For me, a big reason that I like any pen is the color and type of material used in the body. In short, this is the aesthetic appeal of the pen, and I would guess that this also drives a majority of pen purchases for other people as well. But, the aesthetic appeal can only carry the pen so far — it also needs to function well as a writing instrument.
The Diplomat Magnum gel pen is a sleek and stylish click pen that features an asphalt gray finish. The finish is a sleek combination of dark gray material with silver flecks mixed in. It's a pretty material that I enjoy quite a bit.
The Magnum also uses a standard Parker-style refill, which is a really good thing since the included refill is quite an under-performer.
When I pick up a gel pen, I usually don't have any concerns about skipping, hard starts, or other issues that typically crop up with ballpoint refills. With the Diplomat, I was bound for disappointment in the refill area.
The gel refill in the Magnum is unlike any others I've used. Picking the pen up and writing with it isn't normally possible without doing a few seconds of scribbling on scratch paper to get the ink flowing. Once the ink starts flowing, the delivery is skippy and inconsistent. If you stop writing for more than 10 seconds, the ink has already dried up and requires more scribbling. All told, it's an incredibly frustrating refill.
The fact that this pen accepts all Parker-style refills really saves its bacon. This is a truly attractive pen that feels good in the hand, and it's also a pretty good value at $20. My only advice is that you need a replacement refill from the beginning if you choose to purchase this pen. There's a chance that the refill I have is a dud, but gel duds usually refuse to write altogether in my experience.
With all this in mind, it's hard to recommend this pen unless you're absolutely in love with the aesthetics. Like I said, it feels great in the hand and operates perfectly as long as you discount the refill performance. Replacing the refill is a must, and this is an extra cost if you don't already have some Parker-style refills lying around.
If you like the style of the Magnum, I suggest you take a look at the Retro 51 Tornado lineup. They're a tad more expensive, but they're better pens that also feature much better refills. Plus, with the wide variety of styles, you're bound to find one that matches your fancy.
(Vanness Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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