11.23.2011

2011 Black Friday Specials Flyer

Well, you really can't call them "Doorbusters" because our website doesn't technically have any doors. So, maybe we can refer to these deals as "Clickbusters?" Starting 12AM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, November 25th, we are officially kicking off our Black Friday deals and specials for the entire weekend through Cyber Monday. Get those fingers ready and sign up to our E-Mail Newsletter List to get the special coupon codes sent directly to your inbox.

Check out our special Clickbuster deals that we will be featuring at a great price this weekend. We have ample amounts of inventory of these items, so corporate orders are welcome and encouraged. Buy for the whole family or the whole company in one shot. If you need help with gift ideas, feel free to check out our suggestions on pen gifts. If you are really lost and want to drop us a line, feel free to post on our wall at our Goldspot Facebook page or Tweet us @goldspotpens on Twitter. We will be out of the office during the weekend enjoying some family time, but will be checking FB and Twitter periodically to answer questions.

11.22.2011

Alternatives to buying a Mont Blanc

If the snowflake matters most, then there's no replacing the need to buy a Mont Blanc.


However, if writing quality, style and value matter more, then we can certainly help you find a holiday pen gift that has a Mont Blanc "style" for hundreds of dollars less. Here are some suggestions :


Waterman Expert III

The newest generation of Expert is here. Classic cigar-shape profile, weighted brass inner barrel and classic lacquering style make this line a perfect, affordable competitor to a Mont Blanc.




Sailor 1911 Large
The Japanese-made Sailor pen is renown for high writing quality and superb gold nibs that make writing an absolute joy. Prices for the fountain pens are a bit up there ($310 Retail), but compare to a Meisterstuck large fountain pen that can cost hundreds of dollars more still, Sailor demonstrates a better value.


Waterford Marquis Metro

The Marquis Metro collection has been one of the best selections for corporate gifts to have engraved and buy in bulk. The pen is built from an inner metal barrel coated in polished lacquer and chrome trims. The accompanying gift box presents this pen extremely professionally, leaving the gift recipient wondering how much this pen must have cost. Both rollerball and ballpoint are under $50 separately at the time of this writing.


Aurora Ipsilon Resin

Classic, Italian-crafted design that pulls no punches when it comes to quality, Aurora has always been an excellent choice for pen-shoppers looking for Mont Blanc style for a much greater value (under $100 for a fountain pen in the ipsilon resin collection).


Laban Gold and Rose Gold

When it comes to imitating the luxury style of a Mont Blanc, Taiwanese pen manufacturer Laban does it the best with high quality materials like gold and sterling silver. This gold-plated edition looks gorgeous, writes just as well and is a faction of the cost to own a Mont Blanc.

11.21.2011

2011 Pen Stocking Stuffers for Women

Tis the season once more, ladies and gentlemen! We're planning on having a huge Black Friday weekend all the way through "Cyber" Monday. As we prepare ourselves to pick and pack orders like elves for the next 5 weeks, we would like to offer our experience in suggesting some stellar gifts for your loved ones, starting with the lovely ladies.

Waterford Arcadia Lacquered Pink
Pink as pink can be, the this Waterford pen is a gal's best friend. Engraves nicely and features polished chrome trim. Twist-action ballpoint mechanism accepts a common Parker-style ballpoint refill (also can use a Parker-style capless gel ink refill).

Swarovski Pens
 Glittering with over one hundred sparkling crystals, the Swarovski writing instrument has a brilliant personality with capable writing ability. Uses a mini d-1 size refill commonly found in multi-function pens.

Online Crystal Inspirations
 German-made, compact and fabulously decorated with Swarovski crystals, the ONLINE Inspirations will be your muse through long writing sessions.

Cross Century II Masquerade
Classic Cross writing quality and iconic slim design paired with an elaborate, colorful Mardi Gras-inspired pattern. Truly dazzling to admire while offering a solid writing experience.

J Herbin Scented Inks
 Scented writing ink for your fountain pen - this unique J Herbin ink is a great stocking stuffer for the fountain pen enthusiast.

Eccolo Be Fabulous Journal
Know a bride-to-be or someone that is newly engaged? Gift them this hard-bound, leather-like journal to keep track of all the wedding plans.

11.19.2011

A Pen Specially Designed by YOU

As pen enthusiasts, I think we can all agree that we've fantasized about creating our own pen design at some point. The design you envision may be as simple as adding a different grip to your favorite pen, or changing the color to a blue swirl, or adding a gold clip, or making the cap post better. But, if you had the opportunity to create a completely brand-new pen from scratch, what would it look like?

Would it look anything like what Sylvester Stallone dreamed of with his "Chaos" Pen? Knock it all you like, it is certainly a topic of discussion any time it is mentioned or seen. And you can't help but to think that this came from the same guy who played Rocky, Rambo, Judge Dredd and, my personal favorite, John Spartan. "Chaos" certainly has that bad ass (excuse my French), Harley-biker-this-pen-can-also-be-a-weapon appeal. If this pen could dress itself, it would don Ed Hardy gear and fistpump all the way to the Jersey Shore.


