Narwhal Original Piston-Filling Fountain Pen Overview

In 2019, two young entrepreneurs Frank Zheng and Samuel Peng started Narwhal pens to provide a quality fountain pen for the next generation of writers. In this post, we review their first piston-fill fountain pen designs.


Narwhal Original Piston-Filling Fountain Pen Overview

In August, the Narwhal Original piston-filling fountain pen debuted at the DC Pen Supershow. Frank and Sam went home happy with lighter suitcases. The initial run of Narwhal pens sold out that weekend.

Before their successful launch, Frank sought the sage advice of a respectable pen retailer to help bring these pens to market. Goldspot Pens (that's us) collaborated with Narwhal to bring the brand to life and become the US distributor.

The Narwhal original piston-fill fountain pen that was so well received at the DC Pen Show consists of four, vibrant acrylic material options - Poseidon Blue, Merman Green, Yellow Tang, and Hippocampus Purple. The blue and green have a chatoyant, semi-translucent appearance while the purple and yellow are transparent with whirls of brilliant color.

If you haven't guessed it by the name of the pen, one quick glance at the barrel and it's easy to see the internal piston mechanism. The piston operates using the blind cap at the end of the barrel. The Narwhal can drink a high capacity of bottled ink and slosh it around the barrel reservoir.

The classic profile of the swirling acrylic is adorned with a metal trim ring that separates the blind cap from the barrel, a metal barrel band with the Narwhal imprint, a metal disc at the crown of the cap, and a metal, tension-fixed clip. All colors, save for the yellow tang, have silver appointments. The Yellow Tang is matched in warm, gold-tone appointments.

Here is the Narwhal compared with other popular pens of similar design and size.

*Measurement* Penbbs 309 Monteverde Laguna Narwhal Piston Fill Edison Collier Esterbrook Estie

Length Closed/Capped

5.63 in. / 143mm

5.4 in. / 137mm

5.77 in. / 146.5mm

5.875 in. / 149mm

5.875 in. / 149mm

Length Uncapped

5.125 in. / 130mm

4.82 in. / 122.5mm

5.24 in. / 133mm

5.125 in. / 130mm

5.0 in. / 127mm

Length Cap Posted

6.38 in. / 162mm

6.61 in. / 168mm

Cannot be posted

Cannot be posted

6.75 in. / 171.5mm

Barrel Max Diameter

0.48 in. / 12.2mm

0.55 in. / 14mm

0.53 in. / 13.5mm

0.59 in. / 15mm

0.5 in. / 13mm

Pen Weight

0.6 oz. / 17g

0.8oz / 22.7g

0.7oz. / 19.8g

1.06 oz. / 30g

0.8oz / 22.7g

To modify the famous Henry Ford quote, you can have the Narwhal pen in any nib size, as long as it's "fine." The stainless steel nib is made in-house by Narwhal and features the engraved Narwhal logo amid scrollwork that follows the curvature of the nib's shoulders and tines.

If you prefer writing with another nib size, the Narwhal nib can be swapped to fit a Jowo or Bock #6 size nib. Although it is possible to unscrew the nib and feed housing, we recommend to pull the nib and feed out of the housing to swap the nib.

Narwhal Original Piston-Filling Fountain Pen Overview

Writing with the Narwhal fine point nib is a pleasant experience from the start. I agree with most customer feedback in saying that this nib writes more like a Western medium than a fine point. That being said, it is a wet writer with a touch of feedback.

Reverse writing is possible for a slightly finer, drier line. A firm amount of finger pressure produces a small degree of line variation. Overall, the writing experience of the Narwhal steel nib is on par with steel nib pens that are priced well above the $45 for this piston-fill fountain pen.

Despite being made from acrylic, the Narwhal has a nice feel in-hand with a weight that signals a sturdy construction. The grip section is a decent length with a slight taper. Even if you hold your pen farther back, the threading is minimal and doesn't feel sharp. The engraved barrel band is a charming touch that adds a bit of luxury to this fun-looking pen.

Not being able to post the cap on the back of the pen is a pet peeve of mine. Personally, I think all pens should have the option to post. The Narwhal looks like it could be posted. But, it can't. The trim ring that separates the barrel and blind cap won't allow it.

When we asked Frank about the posting of the cap, he explained that he always writes cap-in-hand and never posts the cap of his pen. Naturally, he did not feel it was a necessary Narwhal design feature. I do hope that he would change his mind in the future and release a new design that would give the option to post.

Despite my personal prejudices against non-postable pens, Frank and Sam designed the Narwhal's body to be written with unposted. The pen's size and weight rests comfortably in hand. If one were to post the cap, it would throw off the balance of this pen, making it too back weighted.

Narwhal Original Piston-Filling Fountain Pen Overview

When you receive a Narwhal pen, they arrive in a two-part, white box that almost feels like you're getting a new iPhone instead of a fountain pen. The pen is nestled inside of a white foam padding and includes a contact card should you have any questions or concerns about your Narwhal pen.

As we are working closely with Narwhal to advise on future pen designs, we would like to get feedback from our pen pals. Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you feel would make the Narwhal fountain pen even better.

A Narwhal tusk clip? A cap that can be posted? Other nib sizes? Different filling systems? Let us know the kind of pen you would dream up.

Thanks for checking out the review. Stay inky, my friends!