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Friday, June 1, 2012

Edsion Pearl LEE Review

At the end of the day, a fountain pen is still a fountain pen.

But among fountain pens, some are more special than others. Occasionally, you find a pen that just  "clicks". It fits right in, and it works just how you like it. Today I'll be reviewing a pen that really "clicks" with me. Enter the Edison Pearl, LEE.

Some of you know that I had a Pelikan M800 a while ago. It was a fabulous pen. Oddly enough however, it just never clicked with me. I ended up selling it, because I just didn't enjoy it that much. Since then, I have been searching for a "luxury" pen to replace it. My search was limited by both funds, and my pickiness. I had narrowed it down to a few choices, and as it happens, an Edison was one of them.

I couldn't afford a Signature line Edison at the time, so I just waited. That was until someone on FPN presented the idea of an Edison group buy! These have been done before, but this was my first time ever participating in one. There are some downsides to a group buy. Namely, you don't get full control over how your pen looks. But then again, you get NO control with most pens, so voting on the shape, furniture, and material was a lot of fun for me.

The main benefit of a group buy (typically anyway), is a hugely discounted price. I was able to obtain an Edison Pearl in ebonite at a significantly lower cost than usual. This is because Brian is making a large batch at once. Indeed, we had about 50+ orders placed for ebonite pens I think.

Anyhow, I placed my order, and waited out the slow months till the pens were ready to be shipped. One of the things that really made this purchase special was the way that Brian Gray kept all of us up to date on the progress of the group buy. He posted photos of the production, and all sorts of great stuff. It made it fun, and definitely helped shorten the wait. On top of that, the fabulous folks at the Goulet Pen Company were helping out, acting as the distributors for these pens. Brian made em', and the Goulets handled payment and shipping. It worked out extremely well, and we all had our pens in hand much sooner than expected!

Now I'm not typically one to fall in love with a pen the moment I begin using it. Quite the opposite - it always takes me a few weeks to get familiarized with the pen first. This Edison was no different. Obviously I was very pleased with it, but it's taken me until now to realize how much I really like it.

I can tell you right away, the #1 thing I love about this pen - It functioned flawlessly, right out of the box. I mean it - no scrubbing the feed with soap. No nib tuning needed. Not even tine alignment! For once, I actually got a pen that I could simply pick up, and write with. This is something that never happens to me, so needless to say I am delighted about the ordeal. Since then, this Edison Pearl has continued to give me reliable service. It never misses a beat, and is always ready to go on a moments notice.

The other thing I love about it is how simple it is. No frills. Just a plain ebonite pen, in a nice shape. It is featureless, save the clip, and I prefer it this way. I have too many pens in my collection right now that have (x) fancy feature. It's very nice to have a pen that is nothing more than pen. It's not a demonstrator, it's not a stylus, and it's not retractable. It's a fountain pen! :)

So now you've got a good back story, and I can jump into the real review. I won't be scoring this pen on a scale. Why? I prefer not to do that with custom pens, as it doesn't make sense unless you're the owner. To someone who doesn't own the pen, it will sound like an overpriced c/c filler, with some guys name on it (Edison!). But to me, it's a work of art, and so I want to share just that aspect of it with you all.

The Edison Pearl has always been my favorite pen in the Edison line up, simply because I find the shape of it the most appealing. The design is very reminiscent of a Nakaya Picolo (a pen I want, but could never afford).

Both the top and bottom have a nice conical taper.

A gold-colored clip was chosen by the majority. Normally I do not prefer gold trim at all, but in this case, it goes with the color of the Ebonite very well, so I have no problems with it.

The imprint is very clean and simple:
2012 Pearl LEE
45 of 79
And yeah! I got #45. :) And no, I didn't ask for it. It was all randomly done actually.

This pen is a c/c filler, which in all honesty, I have grown to enjoy. I will be doing an entire blog post about how I've come to appreciate c/c fillers, but for now it will suffice to say that I love the way this pen works. Also, a bulb filler would've added a significant cost to this group buy, if indeed Brian even allows for that.

The nib has been superb right out of the box. I opted for a medium, and it's exactly what I wanted. It's not the smoothest nib on earth, but it's very smooth, and it writes consistently every single time I grab my pen. That alone is worth the price of the pen to me. (Yeah, you can tell I've had some bad experiences in the last few months! :).

Like the entire rest of the pen, Brian does a fantastic job on the threads. They're incredibly smooth, and "responsive", if that makes sense. They lock up tight, and the seam between the barrel and cap is almost invisible. Needless to say, Brian is an expert craftsman when it comes to pen turning.

UPDATE: To answer a few good questions pulled from the comments below:

Q: "Is your nib gold or steel?"

A: Steel - all the nibs from this group buy were steel.It was too expensive to do gold nibs for a group buy.

Q: "What size nib was chosen for the group buy? Were you able to decide individually?"

A: Each person chose his/her own nib size. I opted for a medium, but many different sizes were chosen.

Q: "What was the cost of the group buy?"

A: This cost me just under $200.00 with shipping. A great price for an Ebonite Edison Pearl. According to the website, ordering this pen normally would run you at least $250.00, plus shipping, and whatever extra it is for ebonite ($20.00 or so). I feel like I got a fantastic deal on the pen for this price.

Q: "Please tell us how the ebonite material handles and wears in comparison with the more traditional acrylic resin."

A: The ebonite feels a little "warmer", but not slippery. It's very smooth, but it feels less slick than traditional pen materials. I have come to prefer the ebonite. I just like it. It offers no major benefits. It's really just the little things that make ebonite a better material in my eyes.

So, I could give this pen a rating, but I honestly don't think it suits very well. It's nearly impossible to give a pen like this a rating. For me anyway, it is at a different tier than typical pens I buy. I have nothing to compare it to, and therefore I can't really give it a rating. If you buy an Edison, I guarantee yours will be different than mine. You will love it, but certain aspects of it are bound to be changed/altered. The guy makes these by hand! Even if he attempts a perfect duplicate, it will still be a little different.

But you all obviously want some kind of conclusion on what I think about this pen. So, here goes: I personally am extremely pleased with my Edison Pearl. If you are in the market for something special, and you want a pen that's made just for you, I can highly recommend getting an Edison Pen. If you're looking for an inexpensive workhorse to throw in your bag, this is not the pen for you. It is expensive, but worth every penny to me. I will be happily using my Edison for many years to come, and this one is not a pen I ever plan on getting rid of.

It was a wonderful thing to open up a box with a gorgeous handmade pen in it, along with a note from the maker. And believe me when I say this - words can't describe my pleasure at inking it up, and having it immediately start writing properly!

So, two thumbs up for Brian Gray and the Edison Pen Company! I highly recommend Brian to anyone looking for a custom and/or handmade pen.

Lastly, a special thanks to:

- Mrs. Gray, for doing all that packaging and checking the nibs on the pens!

- And the entire Goulet Pen Team - Brian, Rachel, and anyone else there who was in on this group buy!

And thus I end my review of the Edison Pearl LEE (which by the way means Limited Edition Ebonite).

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