FPG Scorecard Edelberg Tachys

Review Specificaitons

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Pen Class: Executive ($500-999)
MSRP:: $940
Street Price:: $940

Body Material: Resin
Nib Material: Titanium
Nib Size: Medium
Cap Type: Screw On/Off
Post-able: Yes
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter
Ink Capacity: 1.0mL
Overall Weight: 47.5g
Body Weight: 22.7g
Overall Length Capped: 148mm
Overall Length Posted: 173.5mm
Length Uncapped: 127.9mm
Nib Length:19.5mm
Cap Diameter w/o Clip: 16.3mm
Cap Diameter w/Clip: 18mm
Section Diameter:8.7mm
Barrel Diameter: 13.5-9.8mm

If this pen were a movie, it would be…

Speed (1994)

Review Dealer Prep

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Tim: 9 – Unpacking the Tachys was a howling good time. I’d imagine it wasn’t far off from unpacking a package of Plutonium from Iran (still waiting on that one to arrive…)Pull off the sleeve, pop open the box, and there are flaps within flaps. A credit card? No, it’s the Certificate of Authenticity/ Warranty. A nice soft leather pen case! Ooh! Only now do you see the box. It’s a clear acrylic box with a chamfered top that lifts off to expose the tube inside. (At this point in the process I had to go lie down and rest for as minute.) Take the cork out of the tube and coax the Pen out. I’d almost forgotten what we were getting at. It’s a pen!

Dan: 10 – Edelberg has created some of the coolest packing for a pen I’ve ever seen. It’s very modern and very slick.

Upon removing the outer cardboard lid there’s several pieces of gift wrap to peel back, which really makes it feel like opening a present. As you’re doing so, you’ll find a plastic, frosted, credit card sized certificate of authenticity and a leather pen sleeve. Once you’ve made your way through all the tissue paper you’ll find a clear acrylic box and glass cigar tube that are slathered with Edelberg logos but actually do a very important job: showing off the Tachys.

The presentation here is really second to none. This experience created a lot of excitement and did an excellent job psyching me up for actually playing with and using the pen.

Review Filler Up

Tim: 7.5 – Tachys comes with a converter. It fits snugly and securely into the section and is easy to use. For a converter, it was just lovely.

Dan: 6.0 – If you take a look at the design of the pen and its packaging, and even Edelberg’s brand image, there’s a certain elegance that accompanies it. Sure, the cartridge/converter filling system is easy and convenient to use, but there’s no elegance to be found anywhere near it. It’s cheap and lowers the overall experience of using the pen.

The Tachys costs nearly $1000 and there’s no reasonable excuse for it to use the cheapest filling system available. The design of the pen makes it look like it should have a piston filler. The machined bit at the rear of the barrel would make a perfect piston knob. The fact that it’s not is the most disappointing aspect of the Tachys.

Review Test Drive

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Tim: 8.5 – Once I got the pen extracted from its packaging I looked at it and hefted it and looked at it some more. This is a serious pen. It’s got a resin body, cap and section and the rest of it is metal- Rhodium plated Brass according to Edelberg’s web site. The metal parts are substantial and this pen is hefty. I immediately inked it with my go-to failsafe ink- Waterman Havana Brown. I got to scribbling and had a blast- although I noticed sometimes I had trouble getting the nib to start writing. Hm.

Dan: 8.5 – The Test Drive is all about the first impression. While performance is taken into consideration, the emotional response the entire package gives you in those first few minutes is also factored into the score.

My initial reaction to the Edelberg Tachys was like a mixed drink: 4 parts awesome, 1 part disappointment. The packaging wowed me. The design and feel of the pen impressed me. The nib even performed magnificently. But, the filling system definitely left a sour aftertaste.

Review Under the Hood

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Tim: 6.5 – Tachys has a medium Titanium semi-flex nib. I found the flex totally adequate compared to other modern flex pens- this nib has a ton of potential. I was unable to lick the hard starting problem with this pen in heavy use, with extensive tinkering, for over a week. Apart from that, I found the pen very comfortable- it’s unconventionally weighted but that just wasn’t an issue when I pulled it out to write.

Dan: 5.0 – Pop the top to this speed machine and you’ll find a titanium nib that’s a little larger than a #5 nib and a little smaller than a #6, and only available in medium width. The proportions fit well with the rest of the pen and, combined with the concave shape of the section, create a curvaceous profile similar to that of, well, something curvy. I’m sure your mind can fill in the blanks.

The section is made from the same resin as the cap and barrel and while I initially thought it to be a little thin, the profile is very comfortable. However, if your thumb happens to rest on the transition from the section to the barrel then the Tachys may become a little agitating. Luckily, my thumb found a comfy spot further back, solidly on the barrel.

My biggest annoyance with the nib, and the reason for the low score here, is the laser engraved nib imprint. The laser engraving makes the Edelberg logo and all the lettering very subtle and difficult to read. Subtle isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there’s nothing subtle about the design of the Tachys or Edelberg as a brand. It just doesn’t fit here. It’s also the cheap way to mark a nib and when teamed up with the cheap c/c filler, makes me wonder what $1000 is buying.