While I poke fun at it, and the critics certainly have come out in droves over how gaudily garish this limited edition pen is, this is probably a design that Sly is proud of and will cherish in his own collection, being this is the first (and probably last) commercially-released pen that he has ever designed. But, if you were in Sly's position - a part owner in Montegrappa, avid pen enthusiast, and celebrity - you would create a pen that you personally would enjoy as well. Be honest, if you had the chance to build a pen so intricately designed and sculpted by Montegrappa's skilled artisans, you would shoot for the moon. And, of course, not everyone is going to love it. Heck, few may only like it enough to pick it up, stare at it for a few seconds, put it down and say, "well, that's ugly."

Designing a pen to match your own personal taste is fine on its own, but designing a commercially-successful pen is a completely different subject. It's like the difference between heating up a lean cuisine meal-for-one and cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family. Thinking outside of yourself has to happen at some point. For writing, the old adage is, "write with an audience in mind." Same idea holds true to many other creative endeavors that you want someone else to enjoy. You have to think of the person or people that you want to WOW and make it your #1 priority to knock them off their feet with whatever-it-is you are making. With there being such a high price tag on the Chaos pen, you have to imagine that the group Stallone and Montegrappa are aiming for has to be very small.  Maybe it was meant for Stallone and his Hollywood buddies. Maybe he's going around his neighborhood door-to-door like a kid selling candy bars, except he's got Montegrappa pens in his wagon.

At any rate, we can mock, criticize and poke fun at Sly all we want, but at the heart of the mockery is jealousy. We're jealous that he got to design a limited edition pen and no one asked us for our opinion. So, lets relieve some of that angst and comment below on how you would design your limited edition pen. Whether it be ballpoint, rollerball, fountain pen, mechanical pencil, eco-roller, 5th mode or even some crazy new mode that we haven't thought of. What color(s) would it be? How would it feel in your hand? What would you name it? How much would it cost and, most importantly, who would buy your pen?

11.15.2011

2011 Pen of the Year : The Edison Collier

We had a record turnout for this year's reader's choice poll for Pen of the Year. The winner to take the prize : The Edison Pen Co Collier!


Congrats to Brian and Edison Pen Co for receiving a dominating win, capturing over 62% of the vote! The Edison fans came out in droves. It is not hard to see why. Edison Pen Co's Brian Gray has developed a sterling reputation as one of the most reputable, personable and highly skilled pen craftsman. He developed a following by creating custom pen designs that has spread even further thanks to the Production line that is now offered at 4 pen retailers (including us). The lower-priced models like the Hudson and 2011 Pen of the Year Collier allow pen enthusiasts to enjoy the quality of an Edison pen without breaking the bank (or be able to buy more Edison pens).

Here are the final voting results below:


If you would like more information about the Collier - how it writes, looks and feels - check out our own blog post, Office Supply Geek's Collier Review, Okami's Collier Review, No Pen Intended's Collier Review and Economy Pens Collier Review.

11.08.2011

Vote for the 2011 Pen of the Year

We asked the lively folks on the Fountain Pen Network forum to weigh in on their recommendations for nominees in this year's 2011 Goldspot Reader's Choice Pen of the Year. After 56 replies and some deep contemplation, here are your nominees that are in the running for the prestigious honor :













Please note that you can click on any of the nominees above to get some more information and look at more pictures to help you decide. Voting will be open until Monday, November 14th at 11:59pm Eastern US Standard time. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, the 15th. Have fun and cheer on your favorite pen from this year! Vote below and share with your friends:


11.02.2011

A Re-Commitment to Writing

We've all heard (or read) it before... After long periods of hiatus, blogwriters casually excuse themselves for not keeping up with their writing. Somewhere along the line, life gets in the way of this expression. Depending on how high up the priority list blog-writing is, the more dire the circumstances would be to pull the writer away from their blog. We all have our reasons excuses not to write, but life's events should offer all the more impetus to write.

If you're a follower of this blog, you would already know that I, too am guilty of letting a bit of dust get on the Goldspot Pens Blog lately. I won't offer any explanations, but I will say that this is still an important venue for us to connect with our customers and prospects. We simply tried the best we could to keep up with it, given the resources and manpower. In the end, it comes down to, "Should I answer that customer's important e-mail about their next-day engraving order or should I write a new review for the blog." Our customers depend on our customer service above all, so the blog is given a lower priority for when there is free time.

However, there is never any "free time." It is simply an illusion. An oasis in a sea of desert. And if there was any shimmer of hope in that grey lining, the Black Friday cloud comes rolling in and the craziness of the Holidays consumes every last tick & tok. As I've openly moaned to several friends and family in regards to possibly doing NaNoWriMo this year, "Who has the time?" Like I can suddenly afford to shirk my duties as Dad, attending social commitments, Birthdays and the like, all to write some junky first draft of a novel for my own self-indulgence?

