Saturday, March 29, 2014

Diplomat Excellence A Review

The Excellence A fountain pen from Diplomat is somewhat like a bigger brother for the Esteem fountain pen I reviewed a few months ago. Quite literally, this pen is bigger, but is it any better than it's smaller (and cheaper) little brother?

Well..., the answer is yes! The build quality for example: The Esteem was good, but it had some small details that weren't on par with the rest of the pen. This one however, is in a totally different ballpark, it's built like a tank, with a solid metal (probably brass) construction. The few things where the Esteem lagged behind (especially the cheap grip section) have been improved in this version, the grip section is a nice resin over a metal base, and it has a chrome trim in the front to make it look more luxurious, so no more seams along the length of the grip! (Which would have been unacceptable for a pen of this price category!)
If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out my review of the Diplomat Esteem here.
The level of detail they put in this pen is really astonishing. This specific version of the Excellence A is called the Rhombus Guilloche. The barrel and cap are covered in a rubber-like material with a laser-engraved pattern in it, which creates a grid pattern that shows the metal barrel underneath. Not only does this finish give the pen a very unique and modern appearance, it's also very pleasant to hold and it provides a good grip.

Another detail I really like about this pen, is the logo on top of the cap. It's a white inlay with the Diplomat logo (which represents some sort of flower). It's a rather unique logo, and I think it's very well implemented in this pen! 
They also added a center band (Something the Esteem also didn't have), it's quite bulky, but it has very discreet engravings, that don't disturb the overall look of the pen!

Designwise, I think this is definitely one of the nicer pens my dad owns (Yes, unfortunately this one is also my dad's!) And even though it's a rather classic shape, Diplomat succeeded in making a stylish, yet very modern pen that will definitely appeal to a lot of people! 
It's a fairly bulky pen, it's not extremely long, at just under 14 centimeters, but at it's widest point, it's a generous 1.35 centimeters wide (That's a little over 1/2 Inch). It weighs in at around 50 grams, so it is definitely not a light pen. However, despite it's rather large and heavy appearance, I find it to be quite well balanced. It's definitely long enough to be used unposted, so I never felt the need to post the cap. The cap on itself is also quite heavy, so the balance is better with the cap left off. 
It's a comfortable pen to use. The black laquer grip section is long, has a good girth, and isn't interrupted by threads or sharp edges.

The beautiful #6 steel nib (which also features the flower symbol) is incredibly smooth. It's almost on par with some gold nibs. It has a wet, though balanced flow, and I never really experienced skipping problems or hard starts.
So yes, this is definitely a better pen than the Esteem model. But unfortunately, quality comes at a price. I'd say it's too expensive for a steel-nibbed pen, but on second thought you do get a very nicely made pen with a beautiful, classic design. And the nib performance is on par with, if not better than, some gold nibbed pens out there!

Be prepared to spend around 260$ for the steel nib version, or around 390$ for a 14k gold nib version (100-150 Euros, plus an additional 150 Euros for an optional gold nib) There are also other finishes available, such as a more classic-looking black laquered one that is a bit less expensive, though once you've seen this rhombus model in real life, you'll want nothing else! 


  1. Great photos!!
    A nice pen, but that seems quite pricey for a steel nib.

    1. Indeed! They already were quite expensive when my dad got this one, he payed 110 EUR (4 or 5 years back) but they increased their prices in the meantime, so now they are up to 150-160 euros for the same model, and still without a gold nib! I really like their pens, but I completely agree on the fact that their prices are too steep (Which is the main reason why I don't have one myself (yet!))

    2. You have to buy these pens through, the German one. I have already purchased yhis very same model, with the gold nib, for around 240 dollars.