Do pens ever intimidate me? Usually not. Are there pens that I'm not entirely certain how to approach? Absolutely. I'm going to put this pen into that category.
The folks over at Esper Luxe were kind enough to send me on loan a pen that many people have probably never heard of called the Edelberg Sloop. Edelberg you say? Not a name that comes up very often in our little niche community.
For introductions, Edelberg is a Swiss company that creates a very unique and limited range of luxury items like pens, watches, cufflinks and other accessories.
I have some nice things, but as I wouldn't consider myself someone that lives a luxurious lifestyle (from the context of nice cars, fancy hotels...), this is perhaps where some of my trouble lies in approaching the pen from my normal angle. Nonetheless, I want my review to not only be objective in nature, but also within the context of how and why a pen like this exists.
Edelberg produces two models of pens: the Sloop and the Tachys. The Sloop is a twist mechanism ballpoint pen and the Tachys is a fountain pen. Both pens come in a range of editions made from various materials and finishes.
The Sloop design is said to be produced by inspiration from a sloop sailing vessel. It has a unique shape (although pleasing in my opinion) that tapers from wide to narrow in both width and height. This makes it from tail to tip a sort of wedge shape. The ends of the pen have pieces made from PVD coated stainless steel that have been engraved with evenly spaced lines that run parallel with the barrel of the pen. The metal finish on this particular model is more of a gray/black metallic matte. Like a dark polished stone.
Before getting too deeply into the design, feel, and performance of the pen, the price of this particular Sloop model runs around $1,100. Like anything else, once a certain threshold is met for pen purchases, price and value really do start to become subjective. What makes a pen worth $2 and what makes a pen worth $1,100? They both write and serve their "purpose". Equally? This is where things get hazy... I've purchased a handful of pens that I would consider pretty expensive and performance and function don't necessarily play the same role once a certain price point is crossed. At that point you are moving into the appreciation of design, craftsmanship, branding or exclusivity which is completely ok if there is meaning in it for you. Practical? Of course not, but practicality and luxury do not tend to always play in the same sandbox nor do they need to.
This particular Sloop is made from carbon fiber. The barrel is beautifully milled and polished and a black strip has been inlaid into each side of the pen, also polished smoothly to be flush with the overall shape. Edelberg also makes a version with a glow in the dark luminescent material inlaid (much like the lume on a watch) which looks pretty stunning.
The pen is quite large and hefty coming in at around 52 grams and a length just shy of 6 inches. Front shirt pocket carry is tough in my opinion, but if clipped into a jacket or thicker material the pen seems to fare better.
To extend the tip, the tail end of the pen has a twist mechanism that turns 180 degrees. The movement is solid and smooth and once extended the tip doesn't flex or move at all. The end of the pen and twist mechanism has deeply etched or engraved the Edelberg logo.
The refill inside is one I've not heard of before called the SoftStar, a Parker style (or standard G2) in a black, 1.0mm tip. It writes smoothly, but is a fairly typical ballpoint refill that will perform under most conditions thrown at it.
A cool feature of the pen is a retracting clip. When the tip is extended, the clip sinks down slightly into the barrel as to not allow it to be clipped to a pocket. LAMY has a few pens that follow this logic and the engineering adds some intrigue to the experience. The clip itself is actually quite attractive. It is a solid piece of faceted metal that, from a design perspective, meshes perfectly with the pen. It isn't a hearty clip, so as mentioned before, the weight of the pen makes it somewhat ineffective on thin material. From pure aesthetics I think it looks great on the pen.
Underneath the pen barrel there are two flat metal pieces that line up with corresponding flat sides on the tip and tail. These flat sides are most likely for design, but also act as a surface for the pen to rest on when set on a desk or table. When set like this it gives the pen a bit of a commanding presence; an intentional design stance I suppose.
From a comfort perspective, while writing I found I had to adjust the pen to fit my hand in really one position: with the flat metal piece rested against my middle finger. The metal piece isn't the "warmest" feel from an ergonomic standpoint. I could see long writing stints being a bother or possibly uncomfortable.
The weight distribution is just slightly top heavy, but for how much heft this pen carries it is actually a pretty comfortable balance.
The presentation box of the pen is quite elaborate. It comes in a matte black textured box with a glossy Edelberg logo stamped. Inside is a clear acrylic box that could nicely act as a display case (likely its purpose) for the pen when not in use. Kudos on the presentation.
So how do I feel about this pen? In not quite knowing how to approach it from a review standpoint, overall I think it is actually quite fantastic. The build quality on it is solid and the finish is beautifully executed. It is a pen you find yourself looking at while writing which definitely says something. It is a unique and very different design when compared to what else is on the market and I feel that in the production process there is no stone left unturned. There isn't any dark corner of the pen where they seemed to cut corners or overlook a detail. It most definitely feels like what I would expect a luxury pen in its price range to feel like, which is a compliment.
As eluded to above, price and value aren't so easily black and white. No disputes, the Edelberg Sloop is an expensive pen, but is it worth $1,100? Based on my thoughts on the subjectivity of what monetary value we put on design and experience (not simply performance or function), I can honestly say that, yes, it could definitely be worth $1,100 to someone. Although it is not likely in my realm of pursuit, for others it very well could be.
Special thanks to Esper Luxe for sending the Sloop my way for review. It is a lovely piece.