No, ultimately I decided that it doesn't need to be that extreme for me to get back into writing. However, I did want to re-commit to regularly writing here on the blog, even if that means the sacrifice of an hour of sleep here or there. I would encourage all of you writers that may be facing the same issue to let go of the excuses and just write for the sake of it. Make the sacrifice to keep up with it. I'm right there with you.

10.27.2011

How to use a TWSBI Diamond 50 Ink Bottle


The other day, I was trying to explain to my Dad why I was so excited that we were getting the new TWSBI Diamond 50 Ink Bottles. He owns a Diamond 540 fountain pen, but he didn't quite get it. In his words, "Wait, a $25 ink bottle and it doesn't come with any ink!?"

So I had to demonstrate why this bottle is so cool, yet functional, especially for someone that owns a TWSBI Diamond 530/540 pen.

Highlights from the video:
  • Taking apart the Diamond 50 ink bottle and explain the idea behind the design.
  • Filling the ink bottle with your choice of fountain pen ink.
  • Filling your fountain pen the conventional way, using either a converter or piston mechanism.
  • Filling your TWSBI fountain pen using what I refer to as the "express method."
This is my first full "pen demo" video, and I did shoot (& edit) it at 2am this morning. Please be kind. :-) We hope to do many more of these in the future, especially short (1-2 minute) videos for RefillFinder.com. If you like this and would like to see more videos, please feel free to request a specific pen or topic.

10.18.2011

Introducing REFILLFINDER.COM - Your Source for Pen Refills

We're making finding refills as pain-free and economic as possible with our new sister website RefillFinder.com. Offering an expansive selection of popular refills for all your favorite fountain pens, rollerball pens and ballpoint pens, we aim to have a compatible refill for all your writing needs. Ever have a mystery pen (or refill) that you can't seem to find the replacement cartridge for? RefillFinder.com helps take the guesswork out of finding the correct refill with the RefillFinder App and the Refill Size Guide.


With the RefillFinder App, the website takes you step-by-step to ask you all the questions that one of our customer service representatives would typically ask over the phone to find your correct refill. After a few quick clicks, you are well on your way to finding the compatible cartridge to fit your pen.

Sometimes you may just have the refill as a reference. The Size Guide allows you to compare exactly the size and shape of the refill against the refill types we carry.

RefillFinder also helps keep your wallet full while filling your pens. We have the full catalog of Monteverde compatible refills, which are specifically made to fit Mont Blanc, Sheaffer, Pelikan, Parker and other brands that may be overcharging for their own "branded" refills. For example, a Pelikan brand rollerball refill is sold for $8.00 a refill, while the Monteverde equivalent is only $4.50. Also, RefillFinder.com offers quantity discounts on as little as three refills and free economy shipping (USA only) for orders of $50 or more.

Creating an account and placing an order with RefillFinder.com allows you to save your order for future reference and to re-order at your own convenience. That way, if you had a hard time finding the refill for your pen and wanted to re-order more, you can log-in with your RefillFinder.com and look up your previous order and place a new one with a few clicks.

As a reader and follower of our Goldspot Pens Blog, we are offering our network of fans a special opportunity to become Beta Testers for the RefillFinder site. Get 10% OFF your First Order with RefillFinder by using the promo code FILLMEUP during checkout (no minimum order). After you are finished visiting the site (and possibly placing an order) we would ask for 5 minutes of your time to fill out a short survey to share your experience with our development team so we can make RefillFinder the best refill shopping website on the internet.

8.31.2011

Chris' Back to School Pens



Yes, it's that time of year again. Summer is winding down and it's time to start thinking about school supplies. In just a couple of weeks, I'm heading back to more pencils, books and teacher's dirty looks. Choosing which school supplies will be the most useful can be a stressful experience. To help you find reliable pens that can be trusted to survive the wear and tear they will receive during the school year, I will recommend three pens that will perform at a high level when taking notes or writing essays.





3. The Waterford Arcadia Ballpoint Pen : This pen is slim in nature to allow for an easier transport during the day. The weight of the pen is light enough for quick writing and note taking yet heavy enough to provide enough momentum for a smooth and continuous writing process. A minor problem I had with this pen was that it was slightly back heavy but this does not noticeably reduce the quality or ease of writing. The solid brass body wears lacquer that is smooth and pleasant in the hand. Rhodium and chrome plating appointments round off the pen's superb look. This pen uses a smooth twisting back end to push the refill out. Overall, this is a pen that provides quick and quality writing for a retail price of only $27.00 (on sale at goldspot.com). As I sometimes lose pens or never get back a pen that is "borrowed", this low price is particularly appealing.




