ASA Sniper

At one time, I decided that I had to have every pen with a hooded nib and I had an affinity for oversized pens. Conveniently, the Sniper is both.

It is made to order in India by ASA. It took four months for my Sniper to be made, which sounds like a long time, but it is fairly quick for a handmade pen. It arrived in a lovely cloth pouch along with a free Click Falcon, which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

This pen is quite unique–like an enlarged cross between a Lamy 2000 and a Parker 51. Under the hood is a modified JoWo #5 nib unit, which allows the user to switch nibs, although the process is more complex than with an open unit.DSC_0430

The body is a matte black brushed ebonite, although ASA’s website has other options available.

Being oversized, the pen has a nice, fat section. This, along with its light weight, make for a comfortable writing experience. The pen technically posts, but it becomes hilariously long and somewhat unwieldy, so I don’t personally do that.

The clip is plain and functional. The fit and finish of the pen, overall, is quite nice–no seams or rough spots, the threads are smooth, and so on. The hood on mine is very slightly asymmetrical, which may really bother some people but I’m willing to give it a pass because of its handmade nature.DSC_0431

I personally wasn’t really impressed with the #5 nib, but it was acceptable out of the box. The beauty of JoWo nibs is that they are ubiquitous and cheap, so the end user can practice nib adjustment without fear of destroying some rare nib or replace them as they see fit. Like all hooded nibs, the hood has to be removed to work on the nib beyond a few simple adjustments, which adds extra steps to the process that may be fairly intimidating for beginning users. The customer service at ASA did impress me, though, so I’m sure they would be accommodating to a customer should they receive a defective nib. That said, the owners are fountain pen people so your pen gets tested before being shipped to you.

Because of the nature of this pen’s design, it can fill from a converter, but excess ink in the hood can get a bit messy, and the converter doesn’t really fill fully. This is not unique to the ASA Sniper–I have other hooded pens that suffer the same or similar issues. This is typically resolved by inverting the pen and expelling air from the converter then filling it again followed by a liberal application of a napkin for excessive ink. If the user prefers eyedropper filled pens or cartridges, this is a non-issue. Either way it’s worth consideration.

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Nib shown with hood removed. It’s simply a modified JoWo #5 unit.

 

Finally, the cap doesn’t have an inner cap to speak of, so the nib dries out a bit when left unused.

Overall, I’m impressed by what I received from ASA, especially given the price–$58 shipped. The pen is quirky to be certain, but a great value, especially considering that it’s handmade and a semi-custom piece.

Pros:

  • Unique, fun, customizable.
  • Comfortable writer.
  • Good value.
  • It’s huge.

Cons:

  • Nib was a little weird out of the box and working on a hooded nib can be a bit trickier.
  • One can fill the pen via converter in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t work that great.
  • The nib dries out when not used.
  • It’s huge.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Screw cap.
    • A very secure/borderline absurd four turns to remove the cap.
    • The cap isn’t practically postable.
  • Nib:
    • Modified JoWo #5 nib unit.
    • This one is a Fine.
    • Presently only fine and medium are available on ASA’s website, but in theory any #5 nib could be swapped into the special unit, or any JoWo #5 unit could be modified to work.
    • This model is not really conducive to easy nib swapping, though.
  • Body:
    • Brushed black ebonite.
    • Other options are available on Asa’s website.
  • Filling system:
    • Standard international.
    • Long standard international cartridge compatible.
    • Eyedropper compatible. I measured a capacity of around 3.4mL.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 147mm
    • Uncapped: 136mm
    • Posted: 180g
  • Weight:
    • Total: 23g
    • Pen: 15g
    • Cap: 8g
  • Section diameter:
    • 10-12mm

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Ink is Pelikan Edelstein Topaz. The color didn’t come through well on the scan, although I tried to adjust it. It’s close, but I’d say the Topaz is a little more blue on paper and a little less turquoise, like in the pen photos, above. It’s a nice ink but generally lighter than I prefer.

