Friday, 17 April 2015

OHTO Dude fountain pen review

OHTO Dude fountain pen (purple)

1. Damage

I bought it for SGD22 from Straits pens . Mr. Sunny superficially smoothed the nib for me too for free. The pen also comes with two puny cartridges only and after a bargaining for discount Mr. Sunny included a standard international converter for free too. The pen comes in four different colors  i.e silver, champagne, blue and purple and I chose the purple version as I don't have any pens in this color. I also bought the waterman violet ink at the promotional bundled price of SGD10 to complement the pen's color.  Overall considering the value and the quality of the product at this price I give it 5/5 for value for money

2. Looks,  Aesthetics and Presentation
The pen with its  hexagonal design tapered at both ends looks very modern if not space age. My pen comes in Purple finish  and there are two silver colored ends in the pen (finales) that too complement the design. The clip is in silver color too, a very sleek and one of the slickest I have seen. I am not sure this clip will take the abuse of a thick denim trouser. There is a silver band on top of the barrel and this adds to the aesthetics of the pen. The names OHTO, Made in Japan and Dude are inscribed on the right side of the cap and unlike the other OHTO aluminum pens like Tache where the imprint is erased within few days this imprint is more of an embossed one and does not fade or erase quickly. The color on the pen is more pleasing to the aye as the coating is of good quality.  For presentation it only comes a plastic sleeve like a Chinese Hero pen and for a Japanese pen of this quality I look at least for a cardboard or a plastic box.  Therefore for looks aesthetics and presentation I give 3.5/5

3. Build Quality, Construction and Ergonomics

The pen is mostly made out of metal ( I understand Copper) with the body barrel and cap out of metal and the grip section made out of ABS quality plastic. The pen is sleek yet feels solid on the hands due to its metal construction.  The metal itself is not filmsy and feels chunky in the hand. Unlike the Aluminum bodies of some of the other OHTO pens this feels more solid. The grip section is very ergonomic to hold and it can be very easily used for extended writing sections as the pen feels solid but not very heavy. All the proportions of the pen are very much fits into any hand big or small. The pen is postable and you can post it if you have very large hands. The pen is an ideal size pen not too small or not too big.  For build quality, construction and ergonomics I give 4/5

4. Writing
Writing is where this pen really excels and the Japanese quality is felt through out the writing experience. My pen came with a stock medium nib and it is a bit on the finer side. The pen is a juicy writer though not a gusher. The nib is very smooth and Mr. Sunny is glad to adjust the nib briefly to make it more smoother. The pen does not skip or does not have any hard starting issues even after being capped for a few days. Definitely it writes much better than many cheap Chinese pens like Hero. For writing I give 4/5
5. Conclusion
If you are looking for a quality inexpensive Japanese fountain pen on a very tight budget I would strongly recommend this pen for you. You will not be surely disappointed. For overall experience I give 4.3/5

Sunday, 5 April 2015

TWSBI Vac 700 fountain pen review

TWSBI Vac 700 fountain pen.

1. Damage

I got it at a ridiculously undisclosable price from a seller on gumtree in mint condition. My version is clear demonstrator with a stock  M nib. By the way the pen retails at SGD85 at straitspens with free shipping to Singapore and Malaysia. For value for money I give 5/5

2. Looks aesthetics and presentation

The pen comes in several colors all in demonstrators with a good selection of nib units and it comes interchangeable nib units and you can swap them freely, May be u can buy one body n two or more nib units say an M and an 1,1 so as to try different writing styles, separate nib units retail for aboutSGD30.  This is really handy to try different writing styles without buying a new pen,  The pen looks neo modern with clear space age look and does not look goddy.  It is aesthetically pleasing though feels a bit oversized for a very small hand. Among the twsbi demonstrator pens this is the largest. The plus side is that it holds huge amount of ink being a vacuum filler. For the packaging TWSBI won an award for the apple style packaging and it comes with a wrench to dismantle the pen if necessary, two O rings to vacuum seal, and a small bottle of silicon   grease. A nice gesture from TWSBI. For looks and presentation I give 4/5

3. Build quality construction and ergonomics

The pen is made out of quality plastic and does not feel cheap. The construction is top notch with the nib unit and the vacuum plunger feels steady. Any part of the pen including cap, clip, ring, barrel or blind cap does not feel cheap. I have heard of units cracking but in my case it feels solid. For ergonomics the pen is on the large side and should fit un posted in most of the hands unlesss you have very small hands. The pen is postable but I do not recommend it as it gets heavy,  The vacuum mechanism is top notch and this is the only sub 100 dollar vacuum filing pen in the market. For build quality construction and ergonomics I give 5/5

4. Writing

This is where the pen performs some what mediocre.  Out of the box it is a dry writer and the medium nib needs more pressure on the paper to lay an even line. As recommended by twsbi we need to open the vacuum piston valve for extended writing sessions and periodically we need to loosen a bit to get good ink flow. I get irritated with this at times. As for as the nib it is steel M nib and it is almost a nail with no line variation. As far as smoothness it is not the smoothest but not scratchy.
Considering all these weaknesses I give 3/5  for writing


5. Conclusion

Other than the vintage pens this is the only modern vacuum filler under 100 dollar mark and it is a statement of technical marvel. But for the little quirks in writing it is a neo  modern pen not to be missed, I give this pen an overall score of 4.25/5 and recommend it strongly for anyone building a good arsenal of pens.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Duke Charlie Chaplin fountain pen review

Duke Charlie Chaplin fountain pen


I got it last year from Mr. Sunny of Straits  Pens for SGD18 which I saw a steal as ebay prices are almost double and Sunny smoothened the nib for me too. Good value for money and I give 5/5

2. Looks, aesthetics and presentation

This pen has a very unique look reminding Charlie Chaplin with few of his items like his shoes,  hat etc.. inscribed on the metal cap ring. The pen is designed to look alike Charlie Chaplin as it is short and there is a bulge in the center area with both cap and barrel tapering off.  As for the looks it is attention catcher and you will love it or hate it. The black laquered finish with matt steel endowments is pleasing to the eye. The pen came in a nice and sturdy hard box with satin cloth lining, very good presentation and will make a good gift idea,  overall I will give 4/5 for looks.

3. Build quality , construction  and ergonomics

The pen is built like a tank.  It is heavy all metal body and using it for long periods may result in fatigue.  The supplied converter feels well built and holds decent amount of ink.  As it is not a regular sized pen it feels not so ergonomically fit in my hands. For quality I give 5 but foe ergonomics I give 3 and the net score here is 4/5

4. writing

It is a smooth writer with steady ink flow. Writes medium.  The nib is a steel nib and does not offer much line variation. One problem though after the converter runs half empty the pen gets dry and you may need to prime the feed to get new ink flow. Not a major issue as it happens in many of my Chinese pens. Please see writing samples attached.  For writing I give 4/5


A solid pen which offers good value. If you like the looks go for one if you can get it at a decent price. The overall score is 4.25/5
Time for reviews

Hi all, My name is jahir Hussain and I am a chartered accountant witn an MBA  and I was grown up young in the fountain pen age meaning which we use to write with them in school and college till 1990. After migrating to singapore in 1991 I had totally stoped it to pick it up only in late 2014. I had only a few fountain pens from 80S and within last six months I had collected close to 48 fountain pens,

I think it is time for reviewing them one by one and I will do it at my own pace.

Please look for the reviews soon,

Jahir Hussain (Pala)