Story of the Libelle Brass Chromatic
One day a week or so ago, our esteemed manufacturers of Libelle pens sent us a shipment with an unmarked box. It was a Libelle Chromatic ballpoint pen that we had never seen before. We placed an order for one with a silver brushed barrel and brass trim, which have been discontinued. Instead, we got this odd, C3PO-looking fella completely in brass color. After looking through our price lists and inventory, we figured that this must have been a one-off that they never sold to retailers.
A phone call later to Kenro Industries would confirm my suspicion that it was indeed a prototype of a color finish they never put into full production. I already liked the color of the pen and the fact that it is a rare style only made me want to have it more! Gracious as they were for making the shipping error, they let me have it. Couldn't be happier to add to my collection!
The pen has a very interesting texture, weight and feel. The high metal content gives it a nice, sturdy weight. The matte and polished contrast, along with the wire mesh areas build into the barrel really gives this pen a unique identity and tactile feel. The first thing I had to do was change the refill. As an avid fountain pen user, pasty ballpoint ink just doesn't do it for me. So I opted for the next item on this review : a Monteverde Parker-Style Capless Gel ink refill...in BROWN.
Brown, you say? Yes, I chose brown because #1 I can #2 it seemed to be the ideal match for a brass-colored pen. The gel ink writes smooth and evenly, writing like a fine tending toward a medium point (in fountain pen speak). As for the color brown, it is not very saturated as a dark brown, I would even call it a lighter tan-ish brown. I wrote that line, along with the other samples, on a Moleskine large lined journal.
That particular journal has been around with me for the last year or so, even before we started carrying Moleskine (yup, I paid full price for it). I had to see what all the hub-bub was about and needed a journal to replace my previous one that filled up the year before. I already heard about Moleskine's lack of fountain pen friendliness, so it wasn't a surprise to me when some pen and ink permutations permeated through the page and feathered a bit. However, I've found the general rule of thumb to find a good Moleskine-friendly combo is to go with a finer nib and with a lighter colored ink. The expandable pocket in the back is nice for depositing movie ticket stubs, candid photos and cocktail napkins with the phone number from that girl at the bar last night. However, I'm eagerly awaiting the finish of this notebook, as I want to upgrade to a Rhodia Webbie as my next journal of choice for the smoother, higher quality paper.
Putting away the Moleskine, I realized that there has to be a better home for my traveling pens. I have four fountain pens inked at the moment, which is a bit more than usual for me, but some (like the Aurora Optima or the Pelikan m215) never seem to run out soon enough for me to want to try new colors or pens. I usually keep them all in my messenger back, clipped to what used to be a cellphone pouch, but I turned into a perch for my inked pens.
One good turn deserved another, I thought, and purchased my own Libelle Black Leather Zip 10-pen case. In my case (shown below, left to right), I now have the Aurora Optima Auroloide Blue Marble in extra-fine, the Libelle Chromatic Brass ballpen, an ST Dupont Orpheo Palladium fountain pen in fine, Pelikan M215 in blue/black in fine point, a Lamy Safari Blue in extra-fine, a Black Parker Sonnet ballpen and a Parker Executive multi-function. And these are just the pens I have inked at the moment. Each pen is secured by two elastic loops, which are tight, yet stretchy enough to even fit the generously sized Orpheo.
As you can see from the second picture, the felt flap that covers one side of the case protects the pens from clanging into one another when you close the case and zip it shut. The quality of the leather is very good considering the price. The covers are plush, finely grained and supple to the touch. The soft inside material, the flap that goes over the right inside cover and the quality of the sewn elastic bands really makes me feel confident that my pens will be safely transported and kept in great condition.
So, that's the whole story, touching every base while coming back home to the point of fine writing taking over my organizing style, messenger bag and (unfortunately) wallet. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to share your daily arsenal (#dailyarsenal topic on Twitter), including any pen-related accessories that help with your writing or maintenance of your writing instruments.