I wouldn’t be so harsh with Edelberg here if laser engraving a titanium nib was the only option. But it’s not. Omas and Stipula have clearly shown it’s possible to stamp a design into titanium and they’ve done so with much, much cheaper pens.

Review Performance

Tim: 7 – Tachys overall is a hell of a pen. The design and execution is really special. You won’t want to post this one as the cap is considerably heavier than the rest of the pen, and the post, while quite secure, is very shallow. My nib trouble brought this score down quite a bit, otherwise the pen functions beautifully.

Dan: 5 – When a pen is fit with a titanium nib, there’s a certain expectation of flex. The Tachys’ titanium nib is certainly flexible and provides lots of eye-catching line variation. When not flexing the nib, the medium nib produces a line true to size that measures 0.65mm wide. When you put a little pressure on the tines the nib will routinely deliver wide 1.1mm wide lines. At its max with a saturated feed I was able to push the nib to 1.7mm without feeling like I was going to damage the nib.

The titanium nib flexes well and feels great doing so. There’s adequate tension in the tines to make the nib feel responsive when applying and releasing pressure, and it does so without it fatiguing the hand too quickly. But, where Edelberg failed was to provide a feed that could keep up with the nib under extended, flexible writing sessions. And I’m not talking about the same kind of abuse I put the new WAHL-EVERSHARP Skyline through. I’m talking about slow, deliberate strokes. After about ¾ of a page, the feed just runs out of steam. Occasionally, the feed would choke so hard that I would have to use the converter to force ink into the feed.

Under normal circumstances where I never flexed the nib I wouldn’t experience a problem. The feed never failed to deliver and the nib was smoother than Johnny Depp in his prime.

But handing someone a pen with a nib capable of really good flex and limiting them with a poor feed is like handing someone the keys to a Ferrari with super skinny tires on it. Useless!

The Tachys handles all other aspects of writing exceptionally well. The clip is easy to operate with one hand just by squeezing the top of the clip and the cap. There’s plenty of the travel in the spring-loaded clip to easily slip over the thickest of pant seams, pockets, or collars. And while the cap does post securely, it also post shallowly on the barrel making the pen feel very back-heavy.

Review Design Notes

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Tim: 10 – This pen is gorgeous. I fell in love with it when I handled it at the DC Pen Show in August 2013. It’s super classy when viewed from a distance, and then gets really sporty when you look up close. The clip functions very well, and I love how I can pinch the cap at the top and open the clip with one hand. A ton of thought went into the design of this pen, from the section threads to the packaging.

Dan: 8 – Tachys is the Greek word for speed and Edelberg incorporated that theme into the design of this pen very well.

All the metal bits are machined brass that’s been rhodium-plated to provide a lovely contrast with the black resin cap and barrel. The clip is shaped like a speedometer needle and features an engraved line that’s filled with your choice of lacquer or Superluminova. Around the top of the cap and the rear of the barrel you’ll find machined lines that represent the delineations found on a speedometer. While the speed theme is well integrated into the pen, even if you don’t realize that’s the theme, the pen still looks good.

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The glow from the Superluminova after being exposed to interior lighting from incandescent bulbs is weak and only last a few minutes.

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Charging the Superluminova with the LED from my iPhone for approximately one minute resulted in a significant increase in brightness that remained visible for 15 minutes.

In addition to the clip being filled with Superluminova, the Edelberg logo on the top of the cap is also filled with the same luminescent material. Superluminova acts kind of like a battery in that it is “charged” from other light sources and then gives off a glow of a certain brightness and duration that’s proportional to the brightness of the charging source. Under normal interior incandescent bulbs the Superluminova would be barely visible when turning out the lights. Using the LED from my iPhone resulted in a much brighter reflection that was easily visible from across the dark room. The best results come from being exposed to sunlight. When I was taking pictures and shooting the video of the pen outside, I could see the green glow of the Superluminova after I went inside under normal interior lighting conditions. While it’s a very cool detail and something that no other pen has, there’s very little practical application to the Superluminova in the clip and cap.

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The design of the Tachys creates a profile with a wide cap that tapers towards the end of the barrel. Given the size of the pen, it can be comfortably used without posting. But, if I’m going to use a pen of this size without posting it I’d much rather prefer it be the shape of the Conway Stewart Churchill, where the barrel gets larger towards the rear of the pen. Unfortunately, posting the cap only makes matters worse. The cap is so heavy, and post so far back on the barrel that it makes it incredibly awkward to use.

Review Detailing

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Tim: 10 – From the stripe on the clip to the deep, wet luster of the resin body, cap and section, this pen is flawless. The machining of the metal parts is crisp, and the assembly is spot on. Add to that the attention to detail in the packaging and I’m maxing out the score on this one.

Dan: 10 – The Tachys is very well put together fountain pen. I went over it with a 10X loupe and couldn’t find a single item to criticize. The resin is polished to perfection and since there’s no injection molded parts, there’s no flashing to be found. The machining is excellent and detailed and everything fits together solidly. Nothing wiggles and the tolerances between parts are tight.

