7.31.2015

Sailor 1911S & 1911L - A Comparison

For two pens that essentially look identical, there's a lot to say in regards to Sailor's most popular line of fountain pens. Made in Japan, the 1911 is named after the founding year of this globally recognized manufacturer of luxury writing instruments.


The 1911 model is available in two different variations - the 1911S and the 1911L. As described in our video comparison, the 1911S isn't "small," as one may assume. The "S" is short for "Standard," which is an apt description of its dimensions, which you may see below :


Sailor 1911S Specifications

  • Length Capped : 5.3125"
  • Length Uncapped : 4.625"
  • Length with Cap Posted : 5.875"
  • Diameter at Section : 0.375"
  • Diameter at Cap Band : 0.5625"
  • Weight : 0.7oz
  • Nib : 14k Gold
  • Filling Mechanism : Cartridge / Converter
The size is comparable to the Pelikan Souveran M600, which is considered to be a middle-of-the-road, unisex size that is comfortable for a large number of writers. The 1911S has a more approachable price point at under $200 retail ($155.95 our price) and is fitted with a 14kt solid gold nib in a variety of sizes available in the US, including Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium-Fine, Medium, Broad, Zoom and Music nibs.



The Sailor 1911L has the same shape, profile and style as it's "Standard" sibling, with the key difference being that it uses a 21kt solid gold nib. The 21kt gold content is the highest amount of pure gold that is practical for a fountain pen nib. The slightly larger size of the 1911L may be a more attractive option for larger hands and those who prefer a larger size pen to hold.

Sailor 1911L Specifications

  • Length Capped : 5.5625"
  • Length Uncapped : 4.875"
  • Length with Cap Posted : 6.125"
  • Diameter at Section : 0.45"
  • Diameter at Cap Band : 0.63"
  • Weight : 0.9oz
  • Nib : 21k Gold
  • Filling Mechanism : Cartridge / Converter - Piston-Fill Realo Version also available
The 21kt gold nib is going to provide a noticeable difference in writing quality for those who have extensive experience in writing with gold nibs. Although Sailor nibs are known for being a bit stiff, the 21kt gold nib does have a bit more give and responsiveness when writing. Nib sizes are available in the same sizes as the Standard. A piston-fill, Realo version is also available in the 1911L design.


With greater gold comes greater price. The 1911L retails for a little over $300 ($247.95 our price). The piston-fill 1911L Realo version is even higher at a $410 retail ($327.95 our price).

Color and trim options also vary from the 1911S to 1911L. The 1911S has a larger variety of resin colors, including blue, red, maroon and a demonstrator. The 1911L is a bit more limited, with only a black with gold trim or black with silver trim.

So, who you takin'? 1911S or 1911L?

The entry level price point of the 1911S is extremely attractive, especially for fountain pen users who are taking a step up into this price level after getting their feet (or nibs) wet with pens in the sub-$100 category. For those with an expanded budget or have had experience with a few gold nibs already (like a Pilot VP or Lamy 2k) may opt for the larger 1911L with the sumptuous 21kt gold nib.

Either way, you're writing with an awesome fountain pen that is based on superior quality and attention to detail!

7.24.2015

Nemosine Singularity Demonstrator Fountain Pen Review


During my vacation, I decided to take my Nemosine Singularity Demonstrator with me to the beach for a relaxed review written in the sand.



In the interest of full disclosure and providing the reader with the full picture of this particular pen, I feel it is necessary to discuss the company behind the pen as well as the pen. 

The Current Nemosine Lineup of Fountain Pens

What is a Nemosine Pen?

Nemosine is an American company and a bit of an enigma. They are based in Pennsylvania, but obtain parts of their pens from Taiwan and Germany.  They seem to be affiliated, if not owned by X-Fountain Pens (Paramount Goods, LLC). In our relationship with the company as a retailer, we've dealt with representatives from the company that only reveal their first names, if any at all. As far as we know, there's only one phone number to call, which I suspect is a personal cellphone number of one Nemosine employee, who never picks up on the first attempt. In short, there really isn't a lot of company presence for this brand, which might feel more like a fly-by-night rather than an established, trustworthy outfit.

We've thrown our hands up in the air at several points during the year that we've dealt with Nemosine. Our company would place a purchase order, being charged on our credit card immediately, only to hear or see nothing from the company for weeks. No status update. No reply from e-mails or voicemails. Only after the threat of chargeback and severing ties would a response come. Eventually, we receive our product. Service improved over the course of the last several months, but only marginally so.

