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de_pen_dent
May 5th, 2013, 10:58 AM
EDIT: Mods, if someone can fix the typo in the title, I'd appreciate that, thanks!

I've mentioned this several times on FPN, but I am a big fan of the Gates City series of pens. First of all, they are all really interesting designs: modern incarnations of vintage filling mechanisms. And coming from Richard Binder, they are all designed for writers, so very well balanced and with nibs that are as good as it gets. I own 2 New Dunns (a regular black and a Tattler), 2 Belmonts, 1 Postal Senior (and am on the lookout for more, if anyone has one for sale), and was the first to sign up for the Readyfill when it came out. Wish it had been a limited edition, as apparently, mine was the first off the line.

The pen came in a standard Bexley-style box, nothing much to report there.

This pen has received mixed reviews from people, with "fugly" being a general summary. I dont think that is fair to the pen. It isnt a classically gorgeous pen, no. Think of it as a pug, instead of a golden retriever. It grows on you and it has its own unique personality. I like pens with personality - as the man said, personality goes a long way. So even though this isnt going to win any beauty contests, it is still a pen I enjoy looking at and using. The camera on my phone doesnt really do the Claire de Lune color scheme any justice - at some point, I am going to pull out my SLR and take proper pen porn shots, but for now, this is going to have to do.

https://imageshack.us/a/img853/6096/20130505152554.jpg

It is a fairly small pen, capped - 5", as per Richard's website (IIRC). I wear size L gloves, and have longer and slender hands/fingers, and I can use the pen quite comfortably without posting. The pen is fairly light, with no artificial brassing to make it feel heavy, and so posts up quite nicely as well. I generally prefer to write unposted, but can happily post and write with this pen.

Also, with the pen posted, that sleeve looks a little better and more proportioned. I do think that the pen would have looked a lot nicer were it bigger, and the sleeve didnt overwhelm the rest of the body.

https://imageshack.us/a/img4/2/20130505152729.jpg

The pen comes with a removable clip, which just slides off, if you want to go clipless. The hexagonal sleeve means that you can actually rest the pen uncapped, without any risk of it rolling off. I didnt particularly like the removal clip option, so I took a bit of superglue and permanently affixed it in place.

The cool thing about the pen is the thumb filler mechanism. You simply turn the hexagonal sleeve, exposing the filling bar. Insert nib end into ink, squeeze it a couple of times and you are done. Turn the sleeve back - when closed all the way, it hides the bar and prevents accidents. The pen can even be filled when posted. Is there a practical benefit to this, vs opening the barrel? Not really. But it is definitely cool and different - and for someone like me, who really isnt too much into vintage pens, it is nice to get a design from the past but in a modern body (I also have a couple of the Conklin Crescent Mark Twains for the same reason).

https://imageshack.us/a/img15/1115/20130505152753.jpg

How does the pen stack up physically compared to others? Here it is, with my other currently-inked pens. As you can see, it is quite on the small side, comparable to the Sailor Ironwood (Tagyasan). But it posts up into a pretty respectable size.

https://imageshack.us/a/img402/2069/20130505161615.jpg

From top to bottom:
Sheaffer Legacy Mark 2
Pilot Custom Maple Wood
Bexley Classica
Conway Steward Churchill
Readyfill
Sailor Tagyasan.

As you can see, it posts up into a pretty respectable size.

https://imageshack.us/a/img580/844/20130505162022.jpg

How does it write? Well, as expected from a Binderized pen. I love his M-Stubs, and this one too got the same treatment, with his default wetness. It is up there with the rest of my Gates City pens, a Nakaya Neo Standard with a Mottishaw nib, a Platinum Izumo and an Aurora 88 as among my top writers. That's how good it is.

And the sleeve actually doesnt impede the writing. It sits nicely in the web of my hand - the balance of the pen is such that it doesnt push into my hand or throw off the balance of the pen. I dont even notice it is there.

That being said, I do wish the pen were a bit thicker. Most of my other writers are big and chunky, and while I can write comfortably with a smaller pen (the Tagyasan and I get along famously), it is always a bit of an adjustment. The width of the New Dunn is spot-on, Goldilocks-approve "just right" for me.