2. The Pilot Axiom Ballpoint Pen : This is an example of a push-mechanism ballpoint pen that has the satisfying click when you push down the back. I find this technique very convenient to use because this procedure requires only one hand. This pen's sleek appearance includes silver accents and bold barrel finishes. Along with the traction dots at the front, this pen's heft and shape allow for a comfortable grip. The Axiom has a large size that, although it greatly improves the pen's writing ability, may be a problem when trying to carry it in a small space. This pen's writing quality was extremely impressive as it easily glided across the paper. I was able to produce words quickly with little effort. This pen's lighter weight does not cause discomforts for a long writing period and it allows fast, neat writing for a possible timed writing task. For only $20.00 retail price (discounted at goldspot.com), this ballpoint pen is a great value.



1. The Cross Advantage Ballpoint Pen : At slightly under $50, I at first thought this pen might be a little too expensive for my taste in school pens. After testing it out, however, I completely changed my mind. This pen wrote flawlessly. I was able to direct this pen smoothly across the page while enjoying the comfort the shape of the pen provided me. The pen is slightly small and slim, making carrying the pen from one class to another very easy. The pen was on the lighter side, giving me the ability to write quickly, while still giving me a smooth, continuous movement across the page. The pen's appearance is as professional as its writing ability. The cap and barrel are made of lacquered brass with lustrous chrome appointments. You can choose from the pattern of hexagons or two other more classic styles of different colors. Another twist mechanism pen, the Advantage can also conveniently be converted to a .7mm pencil with the Cross switch-it pen to pencil accessory which comes with the pen. A pen with this many benefits is sure to give you an advantage for the new school year.

8.30.2011

Irene and The Edison Collier Fountain Pen


What's more fun than a rare earthquake in the North East? How about an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week! Whoa boy, were we lucky! Where's my lottery ticket? Thankfully, goldspot.com was up and running with only a few short hiccups and we were able to make it in the office on Monday to process all the orders from the weekend. Most importantly, no ink was spoiled.

As of this morning, half the town was out of power. The supermarkets were still closed. Several of the roads I take to get to work were coned off due to downed trees or utility repair. It proved quite difficult just to get a cup of coffee, as the only Dunkin Donuts on the highway had a line out the door, 7-11 was closed and so were the two DD's inside of the Stop & Shop and the Shop Rite on Highway 34.

So, being holed up in my apartment Sunday, I decided to take the new Edison Pen Co. Collier Antique Marble fountain pen for a write and see what the master pen craftsman Brian Gray has done with this new line of hand-turned pens.

As a retailer of Edison pens, Brian extended the opportunity for us to give input on the final selection of colors for this new production model pen. I decided to review the color that is my personal favorite - Antique Marble. The material reminds me of Jurassic Park and how they were able to use the mosquito inside the amber to extract "Dino DNA" to replicate the once-extinct species of dinosaurs.



Brian "spared no expense" when it came to these brilliant acrylic styles. The Antique Marble is translucent amber with striations of black and pearlescent orange. It is both alluring and fascinating to study in the direct sunlight or, most likely, lamplight. The gold plated clip and bi-color, gold-plated, stainless steel nib add a detail of warmth and sophistication to the body material.


The first detail you will notice about the Collier is the distinctive rounded profile. Make no mistake, this is a pen of girth. In fact, it is really testing the limits of my Libelle leather pen case elastic loops. It has a screw on cap that cannot be posted on the back while writing. While a cap-in-hand pen is not my preference, I played along and gave this pen a thorough test run on some Rhodia Circa paper with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki Persimmon.


The smoothness of the medium point on this steel nib had actually tricked my Father in thinking it was a gold nib. The flow is wet and generous with no skipping.  It writes marvelously and the larger size allows for more stability and control, while contributing very little to hand fatigue. You can read the handwritten review below for more of my thoughts on the pen and on Hurricane Irene. 


Overall, I continue to be impressed with Brian's work and hope that he continues creating new production pen models to compliment his expansive offering of custom pen-creations. It would be great to see a broader audience appreciate his hand-made work that excels in quality and style. Pick up your Edison Collier at Goldspot Pens and spread the word, tell your friends!

8.18.2011

Chris' Collection : Cross Edge Retractable Gel Review

This week I am reviewing the Cross Edge Rollerball Pen. This pen has good heft and a nice shape that will be sure to enhance the writing experience. The pen is dressed in metallic fusion resin and chrome plating appointments that make this pen's appearance desirable. The pen is offered in Octane Green, Nitro Blue (shown below), Jet Black, or Sonic Titanium. This pen also possesses the precise weight that allows perfect control but still provides stability during the writing process.


One of this pen's special appeals is its unique slide-to-open mechanism, which is great to fidget with . This process involves pulling the two ends of the pen away from each other, causing the refill to come out. After completing the writing task, the writer can slide the two sides back together and hear the satisfying click that means the ink has been withdrawn. It is a really neat feature that is not only effective and easy, but also fun to use. While the pen is opened, it's length is perfect to allow the hand to be comfortable. After your writing task, you can close the pen, thereby shortening it, and providing for a convenient method for carrying the pen.