Customers have also come to us with their problems in contacting the company as well. The 3-Year "Perfection Warranty" that accompanies each pen doesn't mean much if the company isn't willing, or unable, to honor its warranty requests. NOTE : If you are reading this and have experienced problems with your Nemosine Pen purchased through Goldspot, please contact us and we will be happy to help, even if you have already contacted Nemosine directly.

That being said, what keeps us, and our customers, coming back is the product - an inexpensive fountain pen that beginners and experienced users alike can enjoy. For all the faults and difficulties we can point out about the company and the pen, it still is a solid fountain pen that has a lot to offer for little cost.



Now, lets talk about the pen.

Because the price is so low on the Nemosine Singularity, the end-user can forgive and gloss-over a number of flaws within the presentation, design and overall quality of an item.

As we are discussing a pen that is below the $20 price point, it cannot be held to the same standards as a pen of the $200 level. That being said, we can compare this pen to other entry-level big shots on the market like the Pilot Metropolitan (~$18), Noodler's Ahab ($20) Lamy Safari (~$30) and Kaweco Sport Classic (~$25).

One of the least expensive demonstrators on the market at $14.95, the Nemosine Singularity is the kind of pen you would recommend to someone relatively new into the world of fountain pens, or someone who prefers inexpensive, everyday writing pens. It's a knock-around, daily writer - a pen that wouldn't break your heart if it was stolen, or lost, or took a tragic tumble onto an unforgiving tile floor.

The pen straddles an inexpensive, office supply item and a quality fountain pen. Not exactly a "disposable" Pilot Varsity, but not as distinctive and durable as a Lamy Safari.


Although the Singularity is one of the least expensive demonstrator fountain pens, as the old adage goes, "you get what you pay for." Yes, it may be clear like a Pelikan M805 Demo, but the similarities end there. The plastic that is used on the Singularity can withstand the rigors of everyday use with the usual accumulation of blemishes and fine scratches, but the unforgivable problem is common with the cap band. Fissures develop on the band below the metal strip that bears the name, "Nemosine." I did not notice exactly when they developed, but I believe it might be from screwing the cap on tightly to the body or posting the cap on the back-end of the pen. The hairline cracks do not seem to effect the ability to screw the cap on the front end of the pen, nor does it seem to cause a premature drying-out of the nib. Although the flaw is cosmetic, it certainly isn't flattering to the overall appearance of the pen.


No Frills Packaging and Unboxing

Taking a page from the no-frills box of the Lamy Safari and Noodler's Pens, Nemosine pens are presented in an austere, white cardboard box. On the outside of the box, Nemosine labels the pen line, color, nib size installed and declares where the pen parts were made from and the "3 Year Perfection Warranty". Popping open the flap on one side of the box, out comes the pen clipped to a Nemsoine filling, cleaning and warranty pamphlet. Six international sized ink cartridges also slide out, which is a bonus, considering most fountain pens come with only one ink cartridge to start with. Also included inside the pen is a standard, K-type converter for bottled ink filling.

The pen itself is fairly straightforward. Not much artistry or distinction to make the profile of the pen stand out amongst other designs. The plastic used in the demonstrator is quite clear, making the view of the ink cartridge / converter unobstructed. The cap can sometimes gather spots of ink or condensation water droplets, which are cool to see. There's nothing special going on with the clip, finial or barrel. The only branding on the pen is on the metal cap band.

The Nemosine nib does have a bit of character with a design that is quite unique. A swirling butterfly graphic is engraved into every nib with an "N" stamped below the breather hole. "MADE IN GERMANY" is inscribed at the base of the steel nib with the point size designation done directly above and centered.


Fill Up and Go

For this review, I am writing with a Nemosine Demonstrator that I've used for the past year. The converter is made well and holds up to repeated fillings. A plastic bead rolls around the converter chamber, preventing the surface tension of the ink from holding at the top of the converter.

Taking into account my own experience, and those of the customers we talk to, the general consensus seems to be that the Nemosine steel nib writes on the drier side. Sometimes, we do receive complaints of nibs being "too scratchy" or "not enough flow," which is understandable. Given the volume of pens that we have sold in the last year, the number of returns we received is still within tolerant limits, with a defect rate less than 1% of all total pens shipped.

