One of my most popular and contentious posts recently was my review of the Conid Minimalistica Monarch. It brought home to me just how fervently, zealously, people love their Conid pens. I liked it and could see sparks of genius in it, but there was enough about it that rubbed me up the wrong way that I knew it wasn’t for me. So I sold it.
And I got a Kingsize instead.
Spoiler alert: the Kingsize keeps everything I loved about the Minimalistica, and has none of its flaws.
The Kingsize is, as the name suggests, a big pen. Mine’s the flat-top version, full demonstrator, with titanium clip, finials, section and cap band. In Conid terminology, it’s a K DCB DB FT TI. Try saying that three times fast.
The Ti has a lovely uniform brushed finish; everything is rounded and fits together perfectly. The great advantage of a titanium section is that it hides the nib unit and any ink spots that might lurk inside. The only downside to all this metal is that it’s given Conid a huge canvas for their serif-font engravings. On the cap you’ll find CONID BULKFILLER FOUNTAINBEL, and on the filler knob ANTWERP BELGIUM. I’d like a more minimalist branding.
The rest of the pen is acrylic. It’s thick and feels super solid. Mine’s already taken a high-speed tumble with no ill effects. As a demonstrator, it’s all about the ink, and there’s a huge tank to slosh around in — 3ml according to the specs. Incidentally, unlike on the Minimalistica, I’ve had no problem with the ink failing to move from the main chamber through the neck toward the feed.
Hold it in your hand, turn it around, and you can feel the engineering and craftsmanship, sure, but also a purity of design. The proportions are lovely, and everything is rounded like a pebble on a beach. At 40g spec-sheet weight, it’s got presence, but not excessively.
The cap is a standard screw, and it takes exactly 1.5 turns to remove, with acrylic threads on the cap side and titanium threads on the section. What I like best is that the inner shoulder of the cap snugs down perfectly on to the section, burying the nib deep into the end of the cap.
With the cap removed, you can see what a huge pen this is. It’s really very long, and there’s a titanium knob on the back that swings the balance. At first I thought it might feel uncomfortable, but after a few minutes it just disappears in the hand. The Ti section is concave, and my fingers settle into it perfectly. It’s not slippery, although it does show fingerprints! The Ti threads are not at all sharp.
The filling mechanism is just like the Minimalistica’s. The bulkfiller concept is great, and Conid’s execution of it is bulletproof. I just received the PenBBS “fauxfiller”, and the difference is night and day. The PenBBS’s filler is stiff and difficult to use, and it really makes you appreciate the Conid.
What about writing? The business end is a Bock #8 Titanium nib on a curvy ebonite feed. It’s a useful fine/medium, wet and springy. I find it a great pleasure to write with.
I can completely get why some people say this is the only pen they need, that it’s made all their other pens redundant. On every measure that matters, it excels. To me, it looks great and feels great in the hand: smooth, solid, in proportion. It’s practical, with a huge ink capacity, strong clip, and reliable screw-cap. It’s comfortable, with a large concave section and just-right weight. And of course it writes well, with interchangeable nibs should another take your fancy.
At current prices, the Kingsize with a Ti nib weighs in at 900 euros, or about 800 pounds. With a gold nib, it’s over 980 euros. That’s a lot of money: bear in mind you can get a Montblanc 149 or the new Pelikan M1005 for around 550 pounds. Is it worth it? there’s a special degree of craftsmanship here and I think the design is outstanding. It’s also made by a small team, just for you. That I think tips the price equation from “ridiculous” to “understandable”.