Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 400

Post #400!

Since it's early summer, I thought I'd do a review about a pen that pays tribute to my favourite season, and my favourite U.S. state ...

I haven't seen the film, but I'd seen the iconic Day-Glo movie poster made for this 1966 surfing documentary many times over the years (it's in the Museum of Modern Art's collection, as well as the Smithsonian). The poster was created by graphic artist John Van Hamersveld, who went on to design album covers for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys. When I saw photos of Conklin's new 'Duraflex' limited edition "Endless Summer" fountain pen, I immediately knew that it got its inspiration from this timeless work of abstract photographic art...

(please click on images to enlarge)

From Conklin.com:

"Soaking up the sun, breathing in the fresh air, road trips with good company, and the long cool nights… Experience the joys of summer living with the new limited edition Conklin® Duraflex™ Endless Summer. Influenced by the warm sun, sands, and spirit of sunny California, this energetic new resin is sure to catch the eye of those around you while still paying tribute to the ever-popular and classic Duragraph line that it expanded from."

Only 1898 pieces were made in fountain pen form, and 898 in ballpoint. Because of the type of resin selected for this limited edition run, no two pens look exactly alike. All of the pens have rose gold-coloured trim and the fountain pens all have OmniFlex™ nibs that are rose gold in colour, as well.

Isn't it pretty? :)

For a limited edition, individually-numbered fountain pen, the pen's MSRP of $75 USD is surprisingly affordable. I purchased mine last month for $57 USD + $19.56 for shipping & import charges to Canada via eBay seller 'madisonfinepen'. It arrived in the blue Conklin box with the decorative sleeve shown above.

Conklin's blurb about this pen mentions their 'Duragraph' model, a popular (and ever-expanding) line of flat-topped fountain pens. So, how does the 'Duraflex' model differ from a 'Duragraph'? Answer: 'Duraflex' pens are 'Duragraph' models that are individually-numbered limited editions. The very first 'Duraflex' was a black with rose gold trim model made for Goulet Pens back in 2018. Most 'Duraflex' fountain pens are limited to 1898 pieces, but I've seen some made in even lower numbers (e.g. only 365 "Dayflex" & 365 "Nightflex" models were made, only 288 of the "Juniper" model were produced)

Oh, and remember how I said in my last review that pen companies love to re-use old model names? Well, Conklin produced a vintage model called the 'Duragraph' that came out in 1923. It was only produced for one year before being replaced by the 'Endura' model (and yes, Conklin later produced a modern 'Endura' pen, too!)

The Conklin 'Duraflex' is a colourful, all-resin, medium-sized flat top fountain pen, measuring 14 cm / 5.5 inches capped....

... 12.5 cm (just under 5 inches) from nib tip to barrel end...

...and 17.5 cm / 7 inches posted.

It's a light pen (24 grams with the supplied converter in place) but I found it a bit too long to use posted. Its grip section is gently tapered and goes from 1.0 cm (10 mm) in diameter nearest the nib to 1.1 cm (11 mm) nearest the barrel threads, which I find quite comfortable. The pen's cylindrical barrel has a diameter of 1.3 cm / 13 mm.

Above: The rose-gold coloured, harpoon-shaped OmniFlex™ nib that the fountain pen came with. This is the old-style OmniFlex nib (before Conklin switched to JoWo as their supplier) with the heart-shaped breather hole, and the word "FLEX" above the Conklin logo and "TOLEDO U.S.A." The nib has the same black plastic feed as the newer version.

Small confession: as cool as its nib looks, I really didn't buy this Conklin limited edition pen for its nib. Call me cynical, but when I hear about a modern fountain pen nib that's touted as having flex, I'm a little sceptical about it. Vintage nibs with "true flex' were made of gold and Conklin's OmniFlex is made of stainless steel, so I wasn't expecting too much flex.

So, how does the Conklin nib write?

It writes surprisingly well! I say that because I was surprised at how much line variation I got without the nib railroading. With light pressure on the nib, the pen laid down a medium line. Adding a bit more pressure yielded a broader line, and when I added a bit more pressure to that, I got the line variation you can see in the word "flex" and the horizontal/vertical lines above.  I thought I'd need considerably more pressure to create that kind of line variation, but I didn't. Keep in mind this is the old-style Conklin 'OmniFlex' nib, not the newer one made by JoWo- I haven't tried the JoWo one yet.

(ink in writing sample : Diamine 'Blue Velvet')

The pen's barrel is unadorned, but its cap top (above) has "Conklin" and "Est. 1898" engraved in a neat cursive font and filled in with gold paint/lacquer...

The pen's barrel is engraved --in a lovely block font--with "DURAFLEX Limited Edition" followed by the pen's individual limited edition number (my pen says "0123/1898"), then filled in with the same gold paint/lacquer. I find the barrel engraving very attractive, and I love the rose gold-coloured barrel ring--it adds a nice bit of ornamentation without making the pen excessively showy.

I didn't take a close-up shot of it, but the rose gold-coloured cap band has the Conklin name in cursive, three crescent moon shapes, the word "Duragraph" (in the same cursive font), followed by three more crescent moons on it-- simple, tasteful and unobtrusive.

The pen's narrow clip has a flattened ball-end and a top-mounted design that allows the pen to sit low in the pocket. It's not the large, rocker-style clip (which is a great design, btw) found on some other Conklin models, and it doesn't have the Conklin name engraved in large font (which can be a bit much, visually, on a narrower pen) on it - the clip actually doesn't have the Conklin name on it anywhere. This elegant clip suits the simple design of the 'Duraflex', while providing a secure form of attachment for papers or clothing that isn't overly tight.

In summary, this is a beautiful, affordable numbered limited edition fountain pen with a cool-looking nib that performs well and is bound to draw attention (and perhaps some envious looks?). It's a very colourful fountain pen, but I personally don't find it garish. Your opinion may differ ... but that's A-OK with me :)

Have a safe, happy summer, everyone! 🌞

(photos & review by Maja)


Cableguy said...

I really love that color Maja.
I might get one as well.


Vancouver Pen Club said...

Thanks, Andy!
There were only 1898 FPs made, so you might want to jump on it before they sell out!

Best wishes,