A little bit of history Before there were pistons, vacuums, pneumatic blast-poppers or funky crescent levers, there was but one filling system – the humble eye-dropper. Like its fellow Taiwanese offering from Opus 88, the Divine Design Eyedropper goes back to the roots, albeit with a syringe rather than a pipette in the box. It is apparently only distributed within the Iberian peninsula at present (for reasons we can’t quite fathom, but there it is), but of course that geography neatly includes the marvellous fpnibs.com, and they know a thing or two about interesting pens.
How it looks Very plain and straightforward: black cap and ends, transparent barrel, undistinguished clip. This is either helpfully minimalist, or a bit boring, according to taste – but we all agreed that this much ink sloshing around inside was a pleasant view.
How it feels Unposted, it’s a fairly big pen, but not oversized – so comfortable for most hands. That cap does post, but this makes it a bit top-heavy in our opinion(s).
How it fills Here is this pen’s first party trick – no less than three filling options. Why you’d put a puny cartridge in a beast like this is hard to imagine, but it’s nice to know that the capability is there for real emergencies. The box comes with a decent converter, which is considerate, but also somewhat redundant – because this thing is made to be filled to the brim. Open the barrel, which has nice long threads and an o-ring already fitted – and you can get a whopping 4ml of ink in there, which is enough to write for days.
Crucially, how it writes… Here is the pen’s second party trick; it takes a JoWo #6, and fpnibs stock a lot of those. For fun, and to make interesting photographs, we went for one of their colour-lacquered offerings, but any of their steel options would do – or you could even push the boat out and choose a gold upgrade. We’ve yet to encounter the JoWo #6 which writes badly. The purple lacquer did start to wear off once it reached its fourth reviewer, but the tip carried on writing just as well.
Pen! What is it good for? It’s probably just the thing for when you don’t need to show off, but do need to write for a long stint without refilling. There are other ways to achieve that aim, but let’s face it – this solution is a tenth of the price of a Conid.
VFM With the nib and a bit of VAT inside the EU (for the time being, at least) this comes to about £45. Not dirt cheap, but pretty fair value for a useful pen, if not the glitziest. The box includes a syringe, converter, and instrucciones (in Español), so it covers all the bases and even provides a diverting translation challenge if, for some inexplicable reason, you’re the sort of fountain pen enthusiast who knows everything apart from where the ink goes.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… Have a shop-around for eye-droppers. They are making a gradual comeback – take the Opus 88, for instance.
Our overall recommendation We like the way it works, for the most part, even if we’re not all blown-away by its plain looks. A safe choice as long as you don’t insist upon posting all your caps.
Where to get hold of one Direct from fpnibs.com is probably the simplest route.
This meta-review references:
- Scribble’s purple postcard
- Ian’s postcard from the beach
- Ali’s full-on David Bailey scenic postcard
- Cantatrice’s indundation by a postcard from Mrs Trellis of North Wales