Tag Archives: Write Here

I bless the rains down in…

A little bit of history  When OMAS collapsed, many a tear was shed – and many a huckster worked hard to purloin the brand. Some have occasionally claimed success in doing so, although it never seems to amounts to much more than a lacklustre product with a familiar logo. But the core values of well-turned pens made from classy materials sporting positively aphrodisiacal nibs live on in Scrittura Bolognese. Write Here, in Shrewsbury, have been commissioning special editions from them for a few years now, and this is the first to feature a translucent barrel so that some of the magic is on view. Inevitably, we all wanted to put it through its paces.

How it looks  It looks a lot like a distilled leopard, in short – at which point we should add that this is a vegetarian sort of pen (even if it inspired Dappr to nibble a zebra) and the image really is just that. But our panel were all struck by how much prettier this pen is in the, err, flesh. Even for those of us not given to favour brown pens all that much, it’s won fans wherever it has travelled.

How it feels  Light, warm, and springy – the latter being a lot to do with the Extra-Flex nib, about which more in just a moment.

How it fills  This is a piston-filer, as is the norm with most Scribo models (apart from the Piuma), and it fills fairly easily with a decent quantity of ink which, unusually, is visible within the workings. The temptation to fill it with a complementary shade has proved very strong; even Mr Teal didn’t put turquoise in this one, and another contributor bucked the trend with a disturbing absence of purple. If you like orange ink, though, this is the bee’s knees – and looks like them, too. Crucially, how it writes…  The Fine Flex nib is a joy, and by general consensus the nearest thing to a vintage wet noodle on the market today – even to the point, shockingly, that some of our reviewers prefer it to the Pilot FA nib. So how it writes is curvaceously, and wet. This is not a pen which scratches and blots on the page so much as one which aesthetically drools all over it.

Pen! What is it good for?  Unlike the popular Lamy, you won’t want to take this on safari; it’s a lovely, lovely pen, but the elephant in the room is that this is categorically unsuited to the rigours of the Serengeti. The Africa is made of somewhat delicate materials and the nib needs careful handling, so it is strictly one for enjoying in the library at home, possibly with a glass of Amarula in the other hand and Toto on the stereo, although the ambience is optional.

VFM  Bologna doesn’t make cheap pens, and this is no exception. Half a grand is a heap of dough for a writing implement and we probably wouldn’t suggest that anyone completely new to proper pens starts here; it helps to have a bit of experience before taking on a nib this flexible, for a start. But if you want something really special, this is arguably a decent bargain given that a certain well-known German brand will charge you twice as much just for the honour of turning a fairly boring black pen a slightly less boring red. If this is the perfect pen for you, it will probably be worth raiding the piggy-bank.

The only way is ethics  It’s made in the European Union, so we’re confident about labour practices, and it hasn’t travelled too far to get here either. Subjectively, we very much doubt it will break your heart.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  Realistically, the only nib anything like this comes in a different Scribo. The Write Here special editions change material roughly once a year, so you don’t have to wait too long for something visually different (although, conversely, if you love the Africa you’d better get your skates on). Or, of course, there are other, less cylindrical, Scribo shapes.

Our overall recommendation  Try one in the hand if you can, save up for a while if you need to – and whatever you do, don’t Google that Toto video.

Where to get hold of one  Write Here is the only place you’ll find this, but if you can’t get to Shrewsbury it’s also available online.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Write Here for the review sample

Scribo Write Here Tropea

A little bit of history  If you’re a fountain pen fan, you’ll know about OMAS – and you’re probably also still missing that venerable Italian brand. But by now you might also know that some of its staff stayed on in the home city and set up Scrittura Bolognese, or Scribo for short. They make the curvaceously pulchritudinous Feel, but they are also up for making ‘private label’ pens for other stationery brands – an offer Write Here were the first to take up. Their ‘WH special’ has been available in various hues for half a decade now, so we have been meaning to get around to this meta-review for erm, quite a while. Eventually the Tropea finish looked impossible to resist.

How it looks  The shape of the pen is fairly unremarkable, albeit nicely executed with a sturdy clip. The colouring, though, conjures up a red onion skin very well indeed – which is what the town of Tropea is famous for, after all. We could venture off on a diversion into Italian food here, but you get the gist. It’s tasty. Unfortunately for us bloggers, it’s also nigh-on impossible to do justice to with a camera; you really have to see this in the flesh to get a proper sense of the material.

How it feels  Sturdy, but not overly heavy. Large, but not uncomfortably so. Just right, actually; it’s a pen made for people who really want to write – which might sound obvious, but we do come across a few pens which seem to have been produced more as eye candy than writing implements. This, though, is a serious pen for serious pen people (with, admittedly, serious pen budgets). The Scribo nib makes it a more tactile experience to write with, too; this thing really bounces.

How it fills  This is a proper piston-filler, which works smoothly and holds enough ink to keep going even with a big wet nib – which is just as well…

Crucially, how it writes…  This particular Tropea is fitted with a big 18k ‘standard’ broad italic. It’s standard only inasmuch as it is not the extra-flessibile 14k which Scribo (and OMAS) devotees prize so highly – but there’s certainly nothing ordinary about it. This is not stiff gold, by any stretch of the imagination, so there is plenty of natural line variation and bounce. Astonishingly, the feed can keep up, too! Writing with this is quite the experience, and puts a LOT of ink down on the page. Great if you have a rather extrovert style of writing, although it can be a bit of a handful if small, neat lettering is more your thing.

Pen! What is it good for?  The Scribo WH special is designed as a practical every-day writer’s pen, although this particular italic nib makes such a bold mark on the page that it’s hard to imagine many business uses. This is probably just too much fun for the office, but for funky correspondence, audacious recipes, daring diaries, trenchant critiques of the imminent demise of western civilisation and such-like it’s probably just the ticket.

VFM  Well, it’s not cheap, it must be acknowledged; the configuration we tested retails at £590, which is a fair bit of cash for a writing utensil. But a soft italic nib is a rare thing, and this is such a treat to write with that if you do have such sums to hand, there are certainly far worse ways to spend it. The ‘mainstream’ alternative options at this price point won’t win you as many admiring glances from penthusiasts and hot pangs of jealousy from disappointed ballpoint-wielders, that’s for sure.

The only way is ethics  Hand-made in Italy, by people you can email and get a reply from, this is looking like a pretty sound choice on the ethical front too. The packaging doesn’t include too much disposable content, either; you’ll probably want to put the admirable Scribo pen wrap into use.

If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost…  The Scribo Feel is worth a look if you prefer a less cylindrical sort of experience but still want one of these extraordinary nibs – or if you want even more curves, try La Dotta.

Our overall recommendation  Try one in the flesh – and if you like it (which, be warned, you probably will), start saving!

Where to get hold of one  Write Here in Shrewsbury – or via their website.

This meta-review references:

Thanks to  Write Here for sending the Tropea our way.