Writing sample - yeah, I know my handwriting is pretty chicken-scratchy. The stub makes it better. You dont want to see it with a regular F nib.

Ink used: Sheaffer Turquoise (yay Ink Drop).

https://imageshack.us/a/img41/8281/20130505154737.jpg

In summary - this is an unusual-looking pen. But one that grows on you. And of course, the writing performance is impeccable. If you want traditional looking pens, this may not be the pen for you. But for me, this checks off all my requirements:
- innovative filling system
- a really nicely-balanced writer
- supporting an independent, small pen manufacturer (not being American, the whole "made in the USA" doesnt do much for me, but it may, for some of you)

For what you get, I think the price is exceedingly reasonable as well.

I am very happy with the pen. Is it my favorite Gates City pen? No - it is actually the least favorite of my lot. But that isnt really a criticism, as my Gates City pens are right there at the top of my collection. The Readyfill would still rank in the top 15% of my collection, and ahead of many pens costing more (and some costing a LOT more).

Uncle Red
May 5th, 2013, 12:03 PM
Thanks for the great review. I like the idea of a reasonable sleeve filler that I can use guilt free but the modern acrylic colors turn me off.

klpeabody
May 5th, 2013, 02:44 PM
Thank you for the review. I have a Gate City Postal Jr. and adore it. I've been very curious about this one.

fountainpenkid
May 5th, 2013, 03:59 PM
Thanks for the review. I looks like a pen that would fit my hand nicely. That wood sailor is the sapporo size, right?

de_pen_dent
May 5th, 2013, 08:33 PM
Hi FPK - yeah, that Sailor is fairly close to the Sapporo in size (I dont think it is an exact match, though).

Jon Szanto
May 5th, 2013, 09:20 PM
This pen has received mixed reviews from people, with "fugly" being a general summary. I dont think that is fair to the pen.
It is good to see a thorough review of the pen, along with writing samples and other Gates City pens. I agree in that I find differing filling systems and "pen technologies" interesting, though my most unusual pen might only be a classic Sheaffer Snorkel. Nonetheless, I hope to get a nice Crescent filler or two, and maybe another unusual one to have in the array.

But as to your statement above, well, there is no fair in aesthetics. Admirable filling concept or not, I look at that pen and then I have to look away. To not like the way it is designed is neither wrong or ill-mannered, but to simply appreciate some differing aesthetic viewpoint. It is, in fact, something that would keep me from considering the purchase of a pen like that, which shouldn't be discounted.

Again, thanks for the review, and enjoy your latest entry in the Gates City family!

matveik
May 5th, 2013, 10:51 PM
This one is certainly not for me, but I'm glad that you find it appealing and have enjoyed it. It would be dreadfully boring if we all had the same taste. Thanks for the writeup!

de_pen_dent
May 6th, 2013, 03:58 AM
But as to your statement above, well, there is no fair in aesthetics. Admirable filling concept or not, I look at that pen and then I have to look away. To not like the way it is designed is neither wrong or ill-mannered, but to simply appreciate some differing aesthetic viewpoint. It is, in fact, something that would keep me from considering the purchase of a pen like that, which shouldn't be discounted.


Point taken. I didnt mean to imply that the criticism of the pen's beauty (or lack thereof) was lacking merit; I was merely trying to convey that this pen sort of grows on you, and isnt all that fugly in person, atleast IMO. Clumsy wording on my part, perhaps. But yeah, for sure, different strokes for different folk.

fpquest
May 6th, 2013, 06:36 PM
Thanks for the review. I'm also a fan of Gate City Pens, having 4 of them. But I passed on this one despite the unique filling system. Just too thin for me and I wasn't a fan of the colors.

writingrav
May 6th, 2013, 07:08 PM
I love my Gate City New Dunn and always have it in my rotation. I have to be honest, this one was intellectually interesting but just plain too ugly.

Jon Szanto
May 6th, 2013, 07:14 PM
Point taken. I didnt mean to imply that the criticism of the pen's beauty (or lack thereof) was lacking merit; I was merely trying to convey that this pen sort of grows on you, and isnt all that fugly in person, atleast IMO. Clumsy wording on my part, perhaps. But yeah, for sure, different strokes for different folk.
No worries, and I didn't consider it clumsy. We all fumble our way towards clarity, together. :)