Review 21 Minute Road Trip

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Tim: 5 – Good news first! I wondered what a long writing session would be like with this one– the pen is heavy, and a lot of that weight is in the rear of the pen. I had no discomfort in the hand at all- the pen felt substantial but never seemed overly heavy, and not at all awkward.

The discomfort I felt was all in the mind. I used my most boring, well-behaved ink for the Road Trip to give this pen a good chance to perform its best. I used Lamy Blue-Black on Sustainable Earth Bagasse paper- any pen worth its resin should write for days with no trouble with this setup. To my dismay, I had hard starts on nearly every line. I docked a whopping 5 points for that, it was just that tough.

Dan: 7 – To prepare for the Road Trip I fueled up the Tachys with Edelberg’s own blue ink, which is really just rebranded Stipula ink, and grabbed some Clairefontaine, Rhodia, and Tomoe River paper.

I noticed that the super slick surface of the Clairefontaine gave the Tachys the most trouble. The nib is wonderfully smooth due to the very slight ‘baby’s bottom’ profile it has and the Clairefontaine pointed this out quickly. While I didn’t have near the number of hard starts that Tim did, I did experience a few. Moving to Rhodia and Tomoe River quickly fixed the issue and provided pure writing bliss.

Flexing the nib was just as wonderful of an experience. That is until the feed gave out. But up to that point flexing the nib was just as smooth as not flexing it, which can’t be said for a lot of flexible nibs. That slight ‘baby’s bottom’ profile makes a world of difference when the tines are spread.

As I mentioned earlier, the feed did have problems keeping up with continuous flexible writing for a half page or more. Unfortunately, switching ink didn’t seem to improve the situation. I tried Waterman Blue-Black, which is my go to ink for solid all around performance, and also WAHL-EVERSHARP Wahlberry since it performed so well in the Skyline. Neither resulted in any improvement in the feed’s performance during extended flexible writing.

Review The Checkered Flag

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Pros: Cons:
Comfortable Expensive
Attention to detail  Poor flex performance
Smooth nib

Famous Last Words:

Tim: There is good news though- perplexed as I was (and wanting to love this pen) I reached out to Pendleton Brown, Nibsta’ Extraordinaire to see if the Titanium nib would be problematic compared to the other-type nibs he sees more often. He came back with, “…the Titanium semi-flex has as much hope of prospering as the rest of nib-kind. I have had good success with them…” He also mentioned that not every nibmeister is set up to grind Titanium so just check with your guy first if you’re looking to get the nib cut to a different shape (which I don’t recommend for a flex nib anyway.) Bottom line here- a comparatively small investment in a pro nib tuning should get this high-dollar pen writing just the way you like it.

Dan: Edelberg has shown that they can market, package, and design a solid feeling fountain pen. What they haven’t done is provide a feed that keep up with the semi-flexible titanium nib. I really think Edelberg should have used a gold nib that doesn’t flex. This would have hidden any inadequacies in the feed and made it so the user would be getting a little more value of out the pen. But ‘value’ doesn’t have a place anywhere near Edelberg. Edelberg is all about luxury, exclusiveness, and brand image. For $1000, I just don’t think you get enough of any of those things.

This pen was provided by Edelberg for review.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612217584 Ryan Roossinck on Facebook

    What’s the deallio? It blows up if you don’t write fast enough with it? :-)

  • Kai S

    Fantastic review. Thank you to both Tim and Dan.

    The Awesome Reviews consistently set the benchmark for all professional FP reviews: video, photos, scores, balanced and fearless opinions. It’s the best!

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Thank you. I appreciate that very much.

  • RagingDragon

    I could forgive the c/c filler (as long as a high quality convert is included!) since many customers (especially non-geeks) prefer the convenience of cartridges. However, laser engraving looks cheap and has absolutely no place on a pen with luxury pretentions – even moreso at this price point.

  • Andrew Wang

    Excellent review. I’d argue though that the C/C is a better alternative to more exotic filling mechanisms, as there’s less stuff to go wrong – if it breaks, pop in a new one. Same reason why I like my cartridge/converter Parker 51 – if the converter ever fails, I can just pop in another Lamy converter(or cartridge) and write on. And Lamy is here to stay, so there shouldn’t be worries on sourcing more.

  • Jon Rabbett

    Lots to love about this pen but then some serious flaws. Suddenly the packaging looks over the top when it’s only got a converter. The poor performance of the feed (love the Ferrari simile but I thought it would be more like giving a Ferrari a half gallon tank – you need to stop and refill every couple of miles..). The low rent laser engraving. Overall it looks really poor value for $1000.

    Btw Dan your handwriting is superb!

    • http://fpgeeks.com/ Dan Smith

      Thank you.

      I do think your version of the simile is more accurate and I can’t remember my original train of thought when I wrote that.

  • http://flounders-mindthots.blogspot.com/ Flounder

    Great review, not one wasted word, and the flex footage was really stand
    out excellent. Nice catch on the feed issues after extended use, it’s
    obvious a thorough ‘getting to know you’ sesh was undertaken before the video was shot.