Some brands just fly under the radar. Cleo Skribent, as I’ve written before, is one such brand. Hardly anyone in the English speaking pen community seems to own one or talk about the brand.
That makes this pen particularly exclusive, because it’s perhaps Cleo’s most rare and expensive model, the Natura. Until Write Here loaned me this one, I’d never seen one in the flesh, or seen a review of the model. So consider this review a public service. If you’re considering a Cleo Natura, now you’ve got a bit more information to go on.
In summary, the Natura is a long, slim cartridge converter filler with a wooden barrel and cap, steel section, 18k nib, plastic feed, screwcap with flexible clip. Made in Germany. In many respects it matches the Graf Von Faber Castell Classic, and that includes price. The Natura is about £500.
Let’s take a tour.
This is a good-looking pen. It’s long and slim, but not ungainly. The palladium plated trim and steel breaks up the wood.
You can see the interesting articulated Cleo clip, which works well.
On the top of the cap is the Cleo C logo, with wood visible beneath.
The cap band declares ‘made in Germany’.
The wooden body is tactile, with some grain visible. The wood is nicely finished. Mine is Ziricote, an exotic hardwood from central America.
At the rear of the pen there’s a section of threads for securely posting the cap without damaging the barrel, although the pen is so long I don’t know why you’d want to. Behind that is a tapered section finishing in a polished metal coin.
Uncapped you can see the metal section, which is extremely long, shiny and convex, tapering down to the nib.
The cap threads are triangular in profile, tall and sharp, but with a section this long it’s no problem. The cap unscrews quickly but the threads are squeaky and not great. They’re metal on metal.
Graf is a million miles better here. However, the cap is secure when tightened and I’ve not noticed any drying out. The nib starts first time every time.
Unscrew the section and you’ll reveal a generic push-fit international converter. This is a little disappointing.
Down at the business end you’ll find a small two-tone 18k gold nib with a plastic feed.
Mine came with a fine nib.
It’s a distinctive looking nib and very pretty. At first I felt it wrote dry and not particularly smoothly, but I really came to love it. It’s precise and easy to use. The nib has some softness and good flow.
I actually really enjoyed the writing experience. Its rare to get a pen that feels this uncramped. Everything is long. The nib is small and looks out of proportion, but the long section means you’re not relying on the nib length to give you some space from the page.
I didn’t weigh the Natura, but it is a middleweight. There’s some pleasant heft, but it’s extremely well-balanced, a little towards the tip due to the metal section.
Aesthetically, the Natura really stands out in my pen tray. Not only due to its length, or the wooden construction — unusually, even including wood for the cap — but also the very distinctive and wonderful Cleo clip. Cleo is a company that does things its own way, and I like that.
The only part of the pen that I didn’t much like is the threads, which felt poorly finished. Overall, the quality of the metalwork is noticeably worse than Graf’s Classic, which is the Natura’s closest competition and on par in terms of price too. But as a writer, the Natura is a refreshing and pleasant experience for anyone bored or Montblanc, Pelikan or even Graf.
At £520 from the lovely people at Write Here, the Natura is not cheap. But sometimes being different is worth the cost. I’ll certainly be sad to give this one back.