I decided to use a Cross rollerball refill to test run this pen. The pen gave me excellent control, providing me complete domination over the movements of the fine writing instrument. The ink came out bold which, along with the easy commmand the pen gave me, made for exceptionally beautiful writing. When extended, the new length of the pen gives the writer a superb grip. Although light enough to allow easy control, the pen was still stable and balanced in my hand. This pen provided a very smooth writing experience.

Summary:
Writing Quality: This pen allows you to direct it precisely where you want it to go while still having enough weight to make the pen stable during the writing process. (Grade: A)
Aesthetic Quality: This pen is offered in four stunning hues that, combined with the chrome plating appointments, make for a pen that has a sleek and contemporary appearance. (Grade: B+)
Utility: This pen's weight causes few or no discomforts in a long writing period. This pen allows you to unscrew the point cover to change your refill as the slide-to-open mechanism doesn't allow you to unscrew the top. You can also use a Cross Selectip Jumbo ballpoint refill or a Selectip Porous Point Refill in this pen if you please. (Grade: A)
Price: This unique and convenient pen is available for $40.00 retail price (on sale at goldspot.com) which is extremely reasonable for a pen with so many benefits. (Grade: A-)

Final Grade: A-

8.10.2011

Chris' Collection : Pilot Knight Ballpoint Pen Review

This week I am reviewing the Pilot Knight Ballpoint Pen. Immediately upon viewing this pen, my attention is drawn to the brilliant aesthetic quality of the matte barrel finish. This pen is available in your choice of navy, black, burgundy, or silver. The Navy (pictured below) was my pick for the review. The pen's slightly curved clip is an elegant trait that accentuates the gorgeous, modern look of the pen. The silver accents bring this image together, providing a pen whose appearance should be envied. The pen's continuously smooth texture is also noteworthy as it gives the hand a tactile sensation of extreme comfort and luxury.



After inserting a Pilot ballpoint pen refill, I picked up this fine writing instrument to find the pen's shape and size allowed a perfect grip. I noticed that, due to the fact that this pen offers an all metal cap and barrel, this pen was heavier than your average ballpoint pen. Combined with the pen's hefty nature, this quality provided for a writing experience that required minimal effort and supreme control. The ink continuously flows out while the pen coasts easily across the page and I am left to thoroughly enjoy the process.

Summary:
Writing Quality: This pen allows effortless control due to its unique weight, shape, and size. The pen feels well-balanced in the hand and provides a smooth writing experience. (Grade: A)
Aesthetic Quality: Metal body and cap with matte barrel finishes in black, burgundy, or silver in addition to silver accents and clip provide for an elegant appearance. (Grade: A-)
Utility: The large weight of the pen may be a hindrance in long periods of writing. The parts of the pen fit together well allowing the pen to remain in a good condition for a long period of time. (Grade: A-)
Price: This pen is offered for a retail price of only $37.00 (discounted for less at goldspot.com) and gives the user a high quality pen that will provide a great fine writing experience. (Grade: A)

Final Grade: A

The Pilot Knight ballpoint pen is a pen that can be put to everyday use. Those searching for a reliable, high caliber pen should quickly snatch up this ballpoint pen. Presented in a spectacular navy gift box, this pen would also make a great gift.

8.05.2011

Chris' Collection : Monteverde One Touch Stylus Ballpoint Pen Review

This week I am reviewing the Monteverde one touch stylus ballpoint pen. Each pen in this unique series is composed of superb lacquered brass, which your eye cannot manage to ignore. This pen also features stealth black clip and appointments that finish off the simple, yet alluring appearance. This ballpoint/stylus combo is presented in five unique colors (new Gradient Colors just added), leaving you to choose which hue suits your personality. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this pen's physical appearance is the back end, which features a conductive rubber top that can also be used as a stylus on any capacitive touch screens, including my iPod (see below).



I decided to see what this unique pen could do. Loaded with a Monteverde Soft-Roll Parker-style ballpoint refill, this pen soon sat cozily in my hand, hovering over the paper. The push-mechanism is convenient in that one can easily perform the task with a single hand. Possessing precisely the amount of weight needed to make the pen feel well-balanced in the hand, this pen allowed exceptional control while still moving continuously and steadily across the paper.  While providing a pleasurable fine writing experience, the pen's attribute that is going to make it a must-have item, especially for those who own touch-screen electronic devices, is the stylus.

Taking out my iPod touch, I decided to test the quality of this unusual pen trait. Flipping the pen over, I was soon astounded at how easy it was to use. Gliding easily along the surface of my iPod, this pen allowed me to play games, check e-mail, and peruse websites as easily as though I was using my finger, but with more control. As I have used my iPod touch for a few years, it is hard not to notice that it is covered with fingerprints that I constantly have to wipe away. Undoubtedly, owners of this pen will not have to deal with this frustrating dilemma.

