Schon DSGN Pocket Pen - Stainless Steel Version

Although it is smaller in size and quite simple when you look at it, one of my all-time favorite pens is the pen by Ian Schon of Schon DSGN. When I need an ultra-portable pen to toss in my pocket, 9 out of 10 times it is one of these. 

At this point I think I've owned 4 different versions, but I'm always excited when I find out Ian has done something new with the material as it will create a different experience with the pen. The most recent iteration of the pen is made from stainless steel and Ian was kind enough to send me one to check out.

In a nutshell, the Schon DSGN pen is a compact all-metal, USA made pen that takes the durable Fisher Space Pen refill. It is designed to be a pants pocket carry (no clip) coming in at only 4" long closed, but the cap posts onto the end of the barrel to extend it to 5.75" for normal writing. 

The first pocket pen Ian designed was made from aluminum and was an awesome, very light carry. Later he came out with titanium, bronze, and brass versions which gave his customers some additional options in how hefty they wanted their pen to be, but there are some considerations to be taken into account....

A couple of examples: brass and titanium. Brass is heavy and it develops a cool patina over time (if that is your thing), but brass pens tend to smell after awhile which may not be super appealing. The titanium is a cool grey color, is a bit heavier than the aluminum, and is a nice weight, but is three times the price.

I feel this is where the stainless comes in as an awesome middle ground. You get the heft of the brass without the smell and the color and durability of the titanium (close enough), but you're paying less for it. The pen is pretty weighty at 2.9 oz, so it packs a punch for being so small in size.

Now the stainless versions are $100 which can be understandably pricey, but this is a possession you'll buy and likely keep forever, is made by a small business (not a big factory), and is unique. Value is subjective from person to person, but these are things I find worthy of the price.

Design wise the pen is very simple being mainly a smooth, cylindrical shape, but there are some machined lines at the very top of the cap for a subtle decoration. The pen has no taper, and with the cap removed the grip section is also a straight cylindrical shape that goes into conical tip.

To swap the refill does require a screwdriver to remove the brass set screw. Luckily, the Fisher refills tend to write for quite awhile and I see this pen as more of a "jotting" rather than "memoir writing" type, so swapping shouldn't happen too often anyway. The weight of the stainless would make really long writing stints pretty uncomfortable I'd think, but perfect for quick notes.

The finish on the pen is smooth, but the surface appears that it may have been tumbled as it has some visual texture.

Again, not sure if I can say anymore than I have how much I enjoy the Schon DSGN pen. Its likely a mix of its simplicity in design, weight and substance of the material, and high functionality that combine into something interesting and unique. If EDC is a thing for you, I feel like these would be a standard.

Thanks again Ian!



Pelikan P16 Stola III Fountain Pen (and Giveaway from Pen Boutique!)

When you think of Pelikan pens, you tend to think of how they generally cost around the $150 range to start (and definitely go up from there). The brand has a lot of heritage, pedigree, and a loyal following and their higher end gold nibs really are phenomenal. 

Pelikan has had what I would consider more of a "kids" pen line like the Pelikano or twist, but traditionally not a lot in the more entry level "grown up" section. Even with pens like the M100 or Pura coming in at around $100, it has traditionally pushed the brand away a bit for the first time fountain pen folks. It took me awhile to take the plunge on a Pelikan. 

But, Pelikan recently has tried to remedy that by releasing a new, entry-level fountain pen called the P16 Stola III that retails for around $45 (street price of around $35).

Pen Boutique was kind enough to send me this model for review, so special thanks to them! And, through June 1st they are giving away one of these same models to a reader of the blog.

The Stola III is a clean looking, professional pen made of mostly metal parts that has a hefty weight to it. Not heavy per se, but hefty for its size. A bit of a simpler, perhaps more modern style than their 200-1000 series with a bit less embellishment and flair.

From a feel or quality standpoint I'd put this pen in the category of the Pilot Knight or many lower priced Cross or Parker fountain pens. Nice, but not like "wow" nice if that makes sense. A nice dip of the toes into the pool of wanting to try fountain pens, but with a bit more of a professional aesthetic that might look a bit less distracting than a new limited edition lime green Lamy Al Star when in that meeting at work... The Stola III is still likely to catch people's attention though.

As mentioned, the pen is mostly metal construction and the barrel is coated in a shiny metallic silver. The clip and tail of the barrel are coated in a glossy black paint which has a few dimples and imperfections. If you're a perfectionist, these types of things might drive you a bit crazy.

The pen comes standard with a steel, likely medium nib which is adorned with the Pelikan logo and some very classic, although simple, Pelikan "swoops" around the tines which adds some nice detail to the pen. No boring and generic "Iridium Tipped Germany" like a lot of lower priced pens that seem to share the same nibs...

First nib experience with the Stola III; not so good, but Pen Boutique was kind enough to send me another pen as the initial sample was having hard starts and baby's bottom type skipping issues. 

The new nib definitely has a sweet spot right in the middle and hard angles to the left and right made the lines fade out. The nib writes pretty well, but is a bit on the grabby side and has some considerable feedback. While the second pen writes better, I still have run into an occasional skip in my lines. 

The pen came with a standard international long cartridge, so it will also take a standard converter as well if you wanted to use bottled ink.

There are apparently a Stola I and Stola II which vary in color from the Stolla III (and don't offer a fountain pen version), but this seems like a bit of an odd convention. I could see if they were trying to play a bit off of the Lamy Dialog series where the ballpoint is the "1", rollerball is "2", and the fountain pen is "3", but this isn't the case. Anyway, small rant, but just my opinion.

Overall I think the Stola III is a pretty decent entry level pen if you're looking for something that fits this aesthetic and want to tap into the Pelikan brand at a low price. Not sure I'd personally recommend it to first timers over others like the Pilot Metropolitan or Lamy Safari (aesthetics again...), but I've heard from quite a few people that really like this pen so you might too.

The Giveaway!

As mentioned, Pen Boutique is kindly offering a giveaway for a Stola III fountain pen to a reader of The Clicky Post! To enter, visit their giveaway page until June 1st to provide your details. Thanks again Pen Boutique!