The Faber-Castell brand and Faber-Castell pens are often talked about in the fountain pen community. However, the premium line, Graf von Faber-Castell, doesn’t seem to get enough attention as it should in my opinion. Previously I had reviewed the Graf von Faber-Castell Tamitio, which is the entry point to this luxury line. Those pens are great examples of the quality and design language that the brand delivers. After having those two pens, it didn’t take me too long to purchase another fountain pen from the brand and I wished that it could be my main writer at the time. This review will focus on this pen, the Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla.
Fountain Pen: Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla
Nib: 18K gold medium nib
Filling System: International cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition
1. Packaging (10/10):
There is nothing that I want to complain about the presentation of the pen. Similar to the Tamitio pens, the Classic model also has a small linen pen pouch provided. What’s really exciting is that the pen is presented in a beautiful and solid wood case. Inside the case, there are three slots available. Therefore it is not only pretty, but also quite practical since it can hold multiple pens together. The case is then well protected by a sturdy cardboard box. The packaging clearly shows that Graf von Faber-Castell has put a lot of thoughts into it.
2. Pen Design (8/10):
Overall, the design of the pen is simple, but the attention to the details makes the pen really elegant. When capped, the pen has a very streamlined profile. The cap and the end piece of the barrel are platinum plated, and the grenadilla wood barrel is fluted, showing the unique and natural grain of the material, which darkens over time. Both the top of the cap and the barrel end piece have knurling on the edges, showing a nice design consistency with the fluted barrel.
The cap features a spring loaded clip, which has just the right amount of tension. Also the engravings on the cap are nice and clean.
Unscrewing the pen cap shows the slim and long metal grip section. Usually I don’t prefer metal grip sections, but I absolutely love this one. The section gradually tapers in but curves out near the end. This feature helps the fingers have a firm and comfortable grip onto the long section. It is one of the best designed grip sections in my pen collection.
The pen is fairly slim but long. With the use of materials such as wood and metal, the pen is quite heavy for its size. The cap can be posted, but posting onto the metal end piece makes the pen extremely long and back-heavy. This pen should be long enough for most people to use without posting. Also the weight distribution is already very balanced without posting.
On the other hand, while I thoroughly enjoy the appearance of the pen, there are also drawbacks. Being platinum plated, the cap and the barrel end piece are fingerprint magnets. Also another issue I found is that occasionally when I uncap the pen, the threads for the grip section and the barrel also become a bit loose. It is possibly caused by having too much friction between the grip section and the inside of the cap, so that uncapping the pen also turns the grip section slightly.
3. Filling system (7/10):
This pen accepts both international short and long cartridges. Also it has no issue fitting an international standard converter tightly. Overall the design and execution here are definitely well done. However I cannot offer more points, because the converter filling mechanism is simple and easy to use, but relatively less elegant that other build-in filling systems, in my opinion. Also the pen does not use threaded converters. It is not absolutely necessary, but for sure adds a bit more quality and safety for the filling mechanism.
4. Nib Performance (7/10):
The 18K gold medium nib wrote a fairly wet and broad line. Personally I enjoyed how good the ink flow is, but not how thick the line is. The nib is springy and offers a tiny bit of line variation. It has a really consistent and excellent performance on less polished paper. Unfortunately, it skipped and hard started too frequently on several premium paper products. Since the nib wrote too broad already, I didn’t enjoy using it with less polished paper at all.
The pen was left out of my pen rotation for quite a while, until I brought it to the pen show to have the nib adjusted. After the adjustment, the nib now writes a wet fine line and I can easily give it a 10/10 score for the performance. With the fix, now this pen is often seen in the rotation and I enjoy trying many different inks with it.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (10/10):
The Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla fountain pen is very easy to be cleaned. One advantage of the converter filling system, is that it is easy to remove the converter and flush both the converter and the nib unit easily. Ever since I had the nib adjusted, I often keep the pen inked with all kinds of ink colours. There has never been any issue with the ink being difficult to be flushed out of the pen.
Also there isn’t much effort needed to keep this pen in good condition. Many parts of the pen are made with metal or wood, which are very durable. The wood barrel gets darker after long term use, but the appearance is still very attractive. The platinum plated parts are shiny and beautiful. However, they are also fingerprint magnets. Users may have to frequently wipe the pen clean, in order to keep its pristine look.
Pen Design: 8/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 7/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 10/10
The Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla fountain pen carries a fairly premium price, but also comes with premium material and build quality. The design of the pen is simple and elegant. This is a pen that’s ideal both as a nice writing instrument and as a luxurious gift to anyone who would appreciate a piece of art. The nib did require some adjustments at the beginning, but the pen quickly becomes a favourite after the trip to have the nib fixed. Combined with the international standard cartridge/converter filling system, there isn’t issue carrying the pen around and using it conveniently. If you are looking for a nicely designed fountain pen that also does not need extensive protection or maintenance, and do not mind the extra premium from the brand and the choice of material, this is absolutely worth considering.