Summary:
   -Writing Quality: Nice weight and shape allow for good control as the pen seems to slide across the page. (Grade A-)
   -Aesthetic Quality: Brilliant in its simplicity, the lacquered brass and black appointments make for an high aesthetic appeal. (Grade A-)
   -Utility: At 5 3/8 inches long and a weight of 30 grams, this pen is a good size and light enough allow for improved quality in medium to long periods of writing. (Grade A)
   -Price: Highly useful as a stylus, in addition to its high quality as a ballpoint pen, this writing instrument is available for only $30.00. (Grade A)


Final Grade: A

This is a pen that surely will flying off the shelves. Not only a fine writing instrument, it also solves the problems of long finger nails, gloves, and finger prints for those who wish to use touch screens. This pen can also improve touchscreen typing accuracy; whereas the larger surface of a finger may hit two keys at once accidentally, this pen will allow people to minimize the mistakes they make. This pen has multiple applications that are sure to be extremely helpful.

7.08.2011

Chris' Collection : Libelle Chromatic Ballpoint Pen Review

Every week, we're throwing a new pen at Chris, our summer intern, to do a short review on for the blog. He's a bit "green" when it comes to pens, but we won't hold that against him. Here's his first review on a pen that we currently have on sale for 40% special pricing, the Libelle Chromatic:

The Libelle Chromatic series offers ballpoint pens, rollerballs, and fountain pens in several different colors of lacquered metal which, through the magnificence of the smooth, unbroken color, provides high aesthetic appeal. Indents filled with wire mesh provide a comfortable dwelling for the fingers. The metal base causes this pen to feel weighted, giving it a sturdy feel and aiding in the pen's superb writing ability. These qualities give the pen a unique feel and appearance.

This Racing Red ballpoint pen is presented in a flawless container that is to be admired for its creative design and superior quality. Inside, the pen lays bound to the white cushion beneath by a string. A white ribbon sash finishes off this picture as it crosses over the pen. Truly, this pen sits in a throne fit for a king.



I could not resist any longer. The pen was soon resting comfortably in my hand, engines started, ready for the green flag. The twist-action pen is armed with a Parker-style ballpoint ink cartridge and I was primed to go. I found the pen was extremely easy to write with and seemed to flow across the page in a fluid motion. This pen feels natural and stable in your hand as you glide across the page.

Summary:
    -Writing Quality: Sturdy weight and easy control allows for a smooth, steady flow across the paper. (grade A-)
    -Aesthetic Quality: Brightly colored lacquer and wire mesh combine to create an admirable appearance. The pure red color flows simply, yet brilliantly across the pen. (grade A)
    -Utility: Above average weight causes a slight drop in writing comfort after a long period of time. Good stability in the hand. (Grade B+)
    -Price: This is certainly a high quality pen and it is available for a retail price of $65 (currently on sale for 40% off at goldspot.com). (Grade A-)
 
FINAL GRADE: A-
 

6.27.2011

Guest Post : Whats in Your Pen Toolbox?

Hey Pen Friends,

One of our dear fans and walk-in customers - Karen, asked if she could share her list of items that she uses in her Pen Toolbox with our readers here. She had recently rekindled her love of fountain pens and dove in headfirst into the fountain pen frenzy.

Here is what she uses to fill, maintenance and use with her writing instruments.
  • Silicone Grease
  • Q-Tips
  • Paper Towels
  • Blotting Paper
  • Rubber gripper sheeting (dollar store)
  • Nib smoothing Sheets or Sticks
  • Jeweler's Loupe (10x, 20x or 30x)
  • Heavy Steel Needle Nose Tweezers
  • Ear Syringe
  • O-Rings / Washers
  • Nib Tin (storage for extra nibs, Altoids container works well)
  • Eyedropper (for filling & mixing inks)
  • Ink Sample Vials (for traveling & mixing inks)
  • Brass Nib Shim (for cleaning between tines)
  • Simichrome Polish (for cleaning and shining nibs, also removes ink stains)
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Replacement rollerball tips
  • Ink Syringe Kit
  • Ultrasonic Jewelery Cleaner
  • Phone #'s and Websites of some pen experts
  • Bag of Silica Gel packets (sucks out excess water)
Thanks, Karen for that lovely list. If anyone else would like to share "what's in their Pen Toolbox," please e-mail us at orders@goldspot.com with the subject line "My Pen Toolbox." You can also leave a comment below with some items that are your personal favorites and what you use them for.

6.17.2011

Share an Ink with Dad

Pens must run in our blood.

My Brother loves pens. My Dad loves pens. I never even realized my one Aunt had a whole collection of pens until I started working for Goldspot. I guess you can say we have a natural affinity for the fine writing instrument.

When my parents come over on the weekends to get together and see their Grandchild, we catch up on things with some small talk. "So, how's work, Tom?" - An innocent segue to talk "shop." After the typical bland response, "it's good," I delve into the new brands we're looking to carry, new pens that I think are really going to be hot sellers and opinions on any inks or pens that I got to try during the week.

