I find it hard to resist an interesting fountain pen. I can’t remember where I saw them reviewed, but my interest was piqued by Gravitas Pens, and specifically by their range of pocket pens. As I got some generous gifts of money for my birthday a few months ago, I decided to buy one, and — spoiler alert! — I love it.
My first difficulty was deciding which one to get. I was very taken by the ‘skittle finish’ pens with their rainbow gradations, but they were out of stock at the time. I also started to think that one of the raw metal pens might be a better choice for a pocket pen carried around every day, as they would be tough but gain an attractive patina from frequent use. All the metal pens looked great, but I have always loved the look of copper (see also my love for copper saddle rivets), so I went for the raw copper model.
The metal makes it quite a weighty pen, despite the small size, but it is very well balanced and comfortable for prolonged use when posted. I’ve got small hands and use some other mini pens un-posted but this pen is a shade too short for that. The section is machined with micro-grooves which give fantastic grip without feeling at all rough or uncomfortable on the fingers. There’s also a subtle flare to the end of the section which stops your fingers straying on to the nib. The cap is long compared to the body and has a clever flat facet instead of a clip to act as a roll stop, and is decorated with the Gravitas pen logo engraved into the metal. The copper is raw and not coated in lacquer, so it will develop a patina over time. If you prefer to keep it shiny, you can always opt to use metal polish on it periodically. One thing to note is that copper does have a distinctive smell which transfers to your fingers, so it might not be the material for you if you don’t like the smell. In that case, the stainless steel or aluminium models might be more suitable. I quite like the smell and the way the surface changes as you handle it. Everything about this pen feels precision-made and high quality.
Usually I’m a straight down the line medium nib person, but when I saw that this pen had an option for a 1.1 stub nib, I decided to take a chance and try it. I have really fallen in love with it. It is a very smooth nib with great flow and the stub gives a lovely variation in line width while being much more tolerant of the angle at which you hold it than a true calligraphic or italic nib would be. Instead of being cut square across, the nib has smoothed off ‘corners’ so they don’t catch and dig into the paper surface. It is relatively broad compared to a medium nib so you need to make your letters larger, but it is worth it for the fun of swooshing around with the tails and decorations!
The pen takes the international standard short cartridges which work well. I have a few empty cartridges and a blunt needle and syringe so I can refill with bottled ink, but I also got a Kaweco mini piston converter to try out. It really is very mini and you have to depress the piston about 1/3 of the way in so that the body of the pen will screw down, but it does work. It is difficult to get much ink into it using the piston, so I may try filling it with the syringe next time. It is certainly easier to rinse out than empty cartridges. I notice that Gravitas now does a polycarbonate eye-dropper version, so that might be fun if you want more ink capacity. I’m just going to use the limited capacity as an excuse to change inks more often and enjoy the way that this lovely nib shows them off to their best advantage.