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Thread: Cleo Skribent Optima -14k Fine

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    Default Cleo Skribent Optima -14k Fine

    Recent visitors to the Pen Reviews forum will know I purchased a Cleo Skribent Classic Metal Piston fountain pen two weeks ago and instantly fell in love with the quality, performance, and overall value of that $110 pen (all amounts have been approximated to USD for ease of comparison). While I was in my local pen shop, my eye was drawn by the Cleo Skribent Optima, which I believe is their flagship model (ignoring the Natura series of wood finishes). However, I had a few reservations about the Optima given the in-store price of $560. Plain black resin, cartridge/convertor filling, and a 14k nib in my choice of M, M or M. So I left the Optima on the shelf and returned home to see what I could discover on the internet concerning the Optima. The answer was: not much.

    I could not find any reviews of the Optima and only a handful of online vendors carry the brand, let alone this model. I did discover that Cleo Skribent manufactured a pen from ebonite in the Optima's shape, which seemed to be coveted by aficionados, but discontinued the ebonite version in 2017. This is only increased my curiosity and so I decided to treat myself to my first new (gold-nibbed) pen in two years. Then pen arrived yesterday from Cult Pens (no import duty, yes!) at a cost of $360.

    IMG_2946.JPG

    Appearance
    Black resin cap and barrel, with an unusual eleven-faceted design. It instantly put me in mine of an Omas Paragon on a crash diet. The end of the barrel loses its facets and transitions to a round shape and looks like a blind cap for an alternative filling system. It's the right length for a blind cap, it screams blind cap, but it isn't. It strikes me as odd. There is a slight step down on the shoulder of the barrel to the section, but it is minor and doesn't interfere with my grip given the length of the section.

    IMG_2947.JPG

    The nib is a rhodium-plated 14k gold nib, with the faintest amount of yellow gold detailing on the (C) logo and along the shoulders of the nib. It is about the same size as a Pelikan M800 nib.

    IMG_2949.JPG

    The cap is fairly weighty, with the majority of the weight distributed towards the finial (perhaps due to the metal logo). The clip is a beautiful extravagance on an otherwise sober and restrained aesthetic. Interestingly, the cap shape changes from a faceted circle at the bottom of the cap to a faceted ellipsoid at the finial. Perhaps this decision was made to give sufficient surface on the faceted plane to attach the clip? The cap band is inscribed with "CLEO made in Germany".

    IMG_2948.JPG

    Function
    The tooling is superb, as expected from this manufacturer. Threads screw without any hesitation or wobble. The convertor works and feels generic. The pen is quite light, and the balance in my hand is exceptional unposted.

    Nib
    The nib was flawless out of the box, again as expected with Cleo Skribent (I don't know if they are made in-house or if Bock/JoWo produce them). There was no skipping, no ink starvation, no hard starts. The nib was not toothy or scratchy at all, but does provide some feedback, which I like. The nib performed equally well in all directions of the wind rose. The fine nib produced a line slightly wetter than the stainless steel version on my Classic, and the 14k is every so slightly softer and bouncier. However I must be clear that my statement is relative. The nib is quite firm, much like a M800.

    Conclusion
    I do really enjoy this pen. It is sober enough for any professional environment, but the clip and faceted body make it interesting. The pen writes flawlessly and exudes high quality tooling and construction.

    But. At the end of the day, it is still a c/c pen in black resin with a very straightforward 14k fine nib. Maybe I've been spoiled, or have had my expectations warped by too many Pelikans, but at this price I would have preferred a piston filler with a subtle ink window. It's a beautiful pen, well made, and does exactly what I demand of a pen. Notwithstanding, I am glad I found a deal online. I would not value this pen at $500+.

    Photos below for size comparison, capped and unposted.

    Lamy Studio
    Pelikan M215
    Pilot CH 912
    Omas Paragon (old style)
    Cleo Skribent Optima
    Pelikan M805
    Cleo Skribent Classic

    IMG_2943.JPGIMG_2944.JPG

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to BayesianPrior For This Useful Post:

    carlos.q (April 17th, 2021), fountainpenkid (April 18th, 2021), TFarnon (April 20th, 2021), Yazeh (April 18th, 2021)

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    Senior Member mizgeorge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleo Skribent Optima -14k Fine

    Nice review. I like pretty much everything about this pen, but at the price, I'd expect it to be a piston filler. To the point that it would be a deal breaker for me - especially given that it's even designed to look like a piston filler.

    The clip design is particularly appealing - and I don't even like clips!

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to mizgeorge For This Useful Post:

    Yazeh (April 18th, 2021)

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    Default Re: Cleo Skribent Optima -14k Fine

    Quote Originally Posted by mizgeorge View Post
    Nice review. I like pretty much everything about this pen, but at the price, I'd expect it to be a piston filler. To the point that it would be a deal breaker for me - especially given that it's even designed to look like a piston filler.

    The clip design is particularly appealing - and I don't even like clips!
    Thanks! From what I understand, the ebonite version of the Optima was a piston filler! Curiouser and curiouser...

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