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Edison Herald Grande

There isn’t much I can say about the Edison Pen Company, founded by Brian Gray, that hasn’t been said a million times. In brief, they have a production line of pens that are available at various retailers, but one can also custom order a pen from them in several models and a large number of neat materials.

So I’m the guy who, given a vast number of potential combinations of pens and materials, chose a black, cigar-shaped pen with gold trim. Perhaps that’s boring to some, but I don’t care.

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The Herald Grande is, unsurprisingly, a very large pen. When capped, it dwarfs my other oversize pens. Uncapped, it’s comparable to my Pelikan m1000. The section is a big, fat cylinder with very little taper to it. The barrel has a bit of a waist near the threads and flairs out a bit before tapering down again, which gives it a subtle, unique shape. It’s a light pen, and its section diameter and length of the barrel make it great for long writing sessions. The cap posts very securely, but it’s absurdly long when posted.

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The engraving is more subtle than it appears in this photo.

The fit and finish were absolutely superb out of the box. The threads are perfect. The seam between the cap’s finial and the cap is barely perceptible. This is pretty standard for Edison pens.

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Here, the seam between the cap and the finial is barely visible. It is not tactile at all in person.

The nib worked well out of the box, also typical of an Edison pen. Edison claims to adjust their nibs to have an ink flow of 7/10, and that’s what mine was adjusted to at first. On Edison’s scale, I think I would prefer closer to an 8.5/10, but it’s pretty easy to fix. The beautiful thing about Edison pens is they’ll accommodate just about any request the buyer can think of, within reason, and ink flow is one of those customizable points.

What doesn’t come across in a written review or even in photographs is how the pen material feels. It’s a subjective point, and one that is difficult to describe. Compared to the various plastics used in pens, ebonite feels different. Some would say warm, or smooth, or soft, but it’s nice to the touch in an organic way. This sensation is amplified immensely on a pen as well polished as this Edison. This is a pen I can just hold, but like any reflective, smooth, black surface, it shows fingerprints like no other.

If I was going to criticize this pen, it would be that it’s huge. On the other hand, that’s why I bought it, so that’s not really a fair criticism. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a shame that Edison doesn’t offer #8 nibs on their giant pens like this, but surely only offering #6 nibs helps keep costs lower and, functionally, there isn’t a lot of difference. It’s an aesthetic preference.

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I think in the custom pen realm, Edison makes some of the nicest pens at the moment. In a lot of ways, the company eschews needlessly fancy stuff (like #8 nibs) in favor of practical materials and designs. Even so, Edison still offers options–filling systems, nibs, and so on–that most other custom makers cannot compete with. And if the options are too daunting, one can always send Brian Gray an email for help.

I love the Edison Pen Company and they’re easily one of my favorite fountain pen makers. It’s not just because they make awesome pens, there’s more to it than that for me–it’s really cool to have a modern pen made by fellow Midwesterners who are keeping a tradition of Midwestern pen manufacturing alive. Even if one’s not looking to buy into a company’s cool story, Edison pens are still fantastic and a relatively great value considering the customization options.

Pros:

  • Perfect Fit and Finish.
  • Fantastic customer service and a lifetime warranty.
  • This pen is massive.

Cons:

