Okay, I made a mistake with the choice of colour for this pen. I thought I had been smart and edgy when I picked the matte ‘arctic blue’ finish, but actually I don’t much like it.
I guess I had in my mind that it would have the satin texture of the Lamy Studio, and a bit of punch to the colour. But the colour is true to the description, icy pale and washed out — paler even than the pictures show, actually — and the texture is surprisingly rough, very grippy. It feels cold to the touch, since it’s a metal barrel.
I also thought I’d do the right thing as a reviewer and try out one of Otto Hutt’s broad nibs, to go along with the F I tried in the 07 (review to come!) and the M I tried in the 04. However, not only am I currently preferring finer nibs, my brain has never managed to get used to small pens with broad nibs — I naturally equate small pen to fine nib.
So the poor design06 was not exactly set up for success when it arrived. I should have gone for another colour in smooth finish, with a fine nib. Well, you live and learn.
Luckily, even with my biases, I can see that there’s a great pen here.
Let me sketch out a few of the features that made me smile.
The cap unscrews in half a turn. Whoosh, and off it comes. Yet when capped it feels secure and the cap sits flush with the barrel, with no wobbles. It’s fabulous.
The grip looks like a recipe for disaster. Curvy, super-shiny section that should be slippery; big step up to the barrel. But it’s not a disaster at all. It’s rather comfortable.
Part of that is down to the curve that locks your fingers in; part is down to the clever slope that breaks up the barrel step — which is beautifully mirror-polished. You can definitely feel the barrel step, but it’s not sharp.
The clip is like a smaller version of the one on the 07, meaning it’s solid metal, beautifully polished, and nicely sprung. It both looks and works perfectly.
Like all Otto Hutts, this is not a particularly big pen. However, it’s noticeably bigger than the design04 and not far off the ‘big’ design07, albeit with a shorter nib and more pinched section.
Size aside, the design06 is pleasantly chunky and, with its metal construction, just weighty enough: 33g ready to write, 47g capped. It feels good in the hand. Even posted, if you’re so inclined.
Construction and fit and finish are great. I may not like the grippy texture, but it’s flawlessly executed. Run your finger from end to end when the pen is capped, and every surface is 100% flush, from one end coin to the cap surface, to the cap band, to the barrel, to the other end coin.
Plating is clean and shiny, and the engraving around the cap band and the serial number are clean too. The only bit that lets it down is slightly rough laser engraving of the o|h on the cap end.
The nib is small, but perfectly formed.
It’s bicolour plated steel, and runs a true broad. It’s smooth, and has a remarkable degree of bounce and line variation to give it some personality. My example needed a lot of flushing to write consistently — at first it skipped and stuttered like mad. After flushing and breaking in, it now writes without complaint. But even when loading its converter with a wet ink from Birmingham, it’s still that bit drier than I’d like. It only becomes a wetter writer when you apply pressure.
At around £115 at retail in the UK, the design06 gives you a lot of pen for your money. It may not be the pen for me (spoiler alert: the 07 is), but I think Otto Hutt has done a fine job here.