It’s shaping up to be a very exciting month for my doormat.
Teal Breaker: get in while you can
Do you like the sound of a limited edition John Garnham pen, produced in a custom hand-poured teal-and-red resin to match a bespoke sheening ink from Diamine called “Teal Breaker”? How about throwing in a nib tune from the Pen Doctor, a wood box and a pen kimono, all for £165?
If that floats your boat, the Fountain Pens UK group on Facebook should be your next stop, followed by this form. The brainchild of Bernardo “Mr Teal” Gomes, this pen has been a long time in development, and all involved have truly obsessed over every detail.
I have one in hand and I’m impressed. It’s a chunky pen, similar in size to the JG6 Oversize, with a long and spacious section and all the usual John Garnham refinements: perfect threads, stellar polish and no sharp edges. The nib is a steel Bock #6, which is not my usual choice, but the tune by Noah should set my mind at rest.
Just 88 of this pen will be available. It’s pretty special.
The Gravitas Entry is superb bang for the buck
Another regular denizen of the Fountain Pens UK group, Ben Walsh, has launched his new pen design, the “Entry“. Although it costs only 55 euros, there’s really nothing entry-level about it. In fact, it’s bloody impressive.
I bought two, one in a gorgeous teal and another in “dark olive grey”.
Both are anodised aluminium with black steel sections, meaning they’re light but with the weight concentrated at the nib end, so they feel agile.
The finishing is flawless, with quick and comfortable threads. The section has a very fine Tactile Turn-style concentric ribbing, which doesn’t feel rough at all but results in absolutely zero slip — it’s quite uncanny to have a grip this good, and what’s more, the shape of the section is just perfect, as well as being aesthetically graceful.
The nib is a JoWo #6; I received an M and an F and they both wrote wonderfully well out of the box.
Throw in a classy branded slip-case and you have yourself a great little package.
For me, there are only two downsides to the design.
The first is the slim and tapered section and barrel. It makes for a slender and graceful appearance, and definitely sets the Entry apart from the much chunkier original Gravitas, which it otherwise matches in length. But when I hold the original Gravitas it feels like a better fit for my hand.
Fortunately, the cap posts very deeply and this is one of few pens I prefer to use posted.
The second is the conical ends to both the cap and barrel. They’re so precisely done that they’re actually sharp enough to feel uncomfortable when dragged across the skin.
Those niggles aside, this is really a blinding pen, especially for the price.
On the way: Benu’s Talisman and Otto Hutt’s design08
There’s a 10x difference in price between these two pens I have incoming, but I’m excited about both.
The Benu Talisman is a new release from the maverick Russian brand, featuring another unique faceting pattern, the coloured cap bands I asked for (yay!), and a new trick: this series is named after plants or minerals commonly used as talismans, and actually features those materials embedded in the pen resin. The version I have incoming is called Foxglove, and it has actual Foxglove in it. Which is rather cool. If it performs as well as the Euphoria, for 100 quid or so it’ll get a solid thumbs up.
So far, Goulet has some good pics — of course, I’ll do a review when mine arrives.
At the other end of the spectrum is the new design08 from Germany’s Otto Hutt, the brand’s second collaboration with designer Mark Braun (who also designed my Nomos Metro, incidentally).
Priced at 1,150 euro, the design08 is not quite as wallet-depleting as the designC, but still plenty expensive. In photos, the design is stark and uncompromising, deliberately challenging: the perpendicular guilloche transition from barrel to piston knob, the aggressive sawtooth section, the contrast of matte ruthenium, pitch black and polished 18k gold, the curving dished finial and ruthlessly right-angled clip. I’m itching to put it through its paces.
Otto Hutt design03
The design08 isn’t the only Otto Hutt on my mind. Tempted by reviews from Dries and Brad, I ordered one of OH’s skinny, pull-cap design03 pens, but not in the murdered-out black of my esteemed fellow reviewers: I went for the ‘pale grey’, which is actually a combination of pearlescent white and frosted silver, with pinstriping that reminds me of the Lamy Dialog 3.
The design03 is, as others have commented, very close in proportions to my beloved ystudio Portable, but with a much sharper section-to-barrel step.
It’s dense, and solid, and has an alluring cap-click that compares favourably to an ST Dupont, as well as bucketloads of beautiful design touches like the integrated clip and the little dished end to the cap (baby brother to the design08, perhaps?).
It’s also blessed with Otto Hutt’s charismatic steel nib, which has bounce and texture and encourages flair in my handwriting.
I’m so ruthless about my pen collection that I’m not sure I’ll keep it long-term, but after reviewing the 04, the 06 and the 07, I’d go so far to say that it’s my favourite of Otto Hutt’s standard line so far.
I have one other pen that should be wending its way to me from a maker mentioned once before on this blog, but I’ll keep that quiet for now — this post is long enough.
But look out for more soon!