  • Despite their great value, Edison pens are expensive.
  • This pen is massive.
  • I sort of wish #8 nibs were an option on bigger Edison pens.
  • I sort of wish I ponied up for the pump filler/vacumatic option on my pen.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Threaded cap.
    • 1.5 turns to remove.
  • Nib:
    • Two tone 18k gold.
    • This one is a fine.
    • Other options:
      • Steel nibs in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 italic, and 1.5 italic.
      • 14k flex nibs in extra fine and fine.
      • 18k nibs in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad, 1.1 stub, and oblique double broad.
      • Edison can custom grind nibs into just about anything one could want, too.
  • Body:
    • Polished black ebonite.
    • Other options abound.
  • Filling system:
    • Standard international cartridge/converter system.
    • Long cartridge compatible.
    • Converter ink capacity is 0.8mL.
    • The pen can be converted into an eyedropper filler (measured 3mL ink capacity).
    • Edison has other unique filling system options in addition to cartridge/converter pens, depending on the model.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 166mm
    • Uncapped: 142mm
    • Posted: 187mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 26g
    • Pen: 16g
    • Cap: 10g
  • Section diameter:
    • 12-13mm
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Top to bottom: Delta Dolcevita Oversize, Yard-o-Led Viceroy Grand, Edison Herald Grande, Lamy Safari, Pelikan m1000.
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Top to bottom: Delta Dolcevita Oversize, Yard-o-Led Viceroy Grand, Edison Herald Grande, Lamy Safari, Pelikan m1000.
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Posted, with Safari. It posts well but feels way too long to me.
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Ranga Model 3

Ranga is an Indian pen company that specializes in handmade pens in both acrylic and ebonite. They only make a few models but have a bunch of different materials to chose from. Mine happens to be the Model 3 in the green ripple ebonite.

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This pen is very light despite being a large pen–its dimensions are similar to the Pelikan m1000.

Ranga offers their pens with a huge variety of nib options to suit the end user’s preference. Mine is tapped to accept a JoWo nib unit, but you can order most of their pens tapped to accept Schmidt nib units or Bock nib units or the pens can be made to accept Kanwrite nibs, made in India. All of Ranga’s pens can be filled via eyedropper, but the pens equipped with JoWo, Bock, or Schmidt nib units can also use standard international cartridges and converters. It’s hard to find this level of customization at this price range–the Model 3 is going for $33 to $84 on Ranga’s website, depending on material and nib choice. Considering production Franklin-Cristoph or Edison pens start at $160, $84 is a great bargain.DSC_0333

Mine came with a stock Fine nib that was completely serviceable but I’ve installed a ruthenium plated Medium nib that was modified into an oblique cursive italic by Pablo of fpnibs.com. Oblique nibs are cut at an angle and were originally designed to compensate for rotation of the nib; in modern times, obliques are usually ground like a slanted stub or italic and offer unique line variation. One either can write with obliques without an issue or not, and I seem to get along with this nib just fine.

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Cut at an angle. . .
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. . .and ground quite sharp for line variation.

I love this pen and nib combination. The Model 3 is big and comfy, the ebonite is smooth and organic feeling, and the nib is full of character. It’s a joy to write with it.

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Great line variation.

It’s hard to find fault with the Ranga Model 3. It’s truly handmade, so the fit and finish aren’t as precise as a mass produced piece, but for the cost one could do a whole lot worse. If forced to say something bad about the pen, I’d say that Ranga pens tend range from oversized to gargantuan and some people don’t want a big pen. Also the pen doesn’t post (well, it does but it’s stupid long when posted), but I’m really nit picking at this point. The Model 3 is a top-shelf choice in the sub-$100 category.

Pros:

  • Well made.
  • Tons of options for customization.
  • Lightweight.

Cons:

  • It’s big, and that’s not for everyone.
  • Pen doesn’t post in a practical way.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Screw cap.
    • 1.1 turns to remove.
    • Postable, but ridiculously long when posted.
  • Nib:
    • JoWo steel medium modified to an oblique cursive italic.
    • Huge factory options including:
      • JoWo extra fine through broad, 1.1mm and 1.5mm stub.
      • Bock extra fine through broad, 1.1mm and 1.5mm stub.
      • Schmidt fine, medium, and broad.
      • Kanwrite fine, medium, broad, and flex.
  • Filling system:
    • All models are eyedropper compatible.
      • 4mL ink capacity.
    • Standard international system if equipped with a German nib unit.
      • Ink capacity if filled with standard international Schmidt K5 converter is 0.8mL.
      • Long international cartridge compatible.
  • Finish:
    • Green ripple ebonite.
    • Other standard ebonite colors and premium ebonites are also available.
    • Most materials can be made matte or shiny.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 150mm
    • Uncapped: 138mm
    • Posted: 187mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 24g
    • Pen: 15g
    • Cap: 9g
  • Section diameter:
    • 11-13mm
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Great line variation.
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Sheaffer Balance Oversize

I had a thing for large pens and vintage Sheaffer fountain pens back in 2016, so when I saw a pen that was both I knew I had to have it.

