(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
A few weeks ago, I reviewed my first PenBBS: model 350 in silver with a rollerball adapter. I was so impressed with that pen that I decided to visit the PenBBS store on Etsy. I wound up buying two pens. The one I’m reviewing this week is model 309, which is a piston filler.
The pen comes in a nice magnetic closure black box. It’s really a rather nice presentation box for a pen priced under $25.00.
I chose the Mojito color because I don’t own many green pens and I liked the happy, spring-like color. I inked it with L’Artisan Pastellier Vert Moyen (Irish Green), which makes for an excellent match.
This pen is simple, but quite striking. The transparent green acrylic allows you to see the piston mechanism, the ink level, and the nib clearly.
The finials on the cap and barrel are cone-shaped, which gives the pen a more unique look--it’s neither a rounded cigar nor a flat top.
The cap has a stainless steel clip and a large cap ring engraved with “PenBBS” and the model number with the logo in between.
What makes this pen especially nice is the fact that it is a piston filler. It holds a good amount of ink (I’d say around 2-3ml), the piston operates very smoothly and fills the pen to capacity.
PenBBS pens come only in fine and sometimes medium widths. This pen has a fine steel nib with scrollwork that enhances the look of the nib. It writes smooth and wet, especially for a fine nib. I’ve encountered absolutely no issues with it--no hard starts, no skipping, no blobbing. As I mentioned in my other review, PenBBS nibs have an upturned point which makes them look a little bit like fude nibs.
The pen is small, but it’s not pocket sized. Capped it is 5.7 inches/145mm, uncapped 5.2inches/131mm, and 6.3 inches/160mm posted. It’s definitely post-able, but the cap is heavy enough to make it a bit unwieldy posted.
I’ve been using this pen for several weeks, and I remain impressed. The pen is very comfortable in the hand and is excellent for lengthy writing sessions. Even when it’s been unused for a few days, it starts right up. Although I usually like to write with broader nibs, this nib is so smooth and carefree, I plan to use it as one of my grading pens. Green is an excellent color for marking papers--it’s so much less threatening than red.
The only concern I have about this PenBBS model is its longevity. Will it keep working well for years to come? Or will the piston eventually get stuck or the acrylic crack? I’ve read that the pen is easy to take apart, so if the piston does get stuck, it should be easy to remedy. I am interested to see how well this pen holds up over time. For now, this pen is definitely a keeper.
You can purchase the PenBBS 309 directly from the Etsy store. When I checked today, only two Mojitos were left in stock, but there are plenty of other colors in this model from which to choose. At $22.99 (prices vary depending on the color of acrylic you choose) plus shipping, this is an absolute steal. And shipping from Japan is incredibly fast.
(I purchased this pen with my own funds.)
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