Several weeks ago (in April 2014), the Pen Addict Podcast celebrated its one-hundredth episode with some excellent giveaways. I was lucky enough to win one of the prize packages. The centerpiece of my package was a Cult Pens Mini fountain pen, made for the UK retailer Cult Pens by Kaweco.
Appearance & Design
This is a very attractive pen, at least if you’re into the German industrial look. Worshipers of the Lamy 2000 will love this. The body is made of anodized aluminum (or should I say “aluminium”?) with a brushed finish. This is not only attractive, but has a nice satiny feel in the hand. The center band, finial, blind-end, and grip section are all shiny, nickel/chromium-plated brass. The contrast between the brushed body and the shiny trim gives the pen a lot of visual interest.
The clip is flat and plain with a nice curved-under end to prevent snags when being pushed over the edge of a pocket.
The center band flares out from the body width (9.5 mm) to the width of the cap (10.5 mm). Seeing the pen closed, you might think that the band was part of the cap. The grip section is smooth, with four latitudinal grooves, presumably to make the section easier to grip. Smooth metal sections are among my least favorite pen features, so I was glad to see Kaweco think of this. As it turns out, I find it more comfortable to hold this pen above the grip section, with my fingers resting on the raised center band, so the section grooves are a moot point.
Fun design fact: the length of the brushed aluminum part of the cap is exactly equal to that of the brushed aluminum part of the body. This makes for a pleasant symmetry. Also, when you post the pen, a bit of the shiny blind-cap is still visible, forming a shiny boundary between the two brushed sections, so this symmetry is still there to entertain you when the pen is posted.
The pen is branded “Cult Pens / by Kaweco” at the top of the cap, opposite the clip, in an appropriate sans-serif typeface.
Construction and Quality
The pen feels every bit as solid as the Bauhaus aesthetic makes it look. Everything fits together perfectly. Perfectly machined threads and solid posting.
Weight & Dimensions
This is a true mini pen: seriously teensy weensy. Capped, it’s 105 mm (4.1 inches). Posted (and you will want to post it), it’s 123 mm (4.8 inches). Posted, the pen is shorter and slimmer than a Kaweco Sport. Since this is by far the smallest pen in my collection, I can’t really point to any similar-sized pens. This size range, I think, was more common among the “purse pens” of the 30s and 40s than it is among current market offerings.
Nib & Performance
The pen came with a fine steel nib. I’d say it’s on the finer side of fine for a western nib, certainly finer than a Pelikan fine. (Which is just about perfect for my taste!)
The pen wrote beautifully out of the box, with a consistent line of medium wetness. No tweaking required.
This pen takes short international cartridges. Kaweco makes a converter that is available separately (the same converter used for the Sport and associated models). I don’t have one of these, so can’t comment on how it works. I do have a syringe, so I’ll probably just keep re-filling cartridges.
(Aside: The prize package also included a pack of Diamine Deep Dark Red cartridges. This is a gorgeous, dark-red-going-on-brown ink that is exclusive to Cult Pens. If you find yourself ordering the pen, you may as well get some uniquely English ink while you’re at it.)
Cost & Value
At £29.95 (about $50 US), I’d say this pen is a very good deal. It’s a solid, easy-to-carry mini pen that feel like it will last forever. The bad news for those of you not in the UK is that you’ll pay another £10 for delivery, but that’s per order, so you can treat that as a shopportunity and stock up on other stuff.
Many thanks to the Pen Addict and Cult Pens for gifting me this great pen!