"Tom," my Dad says with a smile and a gleam in his eye, "I saw this ink on your site.." Many of our Saturday conversations start like this over a stack of pancakes and coffee. See, My Dad rekindled his childhood love for fountain pens when I started working for Goldspot some time ago. It first started with a Pelikan because it reminded him of the ones he used in school. For me, I never used a fountain pen prior to working for a pen company. Once I did, it must have activated the "Pen Lust" gene (I believe it's on chromosome 12) and I still can't help myself to buy more inks and pens.

We both love turquoise bottled inks. Pelikan Turquoise, Edelstein Topaz, Waterman South Sea Blue, Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki Cerulean Blue, Noodler's Navajoe Turquoise, the list goes on.... One time, I bought a blue demonstrator True Writer from Levenger that was on sale and came with a bottle of their matching Bahama Blue ink. One weekend, I showed my Dad something I wrote with that color and all I hear over my shoulder is, "Ooooooooooooh."

So, I had to give the whole bottle to him. That's my Dad, one-half of the duo that brought me into this world and made me the person that I am today. I owe him an eternal debt of my gratitude, let alone a bottle of ink! I can't possibly thank him enough for always being there to support me in any of my endeavors. He was often a tough sell to convince that I was making a good decision, but that taught me to always do things for the right reasons and keep my head on my shoulders.

Recently, one of my favorite days I got to share with my Father was when we exhibited at the Philadelphia Pen Show. My Father is not an employee of Goldspot, but he came down with me and Sal to help man the tables. Armed with his extensive knowledge and experience with pens that is only rivaled by my own, he was a tremendous help in talking with visitors. He'd show off his TWSBI, Visconti Homo Sapiens and Pelikan m205 that were inked up to let prospective customers try out. Any time that he closed a sale, he would guide the customer to talk with me, his Son. His voice was so swelled with pride that even one of our customers had noticed and mentioned it to me.

I am truly blessed to have such a caring and supportive Dad and I would gladly share any ink or pen with him so we can both enjoy it together as Father and Son. Happy Father's Day, Pee-pa! (that's my 2-year-old Daughter's way of saying "Grandpa")

And a Happy Father's Day to ALL the Dad's out there. If you're getting a pen or ink as a present from your children, you should consider it a very good Father's Day, indeed!

6.16.2011

Introducing Economy Shipping & FREE Shipping

We're always looking to offer our pen customers more value for their purchase. There's no denying that shipping rates have gone up with all carriers (UPS, US Post, FedEx & DHL). Instead of passing on the costs to our customers, we are offering more flexibility with our shipping options by offering tiered levels of domestic shipping.

Of course, we still have our Refills Only shipping rate, which starts at $3.25. This does not include bottled inks, but covers a wide array of small ink cartridges and other refills that can be sent by US First Class mail. Filofax paper inserts are also considered refills.

If you're like most people who are buying for themselves and want to get the cheapest shipping regardless if it takes a little longer to receive, we now offer Economy Level (3-10 business days). Starting at $5.95, a whole dollar less than our previous "UPS Ground" rate, Economy will offer our customers the ability to purchase less expensive items (other than refills) and save on shipping. Starting today, you can get your order with Free Economy Shipping for a new low order minimum of $50 or more. Make sure your order totals $50 or more, we're shipping to a US address and you enter the promo code JULYELEVEN during checkout. Offer is subject to change or cancellation without notice.

The next level is Standard (2-6 business days), which is a better option for those who are buying gifts for events that are a few weeks away. Standard starts at $7.95 for the first five items.

For quicker turnarounds and time-critical orders, we have Expedited (1-3 business days) service. Starting at $16.95, this level gives your order the urgency to make it in time.

Lastly, we have the mission-critical, pull-out-the-stops Next Business Day Express option for the customers that "need it yesterday." Next Business Day starts at $29.95 (option : Saturday Delivery - $44.95). It is always preferred if you can get in touch with our customer service department when you place your order to ensure that your order gets delivered by your need-by date (we affectionately call it the "pen in-hand" date). Sometimes circumstances beyond our control can prevent us from processing orders from the website that are placed after 11AM for same day shipping. It is best for everyone if you let us know you need your order to go out the same day it was placed. This way, we can ensure that it will be done!

Check the updated shipping table below for a summary of the new shipping tiers that Goldspot offers.


If you are viewing this post 10 years in the future when the price of gasoline has rocketed to $50 per gallon and we have resorted to sending packages by pigeon couriers, needless to say we are not going to honor these prices. Kindly note that prices do change and we may not be able to honor the rates shown on this page in six months, a year, two years and so forth. We will update you when we do decide to send Pelikan pens by flying Pelicans.

