Bold, bright colors and chrome (or gold)-pressed appointments accent Taccia's newest release, the Merit Collection. Although this pen has an overall body shape that is pleasing to the eye and comfortable to hold, the first distinct feature you will notice is the transparent ink window.
Following the recent upward trend in transparency in pen design (i.e. Monteverde Mega fountain, Pelikan M205 Blue Demo, Aurora Optima Demo), the Merit offers the writer a glimpse into the converter (or cartridge) to view the ink level. The collection is offered in a matching rollerball as well.
There is also an ink window on the rollerball model as well, which is pretty useless considering the rollerball cartridge is opaque.
I tried out the Onyx Black fountain pen in medium point. The large nib is German stainless steel with iridium point. I filled the converter with Noodler's Bulletproof Black and gave it a test run on some Levenger Circa paper.
Initial impressions : plastic, but done well. The body is made from polished resin through and through. No brass body to the pen or cap. The ample girth and polished trims really save this pen from looking, or feeling cheap. The light weight is actually a positive in my book, as it is more comfortable to write with for long periods of time.
The nib flows very wet without scratching or any intermittent flow issues. Even with Bulletproof Black, which tends to not flow so generously through my Pelikan M215 Fine Point, the lines are very smooth and rich. The Medium is great for signatures and faster handwriting styles. The nib quality is on par with some of the best steel nibs that are out there.
A few pet peeves I have about the pen are cap-related issues. One : the cap posts very loosely on the back of the pen. This is a make or break for many fountain pen people out there, including me. Also, the cap does not screw back on to the business end of the pen very smoothly. I usually have to try once or twice to get the threads aligned properly.
The major selling point of the Merit collection is the price. At a retail value of $95 for the fountain pen and $80 for the rollerball, the Merit is a great value and can be compared to pens that are twice as expensive. When you order them from Goldspot Pens, every finish goes for $75.95 Fountain / $63.95 Rollerball.
- Writing Quality : Large, German-made, Stainless Steel nib (available in fine, medium or broad) writes wet and flows nicely. Top pick amongst other Stainless Steel FP's (grade A-)
- Aesthetic Quality : Simplistic, but nice choice of vibrant-colored resins. (grade B)
- Utility : Fountain pen Ink window lets you know when to fill up before the ink runs out. However, the cap does not post tightly on the back and the screw threads to close the pen are not very smooth. (grade B)
- Price : At $95 retail (on sale for $75.95 at Goldspot.com), this is a very affordable value for a pen that can easily be considered in the same tier as a Parker Sonnet, Waterman Perspective or an Aurora Ipsilon. (grade A-)
Final Grade : B+
We can give a lot of "merit" to the price of this line, given the current economic climate, but I will choose to give credit to the high-quality nib and the usefulness of the ink window.