Fountain pens


Graphite vs Ink 7

I was just getting rid of some old documents from my office when I came across three sheets of paper I had written on in 2010 – one with pencil, one with rollerball and one with fountain pen.


All three documents were not exposed to direct sunlight.

The squared paper in the middle shows the rollerball. I am not sure which rollerball this was, but seven years later the text is hardly legible. The once red rollerball is now just a light shade of yellow.

On the right you see the writing from the fountain pen. I am not sure which ink was used, but the writing is much lighter than any ink I would have used at the time. I assume this must be either because of the ink’s properties or the paper or both. The fading can’t just be down to age. I have school notebooks from the early 1980s (ink: Pelikan Royal Blue) that still look great.

On the left you see text written with a pencil. Still as good as on the first day. OK, graphite isn’t darker than black ink, but look how light the ink has gotten in seven years. Maybe in another seven it will be hardly legible while the graphite will still stay dark.

 


Exciting new colours from Kaweco 14

You might have noticed that guest posts are few and far between on Bleistift, so it’s even more exciting when there is one. The one today is from my wife who you might have seen on Instagram and Twitter as Paperbound’s PingPing.


If you are into Kaweco’s special colours you might have come across the Al Sport in rosé gold which was available in Taiwan, Macao and HongKong. It’s simple, stylish, and yet sophisticated!

A couple of days ago I came across the exciting news of more special colours that Kaweco are releasing in Asia end of September. Sebastian Gutberlet has confirmed that for the first year these will only be available for the Chinese market. This means that in the future there’s the possibility that these colours will be released to the rest of the world.

New Kaweco colours for China

New Kaweco colours for China (Image ©wfjsb)

There are three colours for the new release. They are (to my eyes): black blue for the Sport, grey green for the Sport, and red for the Al Sport. As a pocket pen lover, I use Kaweco’s (Al) Sport and Lamy’s Pico and compared the red colour of this latest edition with my lovely Lamy Pico in red. Well, from what I can tell, the Kaweco Al Sport is slightly lighter (pinkish) than the Lamy Pico, while still having the amazing sheen. Personally, I’d go for the red Al Sport ☺️.


I believe that the use of wfjsb’s image shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Suspicious Sellers 11

There seem to be a few suspicious sellers on Amazon Marketplace.

Well, I say they are suspicious, but I prefer to tell you what’s going on so that you can judge for yourself.

There are several accounts on Amazon Marketplace selling fountain pens for £7.99, £8.99 and £9.99, but even pens usually selling for several hundreds of Pounds are being offered for under £10.

Some of these sellers have real names, some just have random letters as their seller name. All of them seem to be registered in the USA. I wrote ‘seem’ because I don’t know whether Amazon will actually check the address used by sellers who register.

Why would they sell these pens so cheap, far cheaper than what they’d have to pay from the manufacturer?

..and especially when Amazon offers their “A to Z Guarantee”, which means that if there is a problem the customer won’t be out of pocket (and Amazon will probably chase the seller to get their money back…).

I rule out that this is just a simple mistake form the sellers. All these pens are sold by new sellers on Amazon Marketplace and they put a lot of them online. One wrongly priced pen might be a mistake, but not if all you offer is under £10.

Explanation a) Maybe it’s a bored millionaire who just wants to make people happy by reselling pens with a colossal loss.

Explanation b) Maybe they want to get people’s address details? ..but I guess there are easier ways of collecting people’s addresses

Explanation c) When you pay they get the money from Amazon and keep it for a while. Delivery times are very long (many weeks), so they have many weeks before the customers can complain that the product didn’t arrive (and then the postal service can be blamed), so it will be a long time before they have to return the money. Time they could use to get interest on the money or time to pack it all up and disappear.

Well, the good thing is that if anyone wants to try these sellers out and my suspicion that this is dodgy is right the customers are only out of money for a few weeks – until Amazon reimbursed them, so the risk for customers seems small.


Update: shortly after posting this I have been told that Scribble has discussed this issue a few days ago in Facebook’s Fountain Pens UK group. Thanks Mark Porter, for letting me know.


Lamy’s Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean pens 4

Sticking to the Lamy theme from the recent blog post about blue Lamy Safari fountain pens from the 1990s and now we’ve got another Lamy blog post today: Their special edition pens you normally don’t see in the West: the Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Men Tell no Tales) and the Star Wars pens.

Lamy’s Special Editions

Lady’s special editions follow a similar recipe: Take Lamy’s Line Friends Safari, for example. It’s a Safari with a different colour and a clip attachment. The colour of the special editions isn’t always different and the main difference of these special editions to their ‘normal’ counterparts is the clip attachment. They also often have extras (converter, special packaging) and a higher price.

I’ve shown a few different Lamy shops in Shanghai. Here’s one I haven’t shown yet: The one in the Jing An Kerry Centre1.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Carribean themed pen looks like a Safari in the current Petrol colour with clip attachement in the shape of a jolly roger skull. You also get a converter and a leather roll as part of your set.

The Pirates pen on the left and the leather roll in the background. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Star Wars

The Star Wars themed pens are Lamy joy2 fountain pens. If you are not familiar with the joy: the front section is the same as the Safari’s, but the main body is much longer. It is kind of a desk only version of the Safari. Desk only because the long body makes it unsuitable for easy transport3.

The Star Wars joys have ‘normal’ nibs. I mention this because the joy is also available as a calligraphy set with italic nibs of different widths.

The black joy comes with a Vader clip attachment. The white joy comes with a Stormtrooper themed clip attachment.

The price is only slightly higher than the price of a normal Lamy joy in Shanghai: A normal joy is ¥380 (~$56; £44; €50). The Star Wars set is ¥4184 (~$$62; £48; €55). It comes with a converter.

 

You pay more, you get more

The price of the Lamy pens in Shanghai is a bit higher than in the West, but you also get more. The pens I’ve seen in Shanghai often come in nice boxes I haven’t seen in Europe. They also often seem to include converters that would be charged extra in the West.

The special edition pens are only slightly more expensive than the normal editions5.

The Safari Petrol. I believe this version is also available in the West. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Not in the West

I assume the reason why you normally don’t see these special editions in the West has more to do with licensing than with demand, especially since they are not much more expensive than the normal versions of these pens, so they should sell well anywhere – but that’s just a guess.

As I know most of the readers of my blog I might as well write this publicly: If you want one of these pens let me know and I’ll try to get one for you.

 


Prices and exchange rates: June 2017

If you want to know more about Shanghai’s Lamy stores have a look at this blog post about the store in Raffles City, the stores in this comment or  the one in this blog post.

  1. Fun fact: many years ago Jing An was the only place in Shanghai with a Burger King, but now Burger King is ubiquitous. []
  2. Lamy spells joy lower-case so I’ll stick to that in this this blog post []
  3. You can see one in this Bleistift blog post from 2011. []
  4. This number sounds good in Chinese, a bit like ‘will be fortunate, for sure’. []
  5. Exactly 10% in the case of the Star Wars joy. []

The Lamy Safari – Then and Now 1

Today: a quick look at two blue Lamy Safari fountain pens – one from the early 1990s and one from the mid-2010s.

…and just because people prefer to watch my videos showing normal stuff (like refilling mechanical pencils) I added something about…

  • how to screw the pen body together so that the Lamy logo is at the top
  • how the ‘low ink warning system’ works