After some hesitation I ordered a Conid Bulkfiller fountain pen with code R BCB BB SL (look it up at the Web site). I first heard about the company a couple years ago but didn’t pay much attention then. Finally past year I spent an hour at their site and decided to try their produce.
Two days ago after some waiting due to banking in Russia I got the pen and would like to share my first thoughts and impressions with you. I will compare the pen with some very good pens from big corporations.
Packaging. The pen arrived in a black tin box with an engraving. The box looks very nice. It contains the pen, two keys for maintenance, a simple but clear instruction paper and the designer’s card. Everything is in black plastic foam for safety. The packaging looks great especially if you recall that the best fountain pen on the world (or may be the second best now) Lamy 2000 comes in a simple carton box. Very good.
Overall impressions. The pen is beautiful. It’s not posh beauty of Montblanc Meisterstuk it’s utilitarian beauty of Lamy 2000. Though the latter pales a bit placed side by side with the Bulkfiller. The design reminds a bit about Meisterstuk, especially visibly heavy cap but you never mistake one for another. When you look at the pen laying on the table you definitely get it’s message: I’m a tool not a jewelery. Excellent.
The pen is small. On the Web site and on photos it looks impressive. After measuring I decided to pick the regular, not king size. But when you hold it in your hand you wonder how small it really is. I do not regret my choice but if you want a king size but hesitate my advice is to stop and go for it.
The pen is made of an unknown to me kind of plastic called Delrin and mostly dull gray in color with several prominent light gray metallic and one Plexiglas bands. The plastic has distinct rubber feel but it’s not soft or ductile. I personally don’t like rubber but the pen’s material is surprisingly nice for me to touch. Very good.
The pen is light, even filled and capped, you can write for hours as I do sometimes and your arm won’t get tired. Very good.
The cap. It is big, really big for this pen. On top of it you see the Conid’s logo that matches and surpasses surpasses Montblanc’s in it’s beauty and simplicity – a black and white circle. By the cap’s down edge there’s a sturdy metal band with a beautiful engraving “Fountainbel Conid Bulkfiller”. I think the engraving is laser made. Very good.
The nib. It’s an open, dull gray titanium nib, elongated and elegant with intricate engraved pattern, an emblem I still can’t decipher and a word “Bock”. It lacks beauty of silver and gold nibs of Montblanc. But remember, this pen is a tool.
As far as I know Bock is a quite known German nib manufacturer. Though I thought they were producing only steel nibs.
All the fountain pen nibs I come across I compare with the nib of the Waterman Carene because to me it’s the best nib ever, 10 of 10. The Bulkfiller’s nib is made of titanium and after reading the Internet reviews I thought to myself: “If it’s 8 of 10 I’d be satisfied”. Here I had a surprise – the nib appeared to be 10 of 10! It’s unbelievably smooth and soft! I don’t know how Conid achieved this keeping in mind that titanium is one of the worst materials in this world to work with but it is a nib beyond excellent.
The grip. A simple round grip with a small inset. Despite it’s simplicity it’s quite comfortable to hold during long writing sessions. Good.
The barrel. Above the grip there is a transparent Plexiglas band that shows the level of ink in the pen. Comparing with the similar part of Lamy you would have to say the Bulkfiller’s one is way better. The Lamy’s band is hard to see through, it’s narrower, split into three smaller windows and brushed.
The rest of the barrel is the same smooth Delrin plastic with the same rubber feel. Again, very nice to touch.
The blind cap. It’s used as a part of Conid’s filling mechanism. The same Delrin material. The blind cap has a thread. I suppose, I can screw on the cap on it, but haven’t yet tried. The impression is good.
And finally the pearl of the pen, the filling mechanism. That is why I bought the pen. This is so simple, brilliant and innovative you have to pull off the hat for Conid.
Even the best piston fillers use maximum a half of the barrel for ink. To fill the whole barrel Conid simply separated the piston and the rod. That allows you to move them independently leaving the piston on the top of the barrel after filling the pen. You unscrew the blind cap, pull the rod out, gently turn it in the same direction thus locking the piston and the rod. Then you push the rod inside along with the piston, put the pen into the ink bottle and pull it out again pumping the ink in. Then you gently turn the rod as if you screw the blind cap disconnecting the piston and the rod. Then you push the rod inside and finally screw the blind cap back. That is all. Is sounds scary but if you do it once you’ll get the grip.
This mechanism is so simple and obvious in the hindsight that you would wonder why it was Conid not you who invented it. A real innovation in the field that stagnated for at least 40 years.
When the rod is in it seals the main ink chamber leaving a small drop of ink in the capillaries around the nib. You can write with this amount for some time, filling at least one A4 page. Then you’ll have to unscrew the blind cap a bit and let the ink flow down. This very Japanese method of using the pen prevents leaks while commuting by plane. I honestly don’t know what will happen if you unscrew the cap after ascend.
Would I recommend a Conid pen for you? Definitely! It is pricey, but worth every penny. Besides, it was made for you, personally, with love.
I repeat, the pen is great, better than I expected. Thank you so much!