A delightful entry-level fountain pen to rival Lamy Safari
Note: I had a problem with my Faber-Castell Grip fountain pen a week after posting this review. Please see the details at the bottom of the review.
I discovered a newly released fountain pen while visiting a local pen store that hadn’t shown up on my radar at all: the Faber-Castell Grip. The Grip is an inexpensive steel nibbed, plastic bodied, pen featuring similar styling to the Faber-Castell Grip Pencils’ triangular design with raised dots on the side. Knowing very little about the pen, which doesn’t even show up on Faber Castell’s Canadian website yet, I invested in the beautiful blue pen to try it out.
The Faber-Castell Grip fountain pen comes in three colours: black, silver and blue. The blue pen is an attractive colour as it is much more of a unique purple-blue colour - appearing more purple hue in person, as the tone corrected studio pictures show a more blue hue. As I don’t have any pens of a similar colour, I chose this colour and found it is an excellent addition to my collection.
The pen body is plastic which makes for a very light pen at only 15 grams (11g without the cap). For comparison, the Faber-Castell Loom is much more substantial at 24g (17g without the cap), and the similar Lamy Safari is 17 g (10 uncapped). As well as a similar weight to the Safari, the Grip has very similar dimensions as the Lamy. The two pens are the same length when capped or uncapped. The Grip is slightly longer when posted.
Faber-Castell moulds the Grip's body and cap in colored in blue plastic. The raised dots on the body are painted black, though I do wonder how this painting detail will age as I foresee the black wearing off from the constant contact with my hand from writing. Interestingly, the raised dots, which form an integral part of the design of the Grip Pencil, are only located on the body of the fountain pen and not on the grip section. This detail is just aesthetic and has no practical use in increasing grip, like the pencil. The pen has a rounded-triangular shape and a cylindrical cap. I find the lines and transitions from triangular to round much less jarring than the Lamy Safari transition from the flats of its body.
The section is flat black soft plastic or rubber material. The grip on this material is excellent, even for sweaty hands, and I find that my fingers don’t slide at all, even with more extended writing sessions. The grip section is triangular but with angles much less pronounced than that of the Safari. I think the pen has a good feeling grip even if you have a quadruped grip like mine. It is very comfortable if I switch to a standard traditional three-point grip.
The cap is cylindrical and made from the same coloured plastic as the body. A white Faber Castell brand logo is printed on the side of the cap at 90° to the clip. The cap pushes on and off making it very convenient for easy access. The clip is a curved design that narrows as it approaches the clip end. It is made from rolled metal as can be seen from the hole in the top. It is ok but is an indicator of the low price point of the pen. The end cap also has a raised Faber-Castell jousting night logo imprinted on it.
The Faber-Castell Grip has a steel nib. The nib on this fountain pen is different from nib in the Faber-Castell Loom as it is both shorter and wider. It appears to be a standard #5 nib, however, I am not sure about replaceability with other nibs. The nib is attractively decorated with a dot pattern and has the Faber Castell jousting night logo and the nib size stamped on it. I choose an EF nib in my pen.
I experimented writing with this pen and discovered it is most comfortable to write with and unposted (without the cap on the back of the pen) as the pen felt too long and rear-weighted when posted. The pen comes with both a sample ink cartridge and a cartridge converter. I used the converter and filled the pen with Platinum Carbon Black permanent ink. I had to submerge the nib quite deeply into the bottle to get a fill and didn’t entirely clean the grip well enough. I now have a couple of ink spots on my finger - be warned!
The nib wrote nicely out of the box requiring no adjustment or smoothing. It does have some feedback when writing which creates writing noise similar to a pencil. I am sure one could reduce this with some smoothing, but it is not required to write well. The nib width is in keeping with other European sizes a similar went to Kaweco, Mont Blanc, etc. I appreciated that at the pen doesn’t dry out quickly when not in use. I have had no hard starts with this pen yet.
Conclusion and Value
The Faber-Castell Grip retails for only $30 Canadian, which is about the same price as a Lamy Safari and just a couple of dollars more than a Pilot Metropolitan. It is also 25% cheaper than the TWSBI Eco and, as it comes equipped with the cartridge converter, is better value than the Safari.
I do feel that this pen is designed to be a direct competitor to the Safari with a similar size, weight, and price point. I find the Grip more pleasant to write with as the softer triangle grip is more comfortable in my hand. Based on the price point, the inclusion of the converter, beautiful design and quality writing experience I recommend that the Faber-Castell Grip for consideration of the first fountain pen or would it is or for an inexpensive daily carry pan for anyone I am delighted with this impulse purchase.
Note: About a week after writing this review, my Faber-Castell Grip experienced a failure. The inner cap, which clips to the nib unit to secure the cap to the pen, separated from the out cap. The outer cap is unsecured to the pen and falls off and the inner cap is difficult and messy to remove from the pen. I wrote about the problem with some pictures here and recommend that you read if you are considering purchasing this pen. Thanks.