Trilogy Pens - Zero Fountain Pen Prototype Review

There seems to be quite the hustle and bustle of Kickstarter pen projects at the moment which has been fun to see. Always excited to see what new things small brands and makers are coming up with. 

I was recently contacted by the folks over at Trilogy Pens who asked if I might like an early look at a prototype of their new Zero fountain pen soon to hit the Kickstarter circuit, so special thanks for sending a sample over for review.

While this pen is an actual sample and prototype, I'll make note of anything that seems amiss or could use attention, but Trilogy communicated a few things to me directly which I'll try to point out that they will already be addressing in final production.

The overall experience of receiving the pen is very polished. The packaging is nicely presented with the pen arriving in a matte black card stock box with a glossy letterpress Trilogy Pens logo and name. Inside you'll find another matte black sleeve imprinted with "ZERO" wherein there is a walnut block with a routed channel to nest the pen. The branding scheme and feel of it all is calculated and well put together.

Being a woodworker as my alter-ego (via Dudek Modern Goods), the walnut block is very poorly finished with saw marks/burns, sharp or chipping edges, and the routed channel still having some rough wood surfacing that could be sanded down. The wood is also raw rather than finished.

I'm probably more sensitive to this than others might be, but there was an opportunity here to create a lovely display setting that could reasonably rest on your desk to cradle the pen when not in use. Not a deal breaker as it is just "the box", but the lack of attention here didn't quite fit the overall presentation. Being "prototype" packaging, I cut it some slack, but something that may want to be addressed or looked at.

The Zero is a minimalist fountain pen machined from aluminum and anodized in a matte silver or black finish. It has a pleasing shape; simple, clean lines, no fuss. The overall shape when capped is a symmetrical, cylindrical shape that widens at the center. Both ends of the pen are flat with a sharp, crisp edge. This flat end allows the pen to stand on end (although wouldn't recommend as a means of keeping it unused as it will tip).

I was sent the matte black version which looks sleek, sharp, and maybe even a bit on the edgy side...

The aluminum is bead blasted prior to the anodizing which is what provides the matte, uniform texture. With anything matte black, any oils or grimes you have on your hands will transfer a bit in smudges, but in using the pen I don't find it creates an unappealing experience. The finish is consistent and clean.

I'd consider the pen to be somewhat large, but not huge. Capped, the length comes in just shy of 15 centimeters while, in comparison, a pen like the Lamy 2000 at around 13.5cm. 1.5cm doesn't seem like a lot, but on a pen it can add quite a bit of substance.

The Zero is a clipless pen so is designed as either a pants pocket, sleeve, or desk user. I'm totally ok with this as I personally enjoy pens I can toss in my jeans pocket. I'd wager that although the finish is anodized, the matte black particularly will start to show considerable wear if left to jingle with whatever might be floating in our pockets. 

In addition to being clipless, the pen is also not designed to post. Technically the cap fits on the end of the barrel, but not very much and it will scratch the heck out of the finish in no time. So, my recommendation: don't post. Also, for kicks, posting the pen would put the overall length in hand at 19.5cm...

The cap unscrews easily in around 3-4 good turns as well as returns quickly without any binding or "searching" for the right threads or angle. The threads are anodized in the matte black as well and, after about two weeks of use has started to flake a bit in spots. The threads themselves are already pretty worn around the sharpest points. With how the anodizing is done, I'm not certain this is avoidable but the silver finish may hide this more.

Trilogy Pen has chosen to use a #6 Bock as the nib for the pen which is a great size and Bock does a fantastic job. Mine came in the black finish which gives the pen an overall "stealthy" look which is cool.

I loaded it up with Aurora Black (literally, the BEST black I think) to finish off the whole ensemble. They sent a fine nib (size) which writes great with a pretty glassy feel and no skipping or really hard starts to think of. A fantastic writer.

They will also be offering either a polished steel or gold colored nib during the campaign.

Even being a larger-ish pen, I found it extremely comfortable while writing. The nib, barrel, section, and inked converter only come in at around 1.1 oz which feels substantial with some heft, but not overly heavy at all. The weight to size ratio is pretty spot in.

When I said "calculated" before regarding the presentation, that doesn't come with a negative connotation, but more translates into that the pens don't really have any sort of "organic" flavor to them. Maybe even a bit on the cold, sterile side, but doesn't detract from being a solid pen. And, maybe that sort of "minimalist" approach to the brand is intentional.

I think the Zero is a slick pen. The more I've used it, the more I find I enjoy what the people at Trilogy have put together and I really, really like it. Not as much character as some of the other machined pens on the market, but super sleek and very polished. 

If the Zero is a pen that is pushing your minimalist buttons, head over to the Kickstarter campaign to check them out. And, thanks again to Trilogy Pens for sending the sample!

Would love to hear thoughts on this one so please comment below.