During my vacation, I decided to take my Nemosine Singularity Demonstrator with me to the beach for a relaxed review written in the sand.
In the interest of full disclosure and providing the reader with the full picture of this particular pen, I feel it is necessary to discuss the company behind the pen as well as the pen.
The Current Nemosine Lineup of Fountain Pens
What is a Nemosine Pen?
Nemosine is an American company and a bit of an enigma. They are based in Pennsylvania, but obtain parts of their pens from Taiwan and Germany. They seem to be affiliated, if not owned by X-Fountain Pens (Paramount Goods, LLC). In our relationship with the company as a retailer, we've dealt with representatives from the company that only reveal their first names, if any at all. As far as we know, there's only one phone number to call, which I suspect is a personal cellphone number of one Nemosine employee, who never picks up on the first attempt. In short, there really isn't a lot of company presence for this brand, which might feel more like a fly-by-night rather than an established, trustworthy outfit.
We've thrown our hands up in the air at several points during the year that we've dealt with Nemosine. Our company would place a purchase order, being charged on our credit card immediately, only to hear or see nothing from the company for weeks. No status update. No reply from e-mails or voicemails. Only after the threat of chargeback and severing ties would a response come. Eventually, we receive our product. Service improved over the course of the last several months, but only marginally so.
Customers have also come to us with their problems in contacting the company as well. The 3-Year "Perfection Warranty" that accompanies each pen doesn't mean much if the company isn't willing, or unable, to honor its warranty requests. NOTE : If you are reading this and have experienced problems with your Nemosine Pen purchased through Goldspot, please contact us and we will be happy to help, even if you have already contacted Nemosine directly.
That being said, what keeps us, and our customers, coming back is the product - an inexpensive fountain pen that beginners and experienced users alike can enjoy. For all the faults and difficulties we can point out about the company and the pen, it still is a solid fountain pen that has a lot to offer for little cost.
Now, lets talk about the pen.
Because the price is so low on the Nemosine Singularity, the end-user can forgive and gloss-over a number of flaws within the presentation, design and overall quality of an item.
As we are discussing a pen that is below the $20 price point, it cannot be held to the same standards as a pen of the $200 level. That being said, we can compare this pen to other entry-level big shots on the market like the Pilot Metropolitan (~$18), Noodler's Ahab ($20) Lamy Safari (~$30) and Kaweco Sport Classic (~$25).
One of the least expensive demonstrators on the market at $14.95, the Nemosine Singularity is the kind of pen you would recommend to someone relatively new into the world of fountain pens, or someone who prefers inexpensive, everyday writing pens. It's a knock-around, daily writer - a pen that wouldn't break your heart if it was stolen, or lost, or took a tragic tumble onto an unforgiving tile floor.
The pen straddles an inexpensive, office supply item and a quality fountain pen. Not exactly a "disposable" Pilot Varsity, but not as distinctive and durable as a Lamy Safari.
Although the Singularity is one of the least expensive demonstrator fountain pens, as the old adage goes, "you get what you pay for." Yes, it may be clear like a Pelikan M805 Demo, but the similarities end there. The plastic that is used on the Singularity can withstand the rigors of everyday use with the usual accumulation of blemishes and fine scratches, but the unforgivable problem is common with the cap band. Fissures develop on the band below the metal strip that bears the name, "Nemosine." I did not notice exactly when they developed, but I believe it might be from screwing the cap on tightly to the body or posting the cap on the back-end of the pen. The hairline cracks do not seem to effect the ability to screw the cap on the front end of the pen, nor does it seem to cause a premature drying-out of the nib. Although the flaw is cosmetic, it certainly isn't flattering to the overall appearance of the pen.
No Frills Packaging and Unboxing
Taking a page from the no-frills box of the Lamy Safari and Noodler's Pens, Nemosine pens are presented in an austere, white cardboard box. On the outside of the box, Nemosine labels the pen line, color, nib size installed and declares where the pen parts were made from and the "3 Year Perfection Warranty". Popping open the flap on one side of the box, out comes the pen clipped to a Nemsoine filling, cleaning and warranty pamphlet. Six international sized ink cartridges also slide out, which is a bonus, considering most fountain pens come with only one ink cartridge to start with. Also included inside the pen is a standard, K-type converter for bottled ink filling.
