Sorted By Manufacturer

Not fit for a king

Not every pen is fit for a king, as can be seen in this article from The Guardian: ‘Oh god I hate this’: King Charles expresses frustration over leaking pen

King Charles III signing documents

His mother seems to have had more luck with pens. In recent days it wasn’t uncommon to see footage showing Queen Elizabeth II signing documents. This often included footage showing her using what seems to be the Parker 51.

Queen Elizabeth II using what seems to be a Parker 51

Not only her pen, also her ink was probably from Parker, as described in this blog post that was posted here in 2018: Stationery Factlets #3: The Queen’s Ink

A lucky Noris

Despite being set in the USA, Skydance’s [1]The company behind Top Gun: Maverick, Jack Reacher and Star Trek Beyond (i.e. Star Trek 13) new animation “Luck” features what seems to be a Staedtler Noris.

In case you wonder why a Noris, or should that be ‘a 3D model of a Noris’, made it into this scene: The movie was produced by an animation studio in Madrid which explains the appearance of a very common European pencil in a story set in the USA.


This sighting has been added to the Noris in the Wild page.

I believe that the use of the the screen shot of this pencil, taken from the movie “Luck” falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1 The company behind Top Gun: Maverick, Jack Reacher and Star Trek Beyond (i.e. Star Trek 13)

Nespresso + Caran d’Ache

Thanks to Pen Heaven I was able to get my hands on a Nespresso + Caran d’Ache fixpencil for the purpose of writing a review.

Cooperations, like the one between Nespresso and Caran d’Ache, often use the letter “x” between the two company names, but Nespresso and Caran d’Ache have opted for the use of the “+” instead, so I will follow their approach.

Before the Fixpencil arrived I expected to see a lead holder that is basically the same as the standard Caran d’Ache (CdA) Fixpencil, just in a different colour, but to my surprise there were several unexpected, but noticeable, if small, differences.

First up: the pen itself.

The surface of the pen, or rather the paint, is less smooth that the other CdA Fixpencils I have handled so far. This surface is not too rough for your fingers and feels pleasant to use. The colour is imitating the aluminium look of the Nespresso coffee capsules.

My pen had three small indentation on the body that don’t seem to belong there. I assume this is a one-off quality control issue.

This Fixpencil is most likely not the only CdA made from recycled aluminium, as mentioned in my previous Nespresso bog post, so I assume the issue with the dents is not a direct result of using recycled aluminium. The dents could probably have occurred with any CdA Fixpencil or other hexagonal aluminium pen, like the 849 and I wouldn’t expect to to be common.

The packaging states that the pen is "made from Nespresso recycled aluminium equivalent to one capsule"

The packaging states that the pen is made from Nespresso recycled aluminium equivalent to one capsule. A very specific claim and as mentioned before I will believe this claim despite some of CdA’s previous claims that were misleading.

When I first used this lead holder I thought the pen feels lighter or ‘hollower’. After using the pen a few times I must have gotten used to it as I don’t notice this anymore, A quick trip to the scales confirmed the initial impression, though: The Fixpencil 22 and the Fixpencil 884 (Junior) both weigh 11.75g, while the Nespresso + Caran d’Ache edition weighs 11.05g.

Top to bottom: Fixpencil 884 (Junior), Nespresso + CdA, Fixpencil 22

The internal mechanism also came as a surprise. The mechanism is the same as in the currently available Fixpencil 884 (Junior). I write “currently available” as the 884 might have contained a different mechanism in the past, but I am not able to verify this.

The use of the 884’s mechanism also means that the Nespresso’s push button does not come with an (emergency) sharpener. As shown on the photo above, the push button is the end of an internal plastic pipe.

Next: the lead

To me the Nespresso lead is a big let down. The packaging states that the lead is “partly produced with Nespresso recycled coffee grounds”.

Weight-wise the lead is similar to the CdA Technograph lead, but the surface looks very different: rough and matt instead of smooth and shiny.

This is an interesting idea, but unfortunately, the lead doesn’t write very well, unless you are keen on faint pencil lines. If wonder if those coffee grounds would have had a better use if they were used as fertiliser. Depending on the paper you write on this issue is more or less pronounced, but for me the Nespresso lead’s attributes are nowhere near as desirable as the Technograph’s.

Top: CdA Teachnograph lead, bottom: Nespresso + CdA lead

The lead feels smooth on most paper, but produced a very light line on paper, much lighter than what you would get from Faber-Castell for example. I mention Faber-Castell because the lines produced by their leads are already very light compared to other, like Staedtler for example. Pressing harder when writing with the Nespresso lead won’t help with producing a darker line, i.e. the lead has a high pressure insensitivity.