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Using Richard Binder’s site once again, I’ve dated this pen to between 1936 and the Early 40’s, and for a pen that is 80ish years old, this thing is pretty sweet.

When it debuted, this was the top of the line Balance. The barrel is marked “1000,” which isn’t a model number but rather the MSRP of $10, or around $180 adjusted for inflation. Identifying what model a Sheaffer balance is requires examining the clip, nib, the pen material, and its dimensions and comparing it to records like those found on Richard Binder’s website.

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Now by modern standards, this oversized pen isn’t that big. It’s closer to what we would call a full size pen, like an Aurora 88, Pelikan m800, Sailor 1911 Large, and so on. Back then, huge pens weren’t in style; after all, in fountain pens’ heyday they were just pens, and not everyone wanted a flashy status symbol.

The Lifetime nib on this pen is stunning–14k two tone, heart shaped breather hole, and an up-swept medium point. It’s a very smooth writing experience. The nib is also one of the most rigid nibs in my collection, second only to an Esterbrook fine manifold nib. Gold nibs aren’t always softer than steel nibs. I like rigid nibs for most applications, but not everyone does.

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The Balance pens were meant to be posted, but mine is a little warped from being posted over the years. I still like to post it, but I feel like I have to push it on harder than I’d like to get the cap to post because of the warping. When I post it, I do so cautiously to avoid cracking the cap lip.

This particular pen also suffers from ink starvation–it writes perfectly for a page and then starts writing drier and drier until finally it stops writing altogether. This isn’t a particularly difficult thing to fix, depending on what’s causing the issue, but I’m not in a huge hurry to correct it. I consider it a quirk of an 80 year old pen rather than a flaw. Maybe I’ll send it out, eventually.

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I have a lever filler, but vacuum filled Balances were made towards the end of production. My Balance holds a sizeable 1.4mL of ink.

Sheaffer Balances are widely available in a bunch of different sizes and finishes, so they’re pretty accessible to someone looking to pick one up. They are good pens.

Pros:

  • Light and well balanced.
  • Pretty.
  • Writes well.
  • Holds a bunch of ink and has a visulated section to check ink levels.
  • Vintage Americana.

Cons:

  • Old pens have quirks.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Twist cap.
    • 1.25 turns to remove.
    • Postable.
  • Nib:
    • 14k Lifetime nib, in Medium.
    • Other nibs came on Balances. The most common nib grade is Fine, but Medium and Extra Fine are somewhat common. They aren’t marked, so it takes some guesswork to figure out what’s in one’s hand.
    • Sheaffer also made Broad, Stub, and Accountant nibs–those range between pretty uncommon to exceptionally rare.
  • Filling System:
    • Lever fill.
    • 1.4mL ink capacity.
    • Vacuum fillers were also made towards the end of the pen’s life.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 143mm
    • Uncapped: 124mm
    • Posted: 165mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 20g
    • Pen: 12g
    • Cap: 8g
  • Section Diameter:
    • 10-12mm
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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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Pelikan m1000

After I got my Delta DolceVita Oversize, I was hooked on oversized pens and I acquired a bunch of them in rapid succession. The Pelikan Souverän m1000 was one of them.

I knew early on in my fountain pen journey that I had to have an m1000. A “grail” pen, as it were. My definition of a grail pen has shifted over the years and the m1000 is not it, but I wanted one and used my post-Delta giant pen fever to justify getting it.

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This is another substantial pen. Although it’s large, the pen is proportionally correct so it doesn’t feel as ridiculous as the Delta. The material has depth but is subtle. The whole pen feels like a high quality instrument, like the Delta, but it’s not flashy and garish–it’s classy and conservative. All of these qualities work together to create a fountain pen that would be a great option for every day use, although I think it’s a bit long for a shirt pocket.

