Ever since Conway Stewart went into administration a few years ago, their Churchill model has been high on my wishlist. Thanks to British Bespoke Pens, the opportunity to own a Conway Stewart arose. BBP bought the inventory and pen parts when the Conway factory closed down, and now they assemble and sell the remaining pens.
I've always been drawn towards oversized pens so it's not difficult to see why I went for the Churchill. Sure, CS makes (or made?) other large -even oversized- pens, but the Churchill spoke to me with its vintage-esque flattop design.
The Churchill sure didn't steal its name. Its size and design work together to create a pen that breathes grandeur and class. I went for the 'bracket brown' colorway, which is a brown flake acrylic with lots of depth and chatoyance. The brown material is accented by a black section and black finials on the cap and barrel end. The flattop design gives the pen stature, it's a visually top-heavy pen, big and bulky, but elegant at the same time.
One of the small details Conway Stewart put a lot of effort in, is the gold hardware. Except for the gold plated clip, all decorative bands on the Churchill are actually solid gold. Granted, the gold content is quite low, but it's gold nevertheless. The clip on these Churchill pens has always fascinated me, the way it is attached to the cap, with the CS monogram on the flat face of the clip... It's always difficult to put your finger on why exactly a pen has a vintage feel to it, but in this case the clip plays a huge part in creating the unique look and feel of the Churchill.
Which brings us seamlessly to the weight and measurements: It's a surprisingly light pen for its size, at only 31g capped, and 19g uncapped, which is comparable to the Pelikan M1000. With 14.5cm capped, 13.8cm uncapped, and a width of 11.5mm around the section, (and a serious 16mm at the cap), this is a big, bulky pen. It fits right in line with the Delta Dolcevita Oversize, the Churchill is slightly longer, but not as extremely bulky as the Delta.
Conway Stewart offered two filling system options for the Churchill back in the days. Nowadays only the cartridge/converter system is still available through BBP. While the lever filling system would've looked really classy on this pen, I do think they did a nice job with the cartridge converter, using a brass-colored converter to match the gold trim on the pen.
Another change is the lack of brand engravings on the barrel, which used to state the brand name, model name and a serial number. Apparently Conway Stewart planned on stopping the engraving process anyway, but nowadays BBP decided to leave them unmarked because they didn't get the tools needed from the factory closeout. It's a minor detail, and I suppose some people didn't like the engraving in the first place, but I thought it added to the vintage look and feel so I quite miss it.
But let's get to the writing end of business: the original Conway Stewart BB nib! I've heard in the meanwile that BBP has sold out of all Conway Stewart nibs they had left, so this part of the review might not be as relevant anymore, but it's worth sharing anyway, believe me!
Conway Stewart is -or was- known for having somewhat pesky nibs. A joy to use, but not always as easy to get them to work in the first place. Unfortunately this nib suffers from the same problem: it's super smooth, which makes it prone to hard starting from time to time (though honestly it's not as bad as I expected). Use the right, wet ink and it does its job wonderfully, laying down a juicy wet line, really wide of course, a double broad isn't for the faint of heart!
As I said, the old stock of Conway Stewart nibs is no more, but you can still buy the Churchill with BBP's own 'flag' semi-flexible nibs. I haven't had the chance to try them out yet, but so far I've heard good things about them (and of course they have the added bonus of beings semi-flexible!).
The Conway Stewart Churchill has a solid place in my collection. I've always been a fan of oversized pens, and the Churchill is a perfect example of an oversized pen done right. It has everything from a beautiful material to a high-end finish and an enjoyable writing experience.
It comes with a price tag of course, in line with oversized pens from other brands, the Churchill retails for 606 EUR (725 USD). That's a lot of money to spend of course. What makes it worth it for me is that this is a unique opportunity to own an original Conway Stewart (or as close to original as they'll get). Once British Bespoke Pens runs out of parts, these pens will be gone for good,
Note: I received a discount on this purchase, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared here are completely my own! This review does not contain any affilate links.