Sunday, July 10, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 399

As promised in Monday's blog post, here's that colourful Conklin fountain pen I bought from fellow pen club member Andy last summmer--my Conklin 'Empire' in the gorgeous "Harlequin" pattern!

(please click on images to enlarge)

The Conklin 'Empire' is an Italian-made cartridge-converter fountain pen made of injection molded PMMA (Poly Methyl Methacrylate), which is considered a premium resin. It came out in 2018, and was available in a variety of colours -, , Oatmeal).

After I bought the pen from Andy, I looked at it more closely in my car. It was a very hot day (during BC's heat dome summer), but I was captivated by the fluted shape of the pen and wanted to examine it more closely before I drove home. The bright sunlight brought out all the wonderful colours in the resin, and I was stunned at the beauty of the material. Pictures simply do not do it justice.

The pen is torpedo-shaped but has a unique sculpted look to it, which appears to be inspired by Art Deco -- both the cap and barrel have raised facets in low relief that resemble the top of the iconic Chrysler Building. The pen's cap has four rounded sides (with three facets) that gently taper to a point, while the barrel (which has four facets) has a more pronounced taper, presumably to facilitate posting.

The 'Empire's' posted length is a whopping 17.5 cm, while its capped length is 14.3 cm, and its uncapped (nib tip to barrel end) length is 12.8 cm. The total weight of the pen (without a converter in place) is 29.4 grams, while the weight of the uncapped pen is 16.4 grams. The pen is well-balanced and not overly-heavy when posted, but I use it unposted because of its length. It also looks a bit awkward when posted, because of the relative narrowness of the lower barrel.

The section is metal, but flared at the end, to prevent the user's fing
ers from sliding off. I don't have a problem with the section, but some users might find it a bit slippery. The inner barrel threads are also metal, which adds to the overall weight of the pen, and precludes it from being used as an eyedropper-filler.

The steel clip bears the Conklin name, which is deeply engraved and then hand-painted with a bright blue lacquer. The clip is recessed (love that design touch!) but it's a different clip than the one on my Conklin 'Nozac'. I prefer the Nozac's rocker clip as it's much easier to use----I have to use both hands to engage the tight clip on my 'Empire'.


The red lacquered stripe on the metal cap band is found on all the 'Empire' models, regardless of their colours/patterns. Some people might not like it, but I think it suits my "Harlequin" model very well because its resin has a lot of red in it. The cap utilizes a magnetic closure mechanism (which Conklin describes as an "all-new twist magnet lock system") and is very secure.

The back of the cap with the words "Patented" and "Made in Italy" stamped on it...

Above: The gently-peaked top of the cap, where its four softly-rounded sides meet. The bottom of the pen's barrel has a similar--but more rounded-- end (see photo below).

The pen's raised facets line up perfectly whether the pen is capped or posted...

The lack of outer barrel threads (due to the magnetic cap closure) makes for a more comfortable grip. Also, the barrel "step" is set back further from the section, making it easier for a high gripper like me to hold the pen comfortably. 

This is the steel nib that my 'Empire' originally came with-- an Extra Fine Conklin #6 size steel nib (shown on my Conklin 'Metropolis' above). It wrote smoothly but had some hard-starting/drying-out issues, so .....

....I swapped it out for the Metropolis' Medium Conklin steel nib (above), which is an older Conklin nib with no ink flow issues. The peak-like engraving on this older Conklin nib complements the 'Empire's peaked cap and peak-like raised facets. The 'Metropolis' has a crescent moon cap band design on it that complements the crescent moon on my 'Empire's' original nib, so the nib swap worked out beautifully :)

The 'Empire' model came with several steel nib options - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and 1.1mm stub, and s
ome 'Empire' pens were available with Conklin's "OmniFlex" nib. The regular nibs were not marked with the nib width, but the sticker on the Conklin presentation box indicated the pen's nib width. The pen is also available as in rollerball form.

All in all, I love this pen! It has a unique look to it, the magnetic cap closure is cool, and the swirly resin is gorgeous. Many thanks to Andy for selling me this lovely fountain pen!

(photos & review by Maja)


Cableguy said...

Lovely review Maja.


Vancouver Pen Club said...

Thanks so much, Andy...and thank you again for the lovely pen (and the gift pens :) I still remember how excited I was when I looked at it in our boiling-hot Toyota after I bought it from you; the sunlight was so strong and all the colours in the pen's resin lit up. I think I actually gasped lol.
Best wishes,