Saturday, October 13, 2018

REVIEW: SCRIBO WRITE HERE FOUNTAIN PEN

Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
It was quite difficult not to get excited when I heard some of the former employees of Omas had recently decided to start their own brand! It's been a couple years since the demise of Omas, and the new brand -Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo in short)- seems to slowly be setting its foundations. UK-based retailer Write Here and Scribo partnering up, resulted in Scribo's second pen design (although the first, LE Letteratura, is definitely not as accessible in terms of price!).
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
The Scribo Write Here fountain pen, already on its second generation with two new colorways (Cardinal red and noble green), is a large pen with a rather simple flattop design that seems largely inspired by the Omas Bologna. 

The two new colors accompany the first version of the Scribo Write Here, which is made from grey acrylic, and features a green decorative ring near the piston knob (both colors referring to the Write Here logo). The Cardinal Red and Noble green materials have a strong pearlescence to them, which changes the appearance of the pen depending on how the light hits it (ranging from very dark, to vibrant red or green).
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
The pen is adorned with a simple, curvy clip (surprisingly not one with a rolling wheel, which Italian pen makers love to use), a plain center band engraved 'Write Here', and a single rhodium-plated ring around the piston knob.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
The main design element is definitely the cap finial, which immediately draws the attention. The finial sports the Write Here logo beautifully raised in a textured rhodium-plated 'coin'.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
L to R: Pelikan M805, Visconti HS oversize, Scribo Writehere, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
The Scribo Write Here is a rather sizeable pen, measuring 14.4cm (5.67") closed, and 13.3 (5.23") uncapped. With a total weight of 34g, it's quite hefty, especially for an all-acrylic pen (although the piston mechanism has metal elements in it, which add some weight). I do tend to typically enjoy larger pens, so this one fits right in. I found it to be the perfect size unposted...luckily, because you can't post it.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
The Scribo Write Here is a remarkably comfortable pen. 'Remarkably', because I was initally worried about the section. It's very straight and is followed by a rather sharp transition from section to barrel. Luckily, the threads are shallow and almost not noticeable. The section is also long enough to allow you to grip the pen far away from the step, so in the end it didn't bother me all that much. Together with the nice size and subtle heft, it sits comfortably in my hand.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
My least favourite part of the entire pen is (and really the ownly downside I could find), IMHO, the clip. I really like the minimal, curved shape of the clip, and I think it follows the design aesthetic of the rest of the pen quite well. But structurally, it doesn't feel as durable as I would've hoped. It's very springy, and the shape allows it to clip onto things quite easily. But at the same time it feels like it might snap off if you accidentally put a little bit too much force on it.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
Left: 14k 'extra flex', right: 18k
The highlight of the Scribo pens is of course the nib. Being the birthchild of ex-Omas employees, they took all the knowledge they had about making nibs and poured it into a nib that is basically identical to the ones Omas was known for.

I tried both the 18k and 14k flexible nib, and both are excellent in their own respect. The rigid 18k nib features a beautiful engraved logo (again the Write Here logo), and is an exceptionally smooth and juicy writer (especially for a fine nib!). But in the end, I went for a 14k flexible broad nib. Not the most sane option for everyday use, but fantastic, fun writer nevertheless! It's extremely wet and has a nice bouncy softness to it. The softness adds a lot of character to your writing, and provides some line variation when you apply gentle pressure. Vintage flex it is not, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find something better than this in a modern nib.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen
The Scribo Write Here is an absolutely fantastic pen in its own respect, but it gets so much better knowing that it's basically an Omas reincarnated. Having said that, it's probably one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get your hands on an Omas look-alike that features the same excellent nibs. 510€ Is not cheap by any standards, but still very much in line with what Omas pens used to cost back in the days. The Scribo Write Here is, of course, exclusively sold by Write Here, and it's a numbered, limited edition of only 50 fountain pens (10 green, and 40 red).

