Welcome back to my blog. I know that I said earlier I was taking a break for perhaps the rest of the year but I just had to sneak this one it–it’s too cool a pen to wait for. So again, happy holidays and on with the show…
This pen was provided to me by Lisa at Vanness pens for the purposes of this review. I did not choose this pen but I guess since we’re friends on Instagram, she knows what I like. I’m really glad this pen was brought to my attention as it is likely something I would choose for myself. All this said, my opinions are still my own and I will share them honestly here. If you decide after reading / watching that you would like one of these pens or the Bear / Bull set, you can take an additional 5% off using the coupon code coffeepot (note: in the video I incorrectly said the code was mycoffeepot–it’s only coffeepot. no my. yeah)
So these pens are NOS from 2001. The Bear is the larger of the two pens and is made of a darker wood-grain ebonite than the Bull. There’s a declining line graph and “Gaston’s Bears” stamped deeply on the barrel of the pen. This is one of the Jim Gaston / Bexley collaborations. I think this may be a numbered limited edition as “086” is stamped on a metal medallion set in the blind cap.
The pen has a super classic look to it even though there are a few design elements on here that I haven’t seen on a vintage pen. This retro aesthetic with the liberal use of gold trim rings and gold washer clip plus the wood-grain ebonite gives it a stately air for sure. The ebonite has a high gloss and a warm in-the-hand feel. Great pen for long writing sessions.
The interesting barrel shape has really nice functionality–the shape of the cap and placement of the threads mean the nib is really far away from the barrel step where the cap lip meets the widest point of the barrel. All this means fewer people will be annoyed by the step as it is less likely to interfere with your grip. There’s also a step on the blind cap to facilitate posting while being visually interesting in it’s own right.
The nib is a fantastic and beautifully stamped two-tone 18k gold broad beauty. It writes perfectly and is moderately juicy. Standard nib grades are available as well as a nibless option for a reduced price. I wouldn’t miss out on this gold Bexley nib though–these are a little harder to come by nowadays. Worth noting is this is a #6 size that can be interchanged with JoWo or Bock nibs of the same size. (The Bull has a #5 nib on it)
My pen came fitted with a Waterman converter that had a weird cloudy / sticky film on it. I think it may have been label or sticker residue / adhesive and it cleaned off relatively easily. These pens are compatible with standard international cartridges and converters. I’m not sure if it can be eye-dropper converted as the trim ring and medallion might go all the way into the barrel but that could be tested easily with a flashlight. There are tons of threads on the barrel if there is no metal peeking through.
And that’s it–I’m a big fan of this pen and I think for $200 USD with an 18k nib this is an absolute steal for a pen of this quality. It is precision turned and hand finished. Edison would be a comparable pen maker and their steel nib pens start at $150 (and no ebonite in that price range) and $250 with a gold nib. Plus you can save %5 on top of that–you can use those savings to buy a pretty nice cup of coffee. That’s what I would do anyway.
Thanks for stopping by and wishing you and yours all the best of the season!