Review: Franklin Christoph Midnight Emerald

My thanks to Ana of the Well Appointed Desk for the ink sample exchange.

This is my first time trying a Franklin Christoph ink. I must say this ink colour is right up my alley. It is a dark teal colour that shades relatively well. It goes from a deep dark green to a muted grey-green. It is an ink on the drier side of things, making it a good ink for lefties.

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Posted on October 26, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Montblanc Antoine de Saint Exupery

My thanks to Ana of the Well Appointed Desk for the ink sample exchange.

Montblanc Antoine de Saint Exupery, such a mouthful. It is a dark wine-purple colour. It shades well going from a dark almost black-red/purple to a faded dusty pink/purple colour. Personally this isn’t a very unique ink in my opinion. I’m pretty sure there are other similar shades from other more affordable brands.

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Posted on October 19, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Robert Oster “Shake N Shimmy” Rose Gilt Tynte

My thanks to Executive Pens Direct for sending me a bottle of Robert Oster “Shake N Shimmy” Rose Gilt Tynte for review.

Executive Pens Direct is a family run business that sells stationary that runs the gamut. You can find fountain pens and related stationary supplies there.

On to the ink, Rose Gilt Tynte is part of the Robert Oster “Shake N Shimmy” series. Rose Gilt Tynte is a dusty rose colour with silver dust. The colour can be rather light when filled in a drier / narrower nib size. As you can probably tell my TWSBI Mini 1.1mm stub nib is having major issues with the ink but I’ve filled it in a TWSBI Eco with a modded nib and that pen worked just fine. It wrote well in that pen without clogging up. The silver dust isn’t very obvious especially against the dusty rose. As an ink, I enjoy its unique base colour. It foes from a muted pink-purple to a dark dusty purple.

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Posted on October 12, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Robert Oster Plumb Nut

My thanks to Executive Pens Direct for sending me a bottle of Robert Oster Plumb Nut for review.

Plumb Nut is a surprising colour. On the bottle cap where there is a small swatch, it looked purple-grey. When I filled it in my Parker Urban, it was a dark wine red, maybe brown with hints of red. Now in my TWSBI Mini 1.1mm Stub nib it looks pink, it shades very well. But depending on the pen you use, you will get very kind of result. Robert Oster Plumb Nut is one interesting colour.

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Robert Oster Plumb Nut-3.jpg
Posted on October 5, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Cross Bailey

The Numbers:
Weight: 22.4g
Length (capped): 136mm
Length (uncapped): 125mm
Price: USD$24.95 from Goldspot Pens Body Material: Metal
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge / converter
Colours: Various

My thanks to Goldspot Pens for sending me the Lamy Nexx for review.

This is my first experience using and reviewing a Cross fountain pen. Cross is one of those brands that has been around a long time and is more known for its more stately and business like pens. And the Cross Bailey doesn’t disappoint. It comes in a variety of colours and it even has a ballpoint version if you are looking for a matched set.

This is where it falls down. The packaging is a simple clear plastic box. It looks cheap and it is probably cheap to manufacture too. I know this is an entry level Cross fountain pen but even entry level pens from other brands that costs less than the Cross Bailey is able to provide a better presentation than this plastic box.

For a pen I expect to be purchased as a corporate gift, this packaging just doesn’t do the job. Just saying.

The Cross Bailey looks like it is a fountain pen very much made for corporate gifts or in a the pocket of a business shirt. I got the red lacquer version. It is a dark maroon with silver accents. The weight is comfortable in my hand. It can be a little back heavy because of the metal housing.

The Cross Bailey is a torpedo shaped fountain pen. The widest point is where the cap meets the barrel. And it tapers down to narrower end on both sides. The clip is a simple one, with the Cross brand logo stamped into it. The tension on the clip is strong but not overly so. Both ends of the finials are a high polished silver while the centre band is textured

The cap opens with a firm tug and closes with a satisfying click. It can also be posted as well. The grip section is a smooth black lacquered texture, similar to the barrel. It tapers to a narrower end towards the nib and has a metal lip. There is no step between the barrel and the grip, making the section longer than usual if you have larger hands.

The Cross Bailey takes a cartridge and converter system. Though technically it sort of takes an international cartridge and converter do not be fooled, it doesn’t. Cross have their own converters and cartridges so be sure you have the right ones.