Disclaimer: This post does not contain affiliate links.
Review: Scrittura Bolognese (Scribo) Write Here fountain pen

Saturday, October 6, 2018

PAPER REVIEW: DINGBATS EARTH BULLET JOURNAL

Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
It's been a while since I reviewed the Dingbats Wildlife journals (read my review here), but the Lebanese brand hasn't been sitting still in the meantime! It seems like they gained a good bit of brand recognition along the way -deservedly so-, and earlier this year they released a new line of notebooks: the Earth collection. 

The Earth notebooks aren't just regular journals. They contain a bunch of features aimed at bullet journalling. To be honest, I know close to nothing about bullet journalling, but I do know that Dingbats created yet another high-quality notebook! 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Let's start on the outside, because design is definitely a strong suit. I enjoyed the Dingbats Wildlife, but the Earth is every bit as beautiful and detailed (if not better). The outside is a vegan-friendly PU leather that has a very realistic leather texture. It also FEELS like leather, whereas the Wildlife notebooks felt more rubbery. The cover is debossed with the theme of the notebook (three endangered ecosystems), which also matches the color of the journal. However, they went even further with the theme on the inside of the notebook this time around! 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
The first two pages feature a layout with information about the region the notebook is based on, and why it's endangered.
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
The bullet journal aspect is integrated into the Earth notebooks in a handy, but not overly intrusive way. The first pages let you create a legend for the pagemarkers and tags (the 'Dingbats Key'). These tags can be used throughout the notebook. The tabs on each page can be colored in according to the legend you created. 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Because the tabs are at the edge of the page, you can see where you marked them even when the notebook is closed (making it easy to find specific entries afterwards). The first five pages are designated as a 'future log', which have guidelines that help you create calendars to track long term projects or ideas. 

The notebooks are pretty feature-packed. Along with the BuJo features, they also contain the usual features: elastic closure, an index table, two bookmarks, a pen loop, numbered pages, and a back pocket for cards or loose papers. 

Dingbats' attention to detail is impressive, the environmental theme adds a good bit of story to the product, and the classification system makes it an ideal BuJo. But of course a well-designed notebook is worthless if the paper is no good, so they paid special attention in that department as well! 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
All Dingbats notebooks come with their 100gsm acid-free 'fountain pen friendly' paper in cream color. From experience, I know that the term 'fountain pen friendly' is often used quite freely, but Dingbats paper ranks quite high on my list. 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Not the worst, but also not the best paper for use with pencil
The smooth paper is very pleasant to write on with fountain pen, yet it is not too slick, so I encountered relatively little skipping or hard starts in my testing. Because it's a heavyweight paper, it shows though only a little bit, even with wet writers. Bleedthrough is also relatively well-contained, or not present at all with fine or not-too-wet nibs. It also depends strongly on what inks you use, as some inks are just notorious for bleeding and feathering on most paper types. 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
The paper held up quite well in my stress test: a 10 mm dip nib left no feathering and only some bleedthrough, mostly where the ink pooled. Ink swabs behaved well too, with minimal bleedthrough. 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
The paper brings out a fair bit of shading, although not with as much depth as some paper types are able to. Sheen is not overly present in normal writing, and even in the ink swabs I had to look closely to  find any.

My overall experience with this paper is excellent. It's definitely fountain pen friendly and holds up well, even with very wet writers. I encountered little to no feathering at all. 
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook
Both the Wildlife notebooks and this one, show that Dingbats puts a lot of thought and effort in their products. They created a notebook that looks great (IMHO even better than the Wildlife) and has excellent paper. On top of that, the bullet journal aspect is very cleverly worked out and adds a lot of functionality in a subtle way. Even if you don't specifically use it as a BuJo, the classification system is perfect to catalog notes and scribbles. 

Coming in at 20€ / 22$, the Dingbats Earth notebooks are quite reasonably priced. It's cheaper than other BuJo alternatives (such as the Leuchtturm Bullet Journal), but still a bit more expensive than regular notebooks.

