I’ll be the first to admit that I keep dropping the ball on the blog over the last couple of months. We’ve been very busy since the beginning of the year (the chess store as well) and my blog schedule keeps getting pushed back. I’ve resolved to try to change this and I certainly have more than enough pens and inks to tell you about.
In January I reviewed the Diplomat Aero. This pen was a bit of a surprise to me. The pen was gorgeous to write with even if it did have an odd Zeppelin-like style. It was an attractive pen but I couldn't get used to writing with a hot air balloon. And because of that, I couldn’t wait to try the other pen from Diplomat. Enter the Excellence A. Oh boy, I do like this pen!
The Excellence A is a classic styled pen compared to the Aero. It looks like a fountain pen and feels like a fountain pen. We carry the chrome trim edition with steel nib and the pen exudes quality and solid craftsmanship. Often you pick up a metal bodied pen and feel a slight tinny quality to it. This isn’t the case with the Excellence A. On a lower cost pen you can sometimes find that the lacquer feels like plastic. Again this isn’t true of the Excellence A.
The pen has a decent weight to it and the beautiful barrel and trim just ask to be handled. I love the snap mechanism of the cap. It feels solid and reassuring. You can click the cap back onto the pen and know that it will stay on. I tend not to write with the cap posted but it does fit snugly should you want to.
I often get inquiries whether expensive pens are really worth their price. The Excellence A oozes quality and the nib is sublime. If you were to compare it to a $15 fountain pen you would certainly understand that the answer is a resounding yes.
What can I say. The barrel is beautiful. The evergreen lacquer is particularly nice to the eye, feels good in the hand and might even withstand being dropped from a great height. The barrel has a very pleasing shape and is medium in size. The Excellence A is not a huge pen but is an ideal size for average hands.
I’ve mentioned the snap cap but the other thing that I love is the plastic grommet that is present on the nib section screw. When the nib section and barrel are screwed together, the grommet provides friction preventing the two from coming undone. The lack of this erks me about other fountain pens. Occasional rotation of the cap can undo the nib section from the barrel, but not on the Excellence A.
The chrome trim finishing is gorgeous and complete the barrel. I particularly like the solid feel of the clip and the Diplomat propeller insignia on the top of the cap.
Like the Aero, the Excellence A is fitted with a converter allowing you to use bottled ink. You can also remove the converter and use international standard cartridges. A black and a blue cartridge are included with the pen. I felt a bit guilty dipping the nib section into an ink bottle, so found myself removing the converter and filling it directly. The ink flowed through the feed and nib straight away and the quality of the whole package seems to guarantee that ink flow will never be a problem. I also left the pen capped and unused for several days but the ink flowed without any problems when I started to write.
Oh sublime. Oh what a lovely nib. Yes, price does make a difference. Yes, expensive pens tend to have lovely nibs. Yes, modern stainless steel nibs are as good as (if not better than) gold. The nib is a reasonably large size and is the same as the one on the Aero.
I felt that this pen needed a high quality ink so I filled it with Waterman Serenity Blue and was not disappointed. I have to admit that I wouldn’t put a boutique ink into this pen. I feel that this lovely nib would feel a little under utilised unless it was fed with a high quality commercial ink.
I generally love a medium nib and I find that Diplomat’s tend to be a little finer than nibs from other German manufacturers. The nib is smooth and not scratchy in the least.
The Excellence A comes in black, evergreen and midnight blue. We currently only stock chrome trim models with fine and medium stainless steel nibs, but we may bring in gold trim and gold nibs to the store later in the year.
You can find the Diplomat Excellence A at Knight’s Writing Company.