The pen itself is fairly straightforward. Not much artistry or distinction to make the profile of the pen stand out amongst other designs. The plastic used in the demonstrator is quite clear, making the view of the ink cartridge / converter unobstructed. The cap can sometimes gather spots of ink or condensation water droplets, which are cool to see. There's nothing special going on with the clip, finial or barrel. The only branding on the pen is on the metal cap band.
The Nemosine nib does have a bit of character with a design that is quite unique. A swirling butterfly graphic is engraved into every nib with an "N" stamped below the breather hole. "MADE IN GERMANY" is inscribed at the base of the steel nib with the point size designation done directly above and centered.
Fill Up and Go
For this review, I am writing with a Nemosine Demonstrator that I've used for the past year. The converter is made well and holds up to repeated fillings. A plastic bead rolls around the converter chamber, preventing the surface tension of the ink from holding at the top of the converter.
Taking into account my own experience, and those of the customers we talk to, the general consensus seems to be that the Nemosine steel nib writes on the drier side. Sometimes, we do receive complaints of nibs being "too scratchy" or "not enough flow," which is understandable. Given the volume of pens that we have sold in the last year, the number of returns we received is still within tolerant limits, with a defect rate less than 1% of all total pens shipped.
The 0.6mm and 0.8mm calligraphic nib options are rare in the fountain pen world, as most stub or calligraphic nibs are usually offered 1.1mm and above. The narrower calligraphic nib has less of a pronounced line variation, but does make it easier to use the pen for general purpose writing and note-taking. I've been using the 0.6mm nib for the past year. It needed smoothing and adjustment to open the flow up more, especially when using a more saturated ink like the J. Herbin 1670.
The reason why I chose this pen over others to take with me to the beach is that, at such a low cost, I didn't mind if this pen would suddenly get swept away to sea. I would be heartbroken if my Edison would be snatched up by a seagull that thought my Herald were a small stripling of a fish. For the price, the Singularity's materials and construction hold up well to being thrown into a bag or pocket for a day trip. Other than the cosmetic fissures below the cap band, there are no major cracks, chips or other major wear on the pen, even after using it for a year.
To summarize the writing experience, the Nemosine nib can sometimes be so-so straight out of the box. However, if you know a few things about adjusting and smoothing nibs, this is a great candidate to tinker with. If you prefer to post your cap while writing, the Singularity posts well and gives a nice balance of weight with the cap posted.
A Few Choice Words
Writing Quality : The stainless steel nib on the Nemosine Singularity is a hit or miss in terms of alignment and ink flow. Quality control is not the best. Once I was able to tune and adjust my own nib, it made my experience remarkably better. The nibs are offered in a nice range of grades from extra-fine through broad and stub nibs as well. (grade B-)
Aesthetic Quality : Nemosine pens arrive in a no-frills box. The character of the pen's design is not distinct. It's just a plain demonstrator. (grade C)
Utility : Nemosine pens are sold with the converter and six ink cartridges included as a standard. Cap easily posts. Light weight and durable materials make it a solid traveling pen. (grade B+)
Price : Can't beat the price. Among the least costly entry level fountain pens. Although the costs are going up soon, it holds great value. (grade A+)
Final Grade : B For what it's worth, the Nemosine Singularity can go head-to-head with other entry-level fountain pen candidates, including JinHao, Kaweco Sport pens and Noodler's pens. Sure, the price does allow for a number of flaws to be forgiven, but it does have plenty of merit to be in the conversation of "great beginner fountain pens." Even if you are an experience fountain pen user, it may still have a place in your everyday carry arsenal, especially if you need a daily writer that you can bring with you and not have to worry about losing or breaking on your trip.
PSA : If you ever have issues with a Nemosine Singularity and are not getting direct service from the manufacturer to honor the warranty, please make us your next call or e-mail. We will go above and beyond our 30 day return policy period to make things right with these pens. As I stated earlier, we know they aren't the easiest company to work with and we make up for that with our own service to stand behind these pens.