There’s a lot to like about Oldwin’s Classic. The fact that these pens are handmade from interesting materials in Paris. The seamless, streamlined shape, with the cap threads right on the end of the barrel. The huge gold nib and ebonite feed.
Maybe that explains why I bought another, after the troubles I had with the Art Deco model I bought before.
How did I get on this time? I’ll come to that…
First, a bit about the pen I bought. This is the “Terre de bruyère” model, which translates as “heathland” or “peat”, but the actual material used is the Burlwood celluloid used by Omas, Leonardo, Visconti and others. It looks like a piece of walnut burl, with incredible depth and colour, and that’s what attracted me. That and the fact that the Tibaldi Impero and Arco Verde models were sold out. Hah.
The burlwood celluloid is complemented nicely by gold trim on the nib and clip, and otherwise pleasantly unadorned.
There are no cap bands, finials, coins or rings to disrupt the flow.
While the last Oldwin I bought was the flat-top Art Deco model, this is the curvaceous Classic, with its torpedo ends. Judging by the photographs on the Mora Stylos website, each pen is shaped freestyle, and they vary from pointy to bulbous. Mine is pleasingly proportioned, and I love the shape.
This is a big pen, more than 15cm long and over 15mm across at its widest point. But with the big nib (a Bock-made #7 in 18k, easily a match in size for a 149), it’s all in proportion, and very lightweight, too. Depending on where you hold it, the section runs from 11mm to 14mm.
Seen here against a tiny Geha 760…
The Classic is a cartridge converter filler, and comes with a Waterman converter installed. I have no problem with this — on a design like this, a filler knob or ink window would disrupt the smooth lines.
Ordering was straightforward, although a little haphazard. I emailed Andre Mora to ask if he had any pens with this material left, since it was showing as sold out on the website. He replied saying he had one, but that was all. It was only by checking the website that I found the listing had become available to buy. If I hadn’t been quick, someone else could have bought it.
The pen arrived in a few days. It looked and felt great, but the experience was far from perfect.
My first problem was the finishing. The barrel and cap were covered in turning marks and some quite deep scratches, even though the pen had been polished. These weren’t usage marks, they were clearly left as artefacts from manufacture. I’ve had a go at polishing some of them out, and due to the depth of the scratches I’ve had to use quite aggressive abrasives to clear them. On a pen that’s 800 euros and sold on the beauty of its material, I was hoping for a flawless polish.
Next problem was the nib. It wrote OK, but it was scratchy and a touch dry. Rather than go through the lottery of sending it back to Mora Stylos, I sent it to John Sorowka, who reported that the nib wasn’t centred. He fixed it and all is well. It writes a fine line under its own weight. The nib is quite soft, which I like.
The cap threads are also less than perfect — usage has smoothed them out, but they still run tight then loose as you rotate, almost as if something is out of round.
So here we are. Another Oldwin review by me that sounds like a list of complaints. Yet it’s a beautiful pen, a unique design, and it has the bones to be a great writer for those that like big pens. What a conundrum!