Do you like Italian pens? Do you like flex? Do you like piston fillers? Do you like being a little bit… unconventional? Then boy, do I have a treat for you. Read on as I explore the Scribo 3…
Third time’s the charm?
If you know Scribo, it’s probably through seeing the company’s “Feel” pen, which is faceted and bulging like a Zeppelin, and available from many different retailers around the world.
The design of the Scribo 3 has a lot in common with the Feel, but it’s a much simpler, purely cylindrical design, which not only makes it cheaper, but I think also looks loads better.
Unlike the Feel, the Scribo 3 is also exclusively available from Write Here in an edition of 50, making it a very special pen indeed.
An Omas nib is just the start
In case you haven’t been following along with the Scribo story, the team at Scrittura Bolognese are ex-Omas, and they’ve taken a lot of the Omas DNA with them.
Based on my own experience trying several Omas pens, the gold nibs on the Scribo pens look, feel, sound and perform exactly like Omas nibs, and if you lament the demise of that historic Italian manufacturer, that’s reason enough to look at Scribo.
But the Scribo 3 brings a lot more to the table than just the nib. It ticks a lot of boxes for a premium pen: ebonite feed, silky-smooth piston filler, made in Italy, flawless tank-like build quality, and very generous proportions indeed.
Made for writers
Just a brief time spent with the Scribo 3 will tell you that this is a pen designed to be used. It’s a writer’s pen, not a collector’s.
The clip is big and sprung, so it works really well.
The cap unscrews in exactly one turn, so you’re ready to write very quickly. The cap threads are as far away from being sharp as you can get.
The nib refuses to dry out when capped. The piston draws up a ton of ink, about 1.8ml by the specs (although, frustratingly, it’s missing an ink window and the material is totally opaque).
The balance is spot on. The cap doesn’t post, but the pen is long enough that you would never need it to.
Let’s talk colour
The first Scribo was in grey, the second in red and green, and this version, as you’ll have seen, is in blue (at last!). This is not a teal blue as on the Write Here website photo below (at least on my monitor):
In the flesh, there’s no green in the acrylic resin at all, and if anything it’s more of a blue-black. But it has such amazing chattoyance that it varies from almost a sky blue to a deep midnight as your hand rotates it.
Bright silver goes well with the dark blue, and you’ll find just the understated cap band and filler knob band plus a logo coin featuring a quill at the end of the cap.
Long on comfort
Comfort is superb. The step up from the section to the barrel is absolutely enormous, but the lip is well rounded and sits 30mm or so back thanks to the ultra-long section.
The Scribo 3 is solid but not over-heavy; it sits really well in my hand in a variety of grips.
Feel the writing
Now how about that nib? It’s number-six sized, which makes it look a little small for the proportions of the pen, certainly compared to something like a 149 or M1000. I opted for the 14k EF nib, which has very sparse branding. It’s not going to win any prizes on Instagram for #seriousnibbage. But it’s all about the writing experience. Scribo’s tagline is “Feel the Writing”.
I’d call this an expert-grade nib. It’s perfectly ground and well aligned, so it wrote from first touch to paper. The EF writes as I’d expect a western EF to write (around 0.3mm). The sloped ebonite feed keeps up with plenty of ink.
The Scribo 3 is a really wet writer, although it seemed to manage equally well with both wet and dry inks (for example, it had no problems with Maruzen Athena Blue, which is a truly wet ink).
Like every Omas nib I’ve ever used, there’s an audible pencil-like feedback on every stroke. No scratchiness, just feedback. It’s a bit ASMR.
All good so far, right?
The reason this an expert-grade nib is that it’s really, really soft. In terms of flex it’s definitely in the ballpark of the Montblanc 149 Expression nib and Pilot Custom Urushi, and in fact takes less pressure than either to reach its full spread.
You’re never going to accidentally flex to a double broad in normal writing, but in my opinion you have to really be on your game to control the line variation and the effect that even slight changes in pressure have on the flow of ink.
You can see here how a dry, shading ink like Robert Oster Ruthenium shows huge variations in light and dark (and in width) just during normal, unflexed writing simply from natural changes in hand pressure, particularly when writing fast. Look at the big fat dark downstroke on the capital B in the middle of the photo below, compared to the lighter lines around it.
Consistently apply flex pressure and you get a very wet and broad line, up to around 1.7mm wide by my calipers, from an unflexed line of 0.3mm (on Tomoe).
Scale up the size of your writing and the speed of your strokes and some very expressive, sweeping, shading lines are possible, with little railroading.
I have used the 18k Scribo nibs before and they still have plenty of bounce and personality, but they’re not such a “hair trigger” for flex as the 14k. For me and my writing style, particularly as a lefty, I think the 18k would have been the better buy.
Value for money?
The Scribo 3 is £530, which will perhaps feel like a lot of money to spend on a brand that doesn’t have the unbroken history of Montblanc, Aurora or Pelikan.
Pause for a moment and you’ll see that the 3 is cheaper than a Montblanc 146, and although both are resin piston fillers with gold nibs, here you get an ebonite feed, a much more distinctive nib experience, a bigger and more comfortable design, and dare I say it, better build quality too.
So you can see why I included it in this year’s UKFP Gift Guide.
If you’re interested, I wouldn’t hang around. You can get yours from Write Here.