Cleo’s Classic is fantastic value

Where else can you get a brand new, German-made, gold-nibbed piston filler for £129?

On these attributes, the Cleo Skribent Classic’s core value proposition is pretty unassailable.

And it has a lot else going for it, too.

Comfort-wise, there’s a long, long section with plenty of room for your fingers.

If you hold really far back, you’ll touch the threads — which are gently unobtrusive. In the hand, The Classic is very long and super light weight, perfect for tireless long writing sessions.

In terms of practicality, the clip is strong but not too tight. The cap seals well so the pen won’t dry out. It posts well.

And it unscrews in just 1.5 turns.

There’s a huge ink window through which even the most myopic can make sure they have enough ink.

And you probably will have enough: the piston draws up a huge volume of ink, plenty enough for long work days or study sessions.

In terms of design, the burgundy resin is attractive (black and white also available) and set off by just the right amount of trim.

You don’t get Cleo’s sexy skeletal clip from its higher-end models, but you still get the Cleo C on the end of the cap.

With all this, the Cleo Classic is hard to beat as a comfortable, everyday workhorse for those who like slim and light pens.

And there seem to be very few compromises needed to deliver on this spec. The resin is well polished, with no casting lines (as you might find on a Platinum 3776 or Pelikan M200) or rough edges even inside the cap.

The piston (operated by a small knob hidden behind a blind cap) is not as smooth as a Pelikan or Aurora, but it’s perfectly fine.

The cap threads aren’t the best I’ve ever used, but there’s no cross threading.

Although the pen is really light, it feels solid and well built, with no creaking.

The nib is small, 14k, and mine is rated a medium. It’s rather smooth, not so wet that it gets in the way of practicality.

But it has some comfortable give under pressure. The nib and its flat feet are friction fit and easy to swap in a pinch.

Overall, the Classic feels like a charming old-school bargain. It probably isn’t the pen for me — I like my pens, well, heavier, wider and wetter. But for everyone else, who might be considering a Pelikan M200 (with a steel nib), or a Pelikan M400 (twice the price), or any other £100–150 pen with a steel nib and converter filler, the Cleo Classic is an alternative you should seriously consider.

I bought mine at full retail price from Write Here, and I’m very happy to recommend them to you.

5 thoughts on “Cleo’s Classic is fantastic value

  1. This looks absolutely fantastic. Might have to seriously consider this. Thanks as always for your thoughtful, well written, and honest reviews and posts.

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  2. This is a fortuitous review; I’ve been looking at this on Write Here’s newsletter and, frankly, wondering what could be wrong with it: German, piston, gold-nibbed?

    Well, I now see that it might be rather slimmer than I’d – ideally – like, and the nib is small-ish, but I’ve never tried a Cleo Skribent, so maybe this is a good place to start…

    I’ve been wondering for a while if it’s worth the “joy” of masking up and heading to Shrewsbury on the bus, to visit John at Write Here.

    Now I’m pretty sure I might have to do that thing. Thanks Anthony!

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    • You absolutely should pay John a visit — lots of exciting new stock! And Cleo make some great pens. You should have a go on the ‘Skribent’ or Natura while you’re there.

      Without trying to steal any business from John, my Classic is for sale for £100 if you were tempted :).

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      • Well, yes, thank you, I am tempted- but I’ve just pulled the trigger on my first Platinum 3776, with a music nib. I suspect I won’t get on with it, though!

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