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.


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!


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.

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-


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.

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.


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.

   -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.