January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
When Parker put their minds to a limited edition it is often worth watching for. The Duofold Senior Brown is a case in point. From the images available from their launch event, the pen’s colouring looks a little dowdy but on opening our stock the pictures didn’t do the pen justice. This is not an ‘in yer face’ styling but a sophisticated understatement in terms of presentation and colour and, by Parker’s own statements, an homage to the Duofolds of the 1940s. Anyone owning this pen is making a statement: ‘I’ve got style and it’s in spades’!
The Senior Brown is essentially Duofold Centennial in size. The grip, barrel and cap are finished in fine rectangles of dark browns and blacks with just enough variegated pale greys to lift the colouring. The darkness is contrasted by trim in broad bands of polished palladium plated metal and a bold, polished Parker arrowed clip. With the patterning continuing along from the grip through to the cap gives this pen a continuity rarely seen in modern fountain pens. It is quite a sizeable pen at 172mm posted and 50 grams in weight.
The nib is an 18ct gold unit over-plated with palladium in a standard medium format only. It is unlikely that other sizes will be available given the exclusive nib decoration. However, taking a pragmatic view, there is a significant range of alternative nib sizes and styles in the standard Duofold Centennial range which are dimensionally compatible. However, keeping the original nib would be essential to maintain the pen’s exclusivity and value!
In keeping with the Duofold Senior Brown’s £900 price tag, the presentation case is a stylish affair with a piano varnished wood veneer finish and chrome fittings. Each pen is numbered with a global production run of just 900 units, 1 of which goes to the Parker heritage collection. The certificate of authenticity is kept in the accessory tray beneath the presentation insert in the case.
Would I want one? I think space in the collection cabinet may be tight but I could certainly squeeze this handsome devil in!
The Parker Duofold Senior Brown is available from PenFountain either on-line or from our concession store in Beales, Worthing, West Sussex.
December 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Having opened our new concession shop in Beales department store, Worthing, we continue to learn how different the environment is from our previous individual shop. The concession offers limited space but encourages creative thinking when it comes to finding room for new products.
We have also had the the privilege of being asked to provide a window display in the main shop frontage on South Street.
November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
The retail sector is very tight with high street retailers offering significant discounts to entice customers to spend. Very often the offers are on either stock items or special purchases and if you are prepared to compromise on model or brand you can grab a real bargain.
The pen market is even tighter both online and in the retail sector. There are bargains available at present but if you fancy a flutter on whether prices will take a further plunge in the final run-up to the big Day, be careful! Speciality lines such as pens, are being short stocked by both retailers and their suppliers. At PenFountain.com we have already experienced some surprising lines being placed onto back-order with our wholesalers because of stock optimisation and, as Christmas draws closer, the chances of replenishing supplies will become more precarious.
At PenFountain.com we will be removing our usual alternative nib options on our fountain pen ordering in the run-up to Christmas purely on the basis of it being difficult to maintain stock levels in the high volumes of pre-Christams sales. Therefore, if you want a specific pen with a specific nib, we would recommend buying sooner not later and it is highly unlikely there will be a sudden unloading of stock just before Christmas!
October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
There is an increasing trend among fountain pen manufacturers to reduce nib options, even on their core pen products. This year has seen Cross discontinuing production of the broad nib option from their range, although stock remains available at the time of writing.
Lamy then followed suit announcing the demise of the extra fine nib across their range. They treated their customers rather differently, announcing the discontinuation after stocks had been exhausted preventing retailers from stock piling these niche nibs to prolong the availability a little longer.
At PenFountain.com, we pride ourselves in our nib range and believe that one of the great things about fountain pens is the joy of different writing experiences afforded by a change of nib or pen. It is a great disappointment when, presumably for production-cost reduction reasons, these nibs are discontinued. However, pens retailers in general are becoming more focused on the supply of medium, one-size-fits-all, nibs and are therefore contributing to the demise of the great variety fountain pen choices.
September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
The art of fountain pen ink manufacture probably hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years or so. It was already a ‘green’ product before the term (and even possibly the colour) was widely used. If proof were needed of the retrospective aspect of ink production, on the Diamine inks website they acknowledge 1864 as their date of establishment and a subsequent move to a ‘state of the art’ manufacturing facility in Liverpool in 1925 but there is no suggestion of a later move from this site although they have moved production since.
On the positive side, Diamine produce a fabulous range of high quality inks which, with planned additions in the next 12 months, will extend to more than 100 different colours. As part of this expansion, 5 new colours have been added this summer which are: Wild Strawberry, Macassar (dark brown/black), Denim (dark blue), Meadow (rich pale green) and Eclipse (black/brown). In keeping with our track record, we have now added these to our offering at PenFountain.com and can be viewed on our Diamine colour chart or in our Cranleigh shop
September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
The victims were delivered, not in the usual body bags, but in a Jiffy bag. They were pulled onto the bench for examination. It was not a pretty sight. Not 1 but 2 victims, Hemisphere front-end assemblies dismembered in places that there should not even be any joints. The witness claimed that he had not seen any violence towards these sad examples of fountain pen-dom. But close examination suggested otherwise. The SOCO identified similar patterns of damage but, using conventional wisdom, the only explanation could be demise by aggression.
The team looked for further evidence and fortunately, the witness could produce the complete pen from where the cadaverous nibs had come with a pristine nib still in situ. Further perplexed, as a precaution before elevating the evidence to the specialist forensic laboratory, the SOCO checked for evidence of fluids in the pen. Yes, there was fluid in the converter – ink, but not as we know it. The converter was removed and flushed but, he noticed a gnarling on its normally clean, round mouth.
Forensic experience was required here and the evidence was bagged and despatched to the secretive clean rooms found only in the Waterman complex located just to the west of Nantes, in the West of France. Time passed and a brief phone call requested further information about any inks and cleaning materials used. The witness was questioned further and, under interrogation, he revealed that he had used an unnamed registrars’ ink and proudly announced that the pen had not seen any solvents, in fact it had never been cleaned-out!
The final piece of the jigsaw was in place. The acidity of the registrars’ ink having lain in place for some 18 months without disturbance had attacked the nib assembly and converter mouth from within. The structure of the resins used in the components had failed resulting in fracturing during assembly and use.
This is not a victimless crime but a lesson in the importance of taking precautions when using iron gall registrars’ ink, one of the oldest inks known to man. Wash it or lose it.
The Diamine Registrars’ ink that we offer, whilst formulated for fountain pens, needs to be treated with respect in terms of its use in pens. Damage on the scale reviewed here is very unusual and the result of unfamiliarity with the product. At PenFountain.com we advise customers of the requirement for cleanliness, both on the web page and on the ink’s outer packaging. However, whilst acidic, Registrars’ Ink does not represent a threat to health and is of a strength similar to that of vinegar or a cola drink.
September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
We have been advised today that Lamy are discontinuing their Extra Fine nibs in all but their high-end pens. In effect, the superb stainless steel nib range is being reduced to fine, medium, broad, and left-handed, in the core products with 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9mm in the calligraphy type nibs. The steel nibs are renowned for their ease of changing.
The 14ct gold inlaid nib in extra fine will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.
At PenFountain.com we are disappointed to learn of this change because it was a popular nib for the finer characters used in many Asian scripts. We will maintain stocks of the steel nibs for as long as possible.