The 0.6mm and 0.8mm calligraphic nib options are rare in the fountain pen world, as most stub or calligraphic nibs are usually offered 1.1mm and above. The narrower calligraphic nib has less of a pronounced line variation, but does make it easier to use the pen for general purpose writing and note-taking. I've been using the 0.6mm nib for the past year. It needed smoothing and adjustment to open the flow up more, especially when using a more saturated ink like the J. Herbin 1670.

The reason why I chose this pen over others to take with me to the beach is that, at such a low cost, I didn't mind if this pen would suddenly get swept away to sea. I would be heartbroken if my Edison would be snatched up by a seagull that thought my Herald were a small stripling of a fish. For the price, the Singularity's materials and construction hold up well to being thrown into a bag or pocket for a day trip. Other than the cosmetic fissures below the cap band, there are no major cracks, chips or other major wear on the pen, even after using it for a year.

To summarize the writing experience, the Nemosine nib can sometimes be so-so straight out of the box. However, if you know a few things about adjusting and smoothing nibs, this is a great candidate to tinker with. If you prefer to post your cap while writing, the Singularity posts well and gives a nice balance of weight with the cap posted.

A Few Choice Words

Summary :

  • Writing Quality : The stainless steel nib on the Nemosine Singularity is a hit or miss in terms of alignment and ink flow. Quality control is not the best. Once I was able to tune and adjust my own nib, it made my experience remarkably better. The nibs are offered in a nice range of grades from extra-fine through broad and stub nibs as well. (grade B-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Nemosine pens arrive in a no-frills box. The character of the pen's design is not distinct. It's just a plain demonstrator. (grade C)
  • Utility : Nemosine pens are sold with the converter and six ink cartridges included as a standard. Cap easily posts. Light weight and durable materials make it a solid traveling pen. (grade B+)
  • Price : Can't beat the price. Among the least costly entry level fountain pens. Although the costs are going up soon, it holds great value. (grade A+)

Final Grade : B
For what it's worth, the Nemosine Singularity can go head-to-head with other entry-level fountain pen candidates, including JinHao, Kaweco Sport pens and Noodler's pens. Sure, the price does allow for a number of flaws to be forgiven, but it does have plenty of merit to be in the conversation of "great beginner fountain pens." Even if you are an experience fountain pen user, it may still have a place in your everyday carry arsenal, especially if you need a daily writer that you can bring with you and not have to worry about losing or breaking on your trip.

PSA : If you ever have issues with a Nemosine Singularity and are not getting direct service from the manufacturer to honor the warranty, please make us your next call or e-mail. We will go above and beyond our 30 day return policy period to make things right with these pens. As I stated earlier, we know they aren't the easiest company to work with and we make up for that with our own service to stand behind these pens.

7.23.2015

New Pelikan Fall Preview 2015 - m205 Amethyst, m800, 600

The Fall will be plentiful with new Pelikan items flying in from Germany.

2015 has been a banner year for Pelikan with the popular releases of the M200 Cafe Creme, M800 Stresemann and the M805 Clear Demonstrator. It certainly looks like Pelikan is not going to let up on the gas in the fourth quarter. Slated for the fall, we have three new color extensions of the M205, M800 and M600. Plus, an old favorite is coming back that will really knock your socks off.

The Classic M205 Amethyst Demonstrator

Recently announced officially by Pelikan, the M205 Amethyst Demonstrator fountain pen is due to arrive in September. The Amethyst color is intended to match the Edelstein 2015 ink of the year by the same name. The popular ink color has been hard to keep in-stock at Goldspot, so I would expect this pen would also be a hot seller as well. With Lamy failing to heed the call for a purple Safari pen for yet another year, there should be a good market for people looking for a purple plume.


The M205 Amethyst Demonstrator is described to be a "frosted" demonstrator, which will be interesting to see in person and compare to another tinted demonstrator, like the M205 Cognac of 2014. The Amethyst Demo will be offered as a package set with the bottle of Amethyst ink. The fountain pen is fitted with a stainless steel nib, offered in extra-fine, fine, medium or broad tip sizes. Retail pricing is expected to be about $175 for the fountain pen, $135 for the matching ballpoint and $215 for the fountain pen & ink set.

Information has already leaked on a couple other new fountain pens due in the Fall. Since images have already leaked and information has been dispersed through the web, we'll briefly discuss each pen.

The Souveran M800 Special Edition Burnt Orange with Dark Brown Cap

Perfect for Autumn, this M800 has an warm, orange barrel with a dark brown (almost black-looking) cap, section and piston knob. The color invites you in like a cup of spiced apple cider from a brisk day of raking leaves. The M800 is trimmed in gold and has a large 18kt two-tone, solid gold nib in extra-fine, fine, medium or broad sizes. Suggested retail will be around $850.


