As I mentioned in my survey results post, I was surprised to find that this topic got the most votes. But, ask and you shall receive. This post is inspired by Emily Hanhan‘s video MAKEUP GRUDGES BRANDS, PRODUCTS, & TRENDS I HAVE BEEF WITH! // YES, THIS IS A RANT!
Now, by definition, a grudge is “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” However, I don’t necessarily have ill will or resentment towards these brands. Rather, most of them I’ve simply had one or more negative experiences that make me wary or unwilling to purchase more from them. There are only two brands on this list that I would, and have, actively warn people against buying.
I’ve only had one modern Bexley, the Golden Age Triangles. That was enough. The pen was finicky when it came to disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly. If you didn’t put it back together in precisely the correct order, it wouldn’t write. And it leaked at the section. I wasn’t willing to fiddle with it so much to make it perfect, especially not at its elevated price. So I sold it.
I’ve heard quite a bit about Conklin’s poor quality and quality control (QC) issues. But Conklin’s designs never interested me, so I didn’t have any first-hand experience with their pens. However, when they released the Duraflex, Jim was curious and bought one.
Unfortunately, the Omniflex nib didn’t flex. It could hardly even be considered soft. Any attempt to make it flex resulted in terrible railroading. It was such a disappointment, he ended up returning it.
On top of that, the box had a spelling error (see the third picture). Instead of Omniflex, the name of the fancy new nib, it said “DURAFLEX™ WITH OMIFLEX™ NIB.” So, I had first-hand evidence of the poor QC and poor quality.
I decided to give Conklin the benefit of the doubt a little over a year later, and bought the Conklin Endura Ebony. Despite it having a plastic sleeve to help keep the nib from drying out, I still had significant hard starting issues and ended up selling it.
After that, I had absolutely no desire for another one of their pens.
Leuchtturm was highly touted, which made me interested in trying them out. Jim and I both picked one up. My initial impression on writing in it was that the paper was incredibly thin. I could only use one side of the paper, as the show-through (ghosting) was so bad.
Jim’s experience was even worse. He wrote with M and B nibs, and experienced quite a bit of bleed through.
I honestly have no idea why anyone considers Leuchtturm to be fountain pen friendly. It doesn’t pass even the most basic requirements to be given that label unless you’re using fairly dry F or EF nibs.
I’ve written about issues I’ve had with my first Montegrappa pen. With one exception — my Shiny Lines/Dove — every other Montegrappa I’ve owned has had similar hard start issues. Because of that, I’ve sold all but two of them, and find it unlikely I’ll get any more. A pen needs to write, and preferably write well.
I’ve stayed away from Monteverde pens from day one. Even just holding on in the pen store, I could tell they were cheap. And I’d heard plenty of negative things about their pens from pen friends. Their ink, however, Jim and I bought many of. They had nice colors, and were supposedly formulated to help ink flow.
But last year, I realized that I had major hard start issues in any pen inked with Monteverde ink. I tested it thoroughly, as I couldn’t believe that Monteverde inks were hard starting. I put Monteverde inks in some of my most reliable pens, but it still caused hard starts.
We’ve now gotten rid of all but two bottles of Monteverde inks, and we’ve only kept those because Jim uses them in his cartooning.
Everything I have to say about Noodler’s has been said before. The ink is ridiculously inconsistent. There’s inconsistency between the different inks and between bottles of the same ink. From the inks I’ve tried, they either feather, bleed, or never dry. I have yet to try a well-behaved Noodler’s ink. It doesn’t matter what pen or paper I use. There is no way I’m buying another bottle of Noodler’s ink.
And their pens aren’t any better. They’re quirky, stinky, and, sometimes, unusable. Their “Flexible” nibs are as “good” as the Omniflex. Don’t buy their stuff, you’ll almost certainly be disappointed.
This will likely surprise some people. I don’t think Pineider pens are necessarily bad; I think they’re overpriced. Several of their pens feel incredibly cheap for the high prices they’re asking. I also don’t particularly care for their nibs. For how much they tout their own nibs, they’re pretty lackluster.
Also — a bit of a rant here — I think it’s stupid that they’ve made the Mystery Filler in an opaque material. The whole point of that pen is that it’s a demonstrator, that you can see the inner mechanisms working. But when the material is opaque, all those precisely manufactured pieces are hidden. What’s the point? Why not keep opaque materials to the Grande Bellezza model? OK, rant over.
So, those are my brand “grudges.” Do you share any of them? Do you disagree with me on any of them? Do you have any other grudges? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you.