If you want a sterling silver pen, your options are limited — and they’re mostly pricey.
Pilot makes a range called ‘Silvern’, which is very nice, but I’m excluding those models from here because there is no way they’re solid silver: they’re simply too light.
So your options are some of the silver pens from Onoto, at over a grand; a Yard o Led, again, hovering around a grand; the Montblanc Martele, again, over a grand; Otto Hutt’s own designC, at £2,500… you get the picture.
And then there’s the Otto Hutt design07, weighing in under £500. What’s the catch? There isn’t one, as far as I can tell. And it would be unfair of me to badge the 07 simply as ‘cheap’, because it’s a great pen in its own right, regardless of the price (and even if you’re not as into silver pens as I am). I only have a few little niggles that stop it being a 10/10 across the board.
The 07 is an exceptionally handsome pen, with perfect proportions. It’s not a long pen, but is pleasantly chunky, with a taper to both cap and barrel and flat ends.
Every surface is silver-coloured, though it’s not all raw silver. The cap band, section and finials are platinum plated, so if you look closely (or when the silver tarnishes) you’ll see they’re different colours.
Silver is my favourite metal (yes, even above titanium), and Otto Hutt has let it shine, literally.
The finish is largely left smooth polished, with straight pinstripe lines of guilloche engraved down the barrel and cap for the barest of visual interest.
I have commented before about Otto Hutt’s clips, and the 07 has the best yet. It is machined, sprung, with no wiggle, and it is really wide, adding to the pen’s stature. It also works perfectly.
My one slight disappointment with the aesthetics is with the trim.
The cap band is broad and very simply laser-engraved, and it’s not perfectly flush with the cap; the cap coin is huge and totally empty except for the o|h logo. I’m not sure what I wanted instead, but these features just felt a bit half-hearted.
Uncap and you’ll find a super-shiny, curvaceous section leading to a #6-sized nib, huge by Otto Hutt standards.
It gives the same kind of proportions as the huge nib does on the chunky, stubby Montblanc 149, and I like it. The 18k nib itself is attractively two-tone, with pleasing imprint that’s different from the designC I last reviewed.
It also picks up ink beautifully.
So, an elegant appearance, understated, with solid proportions and graceful curves. All good so far.
Build quality is impressive. The guilloche is excellent. The threads are smooth and the cap spins off quickly, in less than one full turn.
Interior surfaces are neatly finished, with no rough edges. The clip is solid and all its surfaces are polished. And of course, since the design07 is solid silver, it has that reassuring bombproof mass that plastic pens just can’t summon. Otto Hutt says that 36g of silver is used in each pen, and I can well believe it.
The threads are cut so the guilloche, silver hallmarks and branding all line up between cap and barrel.
The only design elements that undermine the total impression of quality are the generic JoWo plastic feed (happily, there’s no black plastic ring at the end of the section like you get on cheaper models, and rivals like the Graf Classic), and the fact that this pen takes a standard international converter.
Now, I am over my bias towards piston fillers. I recognise that converters are reliable, easy to clean, and convenient — and on an all metal pen like this they also mean you can check the ink level easily, and don’t have to worry about dipping metal into ink to fill.
But the converter is generic, with plastic trim. It doesn’t even screw in. And it can’t compete with the luxury feeling I get filling my Montblanc Martele or Geometry. The fact that Otto Hutt makes such a big deal of the filling mechanism in the designC shows they’re aware of the difference it makes in the experience.
In the hand, I have no complaints about the design07.
This is not a big, flagship pen. It’s more Montblanc 146 size than 149. But size isn’t everything.
The long section is just thick enough, and my fingers are clear of the threads and barrel step. The threads are fairly blunt, in any case. The concave profile of the section means I don’t have to worry about my fingers slipping, and anyway, the pen is short and well balanced (the balance point is perfectly at the midpoint of the pen, actually) so I never feel it’s trying to lever its way out of my grip.
If you’re a poster, relax. The design07 posts fairly securely, and the cap is lined so you needn’t worry about metal on metal scraping. But note that silver is very soft, and a polished finish like this will show scratches and scuffs from day one, no matter how careful you are. Happily, Otto Hutt includes a silver polishing cloth in the rather funky articulated cardboard gift box.
I ordered the design07 with an F nib. In my opinion, it writes a true fine, and a nice reverse EF if you’re so inclined. On the page, the tipping is smooth, and there’s a surprising amount of softness and bounce.
Writing with my usual light touch, the flow is on the dry side of medium, even with wet inks like Edelstein Topaz and KWZ Turquoise, and even after a gentle working with a brass shim. Personally this is one of my slight disappointments with the pen, and I may eventually get its flow adjusted by a professional.
The only other fly in the ointment is the nib’s tendency to dry out when capped. I have definitely had pens that dry out faster, but leave the 07 capped for a day or two and I find it hard starts and writes darker for a couple of lines. In the video below, the pen was freshly inked the day before with KWZ Turquoise.
It’s enough of a problem to annoy me, and combined with the overall slightly dry flow means I find the 07 somewhat unfulfilling as a writer. While my Viscontis, Namiki or Montblancs float across the page, the 07 takes a while to get going. And when the nib grind and pen design are so good, that’s a real shame.
So we’re back to where we started. The Otto Hutt design07 is a really good pen, at an exceptional price compared to its competitors. It’s attractive, well built and comfortable, and the nib is really nice. For me the only niggles are the uninspiring trim, the dry flow and the drying out — you might want to add the converter filler to that list, if you’re biased towards pistons.
But look at it this way: aside from the piston filler and hammered finish, it’s a very similar pen to the Montblanc Martelé, at much less than half the price. I adore my Martelé in every way, and with its airtight cap, scratch-resistant finish and piston filler, it is a better pen. But it’s not cheap. Would you rather have the Otto Hutt and £700 in your pocket?
I bought my Otto Hutt design07 direct from Otto Hutt at a special discount. You can get yours from Otto Hutt, or from UK retailers like Executive Pens Direct.