Monday, August 17, 2020


So far, I've been pleasantly surprised by my encounters with Otto Hutt. So it only makes sense to look at their 'flagship', a pen that's perhaps even more elusive than the Design 03 I reviewed a few weeks ago (review HERE) - elusiveness being a recurring theme with Otto Hutt's gravely underrated product catalog - the Otto Hutt Design 07

Otto Hutt sent one over for this review, and I was immediately impressed, so I promptly purchased it. Right off the bat, it's obvious that this pen means business. It's the top-of-the-line design for the German brand, and it indeed feels like just that, showing off a lot of Otto Hutt's quality and craftsmanship - effectively the kind of thing you'd expect from a flagship pen. 
The impression of quality starts with the box. I'm a fan of good packaging design, even though I don't always show it here in my reviews. This one deserves a mention, however. The packaging is entirely made out of paper, but the satin white stock is finished with a fabric-like texture. A leather pull tab reveals two compartments in a fluid motion, with the pen in the topmost 'drawer', and a faux-leather pen sleeve, warranty booklet, and ink cartridges (in a matching paper box!) in the bottom one. At this point, I should probably mention that the pen I received still has the 'old' Otto Hutt branding (including the old logo on the pen, and packaging). So I don't know if the box remained the same after their recent rebranding!
Sliding open the box prominently displays the design 07, and as I said, I was immediately impressed. It's hard to not be a little stunned by it: you're greeted by a blindingly shiny, chunky, all-metal pen, with a design thats quite different from anything else I've come across before.

The 07 has a modern flat-top shape with a subtly curved taper to the cap and barrel. The classic, lined guilloché pattern on barrel and cap creates a rather traditional appearance. And yet the pen still looks and feels modern, largely because of the huge, oversized cap - which makes for an unusual cap-to-body ratio - and equally large, rectangular clip which is a chunky piece of solid metal (spring-loaded). The juxtaposition of modern and classic design elements is something that I see on many Otto Hutt designs, and I think it works very well on this pen. 
The design 07 is available in two drastically different finishes, which also differ slightly in price: the most expensive option comes with a cap and barrel made out of 925 sterling silver, true to the heritage of the brand. The option I have here is slightly less expensive, but in my opinion, strengthens the modern-vs-classic clash that I described above. The entire pen is made out of brass, then platinum plated. The guilloché on barrel and cap is then covered in multiple layers of a grey transparent lacquer, which gives it a more grey-ish color that contrasts slightly to the platinum trim. The lacquer is perfectly applied and as glossy as the platinum trim surrounding it. Unlike the glass-like feeling of urushi, the 07's lacquered finish feels soft to the touch, almost plasticky perhaps. Nonetheless, it's very durable and seems to hold up well to normal use. Over the couple of months that I've been using this pen, it doesn't even show the slightest scratch. It does show fingerprints though... but I probably should've seen that coming.

In my experience with the brand so far, I'd put Otto Hutt on the same level as Diplomat, Faber-Castell, Dupont - that's to say, excellent build quality, well-put-together with quality materials, and flawless finish... Or, well, almost flawless in this case. The original pen Otto Hutt sent me had an issue where some of the brass base material showed through the platinum plating on the center band. Their repair service promptly sent a replacement cap, but it too has some inconsistency in the color of the plating, again only on the center band. I'm not quite sure what caused just the center band to have issues twice, especially since the rest of the pen is absolutely spotless. On a positive note, my exchange with the repair service went smooth and fast, something I definitely cannot say about a lot of other brands!
L to R: Pelikan M800, Otto Hutt Design 04, Design 06, Design 03, Design 07, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
Somewhat atypical to what you'd expect from a flagship, the design 07 isn't a huge, oversized pen. That puts it in line with design 01 through 06 (Don't you just love how very German Otto Hutt's naming convention is?), none of which are very large pens. The best comparison I found was in the Lamy 2000. The Design 07 is identical in length to the 2000, both capped and uncapped (13.9 cm/ 5.47" capped, 12.4 cm/ 4.88" uncapped). Come to think of it, the Lamy 2000 also has a somewhat similar overall shape - but of course, the Design 07 is a good chunk wider overall. The 07 weighs 62 grams total. That's heavy, but not nearly as heavy as some other all-brass pens. Besides, a good chunk of its weight in the cap alone. So while the 07 is definitely hefty in the hand, it's not actually as bad as you might think.
For those who don't like metal sections, well... I guess the photos say plenty. The section is as slippery, shiny, metal-y as it gets, but the pinched shape and comfortable diameter make up for a lot in my opinion. The threads aren't too obtrusive, and there is a small step towards the barrel, but it's minor. Regarding comfort, the 07 is easily one of the best Otto Hutt pens I've used so far. The overall size is a comfortable fit for me, although perhaps not for larger hands. The cap can be posted to get some extra length, but the pen becomes rather back-heavy and I honestly wouldn't want to risk marring the beautiful finish on the barrel. 

I've used four Otto Hutt pens so far, and all have been nothing short of excellent in terms of writing quality. The Design 07 is the only Otto Hutt that has a larger #6-sized nib, but it's otherwise identical. The design on the nib is exactly the same as on the smaller one: a beautiful art-deco-ish pattern and beautiful bicolor plating.
I went out of my comfort zone and tried the EF nib. The JoWo-made 18k gold nib is stiff (typical JoWo), and lays down a true-to-size western extra-fine line. Some feedback is to be expected on a fine nib like this, but it's the pleasant kind of feedback that all Otto Hutt nibs seem to have. The ink flow is consistent and just slightly on the wetter side. The nib is perfectly tuned, doesn't skip, hard start, or run dry. It's in many ways a perfect nib. Yes, that's a weighty statement, but at this point, I'm confident to say that Otto Hutt does something very right in the writing department!
Unlike other flagship pens, the Design 07 lacks an 'exotic' filling system. Instead, you'll find a no-frills cartridge/converter system. Perhaps a bit underwhelming for a pen this price, but oh well, it does the job. 
The Otto Hutt Design 07 is a beautiful pen that deserves 'flagship' status. But at the same time, it also has the more practical size, writing comfort, and, well... price, that places it amongst pens like the Pelikan M800 or Montblanc 146 - it's a pen that will most likely appeal to a wider audience than a lot of other over the top flagship pens. 

The Design 07 has an MSRP of 520€ for the platinum-plated, and 580€ for the sterling silver version. The retail price is a bit lower, at 500€ and 550€ respectively (at La Couronne Du Comte, with an extra 10% off using the discount code 'Penthusiast'!). I think that's a decent price, but the only thing holding back the Otto Hutt Design 07 is its own fairly limited brand recognition and availability (especially outside Europe!), as opposed to the hugely popular Pelikans or Montblancs it tries to compete with. At least for now that's an issue. But Otto Hutt knows it, and they are actively trying to grow their brand (the recent rebranding being a first step in creating a more modern and appealing brand), an endeavor they should be able to succeed at, given the excellent product catalog they can build upon.

Note: Otto Hutt provided this product at a discount, 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 affiliate links.

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