Yard-O-Led Viceroy Grand

This pen hardly needs an introduction.

This is the YOL Viceroy Grand in the impressive Victorian finish and it is borderline ridiculous.

It’s handmade from solid sterling silver and carries a price tag matching its name. The Viceroy Grand is eccentric, yet refined–this an elegant pen that makes a statement.

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I love silver and I had to have this pen for my obnoxious oversized pen collection. The Viceroy Grand is massive–the pen itself weighs 46 grams and is 140mm long. It posts, too–quite well, I might add–making for a pen that is 175mm long and 64 grams. I don’t post it, but I could.

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Shown here with its massive brethren.
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Yard-O-Led is a charming company with a neat story. Their writing instruments are, impressively, made by hand by artisans in England largely in the same way they were made 100 years ago–although fountain pens are a relatively modern addition to their lineup. The company started-out making mechanical pencils and sold their pencils with a yard of “lead” refills, hence the name “Yard-O-Led.” Because they are handmade, no two are exactly alike–the gentlemen who worked at YOL when my Viceroy Grand was made have both retired, and its finish is much different than my newer Viceroy Pocket that was made by a younger smith, presumably an apprentice to the older guys. Looking at two pens and being able to tell that they were obviously created by two unique artists is a special experience. Viceroy Grand pens are available in the Victorian finish, as shown, a barleycorn finish, and a pinstripe finish that is a Smythson of Bond Street exclusive, but only the Victorian finish is completely hand chased.

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The nib is a YOL branded 18K #6 Bock nib. I’ve already said all I have to say about Bock nibs in this post. What I will say about the nib on this pen is that I didn’t have to do a lot of deBocking to get it writing properly–it was just a little dry out of the box for my taste, but completely acceptable. It fills with a standard international converter and there is plenty of room in the barrel for a long international cartridge or a spare short international cartridge, if desired.

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The most problematic part of this pen is the price. The street price for a new Viceroy Grand is right around $1500 right now, which is quite a bit more than what I paid for mine back in the day. Would I buy it again, even after the price increase? Hell yes. I was doing some window shopping and trying to mentally figure-out how to wriggle $1500 into my budget as I was writing this. Keep in mind, this isn’t some plastic, mass-produced pen–this is a serious hunk of silver, for one, but the reality is that buyers are getting these pens for the artistry. The Viceroy Grand is functional art.

edit: Looks like Fahrney’s is carrying some YOL pens again for a much fairer price–no affiliation. That’s probably where USA customers will need to go for a YOL pen.

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Left to right-hallmarks, maker’s mark, hallmarks, anchor indicating Birmingham Assay office, Lion indicating English sterling, and the date code–in this case, 2016.

As far as I can tell, there are no North American retailers that carry YOL, so potential buyers are limited to ordering directly from the U.K. I’ve bought all of my YOL pens from The Writing Desk (no affiliation) and I can recommend them wholly. I will also caution potential buyers: normally, we don’t have to mess with import duties into the United States, but if you have a package with over $1000 of silver and gold coming at you, expect to pay a little bit (I think my bill was $35 last time I ordered YOL pens, which still isn’t too bad).

The Pocket and Standard Viceroy pens are pretty cool, too, and I’ll review them later, but the Viceroy Grand is a whole different level of pen and completely unique. I urge every fountain pen user to seek one out, if just to hold it.

Pros:

  • I mean, look at it.

Cons:

  • Certainly not for everyone.
  • Very expensive and getting more expensive.
  • Bock nibs have horrid quality assurance–beware of over polished nibs.
  • Pretty much only available from retailers in Europe.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Snap cap that snaps to post.
  • Nib:
    • 18k #6 nib.
    • Fine, medium, and broad only.
  • Filling System:
    • Standard international cartridge/converter with international long cartridge compatibility.
    • Capacity is 0.8mL when filled via converter.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 150mm
    • Uncapped: 140mm
    • Posted: 175mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 64g
    • Cap: 18g
    • Pen:46g
  • Section diameter:
    • 11-13mm
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Size comparison with Safari, Pelikan m1000
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Size comparison with Safari, Pelikan m1000
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Size comparison with Safari, Pelikan m1000
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Published by

MatB

I am a fountain pen enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Yard-O-Led Viceroy Grand”

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