Pelikan’s flagship pen is not heavy, despite being large. Most of its weight falls in the web of my hand because of the brass piston mechanism; some do not like a back-heavy pen, but it works for me. The pen posts and becomes stupid long, but because it is proportionally sensible and the cap is light and posts deeply, it sort-of works. I don’t write with it like that, but one could do it.

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The two tone nib is one of the most beautiful in the industry. Pelikan nibs are proprietary and interchangeable between like models (i.e. m1000 size nibs are interchangeable). Unlike my Delta, it wrote out of the box. I didn’t like how it wrote, but it worked: the nib seemed uneven like one nib tine was longer than the other and it tended to slowly run dry while writing–unacceptable at this price, of course, but at least it was functional.

I’ll be honest, I bought this pen off of the gray market–paid a lower price ordering it directly from Germany via eBay. The trade off to taking this route is one can generally kiss their warranty goodbye. I probably could have sent it back to Germany, but instead I sent the pen to the legendary Mike Masuyama. He sorted it out for me. The guy is a pen wizard.

It writes like a dream, now. It’s significantly finer than it was and writes with the perfect amount of feedback with no skipping, drying-out, or other BS. The nib is springy and responsive but nowhere near a flex nib–nor is it advertised as such. It’s a joy to use.

The Pelikan m1000 is a seriously nice pen.

Pros:

  • Classy and professional.
  • Comfortable in the hand.
  • Well designed and balanced.
  • Beautiful, expressive nib.

Cons:

  • Probably too big for some.
  • Expensive.
  • Mine was a mediocre writer out of the box.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Screw Cap.
    • 3/4 turn to remove.
  • Nib:
    • Large Pelikan nib unit–roughly #8 size.
    • Presently available in extra fine, fine, medium, and broad.
    • Other nib grades were historically available and are still out there.
  • Filling system:
    • Silky smooth piston mechanism
    • Ink capacity is around 1.2-1.3 mL.
  • Length
    • Capped: 146mm
    • Uncapped: 136mm
    • Posted: 178mm
  • Weight:
    • 34 grams
      • Cap: 10 grams
      • Pen: 24
  • Section diameter:
    • 12-13mm
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Delta Dolcevita Oversize

This is partly a review, partly a cautionary tale.

The Delta Dolcevita Oversize–henceforth, Delta–was my first “luxury” level pen. I read reviews about it, saw pictures of its glorious/ridiculous size, and decided that I had to have it. And one night, I found it at a really good price and bought it.

I was so excited that I took the afternoon off from work to intercept the package and test-out my fancy new pen. I don’t have the box anymore and I don’t have pictures of it, but Delta used a really cool box for this pen with thumb screws securing a lid that, when removed, revealed a super shiny, huge pen surrounded by black velvet.

Compared to my previous pens, packaged in generic boxes and sleeves, this was cool. I knew I was dealing with something special. It takes a lot to get me going about packaging nowadays, but the Delta was my first really fancy pen.

So I inked it up to write and. . .

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That crappy, low-res gif is a pen–worth about the same  as my entire fountain pen collection up until that point–not writing. A pen simply not doing what pens are supposed to do.

I was perturbed. Embarrassed, even. I flushed the pen, washed and flushed the pen, tried the Delta ink that came with the pen, tried the pen in eye dropper mode instead of filled with the converter. The gif is the result of those efforts.

Under a loupe, it was obvious that the nib was fundamentally flawed. Delta used Bock nibs. I’ve never had a pen equipped with an OEM Bock nib that didn’t need some level of  work before it wrote well. Two Kaweco Sports, One Delta and a replacement loose Delta nib, and three Yard-O-Led pens. A couple thousand dollars worth of nibs and pens that all needed work to write. Coincidence? Maybe. I’m not the only person who’s had this problem, though–Visconti pens, for instance, are notorious for not working out of the box, and their nibs are made by none other than Bock.

