(This is a guest post by Phillip Barlow.)
As many in the community may know I have been a Conid enthusiast and self appointed brand ambassador for a long time. Conid is a company based out of Antwerp, Belgium and when I purchased my first Conid in the middle of 2016 they were not as well known as they are today. They have grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years through many like myself showing off their pens, talking about them, and helping spread the word.
Today I would like to give my thoughts and opinions on the newest Conid to be added to my collection, the Conid Minimalistica. This particular model is the Monarch, a collaboration between Conid and Fontoplumo. The Conid Minimalistica Monarch is limited to 50 pieces and the orange ebonite finials stand out with a brilliant pop of color. This pen was originally sent to me by a friend who knew I loved Conid and knew I hadn’t had the opportunity to try the Minimalistica model. Within days of having this pen I knew I didn’t want to send the pen back to its owner, luckily after chatting he was willing to sell it to me.
The Conid Minimalistica has the modern and industrial design found throughout the Conid line of pens. It definitely follows the less-is-more contemporary style, giving it clean lines and elegant touches throughout. Conid design checks so many boxes of what I consider is needed for the perfect pen, there is a lot here for everyone to love. I feel that the Minimalistica is a wonderful value and a star in the Conid lineup. While it won’t unseat the Kingsize as my favorite Conid pen it does come in second.
One of my favorite aspects of all Conid pens is the interchangeable nibs. I enjoy being able to have spare nibs and switch them into the body to give me a different writing experience. This is one of Conid’s 7 strengths and particularly close to my heart. This particular Minimalistica came to me with a Platinum 3776 Soft Fine in a housing designed by Joey over at Flex Nib Factory to convert the Platinum nib over to the Bock housing that Conid uses. This allows the Platinum nib to screw into the normal Bock mount of pen without issue and work seamlessly. I currently do not have any other Bock #6 size nibs but have a Fine nib on the way. After owning the Platinum for a while I decided that the nib wasn’t for me and have since switched it over to a H-F Sailor 21k nib. If you are also one that enjoys experimenting and changing up your pens Conid is a brand for you. I have seen Conid pens with all kinds of nibs ranging from vintage Waterman nibs, to Sailor nibs, to dip pen nibs, to even Montblanc and Pelikan nibs.
The Minimalistica uses the same materials as the other Conid’s with a few slight design changes and “minimal” approach to construction. Unlike other Conid’s that have separate barrel attached the the grip section the Minimalistica uses a one piece design. This design also uses a gradual increasing taper instead of the sculpted grip on other models. This gradual taper allows the user to grip the pen at any comfortable spot along the length of the pen. Near the nib is starts out at 10.3mm thickening to 12.5mm with the mid-point of 11.2mm. The Minimalistica comes in a little thicker to the Pilot 823, and for my large hands it is much more conformable to hold. If the Pilot 823 is a pen you already enjoy the Minimalistica will be right up your alley.
Another unique aspect of the Minimalistica within the Conid lineup is its slip cap. When I first thought of this cap my mind jumped to the well known Lamy Safari or Lamy 2000 … BUT it’s not like either of those which are more of a snap cap, this cap slips. To achieve its seal the cap incorporates an o-ring. This was a very appealing feature for me as sometimes I’m making a lot of quick short notes in meetings and unscrewing or leaving a cap off isn’t a good option. This cap does function differently than other similar caps I have used securing the cap much more efficiently. I have tested putting it cap first into single pens sleeves, shaking the pen over a bed to see if the cap would come off (without a nib or ink in in), and other ways I’ve had caps come off in the past. Surprisingly it passed all these tests with flying colors, the one semi draw back to security is the cap does require, at least for me, a special way to remove it easily. This is accomplished by holding the cap and the barrel of the pen and pulling apart while at the same time doing a quarter twist and the cap comes off easy and smooth. Once this is accomplished and you pick up the skip quickly you and your trusty Minimalistica are ready to take on the world … well at least ready to write a bunch.
I mentioned writing a bunch and this is definitely the case with the pen coming in with an impressive 2.5ml ink capacity. Granted, just because it has it doesn’t mean you have to use it. Personally, I don’t often fill up my pens, only doing about a half fill most of the time. Now to one of the fun parts filling the pen! Conid uses a patented filling system called the bulkfiller and it is present across the complete line of pens. This system is both easy and a joy to use, while also in my opinion being very beautiful. Conid pens have a forward small reservoir right at the nib housing assembly that is blocked off from the main in supply in the barrel by the end of the piston rod with an o-ring on it. To fill the pen or allow more ink into the forward reservoir simply twist the piston knob on the end and draw back the piston a little. If filling the pen draw it all the way to the end and continue twisting and the end of the piston will screw into the plunger in the rear of the pen. Once the piston is attached the the plunger you will make one more twist and the plunger with release from the rear of the pen allowing you to push the plunger forward, without ink unless you’re trying to attack someone with a jet of ink. Then dip the nib of the pen ink your bottle of ink and draw the piston rod back and it will fill with ink, release the process of unscrewing the piston and you’re ready to go back to writing.
I have recently performed a test on the Bulkfiller system involving shipping my pen back and forth to Mark Bacas. We drained the ink from the forward reservoir into the barrel and sealed back the piston rod, leaving the ink in the barrel. With a normal pen, mailing it filled with ink would normally cause an explosion within the cap. Both trips back and forward were accomplished with no splatters of ink inside the cap.
For me, what really makes a Conid such a great pen and wonderful writer is its superb balance in the hand and marvelous build quality. When you include its modern design and great ink capacity it becomes a true titan in the pen world. The best compliment that I can give the pen is that IF I was only allowed to have one pen for the rest of my life I would choose a Conid as that pen. For me it checks all of the boxes for what I’m looking for in a great pen. If the design aesthetic is one that appeals to you and you have been holding back getting one, I can recommend that you try one when the opportunity arises. You might find a pen that is an extension of your thoughts bringing words to paper.
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