This product was sent to me by Dingbats so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.
Paper review: Dingbats Earth bullet journal notebook

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

REVIEW: WANCHER CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN PEN

Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
In the past year or so, Wancher gained a lot of popularity with their new Dream Pen project. This new pen has really put them on the map for an international audience (deservedly so, I must add). But let's not forget Wancher has been around for quite a while, and has a rather extensive product line besides the Dream Pen! One of those 'other pens' is the Crystal, now on its second iteration (there's also a torpedo-shaped version available). 

Big thanks to Scrittura Elegante for sending this pen over! They just recently launched their brand new webshop, and started carrying a lot of new brands along with it. So go check them out (link)!
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
Wancher has a somewhat unusual business model, in that most of their products are actually made by third party manufacturers. This has led to a few 'copycat' products, but also some really cool partnerships between brands (such as sailor, Platinum or Bexley), so there are two sides to the story. The Crystal, is supposedly also a rebranded pen. But so far that's hearsay, as I haven't actually come across another brand carrying it.

Regardless of who actually makes it, the Crystal is quite an interesting pen. So let's get to it...
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
The Crystal II has a stately flattop design, and is characterized by a cap, section and blind cap made of flecked acrylic, combined with a crystal clear barrel. The Sapphire blue acrylic is complemented nicely with silver-colored trims, and a very nice springy clip with a rolling ball (one of the most functional clips I've come across in a while!). The barrel is straight and untapered, which accentuates the fact that it is unusually long in comparison to the cap. 
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
The clear barrel is of course the main attraction to the Crystal. The threads that join barrel and section are long and end in a rubber O-ring, so you can safely eyedropper it (I did add a dab of silicon grease just to be sure though). You can also opt for the included converter, or cartridges, but seeing the ink slosh around inside is part of the appeal. 
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
One downside I found is that the cap threads are tight and rather long. It takes a full 2,5 rotations to open and close the pen, and it's not the smoothest uncapping action I've come across. The tightness of the threads is partially due to the rubber O-ring, which expands the barrel a little bit when the barrel and section are over-tightened (and since this is an eyedropper pen, you're most likely inclined to properly tighten the section!). Capping/uncapping the pen takes some effort, but it's not a deal breaker for me. Just keep in mind that it's not the most practical pen to take quick notes with. 
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
L to R: Edison Collier, Opus 88 Demonstrator, Wancher Dream pen, Wancher Crystal, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
The Crystal II measures a respectable 14.6cm (5.75") closed, and 13.6cm (5.35") uncapped. The section measures about 11mm at the widest point. It's a large pen, and the untapered flattop design accentuates that. But despite the size, it's rather lightweight due to the acrylic material. 

The light weight, long barrel and relatively gentle transition from section to barrel, make this a very pleasant pen to use. The cap does post, but the straight shape of the barrel prevents it from posting deeply. Since the pen is more than long enough on itself, I didn't bother posting at all.
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen
The steel nib is a stock, blank JoWo #6, and comes in either fine or medium. The fine nib I chose has a bit of feedback, but it's an overall well-tuned, consistent writer -as most JoWo nibs tend to be. The cap of the Crystal has an inner cap similar to that found in the Platinum #3776, which prevents the nib from drying out. The inner cap does its job, but the spring inside the mechanism is a bit longer than that on the Platinum, so you have to do a push-twist motion to catch the threads. 

The Wancher Crystal is a pretty interesting pen, and has quite a few things going for it. The demonstrator barrel is fun, it's a comfortable size and the JoWo nib combined with the inner cap mechanism make for a reliable writer. The Wancher Crystal retails for 65€ (at Scrittura Elegante), which I think is a completely fair price for what you get.
Scrittura Elegante Logo
Scrittura Elegante is a sponsor of this blog. This product was sent to me free of charge, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affilate links.
Review: Wancher Crystal fountain pen