The Cross Bailey comes only in a stainless steel medium nib. It writes very well. More so than I am really used to, or am able to handle, especially if I filled it with a very wet ink. Lefties do take note of this. Also, I am not sure if I got a lemon. The Cross Bailey scratches across the paper when I write at my usual angle. It writes smoothly when I correct my angle to a lower one. The difference in angle isn’t too great but unnatural for my hand. When I look at the nib through the loupe the tipping off centre. I think this contributed to the problem as well.

The Cross Bailey is a serviceable fountain pen. At the price point, it seemed aimed at students but the design looked like it was meant for the working adult. As an entry level fountain pen for someone trying out the hobby, the Cross Bailey does the job well.

The odd tipping issues I found in my pen could well be a one off problem. I can’t really say one way or another since I have limited experience with Cross fountain pen.


  • Affordable
  • Smooth and wet nib


  • Odd tipping issue
Posted on September 28, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Parker Urban

The Numbers:
Weight: 33g
Length (capped): 135mm
Length (uncapped): 125mm
Price: £41 from Executive Pens Direct
Body Material: Metal
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/converter
Colours: Various

Intro: My thanks to Executive Pens Direct for sending me the Parker Urban fountain pen for review.

This isn’t the first Parker fountain pen that I’ve reviewed but this is my first experience with a Parker pen that isn’t of the entry level tier.

Parker is a brand known for its long history in fountain pen making. Its vintage fountain pens are much sought after and many still perform well today. Now how does a modern Parker fountain pen fare?

The Parker Urban comes in a very stately box. It starts with a grey sleeve with the Parker logo on it. Its texture feels nice to the touch. That slides out to reveal a nicely printed card, underneath that is the fountain pen securely nestled on a bed of velvet like material.

If I were to judge a pen by its packaging, I have to say I am very impressed.

The Parker Urban from its appearance looks sleek and distinguished, very much inline with my impression of the brand. It has a metal body and a stainless steel nib. The fountain pen is vaguely torpedo shaped. The widest point is where the cap meets the barrel. There is a slow taper to a narrower point towards both ends. The balance of the pen is slightly back heavy because of its metal housing. It would probably work better for people with larger hands than mine.

My Parker Urban is the Vibrant Blue model but it looks turquoise when you hold it in your hand. However, it photographs as a blue colour. It’s really odd that it is this way. So bear that in mind when you look at the photographs.

The strong turquoise colour is accented with chrome trims. Both ends of the pen has a plain polished chrome tips. The clip has Parker’s traditional arrow shape. It has a good tension to keep the pen secure. The cap pulls open easily and closes with a very satisfying click. Plus, the cap can be posted if you so desire.

The grip section is a plain black plastic with a metal lip. It is long enough to fit most hand sizes. There is a slight step between the barrel and the grip but it doesn’t get in the way when I write.

The Parker Urban fountain pen is a cartridge and converter system which makes it easy to fill and clean. And a push converter comes provided with the pen.

The stainless steel nib looks under-sized especially when compared to the body of the pen. I keep thinking there is more nib where I can’t see. I’d prefer if this is a larger nib just to make the entire design of the pen look more balanced. Still, regardless of the size it writes nice and smooth. I was sent a medium nib and it is still fairly useable for me.

Now, comes the problematic part of the Parker Urban. At least for my particular pen. The nib dries up, very, very, very easily. It hard starts without fail every single time. I don’t believe the ink capacity of the Parker converter is a lot less than the other brands of converter I’ve used and even taking into consideration wider nib size, I run through ink on this Parker Urban way faster than usual. Normally, I can fill a pen and use it for an entire month and still have ink left over. With the Parker Urban, I run out in two - three weeks. Putting aside the faster than usual use of ink, the hard start issue is just not acceptable. I am quite sure I got a lemon because from my googling I’ve not found a review where they had the same problem.

As long as you have purchased your Parker Urban from a reputable store. I’m sure you will be able to return the pen and get a replacement easily.

The Parker Urban fits the corporate world with ease. When it writes, it performs well. However the hard starting issue makes me wary to recommend it.


  • Variety of colours
  • Comes with the converter
  • Smooth writer


  • Hard starts
  • Nib looks undersized
Posted on September 21, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.