Started in 2004, the Graf von Faber-Castel Pen of the Year has been made from some of the most exotic and unique materials available: amber, stingray leather, horsehair, and even jade. The Faber-Castel Pen of the Year for 2012 is the last in the Pen of the Year series and will be made from wetland oak covered in 24k gold leaf. This piston filling fountain pen will be limited to 1500 pens and retail for $4695. I don’t usually care much for the marketing speak found advertising most high end fountain pens, but the information for this pen was intriguing enough for me to read in its entirety. 

Graf von Faber-Castell 2012 Pen of the Year

The combination of gold leaf and ancient wetland oak makes the Pen of the Year 2012 an extraordinarily luxurious fountain pen. The 18 carat bicolour gold nib is available in line widths M, F and B, each one ‘run in’ by hand. The endcap protects the twist knob for the filling mechanism. All metal fittings are 24-carat gold-plated. The masterpiece is crowned by a chessboard faceted citrine gemstone set in the cap.

Precious finds

Scarcely any other wood expresses such an enigmatic beauty as ancient wetland oak wood. It takes a long, long time for an oak tree to turn into such a sought-after and precious wood. Its deep, often gnarled textures make wetland oak look like driftwood found on the shore. But in fact, these extraordinary pieces of wood have been buried for as many as 8,000 years in German bogs and marshes. The discovery of each find is a matter of chance and each piece seems to have a mysterious story to tell.

Value and sovereignty

The Golden Fleece, the Nibelung Hoard, El Dorado – no metal has fascinated mankind across centuries and continents as much as gold has: people have decorated themselves with it and fought over it. Its very name is synonymous with value and sovereignty and it expresses both power and love. At the beginning of the modern age it was one of the key driving forces behind the great voyages of discovery as people searched for El Dorado, the legendary land of gold.

A fascinating encounter

A fascinating encounter: the deep structure of ancient wetland oak, whose beauty has been naturally wrought over thousands of years, together with gold, that lends a supernatural sheen to the most beautiful works of art created by mankind.

A sensitive and masterly touch is demanded, if gold leaf is to mould perfectly to the graining of the oak barrel of the pen.

Particular artistry

The gold leaves are carefully applied by hand using a fine squirrel-hair brush. A 4 000-year-old technique is used that dates back to the Egyptians and is mastered by only a select few people today. Such an extraordinary craft demands particular artistry and skill.

Crafted by the masters

After studying old Venetian gilding techniques and winning the Bavarian State Design Award, the gilder and church painter Ernst D. Feldmann has achieved the almost impossible: Layer upon layer of 24-carat gold leaf is applied to the oak pen barrel in an intricate and detailed process. Embedded in resin, this reveals a unique pattern of reflections that only the purest gold can display.

Each individually numbered writing implement comes in an exclusive deep black wooden case. A certificate, signed personally by Ernst D. Feldmann, attests to the 24-carat leaf-gilding on the 1700 year old German oak wood, as well as to the limited edition to 1500 fountain pens. The high-gloss collector’s case with glass lid and two removable trays made of linden wood provides a masterly setting for any collector’s favourite pens.

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  • John the Monkey

    Not for me, but the craftsmanship is really impressive. The nib looks wonderful against the pen body in that capless shot.

    The only slightly false note is that black band on the section – does that work? Not sure – silver would have echoed the nib, gold wouldn’t have jarred so much…

    • svchb

      I think this band is an ink window.

      • John the Monkey

        /light dawns

        Ohhhh! Ignore me then :)

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