Saturday, December 11, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 296

I recently paid a visit to Nikaido and, while there, spotted a glossy black Faber-Castell student fountain pen I'd never seen (or heard of) before. The store sells the F-C ' Student+ ' model (which I already owned), but this was a completely different pen. I was intrigued by the pen's design, I love Faber-Castell's steel nibs, and the pen was 50% off its $12.95 sticker price, so I bought it without too much internal debate. Meet my new Faber-Castell 'Fresh' fountain pen:

(please click on images to enlarge)

The Faber-Castell 'Fresh' is a current-model, German-made fountain pen marketed to "beginners and expert writers" (which I thought was interesting as it screams "School pen!" to me lol). It's available in four colours--red, blue, green and black-- and is normally sold on a blister card with a pack of six Faber-Castell Königsblau Royal Blue ink cartridges included (my pen was sold unblister-carded, but at half price, I couldn't complain). The ink cartridges included are the small international-sized ones, and you can fit two of them back-to-back in the pen's barrel.

The pen's ink windows immediately caught my eye, as did the prominent roll stop at the end of its barrel. The stop prevents the from pen rolling off a surface, but it also prevents it from being posted. I like posting pens, so this could have been a deal-breaker for me, but at 13 cm from nib tip to barrel end, I found the pen long enough to use unposted. Capped, the pen measures 14 cm in length, and weighs 13 grams empty, according to my digital kitchen scale.

The "Fresh" model is made of thick, sturdy plastic, well-suited for younger users (or anyone on the go who worries about dropping their pens) and has the Faber-Castell name and logo silk-screened onto its barrel. The cap snaps on with an audible "click" and stays on securely. The long rubberized grip section might look a bit odd, but its length actually makes it well-suited to both high-grippers (like me) and people that hold their fountain pens lower down the section. The grip section is ribbed and very comfortable to hold, and is slip-resistant, too.

The unmarked steel nib is very simple-looking and fairly small, but it writes very smoothly (without flex...but I wasn't expecting any) and has had no start-up or skipping issues so far. It's not marked anywhere on the pen or on any packaging I've seen online, but the pen lays down a line somewhere between a Fine and a Medium. There's only one nib size for this model, which is fine (no pun intended) with me. If I could make one change, though, it would be to add the same engraving to the nib as the one on the company's 'School+' model (which is a lower-priced pen... so why is its nib engraved and the "Fresh" pen's nib isn't ?!?).

I love the shape of the ink view windows -- at first I thought they were porthole-shaped but they're eye-shaped-- and their deeply-cut-out design. The windows are actually part of the section (not the barrel) and give the pen's user a good idea of how much ink is left in the cartridge--very useful for students.

The steel clip is simple, but functional, and clips very well. In the photo above, you can see the word "Germany" in raised letters on the side of the plastic piece that acts as a sort of fulcrum for the clip.

The roll stop consists of a small plastic bump atop a piece of thick curved plastic at the very end of the barrel. This bump mirrors the (slightly-larger) bump at the end of the pen's steel clip, which I thought was a nice design touch.

All in all, I was impressed with the design features on this inexpensive pen, and how smoothly and reliably it wrote. I couldn't find anyone in Canada currently selling the "Fresh" fountain pen online, but it's available from several European online sellers.

(photos & review by Maja)

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