When you sharpen the lead to a fine point it also seems to break easier than the Technograph lead. To some extent this behaviour reminds me of the Wopex lead, just that the Nespresso lead provides a much worse writing experience. I haven’t had a chance yet to use the Nespresso wood-cased pencil and I doubt I will find someone IRL who owns some and let me try, but based on Pencil Talk’s review of the Nespresso Swiss Wood Pencils, which doesn’t mention the issues I encountered, I wonder if the lead in the Nespresso Fixpencil is worse than the one from the Nespresso pencils.

A side point, but just in case you wonder: the Nespresso lead weighs the same as the Technograph lead.

Overall, this is a nice lead holder with a good, sturdy build. It would have been nice if this Fixpencil came with the same mechanism as the Fixpencil 22. The higher price than normal Fixpencil is due to the fact that this is a Limited Edition – funnily enough that links strongly to Kiwi-D’s and Koralatov’s comments on my previous blog post.


You can find another review of this pencil at The Gentleman Stationer.

Strawberry and cream

I used to think that I have all the Safari colours I ever need, but as mentioned in February, Lamy keep bringing out wonderful (and difficult to resist) new colours and editions.

This year’s Strawberry and Cream colours are very much to my liking, so I had to go ahead and got one fountain pen in each of the two colours. They were ordered together with the Lamy xevo I discussed recently. I am currently using the strawberry-coloured one with its smooth F nib as a daily writer. These were bought from Pen Heaven in June 2022 and I paid £21.50 each.

The strawberry-red and cream-white Safaris are definitely in the Top 5 of my favourite colours, with the other colours near the top being the Savannah Green (2021), the Mango (2020) and the Griso / Grey version (which was either form 2010 or 2011, I am not sure).

If you are interested in the Lamy Safari, have a look at the Safari article at stationery.wiki. As far as I know it is the most complete overview of Lamy Safari special editions that can be found on the Internet.

Drehgriffel Nr. 2

If you like stationery, you have probably come across the Drehgriffel by now.

Leuchtturm’s [1]Officially Leuchtturm1917, but I will also use Leuchtturm without the number to shorten the name. first reincarnation of the century-old Drehgriffel has been around for about two years. When it was released, its beautiful design won the Red Dot Design Award in 2020.

The first reincarnation Drehgriffel, designated the Nr. 1, is sold as a gel pen and accepts G2 style refills.

Drehgriffel Nr. 1 on a MONOCLE by Leuchtturm1917 diary

Price

As is common for Leuchtturm1917 products, the pen is designed in Germany and made in Taiwan. I bought my Drehgriffel in July 2021 from CultPens for £18.50. Given what is going on in the UK and around the world, it comes as a slight surprise that the price has not changed in the last twelve months and is still £18.50 at the time of writing (July 2022). The price is in line with what you would be expected to pay for similar pens and normally you can’t find the pen much cheaper in the UK – unless there is an offer, like the current offer for £15 by The Paper Collective.

Innards and design

My Drehgriffel came with a Leuchtturm1917 branded, Japanese-made black gel refill in 0.5mm.

I love the design of the Drehgriffel. It has an old feel to it, thanks to the shape, the pastel-y colours and the old feel of the writing on the pen’s body.

The pen feels extremely well made and has an aluminium body with some plastic insides. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a clip, so mine spends its time on my desk, rather than in my shirt pocket.

Nr. 2

Leuchtturm has recently released the Nr. 2 version of the Drehgriffel. This version won the Red Dot Design Award 2022 and is the mechanical pencil version. Where the Nr. 1 had a white grip section and twist head, the Nr. 2 sports these elements in black. Despite my love for pencil I have not bought one yet as it is only available in 0.7mm – a rather big lead diameter for my handwriting which I prefer to be small (to get more on the page).

Leuchtturm group

I won’t do a review of the Drehgriffel Nr. 1 as there are already several reviews out there (you can find a list at the end of this blog post), instead I’ll tell you a bit about the Leuchtturm group that owns Leuchtturm1917. The company has been around for more than 100 year and, like Rotring, they are from Northern Germany (Hamburg). For many years their main business was linked to products for collectors of stamps, coins and other items. Lucky for us stationery fans they started Leuchtturm1917, which by now has branched out from notebooks and diaries to also include nice pens. The Leuchtturm group also own Semikolon and other brands, but most interesting for readers of this blog will probably be their brand Stilform.

The Stilform and Montblanc M fountain pens, both with magnetically held caps

If I want to simplify an explanation of what Stilform does I would boil it down to the following: Stilform uses Kickstarter to finance the production of pens made from Aluminium. These pens use a magnetic mechanism to hold the cap in place, similar to the one made popular by the Montblanc M. They are nice but a bit chunky, with a choice of (Bock) nibs. Their fountain pens don’t contain glue or plastic. I bought some of their accessories and my favourite, with a permanent space in front of my monitor, is their wooden pen holder, a bit like a pen tray for one pen.

Stilform’s wooden pen holder with a Cross Verve fountain pen

Other blog posts about the Drehgriffel (in chronological order)

References

References
1 Officially Leuchtturm1917, but I will also use Leuchtturm without the number to shorten the name.