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Even if only a fraction of these results are caused by faulty nibs, that’s still ridiculous for pens as pricey as Visconti.

How many anecdotes are required to make evidence?

Anyways, I wasn’t confident enough in my nib skills at the time, so I contacted the seller–who I won’t name–and I was informed of their “no returns on pens that have been inked” policy. “Be sure to dip-test it, next time.” Fun fact: you cannot tell if a pen is over polished–a condition colloquially known as baby’s bottom–if you just dip it. The seller wasn’t interested in helping me.

At the time, Delta was distributed by Yafa in North America so I emailed them. They got back to me two months later. I’d mostly fixed the issue by then. Thanks Yafa.

I could have emailed Delta Italy directly as they supposedly had pretty decent customer service. But I decided to fix my Delta myself. The reality is that nib modification isn’t hard to do, but it’s really easy to screw-up, so I went slowly and deliberately, re-profiling the nib’s tipping material over the course of several weeks–check, grind, test. I eventually got the factory stub working fairly well.

Back to the pen. It’s heavy, thick, shiny, and garish. The responsive, bouncy 14 karat stub nib creates a luscious, juicy line. It’s so gloriously wet that I used almost a full converter of ink writing my two page sample/rough draft. It’s barely a stub in the traditional sense, but it’s still somewhat expressive and adds character to the user’s writing. After I de-Bocked it, of course. This nib would make a beautiful cursive italic.

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The hallmarked sterling silver trim ring is a nice touch.

The pen, while lovely, isn’t for everyone, though. It’s thick and quite heavy. It’s not long, though, so it fits in a shirt pocket. I find the Delta to be quite comfortable for periods of long writing, but it’s an acquired taste. I don’t consider this pen a good everyday pen because of its size and flashiness. Also it burns through ink like nobody’s business, although it can be eye dropper filled to negate some of that issue.

oring
That o-ring allows the Delta DV/OS to be filled as an eyedropper–no silicone grease, no eyedropper conversions, it’s ready to go.

Sadly, Delta doesn’t exist anymore, at least not in the same capacity that it used to. QC issues aside, they made some interesting pens that are absolutely worth checking out, including a modern lever filler that I’ve always been curious about. It’s still relatively easy to find Deltas on the used market, although their already hefty price has continued to climb higher and higher.

Here’s the cautionary part of the tale: fountain pens don’t always work right because they are complex instruments, so one must be ready to deal with that. There are ways to mitigate this risk: buy pens from a nibmeister who can correct flaws before sending their pens out, order from merchants with a reasonable return policy, or buy pens made by companies with good post purchase support. Conversely, one can learn to tune their own nibs or work with a good nibmeister. The most important advice: keep one’s expectations in check.

Pros:

  • Huge.
  • Beautiful.
  • Luxurious.
  • Substantial.
  • Awesome.

Cons:

  • It didn’t write. I blame both the pen companies for not testing their products and the OEM nib manufacturer. There is no excuse at any price point, but it is even less excusable at this price point.
  • Shite customer service. I don’t know if Yafa has stepped-up, but my experience was not good.
  • This pen is huge. It’s too big to be practical, for the most part.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Screw cap, one turn to remove.
    • Sort-of postable, but comically huge when posted.
  • Nib:
    • Bock #8 nib, 14k gold with ebonite feed.
    • It was available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and factory Stub.
      • Writing sample is the Stub.
      • I also have a Fine nib for this pen.
      • Neither worked out of the box.
  • Filling system:
    • Standard international cartridge/converter or eye dropper.
    • The pen came equipped with a threaded standard international converter.
    • Compatible with long standard international cartridges.
    • Ink capacity is 0.8mL with standard converter, 5.6mL as an eye dropper.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 138mm
    • Uncapped: 133mm
    • Posted: 175mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 44 grams
      • Pen: 31 grams
      • Cap: 13 grams
  • Section diameter:
    • 15mm
capped
With Safari for scale.
uncapped
posted
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DV_OS