Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bring me my pen, would you, Oldchap!

How could you not love a pen called Old Chap! (or Oldchap, strictly, without the space). It sounds as if it wears a tweed suit and a pair of brogues, and has an addiction to stiff upper lip and the art of understatement.

In fact, it's a French brand, so it would say 'litote' and not 'understatement'. And certainly the accommodation clip on this pen is anything but understated. It's in that rather overdone French art-nouveau meets Cthulhu vein that I'm never quite sure whether I love or hate. (Hate, probably.)

And here it is, photographed together with a Waterman Inkvue, because the material is almost, not quite, the same celluloid, with striking 'x-rays' in black and marbled grey (the Waterman is green). The effect of iridescence in the coloured rays is lovely. (Not so the brassing of the cap rings.) Its measurements are 12.3 cm long capped, 11.5 cm uncapped - just a bit shorter than the Waterman.


The ends of the pen, and the section, appear to be in ebonite which has gone somewhat olive. I removed the accommodation clip to see if originally the Oldchap had a different clip which had broken or been removed, but there's no sign that there was every anything there. 

The Oldchap is a lever filler. The lever is rather boring, particularly compared to the beautifully precise lever box and articulated lever of the Waterman. But it's well made, the end slightly bent to recess it into the shallow scooped end of the slot. There's no imprint  anywhere on the barrel. And this is a traditional lever filler, as far as I can see, with a traditional lever, not trying any of the advanced engineering tricks of the Inkvue with its lever-actuated bulb-filling mechanism and backwards-fitted lever.

Now, as for the nib. It's quite big - nearly 22mm long, almost exactly the same length as the Waterman, as it turns out, but a good bit wider. 18 carats, which is correct for a French made pen (14 carats/585 didn't qualify as 'or massif' according to the French assay regulations, so I'm told). And on dipping it I find that it writes, quite fine, and with a little flex. A little bit of feedback when I flex it hard, otherwise, it's quite smooth. 


I'm really quite impressed by this pen. It's a stunning looking beast, nicely made, and now sits in a box together with the Ink-Vue looking, if not quite a million dollars, at least worthy of its companion pen. I will be looking out for moreof the same: Tally-Ho, Oldchaps!