I said once before that the Penbbs 323 was an exceptional pen and this incarnation of it is no exception to that rule. This time on the desk in front of me I have an anodized aluminium version with a Penbbs medium nib and because of my love of coffee I chose the Mocha coloured version.
The pen also comes in a silver grey and purple, but I can’t help thinking it would look stunning in either a deep red or blue or matte black.
I ordered directly from the Penbbs Etsy store and a couple of weeks later a box arrived and in it was a red and black Penbbs gift box containing both my pen a ballpoint adapter. It’s nice to have options and from what I’ve read these adapters work well with most inks.
There is one significant change with this version when you compare it to its acrylic brother the cap threads on the section have moved; they are now as you find them on the Franklin Christoph Model 66 at the nib end of the section. I have to say I prefer the cap threads in this location on any pen, so it was nice to see this design tweak.
The pen has retained its double hourglass design and between the barrel and the section is a two-step descent, the first step is a small one (best guess 0.5mm) down to a built in collar which has the name and model number engraved on it and steps down to the section (this step is around 0.5-0.75mm, again best guess). The pen is very comfortable to hold, and the anodized finish is flawless; I personally find it almost too smooth to hold easily but I’m working on that.
When you separate the barrel and the section you find the section has a small O ring at the top of the internal thread; this creates a very good seal and I do wonder if this pen would be possible to adapt to an eye dropper? The pen comes with a Penbbs converter; I’ve found these converters to be good quality and they connect to the section very snugly and so far I’ve never had a leak.
One thing to bear in mind is this pen is not designed to be posted and consequently can’t be and neither does it have a clip. I suspect it might be possible to add a third-party clip or roll stop but I’m not sure it’s a good idea; the pen is elegant enough on its own.
So, to the business end of the pen, the nib.
This is my first Medium Penbbs nib and I’m impressed; it’s a really well made, I would guess, size 6 engraved with a decorative ‘M’. I was generally disappointed with their Fine nibs as they always seemed a little scratchy, but this nib is smooth and a little pressure does produce some line variation, not a lot but a discernible difference. I loaded mine with Pure Pens Beddgelert, a nice chocolate brown ink, and I’ve been using it regularly for over a week and I’ve not experienced any hard starts or skipping and even when I deliberately left the cap off to dry the nib it recovered before I’d finished the first full letter of a word.
The only thing Penbbs need to work on is the feed, it is very delicate so if you decide to change a nib on a Penbbs, rather than the whole nib unit, be really really careful.
Would I recommend this pen?
Definitely, the build quality and finish of this pen is outstanding, and the nib is so good that originally, I wasn’t going to buy a 456 but this nib has changed my mind and I’m just waiting for the clear demonstrator to come into stock.
In short, this pen is well worth your pennies and if you want a Medium nib version buy it when you see it, they sell out quick.
Disclaimer: The pen was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.