The Souveran M600 Special Edition Pink with White Stripes and White Cap

Although the aesthetic is considered to be a ladies' pen, this beautiful bird is sweet like a piece of striped candy. I feel this candy can be enjoyed by anyone with a sweet tooth for luscious Pelikan pens. Suggested retail is estimated to be $625 for the fountain pen and $395 for the ballpen. Each pen is presented in a special, dedicated gift box that is laced up with red ribbon like a corset.

More Pelikan?

What hasn't leaked yet (to my knowledge) is that an old favorite within the M200 series is making a come-back and will be launched November 2015. I can't say much more than that, but if you stay tuned and subscribe to our blog, you'll be the first to know. ;-)

7.22.2015

Upcoming NJ Pen Club Meeting July 30th in Manalapan

Attn: Pen Aficionados and Addicts in the Tri-State Area.

Our next NJ Pen Club Meeting will be hosted at the Manalapan Library on Thursday, July 30th at 6pm. We changed the venue to accommodate more of our members to reach the meet point more easily.



Proposed Agenda :

  • Meet & Greet - Any new members can come clean about their love for pens. We expect a number of returning members from our first meet, so we'll be chatting until about 6:15p to wait for stragglers to arrive.
  • Nib Adjusting and Smoothing - Seems like the topic that most of us are interested in discussing has to do with working our nibs to create a more pleasurable writing experience. Bring some 10,000 grit micro mesh, mylar paper, lighted loupes, brass sheets and paper towels. This may get inky!
  • Sample J. Herbin's Emerald of Chivor - We'll be bringing a couple pens to sample the highly anticipated J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor ink. We also have a tiny bottle of the ink that we will raffle away to a lucky attendee.
Coffee and Snacks will be provided.

Suggested Viewing : Nib Tweaks for Geeks



If you haven't already received our e-mail and would like to join in on the fun, please contact tom@goldspot.com to RSVP so we know to expect you.

In accordance to the policies of the Monmouth County Library System, we are restricted from transacting business at the meeting. However, it will be permissible for us (Goldspot) to provide you with our business cards and access to our website with an exclusive, members-only discount to purchase any of the pens and inks that you may be looking for at the meeting. We believe that this restriction will add to a more welcoming experience that isn't sales-driven.

General membership to the club is totally free.

Check out a recap from our first meeting here.

7.21.2015

The $10,000 Montegrappa Q1 Fountain Pen - a 360 Look

When a $10,000 fountain pen comes walking through your door, it's hard to resist sharing the hands-on experience.


You may have heard about the Montegrappa Q1 back when it made a flashy debut in Baselworld earlier this year. A fountain pen that can change ink color at will. At first, one could imagine that this is a "game changer" of a pen. The idea of being able to change ink colors on the fly would be revolutionary and hard to replicate with current cartridge / converter technologies. Then, I saw the price tag.

A whopping $10 G's.

Well, at least the idea is noteworthy. Although wildly impractical for the average fountain pen end-user, the years of development and investment in patenting this concept may eventually translate into a version of the pen that can be somewhat accessible to the other 99%.

Courtesy of Kenro Industries' Blog

The Q1 is limited to 100 pieces world wide and is crafted from solid titanium and genuine Italian leather. The design of the pen is reminiscent a revolver pistol. The cap and blind cap unlatch with a bolt-action lock mechanism. The blind cap is attached with a piece of leather to keep the cap from being misplaced while changing ink colors.

The active chamber slot has the piercing feed mechanism that leads to the nib's feeder. The other three chambers are plugged with a small metal stopper that prevents the ink from the open cartridges from leaking or drying out when not in use.

Courtesy of Kenro Industries' Blog
The solid 18kt gold nib is standard issue for Montegrappa on a limited edition pen of this value. The heft and weight in-hand is quite significant, like holding a .45 caliber pistol in your hand. The sample piece that our representative had brought to the office had a broken nib, otherwise we would have inked it up for a writing sample.

Although the pen is way out of the ballpark in terms of price, it certainly is noteworthy and interesting to look at. Hopefully, Montegrappa will use this patented technology to bring a more economic version of this pen to market.

What do you think? Would you be interested in a fountain pen that can change between 4 colors on a whim? Or is it just a novelty that wears itself thin quickly? How much would you pay for such a fountain pen?