are supposed to be…). I wish it were a little bigger.

20160330_123336NIB   9/10

The nib is small-ish, stainless steel and an absolute pleasure to write with! Very smooth and reasonably wet, I believe these pens come only in a medium nib. There is no flex to speak of, but again, VERY smooth. It features some scroll work and says simply “Iridium Point <M>”.

FILLING SYSTEM   10/10

The pen comes with a clear, twist style international size converter. It will also accept international size long and short cartridges. Though the barrel is clear and solid (no holes or seams), I would not recommend this pen for eyedropper conversion. Reason being that the entire section is metal, and likely could incur corrosion from the ink. It would look beautiful though!

COST & VALUE   9/10

I got my clear one from an eBay seller for $29.50.My green one come from the Goulet Pen Company for $36. I think Anderson Pens has them at the same price. Both have been great companies to deal with in my experience. Using a full retail cost of $36, I would call this pen an exceptional value. For me, the looks of a given pen are what will initially peak my interest.. And with demonstrators, I think you either really like them or you don’t. I’m one of those that really does like the look. However, if a pen isn’t pleasurable to write with, I’m out. This is a pen that excels in both the performance and looks departments.

CONCLUSION   8.7 Overall

So to end this. I’m a pen guy. I have cheap Chinese stuff all the way to expensive German stuff.My collection isn’t huge, but it’s not small either; something over 100 pens in working order and some (???) number for parts. I have new modern pens and vintage ones. For the past year and a half,one of these two Artista’a has stayed in my rotation, non-stop. If you knew me and my pens, you’d know that that was kind of a big deal. In short:

FANTASTIC PEN!

Monteverde Artista Notes – Written with subject pen using Noodler’s Black SwanAustrailian Roses

Accompanying Video

Other Reviews –

SBRE Brown:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwvjwPeePnU

The Pen Addict.com: http://www.penaddict.com/blog/2013/12/13/monteverde-artista-crystal-fountain-pen-review