6.15.2011

New Introduction : Edison Pen Co. Hudson

The Edison Pen Co is a boutique manufacturer of fine fountain pens based solely out of Milan, Ohio. Brian, the expert pen craftsman, chief cook and bottle washer of Edison Pens, debuts his first mass produced line of fountain pens, called The "Hudson" - Now available at Goldspot Pens.

Prior to 2011, The Edison Pen Co developed a sterling reputation among fountain pen fanatics on Fountain Pen Network for his custom designs. Yours truly even indulged in a custom piece back in 2009 to commemorate my first Daughter's birth. To give a sense of his word-of-mouth popularity, when I was open for suggestions on a pen I should buy to celebrate my first-born, every other comment on my initial post was EDISON.

However, there is a price to pay for custom quality. Starting at $250 for a steel nib, the cost is a bit on the high side, but well worth it considering I got to hand pick (via webcam) the actual bar of acrylic that was used to make my pen. Until now, there has not been much of an option for someone to try out a steel nib Edison Pen at a lower price. Enter the Hudson.


The Hudson ($150) is available in three resin colors - black, emerald green and ruby. The black is a pull-no-punches, polished, glossy finish with a silver clip. The emerald green is a dark and moody color, shimmering a lush green luster as you turn the pen, while looking almost black in certain light. The Ruby is a brilliantly lighter version of the same resin material, becoming translucent enough to see through some of the inner workings of the pen.

The stainless steel nib fitted on each pen is engraved with the Edison Pen Co logo. Available in fine, medium or broad (and I've tried all three as you can see by my writing sample below). The writing experience with each was smooth very pleasing. The fine, to my surprise, wrote more like an extra fine and I don't see myself often going to the medium as my favorite, but for the Hudson, it is true.

Each of the pens is handsomely presented in a faux croc leatherette pen gift box that has the Edison Pen Co logo screened on the inside lid of the box. A converter is included with purchase (no cartridges), but it can be filled either by international ink cartridge or via bottled ink with converter.

For a visual comparison, I took a few pictures of the Hudson with my custom Edison Herald and my TWSBI fountain pen to give you a reference to its size and quality. Would definitely recommend that you put one in your Goldspot shopping cart today!


A Call to All Pen Bloggers

There are a lot of you out there that love writing about writing instruments.  Personally, I have subscribed to over 40 blogs alone that cover pens, paper and ink and the list is always growing. Starting and maintaining a blog about fine pens can be an expensive and time consuming proposition. Goldspot aims to make it a rewarding one as well.

With our Blogger Discount Program you can choose from our vast array of pen brands ink and paper and receive extra discounts on every order that you place. We want to make your hobby as cost effective as possible. Whether what you're looking for is a Rhodia notebook or a Visconti Rembrandt Eco Roller, we want to supply your writing habits with plenty of tools to talk about on the internet.

To apply, please post your first name, the name of your blog that you currently run and its website address. You must be an administrator of that blog and there has to be a way to contact you through your website (via e-mail or contact form). We will get in touch with you directly to give you more details on the discounts we offer.

Remember, no blog is too small - just as long as you keep it current with new posts every so often. I know I'm sometimes guilty of letting the blog go a week or two without update, which is like an eternity for the internet culture.

6.13.2011

Cross C-Series Rollerball Review


Cross is always looking to bridge the high-tech roadster aesthetic with a writing instrument and was extremely successful with the C-Series. Having produced duds like the Autocross ballpen and the Turismo, Cross was coming up light on the masculine pen design until they nailed it with the large, heavy-hitting C-Series rollerball.


The unique feature to the C-Series is that it was the first Cross Pen to feature a twist-action gel ink rollerball. In fact, you can choose between either the Jumbo "Selectip" ballpoint cartridge or the gel ink rollerball cartridge. Of course I needed to try out both for the writing sample below:


Since I'm more of a fountain pen guy anyway, the liquid flow of the gel ink refill seemed more of a natural fit. Although the weight does make it feel more like a luxury pen, the balance seems to be a bit back heavy when writing and the faceted chrome tip is not very pleasing to hold either, making the pen more of a looker than a solid writer.

The spring-loaded clip with the hex screw nut detail is a great convenience for those clipping their hefty C-Series to their pocket. After noticing that your posture is now slouching over as you have the pen perched in the shirt pocket, it may be a good idea to store it in a leather pen case instead.

Summary:
  • Writing Quality : Heavy back end and chrome grip design does not suit long writing sessions. (grade C-)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Certainly a solid pen with great metal trim design and motor-head features. (grade A)
  • Utility : Ability to go from ballpen to rollerball is convenient. Spring loaded clip is sturdy and well designed. (grade B+)
  • Price : At $100 retail, the C-Series rollerball is a bit on the high end for a Cross Pen. However, compare the size and weight to a typical $40 Cross Century ballpen and you see a significant difference, but it really does not justify the cost.  (grade C)

Final Grade : B
Although the C-Series does appear a grand entry into the world of fine-writing, its lack of everyday writing quality and higher price point make it an average value pen buy.